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The $1000.00 Nose Bleed
I wasn't feeling well when I got home from work Thursday evening. No fever, but my head was stopped up and my voice started sounding like a croaking frog. I could hardly wait to go to bed.
When I woke up in the morning I had a mouth full of blood. I spit it out in the sink, wondering what was going on. It didn't take long for me to realize that my nose was bleeding, but instead of coming out of my nose it was going down the back of my throat. My wife had been sick the week before so I asked her if she had spit up any blood. She said yes, so I passed it off.
The bleeding continued throughout the day and night. I wasn't able to lay down because it would settle in the back of my throat. So, I tried to sleep in the recliner. That kind of worked, but for the most part it was a sleepless night. I tried pressure, cold packs and anything else I could think of to stop the bleeding, but nothing seemed to help. Finally, around 8:00 am I got my wife up and told her that I was ready to go to the doctor.
Our insurance has a $30 co-pay for Express Care so we chose the closest one and headed in that direction. After a couple hour wait I finally got to see the doctor. He walked in nonchalantly and asked me what was wrong, despite the fact that I had already relayed that information to two other people. I told him that my nose was bleeding inside my mouth and had been doing so for a good twenty four hours. It was at this point that he took his little light, shined it inside my nostrils and said, "It looks a little inflamed."
Now, I am not a violent man and I don't use foul language, but at that point I just wanted to say, "No sh@*!" and punch him right in the face. A little inflamed? Seriously? But I restrained myself and listened to what he had to say. The next words that came out of his mouth left me speechless. "Do you have any Neosporin?"
My wife and I must have both looked dumbfounded because then he said, "You know what Neosporin is don't you?"
We shook our heads slowly, still speechless, and he proceeded, "I want to you go home and put some Neosporin inside your nose. I'm writing you a prescription for something to dry it up."
Then he was gone. I looked at my wife, "I paid thirty dollars and waited two hours for him to tell me to put Neosporin in my nose?"
Needles to say, I was not impressed. We filled the prescription, thinking maybe it was something that would help, only to find out that it was just a version of Claritin. My wife wanted to take me to the emergency room. Totally aggravated, I refused to go so we headed back home. Even though I wasn't convinced it would do anything I still tried the Neosporin and took the medicine. The only thing it really did was make me sleepy. So, I figured out a way to prop myself up and somehow managed to get to sleep.
My wife woke me up later that afternoon and informed me that she had called the hospital and the nurse informed her that I needed to get to the emergency room right away. I got up, spit out a mouthful of blood and begrudgingly agreed.
When I got to the hospital the blood started coming out the front of my nose. My wife had to finish the registration while a nurse took care of helping me with the bleeding. We got into a room quickly, but it took a good three hours for the doctor to see me. When he did finally arrive I was reclining on the uncomfortable examination table with a spit tub full of gauze and blood by my side.
I am still at a loss to explain this, but when he examined me he could not find any blood flowing. He had me gargle with hydrogen peroxide and spit into a container, but there was no blood in my throat. He had me lean forward, but the blood didn't come out of my nostrils like it had been only an hour earlier.
"Well, I don't find anything wrong."
I pointed to the bloody spit tub, obviously with a confused look on my face.
"I don't doubt that it was bleeding, but it has stopped now."
He explained what he would have done if it hadn't stopped bleeding. Basically he would have shoved two tampon looking things up my nose. He stressed how painful it would have been and told me that he didn't want to do it unless it was absolutely necessary. He showed them to me and I suddenly found myself thankful for the miraculous healing that had taken place. Then, he said something that made me shake my head in disbelief, "Do you have any Claritin at home?"
"You'll need to take something like Claritin to help dry all that up."
My eyelids started rapidly fluttering as images of deja vu flashed through my brain. I somehow managed to whisper, "Yes, I've got something like it at home."
Then, I almost fell off the table when he said, "Good, it's going to dry out your nasal passages so if you have any Neosporin I want to you use it to keep the area inside your nose moist."
So, that's how I found myself sitting in front of the hospital's account representative about thirty minutes later. "It looks like the total for your visit is going to be $650.00. How much can you pay on that today?"
And that is only for the emergency room visit. I'll still get a bill from the physician and for the blood work (at least they did check at the hospital to make sure my hemoglobin levels were OK). By the time it's said and done I'm expecting the total to be closer to $1000.00.
In effect, it cost me $1000.00 for the doctor to tell me the same thing that I had already paid $30.00 to hear earlier in the same day. And women wonder why men are so hesitant to go to the doctor?
Last edited: Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:12 pm
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Sorry you weren't feeling well :( I understand totally about not wanting to go to the doctor. One of the last times I went, I'd suffered two years with a planter's wart on my foot, it felt like walking on a piece of gravel all the time. When I finally went, the doctor said to soak my foot in as hot a water as I could stand for a half hour a couple times a day. I did and it went away, but not until I paid the 150 dollar office visit.
Well, last summer I had been putting off going to the doctor for a digestive problem I was having, I self diagnosed it as Gallbladder problems. July 20, 2013 I had emergency Stage 2 Colin Cancer surgery to remove 18 inches of my large intestine and the huge tumor that was blocking my intestines. Three months with an ostomy bag, more tests and finally I got an all clear to have the ostomy take down surgery and now I am looking at at least 5 years of going back to the Oncologist every 3 -6 months and having an annual invasive procedure for the rest of my life, to make sure there is no recurrence.
I also waited about 2 weeks before going to the doctor to take care of a difficult bout of bronchitis and waited about 4 months before seeing a doctor about a badly sprained ankle. I don't blame you, but there are times that you have to see a doctor. Whenever you are dealing with bleeding that won't stop, or illness and pains that won't go away, you need to bite the bullet and go.
In Canada we do not get billed for Doctors visits so I think that people are more likely to go get checked out. What keeps people from the Doctors here is the lineups. I never understood why we bothered to make appointments ... they are NEVER when they are supposed to be. Usually end up sitting and waiting anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the doctor. Also - family doctors are getting quite hard to find here and most people end up going to a walk in clinic or the ER where the wait is even longer. I'm glad that your nosebleed wasn't something more serious but WOW ... $1000??