21 December

Most of the gifts are wrapped
The Big Day’s menu has been planned, for the most part
It looks like my outstanding ambulance bill may finally be dealt with
Continued incremental improvements in my health

I wrapped three more gifts for the critters today and I only have two more to do, unless the items I ordered from Etsy make their appearance earlier than expected. Unfortunately, Lauren’s Christmas list consisted exclusively of items sold on Etsy, and the estimated shipping times on three of them place the delivery window well past Christmas. *Sigh* I ordered them anyway, reasoning that if they get here by Twelfth Night, I’m still good! We aren’t Eastern Orthodox but it’s a convenient excuse that I use to make myself feel better when a gift is late.😄

I’ve pretty much dialed in the menu for our Christmas dinner, although it may still be subject to change due to one hardcore vegetarian in our midst. Still, we’ll have two salads to choose from – one molded, one celery-based – as well as potatoes and green beans. Yes, I’m making a molded salad. Yes, it’s a classic mid-20th-century offering. No, it’s not gross, unless you hate the taste of tomatoes. I love the stuff. My mom would always make it for our Christmas meal and it looks so festive on the table. It’s a tomato aspic and it’s a bright crimson hue, which is beautiful snuggled up against the roast and the green beans. I haven’t decided yet on the type of roast to fix but I’ve narrowed it down to either a standing rib roast or a boneless ribeye, which is basically the same as the rib roast only with the bones trimmed away. I called our local meat market this afternoon and it looks like I’ll probably have to get down there tomorrow in order to have a decent choice. I missed the special order window. Rats.

So, yeah, about that ambulance bill. Lordy.

Back before I was admitted to the hospital for the transplant, I had an appointment with the bone marrow clinic’s coordinator, who went over my inpatient treatment schedule with me. When she got to the part about being shipped off via ambulance to another facility less than a mile away for my full-body irradiation, I balked a bit and worried aloud that I would be slapped with a horrendous ambulance bill. (It happens all the time. I’ve read multiple accounts of patients being knocked sideways by bills totaling in the thousands for emergency services that their insurance providers refuse to cover.) I was reassured by the coordinator that I wouldn’t have to pay for it. Methodist Hospital doesn’t actually have the equipment necessary to offer patients full-body irradiation so they contract with an offsite facility run by UTHealth and, from what I understand, they pick up the tab. Or so I was lead to believe. Anyway, while still hospitalized, a bill materialized for the round-trip to UTHealth, which totaled nearly $1,400. I told Rory what I had been told by the clinic coordinator and he got on the phone and spent nearly two hours being shuffled between the ambulance company and the hospital billing company, which is located in Georgia. There was seemingly no resolution to the issue but when the next bill arrived, it was for half the amount, or $687 and change. Well, that bill is now past due, the ambulance company is sending me irate texts, and I’ve spoken to the financial coordinator at the clinic, who has referred me to their billing department, which I believe is local (San Antonio). I hope to be able to resolve this problem before the ambulance company gets completely fed up and sends the bill to collections. Yep, just another normal day in the US healthcare system. Oy.

Rory and I worked together to make a truly spectacular eggplant Parmesan last night. Yes, it was extremely labor-intensive, but the result was soooo worth it. Better yet, we’ve got loads of tasty leftovers for lunches for the next few days! We’re sitting in the bone marrow clinic lobby now (for an appointment at 7:30am – ungodly) and I’m already thinking about food, even after a small but decent breakfast. My appetite has completely returned and I’m once again a remorseless eating machine.😄