Saturday, September 22, 2007

Just returned from memorial services praying for for departed family and the memory of Jean Granek Barer is still fresh on my mind.

I sometimes wonder if it is really in order to report on her travails but in the spirit of her "I should write a book" I will continue.

The revision of the shunt provided a bulb at the back of her head. From time to time grains in the spinal fluid would clog the tube reviving the symptoms that took place before the shunt was installed. By taking both hands and pressing on the tiny bulb one could force a stream through the tube and possibly dislodge the obstruction.

The doctors showed me how to do this but believe me I was never comfortable doing it.

The bulb failing the next step was to drive to Seattle and have a neurosugeon flush the tube with a saline solution. We made the trip several times over the years.

Jean figured that in the first year she had twelve different procedures that required a day or more in the hospital.

Thank god for Walla Walla Valley Medical Insurance. Not only would the medical bills have put me into bankruptcy but the paperwork would have driven me crazy. I let them fight with providers about costs and minutinae.

From time to time I would receive a call from a voice at WWVM informing me that a new level of service was available at an increase in premium. I would just tell them to go ahead and lay it on me.

I don't want to shock anyone who pays medical insurance but our initial premium was $15.00 per month. The plan was a hangover from the union days at WAitsburg Welding Works. It actually cost $45.00 because I had to bring my mother and Aunt Dorothy into the plan to get it reactivated.

I am getting a bit ahead of the story but at one point Valley Medical sent me a letter advising me that I was to go to a special high risk program funded by the state of Washington and costing about $800.00 per month due to the fact they they had spent over $300,000.00 more then premiums on us.

I spoke to Uncle Arnie about the problem. He advised me that from time time there were reenrollment programs. I was to hop aboard if one came along.

A new insurance commisioner was elected. One of her first acts was a blanket reenrollment.
Our premiums went down drastically but more important our policy was split in two. Previously the policy was in my name and would cease when I went on Medicare since I would flip to the federal program. This gave Jean her own policy and continued her coverage when I turned 65.


Blogger Danny Barer said...

It sounds like I have Walla Walla Valley Medical to thank for my higher education.

9:28 PM  

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