80’S CANCER JAM OF THE DAY:
Well, I’m back. Full of crap and mean as ever. I did get the award for the “coolest germ name of the week”, Enterobacter sakazakii. That’s the little guy that took up residence in my port and infected my blood last week. It sounds like a ninja or a motorcycle gang member. I probably got it because I wear bandanas all the time like I’m waiting for Peter Fonda to cruise up and strap me on the back of his hog.
Anyway, I started feeling much better on Saturday after the antibiotics kicked in. I even got out of the house and walked around the mall for a while. But..my doctor left a message telling me that he would extend my antibiotics to 2 weeks (yuck!) and that I needed to get that nasty little port out ASAP.
You know what 2 weeks of antibiotics usually means? Hellooo, yeast! I’ve done well controlling it to this point with big-gun probiotics, but 2 weeks is a lot to ask. I’m hoping I’ll wake up soon and find out this whole year was a dream, just like that episode on Dallas with Bobby in the shower.
As for the port, that presented a rather awkward situation. After I had my mastectomy, I discovered to my horror that my breast surgeon was not in network with my insurance company. I have no out-of-network benefits. This left me responsible for $4000. Since he was due to insert my port two weeks later, I drove frantically to the office to explain what had happened. The office manager couldn’t have been nicer. She told me not to worry about the upcoming surgery and to let her deal with the insurance company. I also heard that my surgeon was informed about the situation by the girls at the office. His reply? “Tell her not to worry about that.”
I had the port inserted back in May and waited to hear what the final tally would be for services rendered. I expected that the surgeon’s office might work out a payment plan or a reduced fee. As it turned out, I’d be waiting a long time. I never received a single bill.
Fast forward to today. My breast surgeon works in the hospital on Mondays and Tuesdays, upstairs from me. I gathered my courage and went to talk to him, still feeling more than a little sheepish about the fact that he has done nearly $10,000 worth of work on my behalf for no charge. I fully intended to ask him for a recommendation of another surgeon who would be covered by insurance. When I explained what had happened with the port infection and sepsis, he excused himself for a minute. When he came back, he said “How’s 4 o’clock?”
I thought “Surely he’s forgotten about my whole insurance fiasco.” I reminded him gently. “As much as I’d love to have you for my personal surgeon forever, I have that pesky out-of-network insurance. Remember?” He nodded. “Not a problem.” I have been continually blown away by this man and his kindness and generosity in a field full of greed and arrogance. I’m trying desperately to think of something I can do to show my appreciation, but nothing seems worthy.
As for the huge honking port that has been jutting awkwardly out of my chest all these months, it died a quick death at about 4:45pm. So long, sayonara, adios. Don’t let the subclavian vein hit you on the way out.
There are angels walking among us.