Saturday, October 9, 2010
Bad News and Good News, etc.
The bad news is that my brother's insurance company, Scott and White, refused to pay for his further care at Seton Hospital, where he was progressing through all the necessary operations, and where we thought he was being well cared for by competent, hard working surgeons and an excellent nursing staff. The insurance company insisted, on the very eve of plastic surgery on his face, on removing him to a Scott and White facility in Temple, Texas.
His facial surgery has been postponed for 7 to 10 days, "while he recovers and the swelling goes down".
The good news is that his new surgeon has a glitter of confidence about her, which is all I have to go on in this matter, at least in the last couple of days. And I will say she made a plausible argument for waiting, and gave a good explanation of the procedure. She will slip small thin titanium plates between his skin and the broken facial bones, and secure them to the fragments. She says they will be permanent, but will not show. He should look much the same as before. There will be two angled pieces under each eye, and another at the left temple. The rest of his face, in particular his jaw, escaped injury due to the full face helmet.
She says he will only have his jaws wired shut for a couple of weeks after the operation, as a sort of splint to prevent him from moving the healing bones above. Much better than the 6 weeks the other surgeon mentioned. The sooner he can talk the better. I hope to get some information from him before the operation so that I can pay his bills on line. I can't find anything in the rat's nest of his filing system. Just a short conversation with him will make long and tedious conversations with his creditors unnecessary.
More good news: they removed the ventilator tube and brought him up from sedation yesterday for the first time since October 1st. The only sign we have had that he was still in there for the last week was an occasional squeeze on a finger. He had a hell of a time clearing his lungs, but seems to have done so.
He started trying to speak Friday, but it was impossible to tell what he was saying at first, as the tube has been rough on his throat and vocal cords. He was able to respond to simple verbal commands. They are feeding him through a tube in his stomach because he is unable to swallow without choking. There is a continual drip of blood to the back of his throat, and I have learned to suction this. He is able to purse his lips and bring it forward.
I explained his situation to him in simple terms, but more out of hope than conviction that he understands. Then today he was able to get out a coherent word or two. As I was leaving for the day, he clearly said "Goodbye, brother."
That gave me a lift.
Another lift came from a late phone call from the insurance company representing the other party in the wreck. They have accepted responsibility in behalf of their client, and have asked for an itemized hospital bill to date. There may not be enough money in the world to pay for all his operations, but at least somebody else will be making a stab at it. The practical effect for us is that Mike will not have to make the 20% deductible. Even that is apt to be a sizable sum.
The bad news is that there is probably a limit of liability on the policy. In that short conversation I did not ask the agent what that limit might be.
The bad news is that I have heard rumors that they might move him out of ICU, once again, before the operation. I can't escape the feeling that it can't be good to be passed from one set of hands to another so often. Something is bound to slip through the cracks.
O, and the good news is that apparently his neighbors like him. They have volunteered to mow his lawn and clean up his house next week. Bless 'em.
Bob, trying to keep up.
Posted by Bob Giddings at 8:43 AM