The left eye surgery shock

Anybody who tells you that cataract surgery is stress free and routine – those people are full of beans.

And I’ll explain why.

Last week, in preparation for the surgery, I received a phone call from the surgery center.  “Everything’s all set, Mr. Miller, but please be aware that although you have health coverage, you do have a $100 copay.”

I understood.  I had a $100 copay last month when my right eye underwent surgery, so I’m okay there.

Monday morning.  I’m ready.  I’m in a good mood.  A little nervous, but not as nervous as the first time.

Limo service arrives to pick me up and take me to the surgery center.

I arrive.  I hand the receptionist my insurance card, my driver’s license, and my credit card.

“Everything’s fine, Mr. Miller, and will you be paying the $700 up front?”

Wait a second – did you say $700?

“Yes sir, I’ll just swipe your card now – ”

Wait, no no no, wait, you’re mistaken, I was told I only had a $100 copay.

“No, sir, it’s $700.”

An orderly came out and called my name.  It’s time for surgery.

“Please confirm this.  I was told $100 for my copay.”

Ten minutes later, after she went to talk to her supervisor – who apparently was on the phone and was not happy at being interrupted – she brought out a piece of paper.

“You have a $600 deductible from your insurance company, in addition to the $100 for today.”


And that noise you hear – after she swiped my card and made me $700 lighter – was my heart rate racing faster than a Devo drum track.

I went with the orderly to the waiting area.  A nurse took my blood pressure.  “It’s very high.  We need you to relax.”

All I could keep thinking about was … thank God I had that additional money in my account, or else I would have had to postpone my surgery until who knows how long?

The anesthesiologist inserted a tube in my hand, and before long the sweet menthol scent of anesthetics oozed through my circulatory system.

And just like that …. I was on my way home, a plastic shield taped over my left eye.

But all I could think of was … what the hell just happened?

After I took a nap to de-mentholize myself … I called my health insurance provider.

“Oh yes, Mr. Miller, at the beginning of a new year, you have a $600 surgical deductible before any surgery is achieved.”

Ugh and double ugh.

And all I could think about was … what if I had the surgery two weeks earlier?  Right around Christmastime?  I wouldn’t have been tagged with that additional $600.

But by the same token – I also invested $750 per eye in astigmatism correcting toric insert lenses.  So I’m already spending money as it goes.

Oh well, at least I’ll get a fat tax return once I file my Federal tax returns …

Oh wait.  The IRS isn’t issuing any tax returns until this current government shutdown ends.

And there goes my blood pressure, up in the air again…