I am sorry for the long absence.
My husband spent four days in the hospital following an emergency surgery to remove his swollen gallbladder. The danged gallbladder have been acting up since November of last year, after a really sumptuous buffet sent the hubby reeling due to stomach pain. An operation or even a full blown hospital check up was out of the question that time. We were just starting from our respective jobs and we both don’t have health insurance or an HMO card that will take care of our hospital bills.
By February of this year, I got regularized and got issued a health card and spent the next few months going back to a gastroenterologist, and basically just trying to find ways to get rid of the pain. It all came down last Saturday night, when he had to beg me to bring him to the emergency room due to extreme pain.
That is where it all came down. Following a stint at the hospital room, both of us decided to get rid of the problematic organ once and for all. We knew that in spite the first aid, we had to get to the bottom of the problem. We decided to schedule for operation. It was the best way to remove the pain, plus we were confident that our current health card will cover the cost of hospitalization.
The thing is — in this country — getting sick and being given the best medical health care does not always add up. That is the reason why there are people who rather self medicate or go to faith healers just to get a temporary relief from whatever pain they experience. For the urban poor, going to the doctor is already considered a luxury. Sad as it may seem, people do not have the means to get quality health care if they do not have the job (which will give them health cards) or the money to pay for hospitalization outright.
Sure enogh, the hubby’s bills was humongous — reaching in the upper five figures, and still without the doctor’s and anesthesiologists fees. Outside, I was trying to give out an air that everything will be okay, in order for him not to panic and just concentrate on getting better. But deep inside, I was screaming like mad. Thoughts like, will our insurance even cover it? Where on earth will I get less than 100,000 pesos (roughly USD2300). For four days, I kept praying that the health card will cover all of it, along with Philhealth (the local government’s health program).
The hubby got operated on and went on to get well in just a matter of two days. By day 2, he was given the all clear and was discharged in the hospital. As I step towards the hospital billing and cashier area to settle his bills, I was also praying like mad that may all his bills be covered by the HMO and Philhealth. When the credit and collection cleared the bill, along with the Philhealth contribution to the hospital bills, I felt like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
I was also given the chance to see the hubby’d damaged gallbladder — it was one ugly sight. Like we feared, the gallbladder had a lot of gallstones, the biggest of which is the size of a marble. There were puss and fat residue in the skin, as well as inside. In short, it was pretty effed up by the time he was admitted in the hospital.
We got the sucker out just in time.
The illness made the hubby lose more than 30 pounds during the six month ordeal. I am already jealous that he now has a more defined jawline than I. Seriously, gallstones are traitorous mother effer — you won’t know they’re there, not until you experience pain in your sides and can hardly function. The scary part is when a stone lodges itself on the narrow duct passing going to the liver.
I can’t state how grateful I am to my company for giving us a good coverage in our health cards, especially the fact that the card was accepted in one of the best hospitals in the country. Customer Service is also superb and there was a liaison officer who helped us sort through our bills. The HMO card pretty much saved the hubby from further agony.
With all the noise going on about universal health care in the Philippines, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a comprehensive and effective health card that will take care of you once you get sick. I haven’t been confined yet, but my card came handy for the times when I got rushed to the OR due to cat bite and a freak accident with the electric fan. As much as possible, I would recommend to friends to get a health card. Sometimes, it can spell the difference between life and death.