Medical Financial Hardship

I am Chauffuer with one of the “Car Service” companies in Las Vegas, driving nightshift on the strip 5 days a week.

December I started having some mild cold/flu like symptoms, I mean it is going around like wildfire, went to the pharmacy self medicated and went on with life, driving night shift, having a good time with all the antics, request, and off stories of the other drivers.

2 weeks later this thing is not going away, the over the counter stuff is not good enough and I schedule an appointment to see a Dr. and went home home with Antibiotics & Steroids to help with my labored breathing (I am asthmatic)

Finish the course of prescribed meds 2 weeks and it didn’t quite get rid of the cold, felt well enough to work though, Dr. tried another stronger round of antibiotics and steroids. The flue symptoms was just starting to clear up and but I’m starting to have bloody stools with severe abdominal and bowel movements.

Another Dr’s visit, this is starting to be concerning.

Diagnosed with Intestinal Colitis caused by the lack of immunity in my system (Antibiotics unfortunately kill the good and bad bacterium required for a healthy digestive track)

The Dr put me on a Colitis specific antibiotic to clear up the Intestinal track, hoping for the best that not too much was damaged on the and the bleeding would stop.

Home again, meds in hand and ordered to bed rest for a week, stay out of public interaction for working on the strip and being out in Vegas chilly desert knights.

The first financial slips are starting, missing work, not being able to work a full shift because I was so ill. But we have some emergency funds in savings for this very scenario.

The Colitis clears up bloody stools somewhat dissipate but the cold/flu never quit and keep hacking at me.

Bloody Stools and flu like systems stayed the course but the colon damage was done, weeks of excruciating bowel movements BM to wear I was a grown man unable to unable to contain the pain threshold. At times screaming and cussing sweating profusely and trembling from the pain, sobbing on the throne.

I could not touch myself after a BM and my ROI time became BM turn into a Tourette’s person for a while the.n having a shower to clean up.

This was now dramatically effecting the hours I could even spend at work, I’d go for two hours and not be able to finish a shift.

Things got to a point where I had 3 days of all bloody totally water diarrhea no solids and a lot of blood.

I went to a Quickcare on February 18th where they would not do anything for me based on my diagnosis and advised me to go directly to the nearest Hospital ER.

I felt like I was dying, lost some much blood at that stage.

The Hospital admitted the same day after an extensive ER intake doing OBS and deciding what they were going to do.

Results came in that I had Pneumonia in both lungs and bacterial acute Colitis infection.

Cat Scans, X-rays, Bloodwork and lab tests like no one’s bussiness.

I spent 5 days in Summerlin Medical Center whole they got me over the worst.

IV’s Antibiotics Steroids daily Bloodwork text from the hospital lab.

Our Medical Insurance Company requires any lab work to be and such type procedure to be pre authorized or they do not cover the charges.

Before I was even discharged bills and claim denial statements started coming for $10k $14k $4k & so on.

Because procedures where done prior to getting authorization first.

And not enough reason was given as to being a life threatening condition or sudden onset of events for them to consider the claim.

Summerlin Hospital got me over the worst treated me for the Pneumonia and Colitis. Also did a Colonoscopy procedure on the 20th to see the extent of the Colon damage caused by the infection.

I was discharged on the 23rd and given a regiment discharge at home care equipment and medications to complete and bed total bedrest for 2 wk stay out of public risk areas.

The discharge was completed and the pharmacy staff came up to give me my prescriptions however they were out of of the Antibiotic to complete the Lung treatment. The hospital Pharmacy was out but they would be getting it in by Monday morning.

The 23rd was a Friday and my discharge was “semi completed at 2:45pm

Concerned to go home still on the mend with total bedrest stay out of public orders I asked the RX staff if there was a way to to transfer the missing prescription to another Pharmacy where I could go pick it up.

They told me to leave it with them, they will come back up to the discharged patients waiting room and let me know.

So I was already discharged, technically out of hospital sitting and a waiting lounge all dressed my file has been closed up and the RC girls advise me there is nothing they can do.

Due to Legal reasons this script was issued to the hospital pharmacy as a new script and processed, new scripts issued to a specific pharmacy can not be changed. The original prescribing dr must rewrite a new script to a new pharmacy...

By this time the prescribing Dr had already gone home for the weekend...

I was told nothing could be done. The pharmacy would have the medication in on Monday at 10am.

This was the ultimate failure point. Perfect storm and everything else’s very rapidly went bad from there.

Not knowing enough about Pneumonia and how serious my condition truly was I figured well... total bedrest for 2 weeks anyway I’m getting an in-home Oxygen machine and Nebulizer treatments, mobility o2 tanks, what harm could two days of resting at home without one of me meds do?

Monday rolls on by the 2 and 1/2 days at home was hard but but I managed. I go and pick them meds and start taking it immediately.

I was also never instructed exactly how to use the oxygen machine.

Just that a medical supply company had the “prescriptions” for the equipment I had to call them when I get home and they would come and deliver it.

Oxygen machine was finally dropped off the equipment set it up and left.

Figured well use it as I needed.
No I was suppose to use it full time round the clock, even at night.

Lack of o2 supply to my body started setting everything back, getting fevers chills sore chest and insane breathing.

All of a sudden Frequent diarrhea starts setting in to the extend of 8 - 12 movements at night, irritating the colon area and rim area again, heavy bleeding sets back in, I’m in chronic pain loosing a lot of blood and in full setback... breathing was labored and difficult.

I called my insurance company to ask for advice, again advises to go directly back to Summerlin Hospital Emergency because they know everything about my condition...

In ER they confirmed a relapse of Pneumonia and Colitis and and that I would need to be transferred to a Longterm Critical care facility under Reverse Isolation where they can treat the Infections In-Patient until all tests and Bloodwork comes back negative and my health was in the all clear.

No indication of how long the hospital would be...

Now in survival survival mode and literally feeling like I’m on the verge of actually dying.

We have been financially drained and spent every dollar we had in emergency savings on hospital Co-pays and bags of medications in Co-pays.

One big saving grace & blessing is that it was tax season and we HAD additional funds buffer to see us through the short term with Rent, Car Payments, Utilities, Insurance, day to day living expenses, the stresses were mounting.

I made a total income during my last two bi-Weekly paychecks less than $400 for the month.

Now with my 0 ability to work, looking at a $2600 monthly deficits...

Medical bills at this stage are running through the roof. I’m hoping that is all argue-able declines claims that with support from the Dr’s can get full write up on the seriousness of my condition and that it was indeed sudden and or life threatening....

The 9 day stay at Mountain’s Edge was tough. Lots of inter hospital misunderstandings, missing information on treatment and diagnosis.

After admission, it took no less than 3 hours to get put on oxygen, 5 hrs for my first respiratory treatment..

Pain levels in chest from the severe Pneumonia gasping for air, 5hrs before any kind of treatment
Sweating profusely 101.7 fever yet there were problems with records and medications could not be dispensed.

Lots of up and downs daily tests and X-rays but the 24/7 round the clock steroids and antibiotics for 9 days, the Dr’s have finally been able to clear me with “all clear” bill of health.

Busy doing final observations now seeing all the dr’s involved and getting final discharge plans

It’s been a totally life changing 3 months of “In sickness & in Health” “ Through good times & bad”

Priorities & Perspectives in life has altered dramatically... Faith has been grown. Financials re-assessed and moving forward in life plans and goals added and direction added.

Life has definitely been challenging in the past 2-3 months but son much good has come from it

The most important lesson in I learnt out of this is to value and fragility of life.

Stand up for oneself, ask questions & take note..

All of our friends and family has been amazing in their show of support through prayer, encouragement, notes of support, some financial contributions, and mainly the love and care extended out to let us know that everything was going to be just fine!

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Johan Brink 
Las Vegas, NV
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