Monday, October 02, 2006

A Year's Salary

Remember that little surgery I had in August? You know, that teeny, tiny outpatient procedure about which I was so cavalier that I forgot to tell people about it until it was happening?

Well, I just saw the price tag: $35,216.98. And that's not including the anesthesiologist's fee of $1,710. I knew surgery would be costly, but this is positively shocking.

I have insurance, so there's no need to worry. I do have to foot some of the bill, but while I may prefer to spend my money on spa treatments, pedicures, live music, books and cocktails, my share of the expenditure amounts to a rather miniscule percentage which I can afford.

Nonetheless. $35,216.98?

That's more money than many, many people make in a year. In fact, it's more money than I made in 2004, 1999, 1998, 1997 and all four years I lived and worked on the East Coast. Granted, I was working part time for several of the aforementioned years, but still. This was not some sort of life-saving procedure, either. Honestly, I could have opted not to have it. Perhaps the fact that I ended up spending a night in the hospital inflated the cost, but frankly, that was the recovery nurse's idea. It had nothing to do with me or my insurance company. And speaking of that, I bet the AFTRA Health Fund is really pleased with me and my surgery-having ways right about now.

Now I fully understand what people are talking about when they lament the astronomical cost of health care in this country.

Despite the surgical sticker shock, life and fabulous socializing go on. I met The Other Tom at Favorite Bar 2 on Saturday night where we indulged in a couple of their signature drinks. We then took off for the Orbit Room to meet Irina, Vanessa and Roland. Have you ever been to the Orbit Room? You could simply order a normal drink there, or, depending on who is behind the bar, you could find yourself sipping a delightful concoction featuring nectarine chunks, whole raspberries, muddled strawberries, cucumber slices, ginger, and cardamom. The drinks there are like salad in a glass. Well, salad in a glass with vodka. You just have to trust Alberta or Ron to create something wonderful for you without asking questions.

In keeping with the theme of my weekend, I managed to stay out much later than is my norm on Saturday night, and I didn't get as much sleep on Sunday as I had anticipated. Then I was called into work a couple of hours early this morning after working until 1 a.m. last night. So tonight I am extremely tired and ready for my pajamas. But life is good. I'm good about remembering that, in general, but with all the wretched things going on in the world right now (who goes into a grammar school and shoots innocent little children execution-style?), I am even more aware that I am one lucky girl.

The sassy life is a good life.

No comments: