Thursday, August 31, 2006

If everything goes as planned...

My cochlear implant surgery will be Friday, October 27th. I got an e-mail from Wendi tonight listing several dates, and I chose the first available one...that was as soon as I could get in. Unless something comes up between now and the time she puts it on the books to keep me from getting that date, it looks like that will be the Big Day. That day will be almost seven months since I started the entire process of getting a CI. Much longer than I planned...but one thing I have learned from other CI users is that the whole process is a lesson in patience.
Even after I am implanted there will be a need for patience. I won't hear overnight the way you do. It will take weeks, months, or even a couple of years before my brain learns to interpret the sounds. I will have audiotherapy for a time to retrain my brain...much like a stroke victim has therapy to retrain their brain to work with damaged limbs. All the same, it's a start. Getting the CI won't be the end of the adventure....only the beginning!!
I need to get to bed. I am driving to Gatlinburg in the morning...and I need to be at least partly awake!

Monday, August 28, 2006

A GREAT day!!

...I told Dicky that the way my day was going, I FULLY expected to come home from my Monday errands and find the title in the mail and my insurance approval on the BCBST website. I honestly did, because, you see, with God, all things are possible. And do you know what?
No title, but yes, finally, as of this afternoon, I am APPROVED for cochlear implant surgery! After being told that I had about a 90% chance of being turned down the first time I applied, I was prepared to be denied. I would have been happy enough to be denied, just as long as I knew that insurance was working on it. It was so exciting to see it in print! I have e-mailed the surgery coordinators, and hopefully they will get back to me in the next day or so to give me a date. It may be a couple of months down the road, but I will be so happy to just have a date!!!
I need to learn to live what I preach...that if there is something troubling you, pray about it, and trust God to take care of things as He sees fit. I believe's just so hard for me to give up my control sometimes, even though, in the long run, what little control I have isn't usually worth much :)...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

In response to my inquiry:

I e-mailed BCBS and asked 'em how things were coming along. Here's the update:
The review of your Pre-determination is in the final stages of the
process. The Pre-determination was received on 08/10/2006
and the normal review time is up to 14-21 days. As soon as the
review is completed a letter will be mailed to you and your
professional provider, however, you should be able to view the
information under Member Self Service.
So, hopefully, we'll hear something in the next week or so, although my experiences over the past few weeks have taught me not to hold my breath. If we do, we do, and that will be awesome, one way or another, honestly...I just need to hear SOMETHING so I can go on to Step 2, whatever that is. If we don't, I'm going on vacation in a few days, so I have something to look forward to, and I'll worry about it when I get back :)! *snip*

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Children with Bilateral Implants:

A neat news story and video here. The video loaded quickly on my computer and it's worth a quick explains the implant, and seems to support chldren who receive two implants.
I thought that it would be informative to those of you who are unfamiliar with the process. My grandmother thought I was getting a cochlear transplant...a cochlea from someone else transplanted into my ear. The implant is an amazing process :)

Linda also made mention of the PBS special "The Sound and the Fury" in the comments section. It is a movie that chronicles a family that divided over the use of cochlear side of the family thought that they were betraying their Deaf heritage by being implanted, and the other side chose the benefits of being able to hear. It divided the family at that time (2000) but there is an update out..."The Sound and the Fury: Six Years Later". From what I understand, the side of the family that was so opposed to implants saw how well the side of the family with implants was faring, and chose to have their own child implanted so that she, too, could have the benefits of hearing. That's just what I've heard. I wish I could see it. Wonder if it's on video?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I got this e-mail from BCBS today :)

On 08/10/2006, the Pre-determination was received from
Dr. Haynes. Currently, the Pre-Determination is in review. The
normal review time is 14-21 days. Once the review is completed a
letter will be mailed to you and to Dr. Haynes stating the approval
or denial. Please feel free to check the status with us anytime.

The pre-determination may not show under the authorization section
of BlueAccess until the review is completed. they FINALLY HAVE THE INFORMATION, and they are REVIEWING IT. So, hopefully, in a couple or three weeks I will have my answer, yes or no. They're working on it. That's all I wanted to know....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Can't sleep...

*snipped from original post*

...In between all that whining, I might e-mail BCBS and the doctors. They haven't heard from me in four whole days. I used the relay website that Laurie (she posted about our visit...go read) sent me tonight for the first time (I activated the Discover card that I've had since April) and it works AWESOMELY, so in a few days, I might progress from e-mailing them to telephoning them. Wouldn't that be fun? I have heard repeatedly this week, over and over again, from MANY people; CI users, audiologists, former audiology staffers, former insurance people, the same mantra: Bug the crud out of them. It goes against everything I am (I don't like being annoying), but I'm hearing that nice isn't what gets results here. Sooooooo..........
Thanks to everyone who is praying for and supporting this journey. I believe that it will happen. It's just all a matter of when, and God has his perfect timing for it...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

SO much fun today!!

I got to meet another blogger today! If I remember correctly, I met Laurie on Yahoo! Groups. I posted the link to my blog, and she e-mailed me with a sweet comment about reading my blog and enjoying it, then posted a link to hers. She has been one of my favorite bloggers ever since, even though she's on the go too much to keep her blog updated properly ;). She let me know a few weeks ago that she would be in Nashville this weekend, and I told her that I would love to meet her while she was in the area!! We met today at Opry Mills Mall...we ate at Chili's and then walked around and shopped for a while. When it was time to go home, I realized that we had been together for four and a half hours....but it didn't seem nearly that long...time sure flies when you're having fun!
Laurie and I had plenty to talk about....she is another cochlear implant user. She was implanted with the Nucleus Freedom last year and has had great results. I was so encouraged by listening to her story and am even more excited now...that's what happens when I spend time with CI users that love their new "ears"! She showed me some of the COOLEST gadgets for talking on the phone, listening to the radio, etc...and she showed me her iPod (I accused her of showing off...I would love to be able to use one!!!) I came home and ordered me a new Harris Communications catalog. When I got my last one, I was in the denial phase ("I'm not deaf, just hard of hearing, and I don't need any of this stuff"). I have since gotten over it and am open to anything that will open my doors of communication just a little wider!! "I'm deaf as a post, and I'll take any help I can get". That's my new official position ;)
She is also a mom of four, so we enjoyed talking about our kids, of course :) She's an incredible, sweet person, and we had such a great time...I hated to say goodbye, but we both agreed we'd try to get together again sometime! :) Thanks, Laurie, for a great day!!!

In other news, Claire had her tubes put in yesterday. I had planned on a long recuperative period followed by much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but what I got instead was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed little girl, who chirpily reminds me to put in her ear drops, and "don't forget my earplugs when I take a bath". If it had been me, I probably would have tried to get at least one days' bed rest out of the deal, but she did so well that we ended up going to church last night (I had originally thought I'd have to keep her home). Of course, at church she fell and skinned her elbow something dreadful, and I've heard more about THAT than anything else.
Claire also had kindergarten Open House tonight. She got to go meet her new teacher, and she met a few kids that are going to be in her class this year. She liked her teacher (I did too :) ) and is already talking about the kids in her class. One little girl was standing in front of me and happened to turn around and I saw two hearing aids behind her ears. Awwwwww! :) Of course, Claire was tickled to see the hearing aids, and we had to meet the little girl and her parents :)
I got a letter from the surgery coordinator at Vanderbilt today...she said in her letter that she was RE-faxing the paperwork to BCBS (her emphasis, not mine). So, apparently, she has sent it in already. I e-mailed her back thanking her and told her I would stay in touch with both her and BCBS until I saw that the pre-approval process was underway. Hopefully, things will start moving now. If not, the e-mails will continue :D
I'm going to try to have a good attitude and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I am sure that everyone is doing everything possible to ensure that I get this implant as quickly as possible (yeah). If I find out otherwise, and e-mails don't do the trick, Laurie e-mailed me a link to an online relay service...I can type what I want to say, the relay people say it for me, then they type the other person's reply for me. I might be able to harrass by phone after all! Cool!
In the end, as Laurie and I discussed today, this is all part of God's master plan for me...and when the time is right, it will happen. I have faith, and have no choice but to be patient :) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Insurance Update

I know not all of you are interested in all my insurance/cochlear implant mess. For all y'all, there's an update and pictures underneath this post :) For those of y'all that are interested, here's the latest:
I was told when I had my evaluations that I should hear from my insurance within 30 days, approving or denying my cochlear implant. As if that wasn't long enough for me (impatient, you know) the thirty days have now passed, and I've heard nothing. I wasn't expecting THAT. I e-mailed both of the surgery coordinaters from my surgeon's office on July 25th asking them if they knew anything about the current status of my claim, and heard nothing from either of them. I e-mailed my audiologist on Friday, and she said she'd check into it.
I went to my CI meeting on Saturday, and several folks asked what the current status was on my implant. I told them that I was waiting on insurance, and they suggested that I start investigating to see exactly what insurance had, what they needed, and who needed to get what to them, so they could process my claim. So....
Last night I went to BCBS's website and found a "contact us" link. I e-mailed them telling that I thought I would have heard something by now, but that I had heard nothing, and asked them if they needed me to help them in any way...perhaps there was a paper somewhere that they needed? or a phone number? Was there anything I could do to move things along?
This is the e-mail I got from BCBS this morning at about 7:30. One thing I can say about ' the moment, they're on the ball :)

This is in response to your e-mail concerning the status of your
Predetermination for a Cochlear Implant.

As of today, 08/08/2006, a Predetermination has not been received.
The normal review time is 14-21 days. Once the review has been
completed, a letter will be mailed out to you stating whether the
service has been approved or denied.

Please ask your doctor to submit your records to BlueCross
BlueShield so we can start this process for you.

Oy! They're waiting on something from the doctor's office, and they haven't done anything at all towards my pre-approval!!! Only problem is I don't know which doctor, or where, so this morning I e-mailed 'em all. I have already heard back from my surgeon...he said that he is getting his staff busy working on it. I like that man :) I didn't notice until just now that when he replied to me, he CC:d his reply to his two surgery coordinators...the two that I e-mailed July 25th. Perhaps NOW I'll get a reply.
Am I upset? Uh...well....I don't know. I had been checking the BCBS website, and there is a section there for "pre-approvals and referrals". I figured that there should have been something there about the implant, but there was nothing. I've been checking it for several days now, and nada. So I kind of figured that there was a holdup somewhere...I just didn't know exactly where the holdup was. So the e-mails will continue. They will be polite and friendly, but they will continue, until I get my approval (however long that takes). If I have to hold somebody's hand all the way through this thing, I'll do it. I'm just not patient enough to sit back and wait. I want to see some results. Sometimes you just gotta do the thing yourself :) Keep the good thoughts and prayers coming. I need 'em all! :)