Don't Bust a Gut!
Jun 05, 2013 | 2280 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When I was growing up, one would hear grown-ups exhorting someone not to "bust a gut." We didn't really know what it meant, except in the sense of meaning "don't get all stirred up and hurt yourself." Only years later, would I come to learn what "don't bust a gut" literally means.

It means don't get a hernia from overdoing things, and don't let your intestines get twisted and strangled in a hole in your abdominal wall once you've gotten it there.

I had my first abdominal hernia repair when I was thirty nine. Right side. All those years of going to doctors and dutifully turning my head to cough finally paid off. I finally got the verdict "you have an abdominal hernia."

I spent less than twenty four hours in the hospital. They told me I had to perform certain basic functions before I could be sent home. They also told me the out of pocket cost to me went up $4000 if I stayed in the hospital more than twenty four hours. That was all I needed to hear. I got up and made sure to perform said functions in a timely and proper manner, earning my "get out of the hospital free" card.

Soreness hung on a few days, but it healed without incident and has worked fine ever since. That was the right side. The left side developed weakness over the years. It finally went completely south on me about ten weeks ago. Ouch. That hurt. I had to see about the hernia. My doctor diagnosed it and sent me to another doctor, who was going to operate on it. After the consult, I got a call from the healthcare provider informing me that none of the cost would be covered because I had not met my $5000 deductible, and the procedure would fall within the deductible.

My concern was primarily with the mesh the doctor intended to use. I know that no system is perfect, but when I'm being operated on, when I'm going under, I want the best odds of coming out of the experience better than before I underwent it. I asked if it could be repaired without the mesh, and was informed the surgeon would not perform it that way. So I got another surgeon.

One of the great things about paying for an operation out of pocket is not having to care who my insurance company has some kind of deal with which will never fully pay the charges. I went looking for a surgeon who specialized in making hernia repairs the pre mesh method, and that's who I found. His name is Dr. Kevin Petersen, and he practices in Las Vegas. He gave me a flat fee of $5000, and that covered everything. No additional costs for lab work, for surgical assistants, for anesthesiologists, for gauze, tape, staples, etc.

Of course, I had to get to Las Vegas, get operated on while there, convalesce at least twenty four hours, get a post op check out, and be released to travel home. Done, done, and done!

My nephew, Dave, went with me. We had a great time driving across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and into Nevada. We saw some Indian ruins that are close to one thousand years old. We made the UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico. That town is too cool! I sang "standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona" while standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. And I got the hitch in my get-along fixed.

Long story short: I did bust a gut. I got it fixed in Las Vegas. I drove across the country and back to do so. There's more to the story, but why tell it all now?

© 2013, Jim “Pappy” Moore,

All Rights Reserved.

Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home.
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