Insurance is a joke – Jack’s hospital bill

Monmouth Medical Center

Where my babies and their invoices were born

So here I am again, in the middle of a medical insurance debacle featuring Obamacare, Horizon, and Monmouth Medical Center. Things haven’t played out to the bitter end yet, but I’m fairly certain I know how this one is going to go. I will be more than happy to post a retraction if Horizon or Monmouth Medical comes through in the end. Please, read on for a (hopefully entertaining) real-life anecdote in today’s insurance landscape. Continue reading

First time for blood work – Ow!

Napping in the sling

Rough day, Hugo?

Hugo had his one year checkup a couple of weeks ago and I got a prescription for basic blood work. I hadn’t heard any horror stories from my friends. I thought they were going to prick his finger and get a few quick drops of blood. The state insurance that Hugo has keeps telling me (by mail and phone) that he needs a lead test among other things. I want to be reassured about his iron levels since Hugo’s a vegetarian like his dad and me. I decided to take him after lunch yesterday, after his one nap that continues to elude a regular schedule since he infuriatingly dropped the second nap a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday ended up being the worst toddler day so far. From the moment we came downstairs, Hugo kept climbing the tables and bookcases every time I turned my head (or even while I was watching). It was so bad that I decided to take him to the laundromat at 9:00 a.m. We took a long walk (bundled up), went to the park to face the scary ride-on dinosaur and had lunch before getting ready to go to the lab. I didn’t tell Hugo much about where we were going. Just that it was like the doctor’s office (thinking the experience would be similar to getting a shot) and that we could go somewhere fun afterwards.

There was no wait when we got there a little after 2:00. The phlebotomist said he was so cute she couldn’t bear to hurt him and seemed contrite. Hugo sensed something was up and said “Bye, bye!” meaning, “Time to go, Mom.” That’s when I found out they needed a couple of vials from him. Hugo went to the emergency room when he was three months old, and had a terrible experience with the nurses trying to get an IV in his hand. I know he doesn’t remember that! But it foreshadowed his intolerance for being restrained and having a needle poked into his arm. When he went into the little alcove where they draw blood, he looked around thoughtfully and said “ow.” I have no idea what made him think that – maybe the needles reminded him of getting a shot.

The nice phlebotomist had me hold him tight and restrain his other arm while she put a tourniquet on and drew blood from the other. She underestimated his strength, and he managed to move his arm (and the needle) while she fumbled for the vial. She couldn’t get it back in and called for help. I knew he was OK. But I got annoyed that she had to poke around in his arm while he wailed his head off. And she was going to repeat the offending act on the other arm, too. The second arm (with assistance) was a success. The phlebotomist said he was the strongest baby she had ever worked with. I’m skeptical. Hugo couldn’t manage speech but indicated that he wanted to nurse.  Every few seconds he would look at the bandage on his arm, crumple, and start to wail. After several minutes I asked for help taking the bandages off.

After a few more tears, Hugo said “Bye, bye!” to everyone in the waiting room. We sat together in the back seat of my car for a while eating cheddar bunnies before moving on.

He was still not on his best behavior at home that evening. He would look at his arm and say “Ow,” then give it a kiss like I did at the lab.  For a finale, Hugo ruined dinner so thoroughly it was like he was a newborn again. He took a handful of his formerly favorite condiment, ketchup, and rubbed it into his eye just before we started to eat. I’m happy to report that today was a whole lot better, aside from the nap he took in the sling at 5:30 p.m.

Here’s a recent example of the new climbing skills we’re contending with.