Irish Maria’s Back at Bed Bug Hospital

 

Irish Maria is not having a good time.

She is back at the hospital having surgery again on her head wound because it got infected a couple of days after they took out the 40 staples out of her head.  I went to see her this morning, but by the time I got there (10:05), they had already had her in the OR and wouldn’t let me see her.

I spoke to her husband this evening.  He said the surgeon re-opened her wound and cleaned it all out.  The doctor thought they took the staples out too soon and that was the cause of the infection.  I think they will be keeping her at the hospital until Monday.  She is going to need radiation soon on her head, and they were talking about putting her back on either the Herceptin drug or the chemo. drug Taxel again.  But she is alright.  That’s the main thing.

Please keep Maria O’Kane in your prayers tonight.

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Battle with My Insurance Company

Wednesday, June 25, 2013

anger management

I smell blood.  I feel like a shark today and someone is about to get bitten…that someone will be whoever answers the phone at my insurance/health benefits company.  That unfortunate person is going to really get my wrath.  They haven’t paid me for 2 months worth of drugs/physio/massage services to a total of over $6,000.  My visa is due next week and I’m due for another set of $2,500 injections next Friday. I started phoning them asking for my money 2 weeks ago.

First I asked if they got my claims in the mail (unlike my husbands insurance and other more progressive insurance companies in which you can send your claims on-line).  They confirmed they received both my May and June claims.  When I phoned last Tuesday, they told me that they were still working on it….  “Someone will call me in 3-4 days”.

Well, no one called.  So I phoned 7 days later…”I’m sorry there is a  hold up on your claims”.  On Tuesday, at around 5:45 p.m., someone phoned me to tell me that “We are still working on it.”  Why?” I asked.  What’s the hold up?  I’m sorry …blah, blah, blah and then she made one critical error…she said something about cheaper medicine.

So as I was sleeping soundly last night, my brain was working overtime, concocting a plan to give them an earful they would never forget.  This morning, when I phoned them yet again, I was on a roll.  I want to speak to the person who is working on my claim and their supervisor.  I want their names and numbers.  “We don’t give out that information”, the woman told me.  “That figures”, I thought, “What are they afraid of?”

“Can I help you?”, she asked me.  “Sure,” I told her.   Get someone to phone me.  Tell them that the person’s job in the claims department is to process claims, not to find me a cheaper alternative drug.  That’s what my doctor is for.”  I also informed her that there is an alternative drug and it gave me a stroke, and the other drug my doctors were considering would cost about $6,000 a month, and would they rather pay for that one?  Furthermore, if they want an explanation about the drugs I’m on, maybe they should phone me and ask me.  I am so glad that my very important call was “Recorded for Quality Assurance” today.  They could use it for training.

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I went to see my spine doctor for an appointment.  He said everything was good which I was happy to hear.  My spine is good, however, my feet are bad.  Whenever I have an appt. with him I have to fill out a lame patient questionnaire.  I sometimes wonder if anyone even reads them.  So today I was in the mood to play the devils advocate.  Here are samples of two of the questions and my responses.

1.  Are you satisfied with the results of your back treatment? extremely satisfied, somewhat satisfied, neither satisfied nor  dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, extremely dissatisfied.

My answer:  I’m not dead and I can walk so I guess I’m extremely satisfied.

2.  Compared to before your treatment, how do you feel you now look?  Much better, better, same, worse, much worse.

My answer:  My back is now currently sporting 7 new scars that weren’t there before surgery.  I guess they look pretty good, but, because I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, I don’t really know.

After a 2 hour wait, I told the secretary I had another appointment with a pain doctor and would be leaving at 12:30 in order to make it there on time.  So I didn’t have to see a resident (which usually takes an hour more).  I gave my doctor a bowl of fruit and he said that was sweet of me.  I find doctors have little time to eat and are always in a rush because of their heavy schedules.  This guy is really busy and good at his job.  My friend Norma says if you bring your doctors and nurses food, they will be nice to you and remember you.  I will only give my doctors and nurses food if I like them.  That means the Dragon Lady gets nothing.

Thursday, June 26

Phoned the insurance company 3 times today.  Then decided to be a real pain in the butt and start sending them emails.

Email to Insurance Company

I have been trying to talk to a supervisor regarding the mismanagement of my claims.  I think it’s ridiculous that I’ve had to phone at least 6 times over the last 2 weeks to get my claims for over $5,000 looked at.  I finally got  one set of claims ($2600) processed for June but my May ones are still pending.  I was assured on Monday and then Tuesday that someone would phone me to discuss it, but no one did.  This morning I phoned again, and the person answering was hesitant about letting me speak to a supervisor.  Since no one phoned me back on Monday and Tuesday,  I insisted on waiting 20 minutes for someone to speak to me.  Last week when I called and asked for the person processing my claims or their supervisor, I wasn’t notified for 7 days.  If you are looking for a cheaper drug (ie: tamoxifen), I tried it and it gave me a stroke. So either process the claims or decline them so I can send it to my husbands plan.  I have to pay my visa by July 3.  How would you like to pay for the interest rates if I don’t get my money in time?

I was quite pleased with my email.

Later today…..Guess who just got her money?  It will be in the bank tomorrow.  Thank you very much.

Wonder if it was my email that did the trick or my comment about personally visiting them tomorrow to pick up my cheque?

Oh, and by the way, the explanation I was given regarding the delay wasn’t because they were searching for a cheaper, generic drug…it was because of my massage therapy.  Hmmmm.

This cartoons pretty much says what I wanted to say to the supervisor….

bullshit

Thanks B2 God and “Excuse Me Jesus” was at it Again

friend

My sister had her baby baptized today.  Getting everyone out of the house is quite the feat in this household.  My kids are pretty good, but my husband is another story.  He really doesn’t like to get dressed up.  I don’t blame him…it was bloody hot and humid today and he was wearing a suit.

On our way to the church, my family almost ditched me when they saw Canada’s Wonderland.  “We want to go on the rides”, they cried (especially my well-dressed husband who claimed he had his shorts and running shoes in the back).  ‘Too bad”, I told them as I Kiddie proofed (locked) them all in the car.  You guys aren’t going anywhere without me and I’m going to a baptism!  They all looked lovingly out the window at the high speed roller coasters as I drove right by the entrance of the amusement park.

During the 40 minute car ride, there were some arguments about what we were going to listen to on the radio.  I love my car because it has a channel changer right on the steering wheel.  Bobo starting complaining that he didn’t want to listen to rap or any other crap my kids wanted to listen to, so I put it on a Classical Station.  It was some awful woman singing opera.

“That woman singing is wearing her underwear too tight”, my husband informed us.  Frack started laughing and said, “Is that what they are singing about?  Then the two of them started imitating the opera singer until the song was over.  “Do you two have tight underwear too?” I asked them.

At the end of the song, there was a lot of clapping from an audience.  Frack asked, “Why are they clapping?”  Bobo said, “That’s because they are so glad it’s over”.  “Oh”, said Frick and Frack digesting this new piece of valuable information.  Then Frick says, “Oh, I get it now.  I always wondered why at the end of mass they say, “This is the end of mass.  Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord, and everyone says, “Thanks be to God”.  They were glad mass was over.

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“Excuse Me Jesus” was at it again at church today.  At one point during the proceedings, Bobo disappeared from sight.  When the kids couldn’t find him at the end of the pew they asked me where he went.  I couldn’t help but tell them that he probably went somewhere to fart.  When he came back, the kids asked him if that was true.  He smiled nonchalantly.  “I was right”, I thought smugly, at least he had the decency to get away from us.   For those who don’t know the original “Excuse me Jesus” Story, it began when Bobo farted in church one day and kindly apologized by  saying “Excuse me, Jesus”.

Sure enough, some time later, the kids started laughing uncontrollably.  “Excuse Me Jesus, did it again, didn’t he”, I asked the kids. “Yup”, they said, moving closer towards me, and farther away from him.  Unfortunately, one of my sister’s friends was not so lucky.  She was sitting in the pew directly in front of him. According to my kids, Bobo really let it rip this time.  Not only was it excruciatingly loud, but it was a smelly one too.  Poor woman.

Unhappy Feet and Guess Who’s Going to Court Again?

My feet are not happy.  Something is so wrong with them.  They are giving me a great deal of pain; so next week I’m off to more appointments to a pain doctor and my podiatrist.  

I have new boots that I need to wear to bed because I have planters fasciitis (the connective tissue in my feet keeps ripping).  I bought 2 pairs of this boots hoping that both of my feet would be fine in 6 weeks (at least that was what I was told).  They keep my feet at a 90 degree angle when I sleep so the membrane stays stretched at night while the scar tissue forms.  It worked for a while, I wasn’t having extreme pain when I got out of bed in the morning….however now I have pain all day when I walk.  I’ve iced them,  used an acuball,  put on the special boots and socks, and today, my physiotherapist had to taped my feet all up because they hurt so much.

My New Boots

My New Boots

I’m getting to the point of desperation.  I don’t think I can cope with this chronic foot pain much longer and yes, I am strongly considering the alternative… going back on tamoxifen (which gave me a stroke).  That will mean I will have to take an aspirin every day to thin out my blood, and hope I don’t have another stroke or stomach ulcer.  I was told I was twice as likely to have another stroke since Tamoxifen tends to clot up your blood.  

I can always try a new $6,000 a month drug that gives you mouth sores as a side effect, but I don’t want to do that either because I think that would be horrible.  The only good thing would be that I’d get twice as many monthly air mile points!  6,000 x 12 months, that’s 72,000 points a year…enough for 3 tickets to New York or one ticket to L.A.  However, my drug plan probably wouldn’t cover the entire cost of this new medication because it would not be on  their “current list of approved breast cancer drugs”.  

I have to ask my oncologist if perhaps I will qualify for a new clinical drug they are beginning in September.  It worked on mice….doesn’t allow cancerous tumours to divide and grow.  I’d be the perfect guinea pig….with all my luck, I’d get all the side effects, whatever they may be.  If it would get rid of the five new tumours in my spine, it might be worth it before they decide to grow again.

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I currently have another battle to deal with…. I’m going back to court to represent myself.

I got another parking ticket.  $60.00.  

This time it was across the street from my local hospital, where I have parked for 4 years and never had a problem.  They changed the signs there from “No Parking” (where I can park with a handicap permit) to “No Standing” (where I can’t park).

Guess where the sign was?

Behind a tree, of course, where no one can see it.

The next closest sign at the corner, was placed strategically too.  It was wrapped behind a pole and could only be seen if you are driving westbound into the street.  I was driving eastbound.

I’m going to tell the judge that I am not Superman; I don’t have x-ray vision and can see through trees, nor do I have eyes in the back of my head.  

And yes, I do have proof.  I have taken pictures.  And I plan on taking my daughters Ipad to illustrate my point.  

So the question now becomes….do I write another letter to the editor of a newspaper to illustrate what idiots we having working for the city putting up signs, or should I phone 311 and demand the city to put up new signs on that street so the public can actually see them before getting dinged by a parking officer.  

Now that I think of it, maybe I should phone this one in to Rob Ford, our mayor…he could probably use the distraction from his current crack cocaine predicament in the media.

Just a thought.

Below I am posting the pics I’m taking to the court with me.  You be the judge.  Do I have a fighting chance?  It’s a Handicapped Parking Trap, I tell you!

Eastbound, see the sign on 2nd pole?

Eastbound, see the sign on 2nd pole?  Me neither.

See the sign?  It's behind the tree!

See the sign? It’s behind the tree!

Can you see it now?

Can you see it now?

Oh wait here you can see it, if you park your car and block a driveway.

Oh wait here you can see it, if you park your car on the street and block a driveway.

Here's another No Standing sign on the first pole.  Can you see it?
Here’s another No Standing sign on the first pole. Can you see it from the street?

Oh and can you see it now, if you were walking on the sidewalk?
Oh and can you see it now, if you were walking on the sidewalk?

Another Visit

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Went for my second visit to see Irish Maria yesterday, this time with my family.  She is in good spirits.  She had us in stitches; giving us the low down on her autistic son’s behaviour when he went to visit her on Friday.  Apparently, he gave the lady across from her quite a show.  He was licking the glass doors, which grossed her out.  This kind of encouraged him to take it to the next level; where he, as Maria put it, stuck his hands in his trousers (digging for gold) and threatened to unveil himself, despite everyone telling him not to take it all off.  He was going to attempt to do the Full Monty.  Horrified, the lady asked the nurse to remove him.   Later, I think the lady’s husband apologized to Maria, once he realized her son was a “special needs” child.  Maria took it all in stride.  

Now to update you on Irish Maria’s condition.  She said she was alone on Sunday when the doctor came and told her she had a choice… either to remove the tumour and prolong her life, or wait 3-4 days in which she would die of a brain hemmorrage (sp?).  She decided to keep on fighting and get the tumour removed.  They had to take a part of her skull to get it out.  She now has to be very careful that she doesn’t hit her head.  I must say she looks better than I have seen her in a long time.   Her “headache” is gone and so is her bad mood.  Maria is also now eating, thank heavens.  She lost her appetite for months, and is currently very underweight.  

The doctor told her that she would have some permanent damage on her left side and some balancing issues.   I have yet to see her walk, but she claims that she is able to get up and go to the washroom on her own, which is a good thing.  I’m glad she doesn’t have to rely on nurses to get her to the washroom.  It gives me bad memories of being in that hospital.  If you haven’t read that blog in which my husband almost killed me trying to get me to the washroom (January 27, 2012… The Missile Launching), it is worth the read, if you get the chance.

Unfortunately, even though the 5 cm tumour has been removed, she is not done.  There are a few more cancer spots that have popped up on her brain scan.  The doctor said they can radiate the spots locally or do a full head radiation treatment.  However, as a result, she may have problems with balancing, mobility on her left side, and memory loss too.  I’m hoping that she won’t have any of those side effects.  I know the doctors give you a worse case scenario, but perhaps they can radiate the additional spots with minimal damage.  I don’t think she is going to do the whole head radiation treatment.  

Her mother and brother + sister-in-law is coming to Canada next Sunday to see her.  Irish Maria said her mother is a lot like Mrs. Bucket on that British show, “Keeping Up Appearances”.  Maria promised her father who is in his eighties and couldn’t come to see her in Canada, that she would visit him as soon as she is able.  I really want to see that happen.  

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I have been very busy lately and have not had the time to post my older blogs/diary from Feb. 2012 to 2013.  But I did find one that I just posted which I really would like you to read.  It will explain who Irish Maria is and why I admire her so much.  You can check it out on my previous blogs on the date below.

Irish Maria (May 3, 2012)

 

Maria O'Kane Hospital Pic

 

Up-Coming Hospital Visit

Going to visit Irish Maria at the Bed Bug hospital today.

Got an outfit ‘specially for the occasion. Wanna see?

Here it is Folks!

                                                 Photo on 2013-06-04 at 13.19

It’s from a company called Woods appropriately named  “Don’t Bug Me Shirt”.  Works great during Black Fly season, up North.  But the real question is…will it work on Bed Bugs?

So do you think the security will show me to the door if I show up at the hospital looking like this?

I think this could be the start of a good thing.  Sell Bug Outfits at the entrances of all the Bed Bug Infested hospitals in Downtown Toronto.  You could make a fortune based on people’s paranoia.  Actually, we should sell head to toe disposable ones and put a huge garbage container at the exit door with a sign saying….”Don’t take the Bed Bugs Home with you….Deposit them HERE!  Really, Who wouldn’t buy it?  

This is what they look like!  Who would want them in their homes?

An adult bed bug (Cimex lectularius) with the ...

An adult bed bug (Cimex lectularius) with the typical flattened oval shape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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And now that I have clearly grossed you out….here is an Update on my Glowing Blog World Map.

This morning AUSTRALIA was glowing red.  You know what that means, don’t you?  The folks down under are clearly in the lead (I’m sure my cousin has something to do with it).  They must have been reading my blog while we, in Canada were asleep!  Way to go Australia!  Even the U.S. beat Canada today. 

Irish Maria’s in Trouble

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Yesterday I got an alarming phone call from Maria O’Kane’s husband.  She was in a downtown hospital having surgery for a new brain tumour near her ear.  I was shocked.  

I knew she planned on going to the hospital because she had a headache for 9 days, but I wasn’t expecting this.  Then I felt horrible because I wasn’t there with her (as her husband was at home with their autistic 11 year old son and 9 year old daughter).  She told me that she was going on Sunday morning and I told her I’d go with her, but she said, “No, she was only going to get a prescription for her headache”.  Now this.  Worried about her all night, hoping she was okay, and feeling bad that there was no one with her.

This morning I breathed a sigh of relief when the phone rang and I heard her voice on the other end of the phone.  She was slurring her words a bit, but the feisty Irish is still alive!  Thank God.  

But I must say she was a tad pissed.

She’s at the same hospital I was in where I had my spinal surgery (wonder if she has that same awesome view of the funeral parlour across the street?).  I’m going to visit her tomorrow, ‘cause she said she needs to rest today.  Apparently the operation was a success, but she was currently lying in a bed of bed bugs and they were trying to figure out what they were going to do with her while they fumigated her room.  She’s afraid the 2 bags she sent home with her husband the night before may carry the creepy little crawly critters to her house as well.

And she’s not to happy with her oncologist either who knew about the tumour from a scan in December, but didn’t bother telling her about it.  The doctors in the ER told her if she didn’t get it out, she would only have had 3 or 4 more days to live.  

Hmmm…wonder if she will let me watch her firing her oncologist?