Christmas 2017 was a great day for our family. We celebrated with a wonderful prime rib that I had smoked for hours. I complimented my entrée with mounds of mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams and more. Then I topped it off with delicious, dripping gravy.
My body thanked me with a stomach ache like I’d never experienced before. For the next four days I endured the severely painful after-effects in my lower abdomen. I felt as if someone had sadistically pushed their fist in my stomach—and left it there.
On the fourth day my pain increased significantly in the course of an hour and I decided to go to our local urgent care center. By the time I arrived I was sweating and couldn’t sit or stand very well.
Within 15 minutes the doctor gave me two possible diagnoses and sent me to a nearby emergency room. “It will be faster to do the tests at the hospital,” he explained.
As soon as I arrived the staff gave me pain medication and began running tests. Before long I underwent emergency surgery. The next thing I remember was waking up in a recovery room and purple curtains encircling me.
I learned that diverticulitis and two perforations (holes) in my colon were the cause of my severe pain. The contents were leaking into my gut and causing an obstruction in my small intestine. The surgeon removed a few inches of my colon and attached a colostomy bag.
I was in shock when I heard the news, but soon a wave of thankfulness rushed over me as I realized that through God’s grace I had been given a second chance at life.
The expected seven days in the hospital turned into 10, but my wife’s birthday was coming up and I begged to be released so I could take her out for dinner. Because I was well enough to go, the doctor agreed. It was the first and last time I appeared in public in my pajamas!
At the end of April 2018 I underwent a second surgery to remove the colostomy bag and reconnect my “plumbing.” The procedure was successful; I spent another week recovering in the hospital, which began to feel like my home away from home.
Today my digestion is much better. Because I have two surgery scars in my midsection, my muscles never healed as completely as they probably would with only one incision. As a result, I’ve suffered multiple hernias and had to undergo one more surgery in January 2019 to repair them. I look forward to getting back to a normal life, and I’m certain 2019 will be my year!
The CHM staff is great. They were patient and helpful with my many questions, and submitting medical bills became easy once I knew what to do. The hardest part for us was getting itemized medical bills from the hospital and clinic in a timely manner.
The charges for my first two hospital visits came to a little over $130,000, but telling my providers I was self-pay reduced the cost by more than $40,000. The billing staff said I wouldn’t qualify for any financial assistance programs, but I applied anyway and received another $55,000 in discounts due to the size of my bill. Let my experience be a lesson for everyone: always apply for financial aid on your bills!
CHM members shared all of my remaining expenses. What a relief to not have to worry about paying for medical bills while recovering.
We have recommended CHM to other friends and family and enjoy sharing our experience. Initially my wife was worried that CHM wasn’t a legitimate option for healthcare bills, but CHM did what they said they’d do. We’re so thankful our Gold membership enabled us to pay for my costly testing and treatment. Thank you, CHM, for all your help.