Well, it’s not the surgical pain so much as the economic pain. Valerie, Medalie’s secretary, told me because I pre-paid for my surgery now I can’t make an insurance claim, that “it’s impossible in their computer system” to go back and file a claim to see if Blue Cross would cover all or part of the surgery.
This super sucks. I wasn’t holding my breath, as Blue Cross seems not to pay for any SRS. However, I had been told by other bloggers who had their surgeries with Medalie that Valerie was a superstar with insurance companies, and said bloggers whose insurance companies didn’t cover SRS had it magically covered through Valierie’s superior coding skills. She was on vacation the week I was having my surgery, so I didn’t even have a chance to talk to her about my options. I wish I had known to ask about this before I pre-paid for it, but as an out of town patient, I had to pre-pay for it.
But I have to let it go. I am going to contact a friend in the insurance industry* to see if there is a way I can circumvent Medalie’s office and submit a claim to Blue Cross myself, which will be potentially infinitely more tricky and confusing, and God knows I don’t want to accidentally commit insurance fraud, but I have to try (try, that is, to get some of this cost covered, I don’t feel a deep need to try and commit insurance fraud). I just want to find out for sure if Blue Cross might/might not reimburse me for at least part of my costs.
As far as my physical recuperation goes, there is little to complain about: I am still sore and puffy and uncomfortable, which sounds like a lot to complain about, but considering I had major surgery, these pains sound really trivial to me. I am using less Vicodin, and more Advil, but can tell that I am slowly moving toward needing no pain meds at all.
I still have no wifi, and am still on Poppa T’s computer (which, again, is a blessing and I thank him for the privilege), but still no pics. However, tomorrow is the big post-op drain removal/chest reveal, so I think we will try to take a short video, and for sure get some still photos. We are staying at the B and B in Cleveland tomorrow night before we fly home on Thursday, so previous posts will be revised with pics, and pics of my chest sans vest will be posted as well.
Last night I had my first searing incision site pain, it was on my right side, just below my pectoral area, so I assume that must be where the right side incision is. Up until now all my pain was coming from the drain sites in my armpits and the discomfort of the compression vest. Also, I’ve noticed a little weezing in the bottom of my lungs when I first get up in the morning the last few days, but I know that is from not breathing deeply enough: usually after sitting up and taking some deep breaths throughout the morning that clears right up.
But this new incision pain, that came from accidentally using my right arm for just a second to steady myself to sit up in bed: it was a long slow burn that made me hold my breath for a second. I took my weight off my right arm and used only my abs like I should have been, but otherwise didn’t move, and so the burning slowly faded away. But then when I tried to put my arm at my side under the blanket it came soaring back, full steam. I held my breath again and stopped moving for a second. It took me a long slow time to get my arm under that blanket.
The good thing is that this searing slow pain is not entirely unfamiliar to me: it feels just like the god awful pain from my hysto incision site. So although it is terribly painful, at least it is not worrisome. I know what it is, and why it hurts, and how to make it stop. I’m just not looking forward to its inevitable, unannounced, and semi-frequent drop-ins as part of the healing process.
Boy, I’ll miss this drain site irritation then!
I am looking forward to no more drains tomorrow, to getting a look at my new chest, to going home on Thursday and healing in my own house.
About this getting a look at my new chest business: I have been told by other guys that the first look can kinda take your breath away, that the disconnect between what your chest looked like (in my case) five days ago and what it looks like now is a lot to take in for your brain, that our bodies don’t change naturally as quickly as they change surgically and so your brain has a bit of a shock when you first lay eyes on this drastically reformed part of your body.
I have been using my meditation and body awareness practice I have learned in the yoga preparation I did leading up to surgery to “feel” my chest under this foam and compression vest. I have been closing my eyes and feeling where my body ends and the vest begins. I can “see” the contour of my new chest, and I think this attention and visualization has helped prepare me for the big reveal tomorrow.
What about you post-op readers: how did you feel in that revelatory moment, when you first laid eyes on your new body? Scared? Relieved? Shocked? Ecstatic?
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli
*Just got off the phone with insurance friend, and she gave me a few options, so I am feeling less deflated now–let’s stay (cautiously) optimistic! And a shout-out here to insurance friend J, who has not only given insurance advice, but also has given medical advice to my hypochondriac ass for over ten years. Thanks for always answering the phone J, and for always being a good momma to me. 😉