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A Trip Through America's Medical System

Besides a cyst removal 35 years ago and a couple vasectomies I have deftly and luckily avoided any real interaction with hospitals and doctors.  Within the last year, however, I have developed a common nasal problem of sinus polyps.  They create an annoying problem of feeling like you always have a stuffed up nose, and it can create breathing problems was well as difficulty sleeping.  

After a referral from my primary doctor I met with a specialist who diagnosed the problem.  He subscribed Prednisone to see if they might go away, otherwise surgery would be necessary.  They didn't go away so the machinery to get my polyps removed started to grind.  

  • EKG and worthless visit with primary doctor
  • Lab work 
  • Pre-op with ENT doctor as well as a charge of $200 to give to hospital
All visits, of course requiring co-pays of $40.00 with my United Health Care Insurance card in hand. 

This is Cindy, nurse extraordinaire.  She was great from start to finish and her calm, casual manner allayed almost all of my fears.  They bumped my surgery up from 7:30 am to 5:30 am which was good, too.  Get the damn thing going and get me home.  

What was fascinating, too, was at each stop through the process: Cindy's pre-op station, then the move to the operation green room, then the anesthesiologists entry, to the operation room itself,  I was asked at each place what I was there for.  Guess that is a system by which mistaken operations are foiled.   

Sinus polyps are non-cancerous growths that line the septum and can inhibit breathing.  Doctor Dunlevy, who also replaces my ear tube when it falls out, said that my polyps were pretty good size and he also flushed out some sinus cavities that looked to have been full for a long time.  All in all a good flushing out.  

Dr. Dunlevy is a fastidious little man with a Navy background.  I can't imagine what kind of scope and instruments you need to get up in the sinuses to cut out stuff.  That and he vacuumed some cavities up in my forehead - yuck, I also can't imagine what that must have looked like.

Almost instantaneously after the anesthesiologist said I'd feel a burning sensation, I was out.  When I awoke, with nose still intact, I was able to become more alert, and then wheeled to the waiting car.  At home I dozed off and on the rest of the day.  I had minimal problems, no bleeding, and the amount of oxygen I was taking in was incredible.  

All in all it was a fascinating look at how things work.  Polyps can grow back,  but hopefully I'll avoid any surgery in that area again.  From admitting to the wheelchair ride to the car when everything was over, it was a peek behind the curtain, and I hope its a long time before I get another look.  




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