Friday, June 30, 2006

Health Care Benefits Change

Their Definition:
Managed Care -- A consumer driven health care plan giving consumers the power to make appropriate choices for preventive health care.

My Definition:
Managed Care -- A consumer driven health care plan which companies adopt, leaving the responsibility of self-diagnosis to the patient, rewarding those who are in good health, and penalizing those who need recurring health care treatment.

In the coming year our firm is changing it's benefits to a high deductible Managed Care Plan. In addition to the privilege of paying a premium for health care insurance, we also have the pleasure of paying out of pocket for care and pharmacy needs to meet a $2500 deductible, when a co-insurance kicks in. Isn't that lovely?

What really ticks me off the most is that despite the fact the firm is saving a lot money, it will cost me more to have coverage. I don't see any of the savings. They did say that the savings will effect the firm's bottom line, and "should" have a positive impact on the bonus pool and raises -- I'll believe it when I see it. Ever since our company went public, any change they've made has been for their benefit -- not ours.

Did I ever mention that we are an HR consulting firm? We help companies streamline their compensation, benefits and organizational plans.

The good thing is, I'm going to move over to my husband's benefits. My coverage will be effective January 1, 2007. I already know that WLS is covered, and right now there are no plan changes being made. So for his benefits, you need only provide medical records showing you have been 60% over your ideal body weight for 5 years, plus be over a certain BMI (I don't remember what the number was). Hopefully nothing will change, and I will be able to have the surgery in February!

I'll be on my way to being 40 and Fabulous! ;)

Sleep Study

About 2 weeks ago I had a sleep study done to determine if I had sleep apnea. I got the results back at my monthly appointment with Dr. W., and the results were conclusive. I have sleep Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

I have a moderate case -- not severe (thankfully). But what was alarming to him wasthe fact that in my sleep my oxygenation levels go as low as 78%. Overall, I experienced over 200 "events" throughout the night. I also never reach stage 3 or stage 4 -- the really good sleep!

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is used to determine once's propensity for falling asleep during daytime activities. A score of 10 or more is considered "sleepy". A score of 18 or more is considered "very sleepy". I scored a 14 -- the study says that I am "Likely to fall asleep during daytime activities." Thank goodness I have yet to do that though.

Dr. W. says that I will feel amazing after I get the C-Pap machine. I just hope my declining short-term memory, fatique and sex-drive, come back into play for me -- all these are symptoms of sleep apnea. I know my family will be happy too when I am feeling better.

Of course the WLS would correct the apnea. The length and width of my neck (short and thick) makes avoiding OSA, nearly impossible.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Last Night's Support Group meeting

I attended my first support group meeting last night. The speaker was from a local fitness facility, and I thought it nice that afterwards he personally told everyone there to identify themselves as having heard him speak, and he would see them for free, to go over all the exercises he demonstrated for us there.

The exercises were good... a quick 15 minute routine to help and encourage muscle growth -- definitely for beginners.

There were about 40 people there, both pre-op and post-op. Not to toot my horn, but I'm pretty active for a morbidly obese person, so for me, after surgery is going to be a little disappointing.

See, I want this surgery so my outside matches my inside -- the things I love to do. I love being active. And I know logically, in time it will be worth it, but I'll have to wait. Essentially I'll be starting over activity-wise after the surgery. The nurse who was facilitating the meeting said I'd probably have to forego my high-intensity activity for a year! That kind of blew me away.

A year... No step. No spinning. I hate walking and cardio exercise otherwise. Hmmm, wonder if I could take tap again -- at least I like that. I'll walk because I have to, but not because I enjoy it.

What really rang true at last night's meeting is that post-op is hard. Just because you have the surgery, doesn't mean it's over. You must modify your behaviors to have continued success Last night there were a poignant moment where a woman struggled to get out the words to explain her situation. I wanted to cry for her. I felt her pain.

The next support group meeting I want to go to is the one where the psych who does Dr. Naaman's pre-op patient evaluations. I'm very interested to learn more about the emotional challenges and the tactics to deal with them.

I signed up for my Bariatic Nutrition class. I go on July 11th. This Friday night I go for my sleep apnea test. I'm almost hoping they find something -- seriously! I thought I wasn't rested from being a Mom to a Toddler, but maybe there is another reason I'm so tired! LOL

'til later....