Saturday, August 22, 2009

Traveling new places

I have been through a great many things with a great many people: divorce, the death of relatives, losing a child, unexpectedly gaining a child... There's a lot of trauma and stress that goes along with getting older (although damned if I know when we're supposed to start calling ourselves "grownups"), and one of those things is starting to know people with health problems, sometimes chronic, sometimes dangerous health problems.

Justin is not one of those.

Justin has an infected abscess in his abdomen, behind his navel. Basically, his bellybutton is infected; it's happened before, when hairs that grow INSIDE his belly button turn and grow inwards, and he gets what are essentially ingrown hairs inside his body. This time, it didn't go away though, and after a systemic infection that didn't respond to three increasingly aggressive rounds of antibiotics, he finally got his surgeon on the phone and they said, "Oh, we're a bit concerned over the severity of this thing and you're going to have surgery on Monday. With general anesthetic."

On the bright side, his deductible is $3500 and his insurance said they'd cover 100% of everything else, so once he hits the deductible, he has free health care for the rest of the year. I told him to get a physical, have his blood tested for thyroid disease, go see a therapist, and, what the heck, get a full battery of STD testing. Why not? Any suggestions for other medical things he can take advantage of? Maybe he needs a colonoscopy?

On the down side, he has to have surgery. The pre-operative stuff is kind of scary; it's all blood draws and "who's your next of kin" and "what do you want us to do with your corpse" and the internet, which tells me that sometimes people with infected, bleeding belly buttons have DIRECT OPENINGS INTO THEIR URETHRAS or possibly DOZENS OF TUMOURS TRYING TO PUSH THEIR WAY OUT. It has nothing to do with his bellybutton piercing, which is what 95% of the postings online are about, so those aren't too helpful. We were kind of hoping briefly that they would sew his bellybutton closed, which they apparently won't do in case he needs laparoscopic surgery later.

Basically, it's interesting because it reminds me of the four months I didn't have any health insurance and everyone liked to tell me fun stories about cracking their kneecap in half or getting beat up in a bar fight and fracturing a skull and needing physical rehab for a month and falling off a skateboard and having all your ligaments rip so your foot faces the opposite direction. People are so sweet to tell me medical stories, but mostly what it means is: getting older, in some ways, means breaking down. I'll have to keep an eye out for funny-shaped skin moles, and poke around my insides, and careful. All of you, be careful. I'd rather pick you up after general anesthetic from a minor hilarious surgery than have to hold your hand when you hear a diagnosis.


MaggieMayDay said...

My thoughts are with him, may it all go well.

Tess said...

Good luck Justin!!

Going to call you later tonight when my hearing returns (hopefully), I'm only about 2 hours away from you.