Wednesday, May 30, 2012

All Over the Map!

I’ve been collecting auto insurance quotes from numerous companies to get a feel for what my payments will be on a 2012 Toyota Yaris (full coverage: Comprehensive and Collision). The responses I’ve gotten are all over the place!

It really does pay to shop around, it seems.

$957.50 for 6 months

$440.00 for 6 months

$1086.00 for 6 months

State Farm:
$587.63 for 6 months

$659.00 for 6 months

Can you suggest any company I might have missed?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Neck

So, I go in for pre-op on Wednesday, June 20 = they’ll explain the process, fill out all the paperwork, and do the blood tests

Surgery is scheduled for Friday, June 22 = check in is at 6:00 am, surgery will begin at 7:30

I have no idea how long recovery will be, but I’m hoping to be home that evening and will have the weekend to see how it goes…

For those who don’t know what’s going on, I have two vertebrae (C5 and C6) that require some attention. Dr. Kralick will go in thru a tiny slit in my throat, file off the bone spurs that have grown in all directions (they are putting pressure on my spinal chord), place bone grafts from a cadaver, and tie the whole thing together with a metal plate.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Insurance Quote

Hi Ruth,

Here are the break downs of the vehicles. Basically since it is a new vehicle, of course we do recommend collision and comprehension since the vehicles will obviously be worth much more.

With comprehensive and collision ($500 collision/$250 comp):
     2012 Toyota Yaris - $957.50
     2012 Honda Fit - $945.58

Without comprehensive and collision:
     2012 Toyota Yaris - $390.50
     2012 Honda Fit - $382.46

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Thank you,
Allstate Insurance Company

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How Do You Spell Relief?

First the bad news:
     The $30,550.00 figure that I got from the doctor for my neck surgery is only for his services. There will be separate bills from the hospital, the anesthesiologist, the nurses, the janitors, the candy striper, the drug supplier – pretty much anybody who even glances in my direction while I’m in the hospital. I had thought my bill would only be $10,037.95… but no – that’s only part of it…

Now the good news:
     My insurance has a yearly Out of Pocket Maximum of $5,500, which includes my deductible of $2,500.00. On top of that, the company I work for will reimburse a major portion of that deductible ($2,000.00); so, in reality, my expenses will only be about $3,000.00 = FOR EVERYTHING!

Maybe I can afford that new car after all…?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Meaning of Flowers

January -- Carnations; represent pride, beauty, admiration and gratitude.

February -- Iris; the three upright petals symbolize faith, valor and wisdom.

March -- Daffodil; symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings.

April -- Daisy; joy and playfulness is associated with this bloom.

May -- Lily; symbolizes purity of heart, honor and majesty.

June -- Rose; each color of the rose has a different meaning, but it is often associated with love and beauty.

July -- Delphinium or larkspur; symbolizes an open heart and strong attachment.

August -- Gladiola; a symbol associated with strength and moral integrity.

September -- Aster; a symbol of elegance and an amulet for love.

October -- Marigold; associated with affection and grace.

November -- Chrysanthemum; signifies optimism and happiness.

December -- the poinsettia; symbolizes good cheer and happiness.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Put These on Your List

The following is a list of books you might enjoy – if you haven’t already read them, that is.

Lost in the Jungle
     By Yossi Ghinsberg

King Leopold’s Ghost
     By Adam Hochschild

The Firecracker Boys
     By Dan O’Neil

The Children’s Blizzard
     By David Laskin

Ada Blackjack
     By Jennifer Niven

The Worst Hard Time
     By Timothy Egan

     By David Von Drehle

The Windows of Heaven
     By Ron Rozelle

My Lobotomy
     By Howard Dully

     By Robert Sullivan

The Mummy Congress
     By Heather Pringle

     By Jeffrey Lockwood

A Sense of the World
     By Jason Roberts

Blood River: a Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart
     By Tim Butcher

How Ironic is That?

I had my appointment with the neurologist yesterday – not exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday, but you take the appointment that’s available or wait months for the next opening. And what an appointment it was, too. I was in there for 4 hours!

The news is pretty much what I expected: I do need surgery. I have two discs that have blown, two vertebrae that have bone spurs, and the entire neck has lost its curvature. The doctor will go in thru a tiny incision in front of my neck, shave off the spurs, repair the discs, graft in bone from a cadaver, and secure the whole thing with a metal brace. The procedure should take no more than 2.5 hours, so if I go in first thing in the morning I might actually be home that evening.

Mother says I will now have to travel with a note from my doctor explaining the metal in my neck!

This whole thing will be quite expensive – again, pretty much what I expected. The doctor’s office gave me a list of expected expenses to be charged; I called my insurance to find out what my coverage would be and then created a spreadsheet in Excel (gosh, I just love that program!) to calculate my portion of the bill.

Wouldn’t you know it: the total was almost EXACTLY what I have in my savings account! Almost to the penny! It’s like somebody knew, and arranged to have it just perfectly so.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Good Things To Come!

Coworker: “So… hypothetically… if somebody were to make you a birthday cake, what would it be?”

Me: “Hypothetically? Hmmm… Probably an angel food cake with fresh strawberries.”

Coworker: “Oooo! With whipped cream on top?”

Me: “Yeah!”

Friday, May 04, 2012

Something to Look Forward To (NOT)

I’ve been experiencing a great amount of pain lately in my shoulder, to the point where I can barely drive my car anymore (I drive a standard), so made an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Laurence Wickler, who took x-rays and ordered an MRI – two of them, actually; one for my shoulder and one for my neck.

If you have ever had an MRI before you know how awful they are, and having two of them done at the same time just made it exponentially worse. I was in that horrible machine for a very long time: 25 minutes for the shoulder and 45 minutes for the neck. I had taken some Zanex ahead of time so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was still all I could do to hold still and not panic. On top of that, the position I had to be in to get the best picture of my shoulder was extremely painful and left me sore & achy for days afterwards.

The people at the imaging center were very understanding, and made the whole ordeal as bearable as they could – but then somehow managed to send me on my way with only half of the results!

I didn’t know that until I showed up at Dr. Wickler’s office the following week for my follow up appointment. That meant that I had to wait for the imaging center to send a courier over with the rest of my results before I could get a clear picture of what’s going on.

It’s not good, but then I could have told you that before the MRIs. My shoulder has some torn ligaments, but they’re so badly damaged that Dr. Wickler can’t fix them. He can, however, fix the bone spur that is putting pressure on the nerve. We decided that I would come back in sometime in the fall for the procedure, since I don’t want to miss out on all the summer activities (hiking, camping, biking, etc…).

The neck is a whole other deal, and Dr. Wickler was very quick to point out that he does not “do” necks. He recommended me to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Krolik, for a more detailed examination of the problems – but stated that in his opinion that my neck is in far worse shape than my shoulder is.

As you may know from previous postings, I had a bad fall when I was a child which injured my head/neck rather severely. The MRI taken just last week shows considerable damage that is just getting worse by the day. More than likely I will need surgery on that as well.

So now I am just waiting for Dr. Krolik’s office to let me know when my appointment is, and am making a mental list of all the things I’ll need to do to prepare for the recovery period.
     1. get computers set up for left-handed operation
     2. get preapproval from insurance company
     3. get information on renting an automatic car for the duration
     4. make arrangements to have Mother come take care of me for the first few days
     5. ensure an adequate supply of chocolate and tea will be on hand