After deciding that I wanted Bariatric surgery I joined a LOT of Facebook groups. I keep reading over and over about how it is 'the easy way out'. I would like to post a run down of my steps to surgery so far and how expensive and stressful it is to take the easy way out.
At the end of January I called to make an appointment. You are required to watch their video. They have a huge 'packet' of info to fill out. Pages and pages of questions. What diets have you tried, etc etc. I filled out the papers and faxed them.
After one week, NO ONE CALLED. So I called them. They said they never received it. I faxed them again and mailed them by snail mail.
After one week, NO ONE CALLED. So I called them. They had received the papers and set me up for an appointment in two weeks
After two weeks, my first appointment. Dr.Keiths wellness center is a 3 hour drive to get to. The nurse really pushed the lap band. I told her I didn't want the lap band. I have read hundreds of lap band horror stories and unsuccessfull people, unhappy with their decision. . Dr. Keith was very nice and answered all of my questions, thoroughly and honestly. He approved me for going ahead with the vertical sleeve. I was told that the nurse in the room would be my 'advocate' and take care of my case. She seemed nice, I felt like I would be taken care of. The nurse tells me that surgery will be the first week of March.
2nd appt: see nutritionalist. ($65 cash). She tells me to eat 110 grams of protein, to start eating quest bars ($30 for 12), drink their shakes ($65 a bag) and start their vitamins (fish oil, calcium, multi-vitamin).
Get lab done, insurance is charged almost $2000. They call me, tell me that my iron is low and that even though my appt is 10 days away, I can only buy their iron from their clinic. I explain that I work at a clinic and could I just get the name so my Dr could order it for me. No, they say. You can only buy it at the clinic.
3rd appt with a different nutritionalist ($65) and psychologist ($150). I buy the iron that day then find it on Amazon. Nothing new with the nutritionalist. I talk to the psychologist, she is nice. She clears me, I hope that means I'm not crazy. My husband and I left at 5:00 am to be there for a scheduled ekg, They say they are short staffed and re-schedule it for next time.
All of the staff have been very nice to date. I need to mention that EVERY time I call I'm put on hold. One time I was put on hold 20 minutes and so I hung up and called back and they immediately answered. Now they are saying my surgery will be mid March.
4th appointment. Nutritionalist ($65), EKG and appointment with physical therapist ($35 copayment). I must talk about my physical therapy appointment. The therapist took my vitals then put me on the treadmill and told me she needed to make sure my vitals stayed stable while walking. WHILE I AM ON THE TREADMILL TRYING TO KEEP CHILL, SHE STARTS TALKING POLITICS. She tells me that she is voting for Hillary because she is a woman and MAKES LIGHT OF BENGHAZI. In my mind, I tell myself this is a test and I smile and walk and smile and listen to this lady with no freaking heart, and she is so impressed with how I handled her bullshit that she signs off and tells me I'm going to do great and then she gives me her cell number.
FINALLY!! All the tests have been done, I lost ten pounds and a thousand bucks on shakes and vitamins and quest bars. So now I just need to get approval from insurance and they call and schedule me! This is what I was told. This is WRONG.
A WEEK after I find out that the surgeon, nutritionalist, psychiatrist and Hillarys biggest supporter have approved me, I call my insurance to see if I'm approved. THEY HAVENT RECEIVED ANYTHING. I call my 'advocate'. "Oops, I guess it didn't go through."
12 days later I call insurance, I'm approved. No call from my advocate so I call her. NO RETURN CALL. They say she's at a satellite office, not there that day. I call all day the next day NO CALLS RETURNED. Finally get ahold of the most popular advocate in Oklahoma, "I have to call your insurance, I will call you back at the end of the day with a date to come to a pre-op seminar". WHAT? Can you tell me over the phone? I live 3 hours away." "No, you have to come in. Then get lab drawn. I will call you later today".
NO CALL the next day. I leave messages. THEY ARE NOT RETURNED.
The next day, after a huge wait, I quickly explain the situation. I am put on hold longer. The receptionist says the scheduling nurse was on the phone but now she is in with a patient and she will call me back at the end of the day. NO CALL.
SO here I sit, I have spent over two grand, it has been immensely stressful on my relationship, my insurance has approved, and I can't get the one person that is supposed to help me has done absolutely nothing since day 1. Being fat sucks. Being told to just 'go for a walk' when you tell someone you want Bariatric surgery sucks. But hearing people say you are taking the easy way out when you already feel helpless and hopeless, is one of the most ignorant things a person can say.
This is just a glimpse of the beginning. This is normal and thousands of people go through this (and much worse) every single day. It isn't the easy way,it is the only chance we think we have left of living a normal healthy life.