Music, My Bean and The Medical Math

“There are only two seasons here. Winter…and Construction!”

Over the decades, I have chosen to modified my lifestyle to fit this available sentiment normally articulated in relation to either a challenge with the weather, a hurdle with construction, or both coming into play at the same time.

For my own internal structural purposes, I consider the winter months a great time for researching, practicing, planning and perhaps some hard-core cleaning efforts, with an occassional trip planned around bearable weather conditions. Then there is the yearning to do anything but sit inside my home, sometimes in a direction of music and sometimes just drifting along in my community, enjoying both the people and the scenery–let alone traveling a decent distance to accomplish something on my Adult Dreams and Desires List (e.g. pinball events, music, etc. )

I also know there are going to be literally thousands of decisions flying through my mind, regardless of the time of year. Some may be geared towards how I want to spend my next 5 minutes, let alone 5 hours, but even the first 5 seconds of a day can present a flurry of decisions to be made, many by automatic default.

For example, waking up from a night’s sleep might not immediately lead to heading for a bathroom. Am I really awake? Do I really have to get up right away if I am awake? Can I go back to sleep? Should I stretch first or curl up with the blankets one last time? Will I put something on my feet? Does anything hurt? How am I physically feeling? Headaches? Sore throat? Stuffed nose? Do I hurry or move slow?

And while I don’t consciously go through these specific questions every day, I believe it serves as one example of what types of questions we all go through in one form or another, regardless of what time the clock is saying.

While I have not lived much of my life of 50+ years being laser focused on my health status 100% of the time, I have had a few events that motivated a more strict and narrow attention span on the biological part of my existence. As quick example, when I was a child, a broken arm only served as motivation to learn a new life-style around the cast. For whatever line-item reasoning I delivered myself (from the ER staff on down the line), I remember having limited concern about losing my ability to climb neighborhood trees, ride a skateboard, jump on a trampoline…let alone being able to write well enough to get through school.

Instead, I was more anxious to shed myself of something I viewed as…well…an annoyance. I dreaded having to bag my arm, let alone getting the cast wet, just to clean the rest of my biology. And the writing mandates surrounding my life? Let’s just say that OCR tech (that wasn’t around that much at the time) would have had a field day with the original samples my slop represented.

Almost 40 years later, I could not tell you how much my arm hurt, nor what was etched into my cast before it was sawed off, mostly because I saw no value in holding onto the various degrees of pain I felt with the event. For myself, my beliefs center around a premise relying on more and more distance between myself and the event, mostly through patience with time passing in its natural order. In other words, I don’t need to remember the pain to remember just how lucky I have been when it comes to my own personal medical conditions…especially when I have called upon the medical community for help, which has become quite uncommon from a personal needs perspective for a few decades. I healed just fine and because of that, I figured I owed it to myself to continue giving life the best that I’ve got and to the best of my ability.

While I do not remember too many calendar dates associated with a variation in my biological capabilities and capacity, there is one event still relatively fresh in my memory that happened almost 5 months ago.

  1. It’s a number I know a little differently than many through my former work as a web developer. Perhaps you have encountered a “404 error,” which basically means content is missing at the address being visited. One of my many self-imposed rules when it came to design and development was to ensure, to the best of my ability, that there would be no reason for a 404 error to appear on a website…unless someone else made modifications to the design and/or content. It was part of the reason I chose it as part of my phone number when I did web development years ago as part of an effort to present an esoteric, yet logically creative ambiance surrounding my work.

There are not many dates I have committed to perpetual memory, and certainly more dates carrying remembrance of happiness than anything but, but here in 2022?

My body gave me an “error message” on 4/04 that will linger with my decision trees for the rest of my life…however many minutes, months or decades I end up having opportunities associated with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Early in the morning, as I was in the process of preparing for work, something “snapped” in my head and I was then almost instantly overcome with waves of dizziness and non-stop nausea with heaving. Fundamentally speaking, I am a Wrestler With Words, a Lover Of Lex, a Master of Musings, and yet I remain unsatisfied with the word “snap” relative to the experience, but it’ll have to suffice as a placeholder for now.

Now, the only two issues my biology was going through on a perpetual level is that of psoriasis and AuPause (the medical community calls it “menopause”) and I knew my main priority was to stabilize myself…without knowing for sure exactly how to do it.

Moving myself from where I was to my bed was a chore, but I figured it was the safest place for me to be until I was given reason to make more decisions about what was happening to me.

Ultimately, I found myself battling between just laying down, riding out the dizzy spell and chalking it up to some oddity related to my AuPause once it passed…maybe even calling in sick just to give myself a moment of rest…and the other option of calling 911 and putting myself in the hands of the Medical Community.

We all have our own measuring sticks as to how we evaluate various elements in our lives and mine is a fairly long one as it relates to avoiding the medical community. Part of this comes from a childhood filled with troubles on the homefront whenever I fell ill and the other part fell squarely on the shoulders of the Dollar Sign, as I was uninsured at the time of the event and well, darn it…something happened in my head that triggered the rest of what I was physically feeling.

I finally chose to surrender to the threat of serious debt in exchange for a chance to keep living for however long we could muster a stalling of the dizziness and nausea, mostly because I initially chose to believe in myself enough to believe I could pay off any debt I endured should these circumstances be properly identified and corrective actions were determined and perhaps even implemented. Also, no one was home at the time and if things became physically worse, I was risking even greater damage, especially if I lost my ability to speak.

I dialed 911 and within moments, I was reassured skilled humans were on their way. I slowly lowered myself down and up a flight of stairs to open the door downstairs, repetitively deciding I did not want to stay outdoors while sustaining full permission to make any new decision necessary based on new information.

At this point, I still had no clue what was about to be embedded in future editions of my Medical Record, and I found myself fighting to keep the faith that despite my being uninsured, I’d figure out the price equations, both inside the hospital and after treatment. During these first minutes, the only facts I had on hand was that I had felt a “snap” in my head and then dizziness and nausea ensued. My initial operating theory was that if something was truly, horribly wrong, I wouldn’t be feeling as intact as I was feeling, so surely the price tag would not be entirely unreachable on all levels, including any treatment for what was going on with my biology. While that might have worked under other circumstances and symptoms, little did I know about what was about to show up, mostly thanks to science and thousands of humans developing the tests…but also my making that decision to call for help rather than trying to ride out the circumstances on my own.

The paramedics were AMAZING and certainly helped with my ability to fill my mind with even more hope this wasn’t any big deal, but the larger portion they inspired me to grab a hold of was the eventual decision I made by the time I got to the ER. The decision was fairly simple and straight-forward once I made it–and it was made due to the the thousands upon thousands of choices leading to my need to make such a specific decision about how I was going to approach my immediate future, let alone everything that was destined to be a part of that future due to my current medical situation.

I made the decision to stay all in with whatever was about to be presented to me regarding my biology…and fight back if I felt I was not getting equal service to that of an insured person, let alone treatment I had a right to oppose. I certainly did not make the decision with glee and joy over the opportunity to interact with the medical community, but my continued truth and faith allowed me to remain content with my decision. This sense of content helped balance some of the extremes my mind would travel during my stay, including doubts surrounding the options presented to me once their suspicions were confirmed.

The hospital I was initially taken to was fairly local (I live in a small urban city attached to a large metropolitan area) and the medications they gave me to treat the dizziness eventually kicked in. In an immediate and selfish way, I was quite grateful for, as the throwing up had stopped prior to my climbing into the ambulance. That was two out of two “taken care of,” lending a hand towards the idea of being released sooner rather than later.

Many will understand a “hurry up and wait” atmosphere logistics can create in many settings, but especially when it comes to our individual health care plans and strategies. Our sense of time can shift significantly and we can lose a measure of continuity with how we are counting beats per minute. Despite my slipping in a musical connotation just now (it’s a rhythm section thing, I suppose), our lifestyles provide us a significant measure of structure as it relates to understand the implications of time passing us by while in a hospital setting at varying speeds for any number of reasons.

Eventually, I was transferred to another hospital, which led to my eventually viewing a series of pictures of my aneurysms (a few hand-drawn on a dry-erase board as well as a still shot of both), among other information shared with me regarding potential treatment options. Part of my decision-making process as it related to what steps I could/should/would take were directly related to the main aneurysm being shaped far more like a bean than a berry.

While the medical staff was not convinced my “snap” and My Bean were directly related, its location remains a hint or whiff of possibility in my eyes, for while I still am no “expert” on aneurysms, I am the person who went through the chain of events that led to the discovery and the image reminded me of those long balloons that get blown up and then twisted into various shapes and how–with enough pressure at a certain point–they could pop.

My math was telling me the shape of my aneurysm was hinting at extra weakness along with extra storage space for fluid, thus being able to not only potentially expand even more, but the larger fear associated with aneurysms, that of bursting and thus, we went with a clip strategy, largely due to my aneurysms being unburst.

The fact that aneurysms were found will always hold an extra profound split available only through hind-sight reflection on all of my activities prior to this discovery. There happens to be only two I tend to jump back and forth between from time to time.

One is that I had just finished a stress-filled move less than 2 months earlier. The idea of one having burst during that process is enough to trigger 20+ pages of thoughts and visions as to what “could have happened.” I use quotes because I successfully finished the move, thus rendering all alternate outcomes an exercise in fiction born from fact, and the lessons that can be learned from such an effort.

The other is what could have happened if I had chosen to not ask for immediate help in seeking medical attention by calling 911. I literally felt a need to articulate to myself that making such a phone call was nothing but an act designed to save my own life, while equally challenging such an extreme response based on the symptoms I had at the time, both before and after I dialed the phone, and not exclusively tied to the price tag such a call was about to trigger.

Speaking of hindsight, my mind keeps suggesting all sorts of questions I should have asked during my stay, for while I was in the hospital’s care, I believed I was given enough information to have the decision of a clip in my head and a titanium plate mounted above my mind. Still, despite all the information I lack, it seems to have been the best medical decision I could have made for myself relative to the less-than-attractive lottery ticket I was given the morning of the 4th.

It does not escape me that I could have died at various points in the medical system, including what could have happened had I chosen to just ride out the dizziness in the illusionary safety of my home. I believe my individualized Healh Care System starts and finishes with what I can do with what is shared with me, first via my biology and then the medical professionals that join my health care team to address the issue, even if a team member joins by simple fate of the geographical location of the help I need.

Calling decisions associated with this type of surgery, both burst and unburst, as “profound” seems meek on my part, but words like “cognitive dissonence” seem to be a subset of the experience rather than a primary concept and again, I am in need of a placeholder, if for nothing else than my own sanity purposes.

So far, my physical healing process has been seemingly uneventful as it relates to something that could be considered a concern worthy of pursuit, despite my ending up pushing myself slightly more than some might argue I should have these first months after the surgery.

For example, I walk to work, so for the first week after being released, I went everywhere with crutches, whether I thought I needed them or not. I also found myself frequently lecturing myself out loud to slow down the first few weeks, similar to the cast on the arm principle I shared at the beginning. I also was far more quick to “forgive” myself when I just wasn’t in the mood to do very much the first month or so, which was often. I’ve always been a fan of naps and would not hesitate to sneak in 5 minutes or a few hours at that point in my healing process.

I even used the month of June to begin returning to the local music scene, to see if I could bear the burden of playing a few songs on bass, and I remain biased with my appreciation to have this particular outlet as a regular facet of my lifestyle again. It’s not that I have much talent as a musician or a desire to play often. Rather, it is still having the opportunity to cross all commonly used communication boundaries to spontaneously create…well…music, with the hopes of all those present enjoying the effort. Had even one thing gone in an unpredictable manner, before, during or after the surgery, I could have lost this option, which would have been quite significant on all levels, especially on my intellectual and emotional health.

Even knowing just how close I came to losing even my typing capabilities continues to serve as a reminder of not just how amazing members of the medical profession pledge themselves to grow into, but I am one of the many beneficiaries of their dedication and commitment to learning how to perform procedures related to aneurysms in an effort to reduce the odds of the discovery actually bursting, which is part of why I decided to use a different kind of keyboard to write something for discussion in this particular community.

The posts put into this forum provided me insight and information I wasn’t able to get anywhere else. Some I struggled to understand–for I remain severely lacking in technical terms associated with aneurysms–but even those contributions helped me dare myself to keep moving forward into my own personal unknown future.

And as a retired web publisher, I still harbor the notion that if my words in an original setting can help but one person in a constructive manner, then it’s worth whatever risks come from publishing the words–and despite the liklihood of failing to attract hundreds or even thousands of readers.

I also have a preference for creating Evergreen content when it comes to something I am putting into the digital public–content that can be read in 2022 as well as in 2072, and still have some portion resonate with some relevance to someone’s individual reality, regardless of identifiers beyond words associated with a topic we all share a connection with.

Brain aneurysms.

This past month an angiogram revealed that, biologically speaking, everything is working as it should. THANK YOU TO THE MEDICAL STAFF AND HOSPITAL STAFF!!! Also, a HUGE THANK YOU to all those that provide support in so many different ways, especially this forum!!!

So while this may not be a post for everyone to connect with, thank you for your consideration of my words having potential of helping you along your own personal journey!

1 Like

Welcome to BAFsupport!

That’s quite an outpouring of thought there on the page! By gosh, you write even more than @Moltroub and @ChrisC put together! :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

It’s great that you’re doing well and it’s great to have you join us. I hope we might help you once or twice along the way, just as you will help others.



1 Like

Thank you for the warm welcome, although some could argue this was a short post coming from me… :100:

I actually had a chunk of it done a handful of weeks ago, but I was still waiting for my first follow-up angiogram to be sure everything truly is working as well as it seems. Once the results came in and I was given a 3 year check-in date, I knew I’d eventually be able to carve out another chunk of time to ponder and mull over how to talk about something I consider a private matter by default, ergo my appreciation of the screen name option, btw.

Thanks again for the welcome!

Oh, I feel I’ve sold my soul to the devil by the amount I’ve talked about my health in another place, so I know what you mean about that little bit of anonymity. Frees the mind to speak as is really needed. I think it is important.

There are those of us here who have had a bleed and support is around coping with deficits, getting to a good recovery or living with our trouble. There are others (like me) for whom the battle is mostly fear. Both are important areas to be able to talk about but I think fear is the most important, as I think it can undermine us like almost nothing else.

Whenever you need to talk, we are here. That’s the point. That we need to talk about private stuff in public, the anonymity becomes important.

It’s good to have you on board.



Welcome! Apparently I neither mind nor heed @DickD, he teases quite a bit. The way I’ve found most Brits do, it’s a bit of honest, dry humour he has, bless his heart! He is correct in his teasing though, I do tend to write a lot. Apparently you and I both have a plethora of words to say! Have you read Merl’s posts? Merl can provide a lot of good information! @oct20 has a great deal of encouraging words in her posts as do many other members.

The old SW I was had me thinking dang no insurance? Apply for emergency Medicaid! My life flight was a mere $140k give or take a few grand and it was just a short flight, by vehicle about 65 miles. We were once told we could save 40% on an angiogram if we paid cash that day…$100k down to $60k. BH said “Dang, I forgot the checkbook.” But my brain being what it is, also has that old song written by Carl Perkins “Daddy sang bass, Momma sang tenor….” ROFLOL

The brain, how I do love the brain! Fell in love with it back in high school biology I imagine. Was able to dissect quite a few sheep brains in university. As a website developer, you understand that content is only relative to the owner of the website and information can be skewed. When and if you choose to research the wonderful human computer with all its hardware and software stick with respected sites. Remember also that there’s a huge difference between papers and actual research. People love to be published and in the medical field to be published is a huge feather in their cap. Stick with things that are no older than five years. If you go back farther, it’s not as relevant due to the knowledge the medical community gains.

When you become confused as to the medical information we often shorthand here, just ask in the relevant post. Often these will be location of the artery, usually in the Circle of Willis, Every member here helps support each other. I look forward to your words adding to the support!

1 Like

Hope you got a good price for yours, for mine came for pennies on the dollar! :laughing:

As for the fear part, I have held numerous theories about the concept over the years. In this setting of health care conversation, I think most are fearful of just how unknown our biology’s behavior will be relative to our hearts and souls, whether its in the next few minutes or the next few years. I would suppose even medical professionals would go through their own levels of fear for the general medical event we all have in common.

I am just excited about discovering ways to convert my own struggles into something constructive, irrelevant of who I am above and beyond my own health care status at any given point. It’s a habit I’ve had for decades and has been quite the intellectually figurative life preserver from time to time.

Almost time to head out the door–and experience whatever our futures hold! :dizzy: :hugs: :guitar:

1 Like

Oh boy oh boy! Of course you crack open one of the many boxes I’ve been saving for those rainy days where I can just write for hours, but as it is a work week and I’m still not ready to go…

There is a rabbit hole when it comes to health care insurance that I have plopped into–or lack thereof. The laws where I live dictate an automatic 70% discount on all charges, which anything is amazing, but still leaves someone like myself with well close to $85,000 out of pocket charges. The hospital also abides by certain laws that mandate Charity Care, in which my circumstances mathematically provided me with a 90% discount with all out of pocket charges.

$30,000 was still a very, very unexpected expense I still am committed to addressing, however I am currently trying to navigate my way around a series of issues, many billing-related that continues to provide me further insight into a side of health care I normally would not concern myself with. Fastest example I can give you is my being double billed for the blood typing tests performed on the umbilical cord of the alleged baby I gave birth to.

Problem is, I am biologically unable to give birth. Therefore, either I am about to be able to pay my bill and everyone else’s health care bills for the rest of my life with such a stunning medical event…or it will finally be classified as the typographical error I believe it likely is. :thinking:

As for my relationship with my brain, it can be one of those love/hate relationships, depending on what my intellect is calling upon me to do (this is all figurative, btw). I may not always like what my brain calls on me to follow through on, but more often than not, my heart and soul receive the results I had hoped for…sort of like the idea of not wanting to get out of bed and at least trying to push through. then there are times my brain won’t listen worth a darn and well, the results of those moments have a tendency to be steeped in music, so I tend to forgive fairly quickly!

And now, the brain is calling upon me to perform other tasks! :hole: :laughing:

It’s always good to get an itemized statement, especially if one has to pay out of pocket. In theory it shouldn’t be an issue to call the billing department and have it corrected, reality is different. It’s a big hurdle to pin down the person that entered something incorrectly. When one has insurance, it’s easy to tell the rep. and the insurance company just refuses to pay is what I’ve been told. I’m sure they give an explanation to someone on why they refuse to pay a portion… I do not know if we have any members that are knowledgeable about self pay and hospital bills, hopefully we do and they can share their insight. It may be just a coding error as you say, I would start with the medical facility’s billing department. I once received a bill that was obviously not mine. I just took it to the billing department during lunch break and seems I share a birth date and last name with another person in the county.

The laws have changed over the decades and allow a medical provider to effect your credit rating now. I had a client that was threatened with this about a decade ago. The really nice billing clerk in the hospital said that $5/month without missing a month would stop them from seeking the bill collectors out. Miss one payment or be late and they want it all. I don’t know what the amount is now.

Well said, Moltroub! I am pondering a new thread on this topic as I have learned quite a lot over these past 5 months about the price tags attached to our receiving health care on any level, let alone the potential magnitude an aneurysm represents.

Some of what I’ve encountered is emboldened by the insurance companies having such immediacy to their payments, but I also fully support the people who do what they can to make our lives better in a medicinal setting. A doctor or nurse should no more fear where their next meal is coming from any more than a teacher or an EMT, which is part of why I have remained so committed to a slow and steady approach to resolving more than just billing issues. My own life experiences continue to remind me that sometimes addressing the smallest of matters can have the largest of positive impact on a situation.

Also, I am glad to hear you were able to clear up an identity-related issue so promptly! I, too, received prompt services about a variety of matters by taking a day off and spending it at various departments at the hospital, but for some, it can be near impossible to revisit the hospital they were treated in. That’s one of the many components that goes into my own ponderings and musings about the phrase “health care system.” We are consumers of products and services and it is a slippery slope when the administrative side of a hospital takes away too much extra time out of the lives who consumed said products. Clearly, they have a job to do and only through communication and questions can they improve their role in whatever health care system they are a part of.

Thanks for the input!

1 Like

I recall writing a letter to the new CMO of the teaching hospital where my wonderful Neurosurgeon works. I told her that she needed to come into the units to see how overworked the RNs had become and not listen to her “yes men”. Ok, I probably didn’t put it that way but I don’t think I can put what I said, it was more like derrière something or another. I wrote in detail the differences of my 26 day stay and the overnight stay with concerns for not only the RNs but the patient lives as well. How can all those wonderful RNs keep up exhausting work when they’re short handed and covering a multitude of shifts? This was all before the pandemic reared it’s head into our lives.

Understandably, medical facilities cannot take a loss in revenue, but the prior CMO had fubared the entire hospital in my opinion and she had her work cut out for her. She has done a grand job of it! They have a really nice NSICU that works well for everyone. No more hunting the required chair that’s supposed to be in every patient room as they have both a couch and a chair! Better than that, each room has a window so you can see outside.

When I started walking in NSICU AMA, I said I don’t do well in my soul if I can’t see outside. When the Residents would tell me I wasn’t allowed to walk, I’d tell them they weren’t my doctor so I didn’t have to listen to them. In such a way I’m sure I sounded like a teen telling an adult they weren’t their parent. The wonderful Dr. Walker and Med Student EB had Dr. Quintero-Wolfe come to see me. I asked her if she wanted to be stuck in bed for weeks at a time. I was allowed to walk and Flora would take me on a short walkabout to a waiting room where I could see outside. Flora did this on her breaks! She would have me count to 100 with reminders of what number came next and we’d go back to my room, exhausted but at peace, more than excited the day I could count without help!

1 Like