Health Care in the USA

Beltane                                                                    Cancer Moon

climate change vollmanHere is a cautionary tale about health care. On April 24th or 25th I scheduled my axumin scan for today. That’s twenty days ago. It’s purpose is to tell where my cancer reemergence is located and to help stage it. This after the rise in PSA caused consternation for both me and my urologist, Dr. Eigner. I was glad we could get it on the calendar so quickly.

Yesterday, after we got home from Dr. Gupta’s there were two messages on the phone. One was an “urgent” message from the hospital health benefits department. The double speak in the system unveiled itself when the “benefits” person told me they did not have approval for my scan. This is at 11:30 am the day before the scan. Eigner didn’t get the information to the insurance company in a timely fashion, they said. The insurance company, which claimed to have 72 hours to make a decision couldn’t make one in time.

I could come in today, they said, and sign a waiver for self-pay and await the decision or I could reschedule. If you recall, the axumin isotope is in limited production. The hospital only gets a dose once a week. There was no certainty about when I could reschedule either. They put me in a box by waiting until midday of the day before the scan. It’s possible the insurance company could deny it. It’s new, though not experimental.

axiumShould I go in today, sign the waiver, and keep my appointment with the radiation oncologist on Friday? When I told Eigner my PSA rise, he said, “Get another PSA done and get into see me ASAP.” A post-prostatectomy rise in the PSA to .2 is a biochemical recurrence. That’s the clinical definition. Mine was at 1.3. Everyone I spoke with had a sense of urgency about this. That made me have one, too.

I’m going in, gonna sign the waiver. My concern level, for myself, is high. I’m distracted. An occasional feeling of dread passes through me, floats my stomach. It’s fear of the unknown. Though I’m not afraid to die, I’m not eager, either. In this case it seems that time matters. At least to me.

I did not need to worry about money, too. This problem cranked up my anxiety level by putting another weight on the scale. Not. Needed.