The Recovery Room

October 1st, 2008

Surgery (Not Mine)So… the bill for last months emergency appendectomy surgery came yesterday.

$30,445.16.

Thirty grand!!!

Abbi and I could go scuba diving in Belize six times! We could buy a brand-new Jaguar X-Type! We could put a 5% down payment on a $600,000 house!

The bill’s full of interesting stuff, though, like a $219.19 “specimen bag” (presumably the final resting spot for my beloved, 5mm appendix). Or the $1041.86 Harmonic Ace Scalpel (an “ultrasonic cutting and coagulating surgical device” that, vibrating at 55,500 times per second, cuts tissue while coagulating blood vessels).

Here are some highlights:

$14,814 Hospital Room
$3,139.27 Operating Room
$1,041.86 Harmonic Ace Scalpel
$775.00 Emergency Room
$753.59 Anesthesia (90 minutes)
$723.68 Lab
$694.40 Recovery Room
$683.27 Pharmacy
$285.00 Chest X-Ray
$229.00 EKG
$219.19 Specimen Bag
$57.55 Blood typing
$42.48 Cefoxitin x6
$2.80 Percocet x5
$3.08 Heparin x3

Gratefully, we have United Healthcare; excepting the $500 upgrade for a private room, we’re covered. But it does start the mind spinning. What if we didn’t have health insurance? What if the appendicitis struck just one week prior, while I was working The Video Music Awards in Los Angeles? Or just one day prior, while we played Wiffle Ball™ in Vermont? Heck, what if I was born a hundred years ago?

As painful, inconvenient, and expensive as the whole ordeal was, it could have been worse. And now that I’m on the other side of it (or nearly so), I feel an extra sense of gratitude.

Last night, for example, Abbi and I met Casey and Langan Shea, plus Chris Abad for mussels, fries and beer at Cafe Charbon-Epicerieā€Ž, then took in Jamie Leonhart’s stunningly original set at a jam-packed Rockwood Music Hall. It was a magical, hilarious, beautiful New York night.

When we got home, I had to say it out loud: I’m lucky. I’m happy. And I’m grateful.

3 Responses to “The Recovery Room”

  1. Alex in NYC  Says:

    Holy crap, that’s a lot of fuckin’ dough!!!

    Glad you made it to the other side, my friend. I went in this week for my first doc appointment in quite a while. My blood pressure and heart sounded good (he says), but I still have to go get a chest x-ray, get a boatload of bloodwork done and some other unsavory things. We’re now at an age where I’m worried they’ll actually FIND something.

    WIth this in mind, let’s drink sometime soon ….. WHILE WE CAN!

    Cheers,
    Alex

  2. John  Says:

    Benjamin, my Conestoga buddy, I woulda gotten you some world class care, had you needed it in L.A…..

    Sorry to add this comment, but you DO realize that your physician fees (e.g. your surgeon(s), anesthesiologist) will be presented to you on yet another bill.

    To all you young people (like me in the past) who think they’re invincible and are saving a buck by not buying health insurance, two words of advice – get insurance.

    Wishing everyone excellent health,

    Dr. John
    Benjamin’s Doc in L.A.

  3. Benjamin  Says:

    Yeah, luckily, Dr. Dawson’s worth every penny. And G*d knows what I would have done without that anesthesiologist!

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