Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's Good to Have Insurance

Beth has gone to the doctor several times this year because she started having some episodes where her heart started beating too fast. She really hadn't said much about it, but she mentioned it to the nurse practitioner when she went in for a check-up, so she checked it. Beth ended up having to wear a heart monitor for a month, and then the results were sent to a cardiologist, and she had to go see him. He said it was an electrical thing in her heart. It gets in a loop or there's an extra loop or something, and it causes the heart to beat too fast.
The heart has 4 compartments, or chambers. The walls of the heart squeeze together (contract) to push blood through the chambers. The contractions are controlled by an electrical signal that begins in the heart's natural "pacemaker" (called the sinoatrial node).

The doctor recommends surgery to fix it. It sounds like a rather simple procedure, at least the way they explain it, but Beth does not want surgery. And there's usually no convincing Beth of something she doesn't want to be convinced of. Jeffrey and Beth are going to see another doctor next week to see if she'll feel more comfortable with him and to get a second opinion on her options.

The ones she's seen so far say that if she doesn't get the surgery, the episodes will happen more and more often. Eventually she may not have a choice because it can cause her heart to become enlarged, and we've explained to her that now, while she has insurance, would be a good time to do it. Who knows what kind of insurance she might have in the future, or even if she'll be able to get coverage due to having a 'pre-existing condition' as they say.

Hopefully she'll be able to get NC health insurance, or good insurance wherever she lives, but what if she can't? I feel really bad for people who don't have insurance or can't get it. Every time we get a bill from the doctor, I read it to see how much it would have cost if we didn't have insurance, and then I'm very thankful that we have it. The costs still add up, but they could be so much worse.

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  1. I hope her second opinion is better and if she does have to have surgery she goes along with it. I had a friend who had to get a pace maker when he was 17.


  3. Surgery is scary for us grown ups...I can't imagine being a teenager and hearing you need heart surgery. Glad to hear she's getting a second opinion.....more information may help her decision.
    Couldn't have been easy for you to hear either...

  4. sounds liek what my lady had it is soooo sumple really and Mrs B is doing soo much better stronger. Sometimes as much as it sucks we have to tell htem YOU HAVE NO CHOICE IN THIS ONE!~ oh been there hang in

  5. Oh dear, I can imagine Beth is rather scared - hope she makes the right decision though before it does any damage :)

  6. I'm REALLY late on commenting on this post, but I know you-you'll forgive me. hehe

    My mother-in-law has this condion. I'm not sure if it's called the exact same thing, but I know it produces the same symptoms and episodes, because my husband AND sister-in-law have it too! According to the doctor who diagnosed my husband (and mother-in-law), it is common for this condition (the one they have anyway) to be passed down genetically.

    Hubs was able to just dismiss it for a long time, until he had a bad episode that lasted so long, he thought he was having a heart attack.

    They have told me that after you have one of the 'heart-racing' episodes, when it is over, it leaves you absolutely and completely exhausted.


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