Pre-surgical interview:

I was sent a lot of information about my upcoming surgery via the US Mail. Letters, descriptions, suggestions, and instructions to follow for the next few days. Today is Wednesday, and my surgery is exactly one week away. Among the instructions are that I can no longer take any “blood thinners” like aspirin, or acetaminophen. I assume this is to minimize blood loss during the operation. The fact that I’m going to undergo surgery in a few days is becoming very real. It makes the disease also seem much more real. It will happen.

One of the many instructions I received was to call the surgical center where this will happen and schedule a pre-operation consultation. I did so. Upon arriving, I was taken to a small room to go over several instructions. Mostly the person interviewing me asked questions, and I answered as best I could. Many questions were about my health— “have you experienced any recent pain?” and “When was your last surgery?”

The Financial Elephant

After a review of my health, the discussion turned to how this entire thing would be paid. The cost, I was informed, would be slightly more than $38,000.00—or about 90% of my annual salary. Insurance would cover 80% of it after my deductible of $2,500.00 had been reached. Getting yourself split apart to take cancer out is a fairly expensive endeavor. Oh, and that doesn’t cover, I was informed, “separate services” like the anesthesiologist. Ouch. The “Affordable Care Act” didn’t make this surgery very affordable.

Pre-op Instructions and Thoughts

I can’t eat 24-hours before surgery. I have to take an enema (yuck) the day before the surgery. I can only eat broth or clear liquids before the surgery. I need to take a lot of fluids in the days leading up to the surgery. I am supposed to drink 10 ounces of Magnesium Citrate, which apparently helps clear my “system” out.

I will then remain on clear liquids after the surgery.

I’m scared. I don’t know if scared is the right word. I will not be in control of my own body, nor my own health. I have to turn that all over to people I don’t know and rely on the skills of people who were trained in our public schools. I teach in those schools. This concerns me!