Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Journal - Surgery Discussions

Today, I got a couple of phone calls from the doctor’s office in Omaha.
The first call was from Denise who is in the billing office. I had spoken to her a couple of weeks ago about how I would pay for my surgery. Medicare only pays 80%, and Denise said that would leave me with about $3000 to cover, with $1500 being due up front. She called today just to confirm that I was aware of how much money I would need to come up with, although I’m thinking that this time she said $1000 was due up front. Anyway, I told her that I was aware.
The second call came a few minutes later. This one was from Elinore who is the transplant coordinator. There are a lot of different things that need to happen before surgery, and Elinor’s job is to make sure they all happen. Elinore told me a lot about how the process works, some of which I knew from my transplant seven years ago, and some of which I didn’t.
She said that once the doctor is informed that there is a cornea available, they basically have five days to get it in my eye, and a lot has to happen in those five days. The cornea is shipped to the doctor in Omaha. The doctor sends it to a lab in Denver to be tested; a lot of tests have to be performed on the cornea to make sure it is healthy. Then the cornea goes back to Omaha for the surgery. Elinore also told me that there’s always the possibility that the cornea will not pass all the tests, in which case the surgery has to be called off until another cornea is available, something I had to learn the hard way seven years ago. I asked her why they can’t just wait until the cornea is cleared before they notify me, and she said it’s because the time-frame is so short. As soon as they know there is a cornea, they go ahead and schedule the surgery to make sure the necessary staff and facilities will be available. They also will notify me at that time to make sure I’m available. If they waited until the cornea was tested and cleared, there just wouldn’t be enough time to pull everything together.
Back on May 9th, when I saw Dr. Feilmeier in Kearney, he had told me they would probably do my cataract surgery first, and then the cornea later. Since Elinore was telling me all about the transplant and hadn’t mentioned the cataract, I asked her about that. I think that caught her by surprise a little bit, but she looked at the doctor’s notes and said it looked like he was planning to do both at the same time. She admitted that the notes were not perfectly clear, however, so she said she would check on that and let me know. I always thought it would make sense to do both since the only way to get to the cataract is through the cornea anyway, but when I asked the doctor about that in May, he said the cataract is handled through a small incision on the outer edge of the cornea, rather than removing the cornea completely. That was an interesting bit of information. It would be nice to get both things done at the same time, but I suppose the more things they mess with, the more chance there is of complications. Well, I’m willing to trust the doctor’s judgement on that.
I asked Elinore if the surgery would be in the morning and she said there was really no way to tell. I was wondering because if it’s early, we’ll probably have to go to Omaha the day before. I know we’ll have to spend the night the day of the surgery, because I have to go back the next day for a follow-up. After that, my follow-ups can be in Kearney unless the doctor sees something he doesn’t like. They have a doctor in this area every two weeks so it just depends on if he’s comfortable letting me go that long.
And that’s about it. Elinore is sending me maps and information. She said that sometime before surgery I’ll have to get a physical, but they’ll let me know when it’s time for that. Not a bad idea since I haven’t had one for about 20 years. Oh, she also told me that there’s a hotel near the surgical center that gives a discounted rate to surgery patients, although at $45 a night the rate didn’t sound that special to me. Still, it would be nice to be close and not have to do a lot of driving around in the city. Hey, if the surgery goes well, maybe I can drive us home! Just kidding Mom, I knew that would get a rise out of you. I don’t even have a license.
Well, I think that’s about it. It’s starting to sound like this might actually happen. That’s a little scary for a lot of reasons.

Luke 11:34-35 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. ESV

Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them. KJV


  1. *biting nails*

    A lot of praying and keeping the faith.
    And one eye will not qualify you for a license and no, I am not getting in a vehicle with you again with one eye, unless you're the passenger!! :P

    And I thought, when he was discussing it, he said he'd do both, but the cataract first. That's what I gathered, but then again...

    I love you and you are stuck with me, sight or no sight! :)

  2. And hey, maybe when you get your sight back we can get out of this Windy City???

    Just a thought... lol (your mom don't read the comments) lol