Thursday, July 9, 2009

Healthcare in America CONTEST and Feeling New

I hear nearly every day on the news about the controversy over healthcare in the U.S. Critics say the cost is too high, the insurance system doesn't work, and the process simply isn't functioning properly. I'd like to provide an alternate view to those opinions.

Yes, the cost of healthcare can be high, but we are so blessed to be in a country where we have access to the very best medical technology in the world. I am sitting at my computer today because of this technology and the physicians who spent years of training to hone their skills and who are brave enough to try something new. We were told my brain tumor was "inoperable" by an entire team of specialists, before we found Dr. Couldwell. His specialty is listed as working on parts of "the brain previoulsy thought to be inoperable". He was "lured" here from back east to be part of the U of U and Huntsman Cancer Center Hospitals, where they are doing new and experimental, LIFE-SAVING procedures. Do I think his per hour fee is high? Yes, I do. Do I care? No, I don't. It because of people like him that I am alive!

CONTEST: It has been interesting to see the medical bills start to pile up. I decided some time ago to make this a fun process, rather than a painful one. So, here goes. We want all of you who read the blog (even if you haven't commented before) to submit your best "guess" as to my total hospital and dr. bills to date. The person who comes the closest to the actual amount will win a fabulous prize (still to be determined:). This is all in good fun and will hopefully help us appreciate how good our healthcare really is, even if it does cost a bit (thank goodness for insurance).

So, please base your "guess" on the following info:
* 2 MRIs to diagnose the tumor
* Multiple dr. apts. with specialists, neurosurgeons, ENTs, etc.
* 2 Full body CT scans and 2 more MRIs prior to suregery
* 2 Craniotomy surgeries, the first with 1 neurosurgeon and 1 Neuro ENT, the second with a Neurosurgeon (10 hours of surgery total)
* 2 Lumbar drains, inserted and removed
* 4 CT scans in the hospital
* 1 Brain surgery to seal the Euchstation tube, by a Neuro ENT (2.5 hours total)
* 34 days in the hospital, 28 days in the Neuro Acute Care Unit, 6 days in the Neuro Critical Care Unit
* 1 "Gold weight" eyelid surgery by an opthamologist
* 3 Follow-up apts (1 with each specialist)

So, give or take a few minor procedures and hundreds of shots and doses of medication, this is the basic list. GUESS AWAY!!! Oh, and I don't know the "correct" answer yet, as bills are still coming. We will determine the winner in about a month.

A special thanks to my good friend, Becky Sevy, who gave me a wonderful haircut and color this morning (and gave Lindi a darling haircut, too!!). When I saw the finished "product" in the mirror, I wanted to cry. My hair looks "normal", even if my face doesn't. :) You can't see the big patches of hair that are missing because of the wonderful style. I feel "new" and refreshed by this great change. Thank you, thank you! It may seem like a "little" thing, but feeling normal is very big to me! See the pics below of my new "do".


Anonymous said...

Before insurance kicks in, I'd say a million. You and your health are priceless, however:)Wendy T.

Carol Liptrot said...

Hey Jodi. You look darling in the pictures. A new haircut is always fun. It sounds like things are going a little better everyday. I am so impressed with your positive attitude. That sounds like a fun challenge to figure up your medical bills. Actually I have had a bit of experience with medical bills and estimating all the costs my guess would be: $280,000.00. I totally agree with you. Good medical care is priceless. You have been so blest to have the right doctors at the right time to help you. Just confirms who is in control here, and you can tell you are highly favored of the Lord. Keep up the good progress. Lots of love to you.
Carol Liptrot

Anonymous said...

Hi Jodi,

Your haircut is darling!There is nothing like a good cut and color to brighten a womans day! I know that medical bills add up fast, so I will go with 1.2 million. I feel very blessed to have good insurance. I love seeing your posts and knowing that you are getting better and stronger each day.Our prayers continue to be with you and your family.
Shauna & Jon Fish

Cami said...

Jodi, you look great! Love the new haircut. My (very uneducated) guess for the medical bills is $350,000. I really hope it's not that high, but miracles (and good haircut,s for that matter)are worth every penny! Glad to see more progress. Your eye already looks so much better than the last pictures.

Love you tons!
Cami Sanders

Kara said...

Your hair looks darling, a good haircut can make you feel so much better! I have no idea but I am going to guess 455,000! I'm love reading your blog and catching up on your progress!

Kelly Pia said...

Jodi, You're haircut looks great! I love to read your blog and see how you are doing. You have been so positive throughout this whole ordeal and I am at awe of how wonderful your family is. I wish there was some way that I could help with medical bills, watching your kids or whatever else you might be in need of. You are always in our prayers and I hope that your healing progress continues so well.

Kelly Pia

Anonymous said...

Your hair is so cute! I agree that a good hair cut makes everything feel a little better.
I can't imagine how much your bills are, just having a baby and having those bills stressed me out...the hormones didn't help either :D. My guess at your bills would be 975,000. Thank goodness for insurance, well worth every penny! April B.

britt said...

I am glad you were able to do that and get a new haircut that looks so flattering on you!
I really don't even have the slightest idea for a guess, but lets about $750,000. Definitely hoping that is b4 insurance coverage :)

Chaston said...

Lookin Good Jodi. Our guess is $540,000.

Chase & Amber Mitchell

Jewelie said...

I love you new hair cut and color, you look fabulous! I'm so glad things are going well it is good to have you posting. My guess for the medical bills would be $743,000


Jeni said...

I agree, your hair looks great! There's nothing like getting your done!

And, here's my best guess for your contest:

My daughter spent a week in the NICU at UVA when she was born. I too was thankful for insurance. Her bills came to just over $500,000. She had many tests, but no surgeries. Based on the stay alone I would say well over $2 million. Adding surgeries and other procedures, I'll go with a final answer of $5.5 million.

Sanya said...

You look great, Jodi. You will look normal soon. We are so happy for you. Based on Obama Universal Health Plan, all doctors and nurses should be paid a minimum wage of $7.00 an hour. So, we guess your medical bill should be below $20K.
Saras and Sanya

wjmom said...

Your hair looks fabulous! I will guess your bills at 3.1 million dollars. Ouch!


Flints Facts said...

Hi Jodi, I love the new hair cut, it is so cute!!! You look fabulous!!! It is amazing how a new do will make you feel! My guess on the medical bills would be 990,000.00, Thank heavens for insurance!!!
Keep up the progress, lots of love,

annie said...

Having you alive and doing so well is priceless! My guess is $885,000.00

Martin Merx said...

Good gosh! I hope no one on here is correct with their "best guesses". I'm going to do the Price Is Right thing and guess $1.00.

Teresa Knight said...

Ok, I sure hope there is no max amount that your insurance will pay out in a year, because my bet is that the bill will be close to the 2 million mark. My guess is $1,800,700.
It is nice to see that there is a lot of improvement in the paralysis of your face.
I don't know if you remember but I have a son in law who is paralyzed on half of his face from being run over by a car when he was about two years old.
He had surgery at the Mao Clinic about 4 years ago to graft a nerve from his leg onto his face connecting from the good side and going under his nose to the other side. Nerves gro so slowly that he is still witnessing improvement. I can tell it becuse I only see him every few months. I'm sure he doesn't notice the improvement so much himself. He also has an eye that doesn't close. His warning for you is DO NOT GO OUT IN THE WIND! He has been advised to tape his eye closed at night, and sometimes resorts to that, but for the most part he just sleeps face down with his bad eye in the pillow.

Anonymous said...

Jodi - I hadn't read you blog yet today and I loved it. You are looking and sounding like yourself and I love it!! Thank you for the other opinion about health care. It is expensive - no lie. What would we do without it? I don't even want to guess. It is one of those necessary things in life. I love that you have turned the cost of your ordeal into a contest. Always looking at the bright and fun side of things!! This is difficult to estimate for sure. I'm going to guess $390,479.23. The $9.23 is for one Tylenol. Ha, ha. Love, Noellee P.S. Your hair is cute!!!

Nichole Giles said...

Hi Jodi,
Darling hair cut! Funny, I got mine cut today too, and it really does make you feel better about life.

Hm, there are some really good guesses on your bills, but I'm going to be conservative, I think. Wait, no I'm not going with my original thought. My official guess is $978,0597.59 (But I could be a little bit off.)

Quote of the day:
"Women are like teabags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Anonymous said...

My guess is 500,000.
But I also agree. You can't put a price on life and happiness. We are blessed to have the knowledge and medical skill we do have now.

Anonymous said...

Jody you are an absolute inspiration to me. I have grown to have so much admiration for you over this process not to mention I can relate to a small degree of what you're experiencing. I will never take my health for granted again as I'm sure I will be staying in close contact with many specialists for years to come. Right now they are sending me to a cardiologist because my heart has fluid around it and is increasing. Oh, so much fun.

So about your assesment on our healthcare system....yes it is expensive...but as a wife of a professional...these people who not only go to school for years and years to study have to study everyday to stay up on and discover new advancements. Not to mention the support of their family has alot to do with it as well. My husband of course is not a doctor but he has to study all the time to stay up on the latest technology...they deserve the pay.

I know how exciting just a simple hair cut and color can be. I think some of those simple things can mean so much more after you've lost your hair. My hair is very thin compared to what it was but at least I didn't lose all of it this time. I went in to get a trim yesterday....just a simple trim made my whole day! I cannot wait until I can color it again....after the drugs are sufficiently out of my system. Maybe sometime at the end of the month.

You are my hero girlfriend! Nancy

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing your total cost to be 4,000,000 at least if not more.

Julie Johnson said...

Jodi, I like your new haircut. That always makes us feel better. That and a pedicure. I would guess your medical bills would be $575,000.00. I hope for your sake I am way off. Maddy bills from her broken arm are slowly coming in and that was just 2 afternoons in the ER and I am amazed with how much it is. Thank goodness I have insurance and just had to pay the rest of my deductible. You are amazing. Keep up your positive attitude. Love, Julie

Anonymous said...

$875,000 is my guess. So glad you're doing better!
Jenni from Idaho

qsmiff said...

You look so pretty =)
My guess is $820,000.


Pam said...

I know that every time a doctor looks into your room to say, it's a charge to your bill. Rental cost of nearly everything, even the CT room and MRI rooms can be included.

I will estimate $600,000 since my mom was in for a week with intensive care and surgery and the overall bill was $130,000. I multiplied that by 4 weeks and added a few days. But it's anyone's guess.

Our medical care has a random cost structure at best. Be grateful your insurance is a good one. Millions of us have no such thing. We would simply go under.

Belinda said...

Well - Beautiful!! You look amazing - and I think you look wonderful! You have a great hairdresser too!!
I don't want you to worry about prizes - but it is intriguing to guess! I give it $173,000, but I agree with Martin - that I hope the guesses made so far are way off!!! Giving the idea that it would be another mortgage payment...this would be my rough guess!!!

But if you get stuck with a huge sum - it would be a great excuse to have a car wash / cookie sale!! :)
Love ya.... keep up the smile!!

janabake said...

Hey Jodi! this is Teresa Knight's daughter. my hubby is the one she told you about who's had the facial paralysis pretty much his whole life. when he got the 2 surgeries 4-5 years ago, the total for those (with less than a week stay for each) was $100,000. so, I'm thinking yours will be a LOOOT more! good luck, and if you ever need any advice from someone who's lived with it, feel free to ask. I wish you all the best! the one thing he's realized after being so self-consious his whole life is that people really don't care that much what you look like so don't be afraid to be yourself! people will stare and you will get a lot of questions (like "did you just get back from the dentist?" he gets that a LOT!) but generally people will like you no matter what, and those that care what you look like you don't want to be friends with anyway! he definately does have a memorable face, and despite being a quiet guy, he still is recognized and remembered by people he's had class with in the past. ALl the best to you!

Jeff DuBois said...

I'm going to go with an educated guess, given that Dr. Couldwell also handled Bonnie's surgery. Although, even with that first-hand experience, I'm sure that I'll be way off. My guess . . . $258,800. Let's hope it's not much higher than that.

Jeff D.

Cami said...

Ok here is my guess...Jason helped a little:


I know...I win with originality!!

Suzy Q said...

The eight cents is going to be my winning ticket. ;)

hartleyhouse said...

Laura's guess: $673,000
Clark's guess: $918,286