Wednesday, May 24


Wow. What a day. I won't give you Too Much Information on the icky stuff. Sufffice it to say that after spending a frantic morning at work trying to form a coherent plan for transitioning our $4.5 million spend on promotionals and incentives to a new vendor in the same time frame (30 days) that I have to produce a new corporate marketing brochure for my $14 billion company (forget the two CEO employee message videos I have to produce with the same deadline as all of the afore-mentioned and manage the company's many web sites and all the other important, though less crucial, assignments that all seem to have the same production dates), I then had (wanted) to attend a 14-person goodbye luncheon for one of our sweetest female employees (out of 17,000) who recently became engaged to Jerry Jones, Jr. (yes, of the Jerry Jones Dallas Cowboys-owners clan) -- I then had to leave early so that I could have a biopsy (every woman's scare -- breast cancer).

I was originally scheduled for a Friday biopsy, but just as I entered the office this morning I got a call from the Perot Center that they wanted to do it today if possible. I thought, "Great, then I won't have to wait over the long holiday weekend for the results," so I said okay. Then, within a couple of hours, I started suffering from miserable cold symptoms, a nose that spouted like a fountain and yet one I couldn't breathe through. I made it to the luncheon, yet had to leave early to make my new appointment.

That was an experience that no man could comprehend, and as I said, I won't go into details. But I will say that it was painful, two hours long (no, it usually takes about a half hour, but there were complications), and now I will have to wait for two days to find out whether or not my "abnormalities" (as my radiologist and internist termed them) are cancerous. It's the final (I pray) step in a process that went from routine mammogram, to repeat mammogram, ultrasound and now biopsy. I mention it because while I have tried to downplay it to my husband or completely omit mentioning it for my friends and family, I also finally realize how important it is for all women to pay attention to their health, and because I don't want to forget what I experienced. I had the original mammogram because a lady I love and admire recently had such a routine procedure after many years of not attending to her own well-being and is now being treated for aggressive breast cancer. It was a wakeup call for me, so I went in for the same routine. It was just a precaution, and I thought it would be over with the first test.

I haven't told my mom, my sisters, or my children. I am confident from what the doctors have said that the odds favor my getting a positive report. But the past couple of weeks have made me realize that we are, ultimately, as responsible for our own health as anyone. I had four medical professionals, an RN, a radiologist, an imaging technologist and a breast cancer specialist at my side for the whole ordeal. It cost me $315 in out-of-pocket costs. But that was because I have excellent health insurance through my company. I saw the actual costs (indeed, I had to sign off on it) for this procedure -- it was approximately $2,750. And since the hospital said I had a $773 balance from leg surgery late last year (we've never been given notice of that, so it was a surprise), I paid for that debt with my debit card. Otherwise, they would have refused to conduct the procedure, they said.

And as I signed, I thought, what would a woman do who has no health insurance and no ability to just say, "Okay, here's my card" to pay the overdue balance?" I had discussions with the registration personnel (Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas), and the upshot was, they told me such a person would have to find some social service agency that would help or do without.

Here I am, always a progressive, bleeding-heart liberal with questions.

Anyway, have no words to express what I'm feeling now that I'm home, bruised, pained, but more concerned with what lesser-privileged women in the same situation endure who don't have access to the Margot Perot Women's Health Center. As I sat in the elegant private lounge set aside for women in their hospital-issued gowns before the procedure, I observed in the total silence that reigned that the women there were well-groomed and -coiffed. In fact, I felt a little like the scruffy tomboy I've always felt MY elegant sisters and mom think I am. I wanted to say to someone, "What are you in here for?" and share experiences, but everyone was reading either D Magazine: 25 Fabulous Luxurious Getaways or Vogue. That's not to make a big deal of the differences in hospital patrons, but I couldn't help but compare it to our recent experience with our middle (of five children, three of whom are girls) daughter's recent hospitalization at the public Parkland Hospital (regular readers will remember she was sent there because of a traumatic brain injury), where people of all income levels receive the best emergency care in the nation.

But I ramble. So what? It's my blog, and I don't want to forget what I thought and felt.

Now I wait for Friday, and the results of my biopsy.

UPDATE: The pathology report is in: it's benign.



Blogger LiteraryTech said...

Healthcare is a real problem. And specialized hospitals are making it more of a problem. Any place where they turn you away for lack of payor source is just increasing the load on our over-taxed public and general hospitals. We have socialized medicine, we just pay for it in a costly way.

I hope everything turns out well for you, Motherlode. And how is your daughter, btw?

You're the best.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

Thanks for your kind words, LT. Skye is doing beautifully. She still has no sense of smell or taste (linked), but otherwise she's back to normal.

When you have a family as big as ours you can have a lot of drama. But we continue to be blessed in so many ways, I have no complaints.

2:53 PM  

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