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2018 - Medical Bills

$2,955 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 33 people in 16 months
(( - UPDATED 2018 - ))

The ongoing issues of 2017 continued through October 2017 when things seemed to settle out and I went for some time without any major issues. 


As we rolled into the end of the year, then onto SHOT SHOW, and then travels after, the gallbladder issue came back in full force.  

On February 2nd I was admitted to the Hospital here in El Paso for a gallbladder attack that had turned into pancreatitis.   

Fortunately, the end of 2017 I was able to secure some measure of catistrophic healh care coverage.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure how that is going to work using an out of state facility.  We are waiting for the paperwork to start coming in on that.

After I was admitted to the Hospital and all the tests run, they began treatment for the pancreatitis.  There's nothing they can do other than give fluids and provid pain management.  Once the necessary benchmarks were hit to ensure we were out of the woods with the pancrease, they scheduled to remove the gallbladder.  The gallbladder did not have a couple of stones, it had well over 100 stones.  Essentially it had been a ticking time bomb perhaps for many years.  They could not tell. 



Thinking back over my life, I've had gallbladder like attacks going back into my late teens.  They always resolved and I was always fine afterwards, but who knows.

With the gallbladder out, there were still some stones in the pancreatic bile duct so they did a 2nd procedure to cleare out the pancrease.   That procedure went very well and I was able to go home the next day.

It's been a few days having been out of the hospital and I'm doing well.  I'm a little sore and uncomfortable at times, but doing very well.  


All in all, things went well and I should be in good shape movning forward.   I know that there are going to be bills well above our ability to pay, that the insurance is not going to cover.

I've been continuiously humbled by the continued donations that have come in over the last several months to help cover the initial bills.  And even now, folks, out of their own necessitiy continue to help out.  I want to say thank you for everything.  I will let everyone know how things progress.

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2017 - Medical issues
So many of you know me.  Many of you know, and have expressed the fact that I've been getting bigger and bigger over the years.

This past January (2017) my father passed away.  One of his requests in his last months was that I take seriously the need to lose weight.  In March this year my wife and I joined Weight Watchers and I've lost about 50 pounds in 4 months with a goal to get down to under 200 eventually.

In June of 2017 while on a buisiness trip I got very sick and was up all night throwing up.  Eventually it passed and I felt better so I chalked it up as something I ate.

This past Thursday (July 13th, 2017) I had the same type of pain and vomiting, only much more acute.  After a couple of hours of excruciating pain I told Sue to get our daughter ready to get me to the Hospital.  Being self employed and with no reasonable means to get medical/health insurance, I avoid the hospital simply due to the the overwhelming costs involved.  But, I knew this was serious and I'd have to deal with the money after the fact. 

Once at the hospital I was seen to by the ER team.  I eventually got some pain meds on board which took the edge off but only managed to calm me a bit.  The pain was still there in force.   A CAT scan and Ultrasound later along with several blood draws and they had a good picture of what was happening.

I was diagnosed with an enlarged and infected gall bladder that had developed "sludge" and gall stones.  A key contributing factor of this condition happens to be rapid weight loss.  My white blood cell count was at 17,000 at the first blood draw which had them concerned and begin prepping me for surgery.

I asked them to wait and see how things went with the antibiotics and pain meds before cutting me open.  I expressed to them that I did not have the money for a $35K to $50K trip to the O.R.  They agreed to see how things went.

After a few hours they drew more blood and found that the white blood cell count had decreased significantly.  I had time to call my minister and discuss things with him as well.  He had been praying for me to be healed, as were many folks from our ministry and friends and family on Facebook.  Thank you for all your prayers.

To bring this story to a close, they put me through a final series of tests which started with discontinuing the pain meds, then have me eat something and walk around a bit and do one last set of blood tests.  The last white blood cell count was down to 12,800.  I no longer had any pain, I was able to hold down the (liquid) food that I ate, and was fine standing and walking around the E.R.

I believe that Jesus has answered our prayers and that I’m going to be perfectly fine.  I’m committed to continuing to move forward aggressively in losing weight and also dealing with many other areas in my life that the Lord would have me change.

On the back side of this story however is the impending E.R. bill.  I spoke with their financial department and the CAT scan alone is $8,000.   Add in all the other charges and fees and I’m looking at $12K to $15K for one night in the E.R.  If I’m able to pay within 7 days, they will cut 50% off the bill.  I may be able to leverage several credit cards to get that done, but doing so simply puts me in a terrible spot financially.  I’m creating this account and asking for help to address these bills.  Thank you all very much for listening.
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I would like to share an update and testify of the goodness of my Lord, Jesus Christ. Through His grace and mercy and provision the funds necessary to cover the medical bills have been received. I would like to thank everyone who has helped out in this time. The monies received will go directly towards paying off the medical bills that have been incurred and we should have them all settled up very shortly. Thank you. Once again thank you to Jesus for my healing and deliverance of this infirmity and for once again meeting all my needs.

Sincerely,
Rick
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Hello everyone. I wanted to update folks. As I've posted recently, the hospital reduced the ER portion of the bill to $8000. I was able to cover that via credit. I'm working now get that paid off and get things back on track. I've also begun to receive additional medical bills from the radiologist and doctors that I saw while in the ER. The surgeon reduced the bill and I'm going to be calling the radiologist on Monday.

As for how I'm doing, I've been feeling 100% back to normal. Super busy trying to get things caught back up, but feeling great. Still going to weight watchers and dropping the weight as well.

Thank you again to all the folks that have been so very supportive during this tough time.

Rick
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We received a settlement offer from the ER. While it was more than I had anticipated, I just returned from the finance department having settled the full amount charges which were reduced to $8,000. As anticipated, I had to max out my credit card to cover the bill, but the ER is paid. Now it's on to getting the credit card settled out.

I have begun to receive the ancillary bills from the various doctors that I saw while in the ER. I've paid the Surgeon's invoice from off-line donations and plan to continue to settle the extra bills as they come in.

I'm glad to have the first of this settled out and be getting back to work. Thank you again to everyone for all your kind words and support. It is very appreciated.

With deep appreciation..
Rick
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So here's the most recent update. I talked to the Hospital yesterday. Their original estimate was 12 to 15 thousand. Actual bill, not including the extra bills that will come directly from physicians, radiologists, etc., was nearly 24K. They offered me a "discount" of the bill down to about 11K. I've expressed to them very clearly that I don't have that to give them. We got close to a reasonable number but were still a ways off. Also, I will certainly not be paying anything until I get the itemized bill that I can personally analyze and study. I should have that on Monday. I believe we'll be able to come to a conclusion next week and bring this to a close. I've also spoken with surgeon that I met with, got their bill total, and have setup the suggested follow up visit. They were very understanding and are billing at a far more acceptable, and affordable rate.

In the meantime. I'm getting back to work on the next review video. I've got to keep things in doors for the next few days as suggested by the medicine they have me on, but once that is clear, I hope to get back out into the field.

Thank you again to everyone that has reached out and provided help and support. It it greatly appreciated. Now it's time to get back to work.

Thank you all again.
Rick
Getting back to work..
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$2,955 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 33 people in 16 months
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