Mood: not sure
Topic: "Potty Training" (3)
Frodo has just returned from what developed to be a second trip to Bilbo's bedside. The first trip was in response to a case of pneumonia and requisite hospitalization, followed by the need for Frodo and Sam to arrange in-home healthcare for Bilbo's return. Despite the travails resulting from the poorly-marked trail to wellness, Frodo and Sam were able to safely return to the Shire for a dose of normalcy. Having previously planned for an excursion to observe the cetacean masters of the universe, Frodo and Sam were able to swing through and visit Bilbo on the way home to the Shire. What they had not planned was for Bilbo to again require hospitalization.
Colitis is similar to an auto-immune disease in that it often develops simply because the body is fighting what it perceives to be an alien presence. The colon becomes the battleground where white blood cells, in this case, confronted the vast amouint of antibiotics pumped to the forefront of Bilbo's struggle against respiratory difficulty. On Christmas Eve, Bilbo was struck by excruciating pain which required the assistance of the proud public servants of emergency treatment, and hospitalization.
Hospitals are not fun places to begin with, but Christmas Eve in rooms waiting for test results is punishment. When finally the diagnosis was made, Bilbo was admitted to the hospital, and remains there to this moment. Frodo however, has more than one battle to fight at a time, so his presence was also required back at the Shire. Arrangements had to be made within his family for others to sally forth and be there to help Bilbo through the treatment phase, and to re-establish Bilbo's homecoming. Before he left, Frodo received the bill for the first of Bilbo's hospitalizations.
For basically one week of service, Bilbo's insurance was billed for more than $40,000. 10% of the charges were for "Other Services."
After Frodo's heart started again, he was pleased to note that insurance covered all but $500. This figure would not require the sale of Bilbo's residence, but Frodo did not merely breathe deep and express gratitude for what was a "close call." Rather, he began to get just a little angry that a figure of more than $4,000 could be treated as "other," and not be identified item-by-item. Frodo also noted that $40,000 was more than Frodo's father had ever made in any single year. Without careful and gratuitous planning, Bilbo would not only be facing physical worries, but the finances would make recovery almost beyond the realm of reason.
Frodo once joked to Bilbo, upon the purchase of a personal computer and teaching Bilbo how to use it only to discover that Bilbo had never learned to type, that going over the same things with Bilbo again-and-again was payback for the potty training that Bilbo performed on behalf of Frodo. The reality, as opposed to the humor, is that Frodo also has to deal with financial concerns in the same manner as did Bilbo when the unknown expenses of education and maturation lay before young Frodo. Money, Frodo supposes, is something that none ever completely escape as a concern.
This morning, Frodo listened to several political candidates talk, at length. He paid close attention to any comments reflecting upon his increasing personal familiarity with the realities of healthcare. Mixing the reality of need with the votes of the electorate has foiled many capable political leaders during Frodo's lifetime. The fiscal problems increase over time, and the potential for personal tragedy grows as more and more follow in the footsteps of Frodo.
Bilbo could return home today. Bilbo will not be able to continue that lifestyle indefinitely. That, however, is another problem.