My plastic surgeon called me this morning. He, once again, apologized for the error that caused me to spend four unnecessary hours waiting for a surgery that did not take place.
Then he shocked me. He wanted to see me, not because he was changing the size of my implants, or because he wanted to switch from silicone to saline.
He was firing me.
Apparently, a while back he had decided he no longer wanted to do reconstructions. I was his last patient. With the error that happened and the fact that there would be a delay, he figured it would be a good time for me to start over with another doctor. I will need several revisions and surgeries down the road and for continuity, he thought it would be best for me to find somebody I can stick with since he won't be doing them.
Ann's Translation: The hospital fucked up, he's sick of it, doesn't want to deal with it and insurance companies anymore, doesn't need to financially - and I got caught in the middle.
He gave me the name of a plastic surgeon who still takes insurance. I googled her, she seemed experienced. She was a combat doctor and has gone around the world reconstructing the faces of injured and disfigured people - sticking a boob in a piece of skin should be a piece of cake after that, right?
Dr. S.'s office had sent the referral, and the scheduler said she'd just talked to them and they could fit me in quick.
So, I called.
Now, I don't know if the scheduler made that story up, but there is no "fitting in quick." In fact, Combat Doctor had suffered an injury over the weekend and was rescheduling all her surgeries, and she was full until October. She can't even see me for a consultation until July 29th.
I go back to work August 2nd.
I want this expander out of me. It hurts. It gives me shooting pains in my chest. I can't sleep on it, and I can feel it rubbing against my ribs and the inside of my skin. Having it in for over a year - when I didn't even have radiation? It's unimaginable.
I made the appointment with Combat Doc, but I also wanted to look around. I called Dr. Lee, listed in my last blog post.
He no longer takes insurance patients.
In fact, several people listed under my insurance plan have changed their minds - they don't see insurance patients.
Can you blame them? If you can charge a vain woman $7,000 for fake boobs and do it in your own basement surgical center, and be in control of the entire process (including ordering implants), and schedule 3 or 4 of them a day ($28,000), and end up with a happy patient - why would you do difficult reconstructions that never come out perfect at hospitals under the rules of petty bureaucrats who just might forget to order your implants and leave you and everybody else hanging?
So, now I'm stuck. My new doctor is injured and can't operate. None of the others listed on my insurance plan actually takes insurance. There is one exception: my only other option is a person who is over an hour away by car (if I'm lucky enough to have no traffic.)
Considering that it's out-patient surgery and I will have to drive straight home after it, and then go to his office several times in the next few days for wound checks and drain-removal, I don't want to have to go that far, especially when there are two hospitals within 15 minutes of my house.
I don't live in a rural area - I should be able to find a doctor closer.
One would think.
I'm beyond frustrated that I can't get medical care. Now, everything that I didn't want to happen is going to. I will have this painful and ugly expander in for the summer, and the next school year will be impacted. It will cost me money since I'll have to take more time off work and have no sick leave left and won't for a while. Not to mention how patient my coworkers have been with all the time off I've had, and I wanted to begin the school year as if it was normal.
Emotionally, it's difficult. While I'll still have herceptin and oncology visits and some minor surgeries, the end of my cancer treatment - in my mind - was this surgery. This was the final big thing, and I've been telling myself that when this surgery is done, I could finally start to put it behind me and get back to my life.
And, that won't happen for quite a while.
I just hope Combat Doctor doesn't see the light and decide to give up insurance patients before my consult.