A 38k overnight stay

I realize that may have made you think this post was about some amazing suite in some far off place, I’m sorry to disappoint. I really wish it was, I wish I could say it was totally worth the money and it forever changed my life. I suppose in a way it did though not in a way I wished to deal with. This room did make sure that I lived, that I wouldn’t die, but I don’t know if I can justify the cost. And I certainly didn’t enjoy it.

Just shy of a year ago I had my appendix out here in Chicago. It was a weekend, a Saturday morning. I had captured a wedding the day before, and while tired felt fine. We had danced, we had sung, we had eaten tacos. The following morning I woke up with a strange stomach ache that wouldn’t go away. After calling my nurse sister and my doctor I ended up going to the immediate care facility at UIC. Walking into the doors the guard at the front desk told me there wasn’t a doctor in… at the immediate care facility. Walking hurt, it was hot, it felt like someone was punching me from the inside out. I managed over to the emergency room and crawled onto a gurney.

Over the next 12 hours tests were done, I was injected with things, and people gave me information. It was finally decided that it was indeed my appendix, and I needed it out now. They wheeled me into the operating room at 7:30pm and knocked me out. At this point I had blood work done, a CT scan, IV’s, pain meds, and a team of surgeons. If I had left after this my bill would have been $1200 according to the records.

I woke up in a hospital room and stayed overnight. I was in pain, but it was manageable. In the morning when they checked on me it was deemed that I could get solid food down, and they sent up breakfast. I had both a nurse and a “support†woman. As far as I could tell the support woman was there to answer questions and keep me comfortable, but not deal with anything medical. I stayed for approximately 18hrs, and they charged me $38,533.07. I am amazed and shocked. I don’t even know what they could have billed for that would have amounted ot that much. Did I pay the nurses salary for the entire year? What administrator is taking all that money for doing absolutely nothing but sitting there? I am so frustrated and disappointed by this system. Everyone wants to do good work, and to help people. I certainly didn’t plan on getting sick and couldn’t have taken care of myself any better. Instead we are all getting punished for an absurd spiral of cost and profit from warring insurance companies and hospitals. No one is willing to truly gut the system like its needed and reassert balance. Either completely get rid of insurance and lower costs dramatically or have it be a universal right and covered by the government. I really don’t see any other way. Companies wont charge absurd amounts if they know people cant afford them and were paying directly. But since the insurance company is legally required to cover it all they get billed mercilessly for absurd things.

I literally cant live like this. I cant imagine having kids or trying to raise a family while being a freelancer in this country, and thats a sad state of affairs. I make good money, work is consistent, and yet I am constantly struggling to keep up with bills. I don’t live lavishly, there should be some feeling of prosperity in my life and yet all I feel is worry that something terrible is going to happen and it will all fall apart. The rich get richer, and the middle class fades away, and with it the American dream. We work hard, we do good work, all my friends and peers, yet we all seem to be climbing a slippery slope. When do things change? How do we take control?