Monday, May 11, 2009

This being sick is getting OLD

What is the deal....since we don't have insurance (haven't since last November when I was laid off) I've tried to stay healthy to avoid going to any doctors and racking up any bills. But shoot this year hasn't started off too good in the healthy category of living. I was sick back at the end of February first of March for a few weeks battling a sinus infection and I managed to kick it all on my own with the help of Mucinex and Sudafed (even though it took me longer than if I had gone to the doctor for antibiotics).

Then we come back from Maui and within a week I started coughing. It was weird. I didn't have any sore throat, stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, nothing but a little tickling cough. Then within a couple of days I was coughing up stuff (but nothing green, so I knew there wasn't an infection of any kind). So I started taking Sudafed again and Mucinex, sucking on cough drops and cough syrup trying to get over it. I was going to job interviews because I felt okay physically just this stinking cough. (Oh yeah, my sister was the unlucky one by catching this while we were in Maui and had to deal with it there but she was able to kick it on her own so I figured I could too, I'm just glad it waited for me until we got home.) By a week and half of battling the cough, I could feel myself getting more tired and wearing down a little more. Scott kept saying I needed to go to the doctor but I really didn't want to fork out any money to do so. I told him I would if I started to get really bad. I had been using a vaporizer and taking hot, steamy showers to break anything up but I still didn't have a tightening in my chest or feel like I had any congestion going on. I'm prone to getting bronchitis so I figured that is where I was at and I also knew if I waited too long it could go into pneumonia but I also figured my lungs would hurt if that was the case. I had been coughing so much my sides hurt like I had just done a ton of crunches but not in my back where my lungs were.

A couple of days before going on 2 weeks of this coughing (and by now I was producing the green stuff) I finally called our local medical clinic to inquire as to how much this was all going to set us back. Since I have moved to North Idaho I have not found a regular GP and I've always gone to North Idaho Immediate Care. I generally call first to see what doctor is on call because my favorite one there (Dr. Hjeltness) I've seen for 8 years and if he had his own practice I would be one of his first patient's (I told him this too) and I always try to go in when he is there. I just about had a heart attack on the phone when the receptionist told me how much an office visit was without insurance....I figured okay $75-$100....oh NO...try $ just see the doc for 15 minutes...are you kidding me??? She also told me that if I thought I had bronchitis (which I was sure of it by now) they may want to do a chest x-ray and that would be another $69. She also said since I've been a patient there before they could set up a payment plan for us but 30% would be due at the visit time. So then I called a couple of local pharmacies to see how much my drugs would be....I figured I would get a Z-pack (which Dr. Hjeltness usually prescribes to me) so I tried Walgreens first, thinking they would be low $44...okay....Walmart next and they were a little better at $ then I thought Costco....wohoo their cost was $10 (all generic) so I knew where we would be going to get the goods.

Scott took me into the doctor and by now....I could feel a wheezing in my chest pretty badly. He listened to my chest and lungs and said...."You're in pretty bad shape", I figured as much and he couldn't believe I had been coughing for 2 weeks without coming in. I explained to him about not having insurance and I was just really trying to fight it on my own. He said he could hear it in my left lung and didn't really want to spend my money but he did need to take an x-ray to see just how much of my lung it was affecting. Thankfully, it was only showing up in the middle section of my left lung (pneumonia) and he wanted to get me started on antibiotics right away, so he gave me a shot and prescribed my Z-pack but also wanted me on a breathing treatment so he prescribed Abuterol and then prescribed a really good cough syrup Tussionex (I've had before and it is really good) but I had no idea how much those other prescriptions would cost. We lucked out a little at the clinic because they took Care Credit (which we've had for a while when we thought we'd need it for Scott's braces and I thought it was only for Dental & Veterinarian's) and they told us if we paid in full we would get 30% off the total ended up being like $374 total and only had to put $249 on our card. It was a good thing too since when we got to Costco the drugs were close to $100 for the 3 prescriptions....OUCH!! The doctor also said that if I wasn't feeling 100% better by the 10th day (last day of antibiotics that he was prescribing) to call back and he would prescribe it again because he wanted me to kick this completely not just get a little better and then be off the antibiotics and get worse again.

By the 10th day, I still wasn't feeling 100% maybe only 50-60% better so I got another prescription....I also had to get another for the Abuterol because I wasn't using it properly and I wasn't getting all of the medicine in my lungs (the real expensive drug though was the cough syrup and I could live without another prescription of that).

Scott by now is thinking I should be in the hospital because I haven't kicked it but I also know it is because I don't get a TON of rest like I should either. Some nights I lie there awake trying so hard to fall asleep but my mind won't shut off (why do I have to have insomnia now) and some nights I cough too much and can't get comfortable. So the nights that I do get REALLY good rest and I'm not coughing so much I just sleep and sleep and sleep...sometimes until 2 pm the next day. But then I'll have a day where I feel a bit better and try to do too much (because I have things to do and nothing is getting done with me trying to rest all the time) and then the next day I'm down pretty bad because I did too much the day before.

I hate having pneumonia, I've is the WORST because it is really hard to get over and my immune system isn't the greatest so it is taking longer to kick. I was reading on one website that it could take a month to get rid of it (oh please God, no). Scott feels discouraged because he just wants me better so we can do things together and I want to get better because I feel guility that he works all day then comes home and has to make dinner because I don't have the energy to do it or a couple of times that I have....I'm just BEAT.

REST....REST....REST.....I'm kinda getting sick of all this rest. I want to get up and go and I have so many things to get done. I wanna go to Lewiston and see my granddaughter's I really better get RESTED and get this kicked FAST so I can. Today I did sleep MOST of the day and I felt a little better once I got up, in fact I haven't coughed as much today as I usually have, that is a good sign....hopefully tomorrow I won't have a down day because I'm feeling so much better and try to do too much.

Please keep my in your prayers and thanks to those of you who have been. I really appreciate it.

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