Here is the tale of my so called heart attack, 133,000 in medical bills which are getting paid thanks to the feds, and a miserable Thanksgiving.
This all starts with a family reunion, family is me, ( 66, female) my second husband 62, male), my daughter from my first marriage, which ended in a nasty divorce, and our 19 year old student who lives on our couch because her family was trying to sell her into the sex trade.
We had a political discussion which ended in daughter (quite liberal, supported Bernie Sanders) calling current husband a walking piece of **** and stomping out the door. Our traumatized 19 year old kiddo was really upset, so I slept in the recliner to keep her company, and also from yelling at hubbie (NRA member, watches Fox when I let him, voted for Trump and thinks it will matter) who had contributed his little bit.
I woke on black friday with left arm pain. I've been doing as much of the Pauling protocol for clogged arteries as I could, because I've had angina for about a year. Called md, nobody there. Called insurance company to find covered urgent care center, got referred to a surgical center that specializes in colonoscopies which was closed. Found one that was covered by united health care medicare advantage and open about 1 hour away, because I figured I needed to get checked out. Daughter and I finally got there, I gave the list of symptoms, they sent to to the local ER. We don't do chest pains, they said, good luck. My daughter starts to panic, takes me to the ER. That SOB gave you a heart attack, she says, I'm saying, hey I think it was the slumber party in the recliner.. So far, I think we are talking typical American family post election Thanksgiving day hoorah..
Then I get sent to pure and total hell.
Get to ER, they tell me I have chest pains, stick me in a curtained cove, and put me on a heart monitor. They do an EKG. I get there at 11:30 AM. An hour later I get a 3 minute interview with a resident Er doctor, who diagnoses me with Anxiety (which means they can keep me against my will on a 24 hour psychiatric hold) and a bunch of other bs, orders an EKG which he looks at and doesn't explain, a nitro patch, which does stop the left arm weirdness, makes me fart like an old bull, and gives me a horrible headache. I get admitted to the hospital. I spend the night in the hospital with a pneumonia patient, who is on the cardiac ward because of a past heart issue, and who is also hooked up to a heart monitor. She is pretty sick, and she is coughing all night. I worry about her, because she called for the nurse, and they do not come. I get a pretty nasty dinner which I can't eat because the nirto make me want to barf. I get woken up every two hours for an ekg, enough drugs to completely wipe me out, and I am getting pretty pissed because no one has told me why I was admitted, or what is wrong with me. I do finally get an angina attach about 3:00 am, get another nitro patch, more farting, more nausea. Next day, nurse says doctor will be in soon, daughter has to fly back to Baltimore, leaves at 1:00 pm, no explanation, no MD. I start to figure out what I can do to get out. At 3:30 pm, I call United health care to see if my hospital stay will be covered if I check out and go to another facility to find out what is wrong with me, that has physicians on staff. United health care calls hospital. Evidently this did get the attention of the physician who supposedly admitted me, and she appeared for 2 minutes, but didn't answer any questions, the biggest one was why am I being held here basically against my will with no medical care. Next person who showed up, within 5 minutes of calling United health care, was the cardiologist. My daughter called from the airport, as he was talking to me, so I had him speak to her. I am not sure what was said, but my daughter is a partner in a law firm, and his face changed color.
This lead to me having three tests the next day, with a bunch of fancy x ray machines. This was day three. It was a grueling day, mostly because there were very few transportation orderlies, and I would be stuck in the hospital hall with the heart monitor, stuck in one machine after another. By this time I was off the nitro and feeling better, ate a meal that was put in front of me, than got yelled at because I shouldn't have eaten it.
My pneumonia lady room mate was finally released (I think her insurance had run out), and a 73 year old retired OB nurse got checked in after a rather nasty fight with her md, who told her she had to stay or else she would die. She was absolutely furious, told the MD to shove it, but decided she was sick enough to stay.
We spent the afternoon trying to figure out how many sheets we needed to make a sheet ladder which we could use to climb out the window and just leave. I had a 3 minute consult with the cardiologist who told me I needed and angioplasty based on the test results. I said can I have it done elsewhere and can I please go home now. He old me it would be against medical advise and the hospital would be liable if I died. The do it or die consult seems to be the thing to do in this hospital. I was too tired to call united health care again and get him to give me a reasonable explanation, plus I had figured out they had tagged me with the anxiety diagnosis, so they could keep me longer if I was non-compliant. I asked hubbie what I should do, he thought the cardiologist was a dick head, but I probably needed the procedure, so to go ahead. I looked up the procedure on you tube, which upset the nurses, but gave me some idea of what was going to be done. So I agreed.
That night my room mate had a major heart attack in the middle of the night, called for the night nurse for nitro, and no one came. She told me she had nitro in her purse, so I got it for her. When the nurse finally came in she was furious at both of us because we didn't follow hospital procedure, and told us it was because another patient was a big baby and wouldn't leave her alone. This man had been screaming in pain all night, I was worried about him, and wished there was something I could have done for him. My room mate told her that she took her medicine herself because they were too slow, and thanked me for saving her life. Room mate had been gaming her heart attack, she was a heart attack veteran, realized she was in trouble the same night that I did,finished her thanksgiving meal clean up, did her black friday internet shopping, took a bunch of nitro and checked in Sunday morning, hoping she could get it over with on Monday, got told her cardiologist was booked Monday, and she had to be there and wait an extra day, and have things done on Tuesday. She was angry, and told them if she had lousy insurance they would have found a way to treat her on Monday....Her son came by offered to help break her out and take her to Canada, where they actually have decent health care.
After all this excitement, the next day, I had a full cath procedure. My husband and our very traumatized student showed up in the hospital to give me moral support.
The nurse told them I was being prepped, and she would bring them back into the room while I waited for the cardiology team. 15 minute pass, they look back into my cubicle, nobody there, they assume something happened to me, and they go hunt for the nurse. The nurse has no idea where I am, my family starts to panic, 10 minutes later they get told I was taken to surgery, nothing to worry about. I was finally released that evening after no medical consult whatsoever and a page of after care instructions, and a list of medications, which no one went over with me. AS near as I can figure out from the cardiologists notes, no stints were stuck into to me, and the cardiologist did something when I was under anesthetic, but his notes are so sketchy I can't quite figure out what. The cardiologist told my husband he had removed a blockage, but I still had 60% blood flow to my heart so there had been no damage. Evidently there had been a blockage in the artery to my kidneys, also supposedly removed. I called his office for an after care appointment, and got told he didn't take my insurance, which gave me the excuse to find another MD. New Doc complained about the other guys crummy procedure notes & wants to put me on a Statin drug because my ldl cholesterol is 131. I think this is bs, particularly because he recommended me for free statin as part of his drug study.
So now you guys know why medicare costs as much as it does. Also, gee, from reading all of my hospital note, (which I extracted from the hospital after a bunch of phone calls and threatening letters from united health care) it turns out I was short on potassium, probably too much coffee, lots of holiday excitement, and not enough bananas. They were happy to release my hospital records to everyone but me, it must be my anxiety disorder.
DO NOT EVER LEAVE ANYONE YOU LOVE ALONE IN A MODERN AMERICAN HOSPITAL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FOR ANY REASON.