Deb Ziegler posted a note for Debbie that says:
I had Anthem Blue Cross and they paid 100% of my repairs for my mitral and tricuspid valves. They would NOT pay for a heart CT scan which is only needed if you are having robotic surgery. Maybe they are just rejecting robotic surgery???
I know that is A LOT more expensive. Have you asked CCF to help you with the insurance hassle? They are very good and helpful with that.
Good luck.....insurance is the last thing you need to worry about right now!
Deb Ziegler posted a note for Debbie that says:
I'm sure your surgery is on your mind pretty much all the time now. Try to stay strong and positive. I know that is easier said than done, but you will get to the point of not worrying as much as just wanting it over with. I guarantee you will feel better after you speak with Dr. Gillinov. When exactly is your surgery? You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
You will LOVE Dr. Gillinov. He is kind, compassionate and a genuinely nice human being. I had 46 questions for him before my surgery, and he answered every one of them. Are you having it done robotically? You probably won't know for sure until after all your testing. I could not have mine done robotically because I had multiple valves involved, so I had a mini sternotomy. I couldn't even feel it for the first 36 hours.....they freeze it, and after that it was not bad. I had a hysterectomy 12 years earlier, and the pain from that was ten times worse. CCF is very good at controlling pain.
Waiting truly is the worst part. The one thing I wish I had done differently is schedule it as soon as possible. I waited a whole year and all I did was worry. That was a lot of stress I didn't need!
Godspeed and good luck!
There are basically four hotels within walking distance of the heart hospital at CCF, and I've stayed at three of them. My favorite is the Glidden house, but it isn't cheap and it is about a mile away (and it is also difficult to get a reservation.) It is a small boutique hotel in the art/museum district of Cleveland with beautiful buildings and lots of parks and good restaurants nearby. There are three hotels on the CCF campus and they are all super close to the hospital. The Guesthouse is where we stayed the first time we went, and it is the cheapest. There is nothing special about it, and if you can afford to stay at the Intercontinental Suites, I would highly recommend doing so. It is a block and a half from the hospital, and the rooms are all "suites" that easily accommodate more than two people. I had my husband and daughter with me, so it nice for all of us to have our own space. The staff was really nice too. The Intercontinental Hotel is attached by a skyway to the hospital and is very nice and fancy, but also super expensive. I wouldn't recommend staying downtown just because it is too far away, and Cleveland isn't the safest place in the world (especially near the hospital). If you stay in any of the hotels on campus, be sure to ask for the patient discount to make it a little more reasonable. The Intercontinental ended up being about $2000 for the thirteen days we were there. It's a big chunk of change, but it was definitely worth being close and comfortable.
You should definitely bring your jammies. I lived in mine as soon as I got out of ICU. You will need ones with a top that buttons down the front because you are wired and attached to a lot of lines the whole time you are there. I ended up being in the hospital for 9 days (way too long!), so I wish I had brought two sets of pajamas because mine got kind of gross after being there for so long. I would also recommend bringing a pillow or two. CCF has the worst pillows (and food) ever. I loved having my own pillow, and my husband and daughter used one on the bed they slept on in my room too.
Who is your surgeon going to be? I had Dr. Gillinov, and I loved him, although I think all the doctors there are great. I was terrified of the pain, but I can tell you it really wasn't bad at all. On a scale of 1 to 10 it never got over a three or four. One thing that really helped me to get out of bed was to hook my feet in the holes at the foot of the bed and use my stomach muscles to sit up. It was super easy and didn't hurt at all. That probably doesn't make sense to you right now, but it will when you see the beds:)
As for clothing that buttons, I was able to put on a T-shirt about 12 days after surgery. I was able to do a lot more than I thought I would. And you will feel so much better energy wise! At about three weeks out I had significant more energy than I did before my surgery. I was so tired all the time before surgery.....just wanted to lie down all the time.
Thanks all I can think of for now. Please feel to email me anytime if you have anymore questions. I know how scary it is, but it really wasn't anywhere near as bad as I was imagining.
Take care and stay strong,
Sorry to hear you have Afib in addition to the bad valve. That is no fun, but you are headed to the right place. CCF is an amazing place, so take comfort knowing you will be getting the best possible care. You will be in my thoughts and prayers in the weeks ahead. The waiting truly is the worst part. I guarantee you the surgery won't be nearly as bad as you are imagining!