Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary


Bill came from the hospital yesterday. They billed the insurance company over $237,000 and said my portion would be close to $26,000.

Yeah, right.

I’m concerned with how I’m going to cover my basic living expenses each month. Don’t have any idea where the dollars to pay this bill would or could materialize because that’s what it will take, some kind of magic, to pay.

Of course that doesn’t include any physician, pathologist, anesthesiologist fees. Just the hospital stay. Bankruptcy may be in the near future. I think I need to talk with a legal aid lawyer.

I told the physical therapy assistant who’s been helping me from the Visiting Nurses that I probably would take more joy in my progress — which is good — if I didn’t have these financial woes hanging over my head. At this point, I don’t think they’ll ever go away.

I asked the doctor to put me back on an antidepressant. Somehow it seems it was discontinued during the hospital stay. I think the year is catching up with me and the future dim enough that I need some kind of boost. The nurse practitioner I talked to agreed and prescribed the generic of Celexa. It might help me sleep better than the sleeping pills, too.

I’m going to try to be ready to try part time work by the first of December and see what I can arrange for transportation. 

I also need to get the social workers at the dialysis center to give me some information on vocational rehabilitation and guidance on where I can get the info and/or apply.

On the brighter side:

I’m walking on my own for short walks in the hallway and in the apartment. I’m up to about 100 feet which gets me to the dining room. Mom follows with the wheelchair behind me. I sit in the wheelchair during the meal and when it’s over, Mom uses the walker and I wheel for the return trip.

I’m also donning the prosthetic to make bathroom trips which saves Mom having to drag the commode to a better transfer spot than the bathroom stool. That means life is getting easier for her which is one of my goals. She shouldn’t have to work so hard at 90 years old.

I hardly recognize my life these days and that’s difficult to cope with, but I’m trying. Right now, it seems it takes an inordinate amount of effort and concentration just to get the daily necessities in hand. Thinking of adding even part time work seems insurmountable, but I need to do that as much for my mental and emotional health as I do for meeting my monthly living obligations.

I have applied for Social Security disability, early retirement and Medicare. I’ve called about Medicare Part D but have received no callback yet so I need to contact them again next week. I’ve contacted the Railroad Retirement Board (the dead ex worked for the railroad before he died and I do qualify for a small sum – less than $100 a month – it appears since I was married to him for more than 20 years) and am in the process of filling out forms and gathering information for those applications.

I need to find some fun.

I know there are other kidney patients out there facing similar worries. How do you cope with the stress and how does the stress factor in to your general well being?


November 8, 2008 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, fistula, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss |


  1. I am amazed and inspired by your determination and ability to express what you are going through.

    I used to drive an ambulance, and was privileged to transport many people on dialysis to and from their appointments.

    Thanks for sharing your story with the world.

    -James T.

    Comment by James Thomas | November 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. your story is moving.
    I wish you health and happiness.

    Comment by mike | November 9, 2008 | Reply

  3. Kathy,

    If you were at St. Luke’s, call their business office. They have paperwork that you can fill out to prove you cannot pay the hospital bills and they can reduce or even make the whole amount go away. It sounds like you should qualify easily. Also look to see if your insurance co has a maximum out of pocket expense. Cheer up. As my grandmother used to say- if you ain’t got nothin’, they can’t take nothin’.

    On the job front, have you thought of computer based work from home? there are companies that set up call centers on your computer and you do customer service work from your home.

    Your mom sounds so awesome. My mom is young and she would not be there to take care of me. It is a blessing for you not to have to go through this without your mom.

    Winter is upon us, time to tuck away and heal for the next few months, to emerge in the spring beautiful and renewed.

    Comment by angela | November 11, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hi Kathy!,
    Saw your post on the IHD website and thought you wouldn’t mind if I dropped you a note. Wished I had some words of inspriation or something to share but I don’t. Myself, I am a care giver for my husband who just went on dialysis last night. He’s type 2 and we knew it was coming just not this soon. Anyway I plan to read you blog and drop you a line once in a while if you don’t mind. All I can offer is cyber support but I’m real good at that. Hope tomorrow has some bright spots in it for you.

    Comment by Barefootn | November 13, 2008 | Reply

  5. Thanks for the posts. It helps to know people are reading and responding to the blog. The support it gives is great and I’m grateful for your thoughts.

    Comment by iowakitkat | November 15, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: