My first taste of TACE (Trans-arterial Chemoembolisation)

August 25, 2016
UAB Hospital
Well, kids, today I made spent my first night in a hospital. Yesterday, they punched a hole in my femoral artery to run a little tube up into my liver and inject anti-cancer drugs straight into my tumor. The chemo is coated onto particles that block the artery so that the chemo won’t be washed away and the tumor will starve for blood. It’s the only way to prolong my life until I can get that darned liver transplant. And after that a night in the hospital ‘for observation.’

It was cool. An emergency came up that stole my anesthesiologist, so I was awake for the whole thing. They spent a lot of time trying to figure out where a mystery shadow on the x-ray was coming from (the whole this is guided by CT). It turned out to be a piece of adhesive tape. There was disco music coming from the speakers in the ceiling. And they were always asking me to “Breathe in, breath ALL the way out. Don’t breath…don’t breathe…don’t breathe…don’t breathe. Now you can breathe.” When you inhale, of course, your diaphragm pushes your liver down. I guess asking you to empty your lungs gets more reproducible results than asking you to take a deep breath and hold it. The radiology tech told me afterwards that I was ‘the best breath holder’ she’d ever seen. I bet she says that to all the pretty boys!

Of course, when you’re worried about surviving cancer, you get what you need and worry about the cost later. But as soon as I got home, I got a bill for the CT scan I got last month: $2,623.28! And I might still get more bills from physicians, etc. Damn! The $1,200 bill I got for the CT scan I got here in Winfield broke me. I had to get a loan and now my credit score is in the sewer. I’m busted! And that was just for a CT scan. What will they charge for the outpatient surgery I had today?

What a choice! Get treatment I can’t afford at a leading facility which is especially famous for its expertise with livers–the first liver transplant in Alabama was done there!–or get poked by medical students at some crummy public hospital. I used to work at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. What a roach motel! Indifferent clerks, half-baked doctors. I once spent an entire shift trying to get a bed for a man with a broken leg that was dripping pus. No one would take him because the admit order didn’t specify the Infected Orthopedics Ward, and the other Orthopedics ward wouldn’t take him. And no doctor who would answer his pages would fix it; they were all interns who were probably that a real doctor would yell at them for changing their order.

Now, I know you folks have troubles of your own, but I’m desperate! I’m doing everything I can to cut expenses to the bone. I’m even going to sell my beloved ’93 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham! But if you can spare even a little money to help me out, please click the link to my FundMe page. I’ll dance at your wedding!

One thought on “My first taste of TACE (Trans-arterial Chemoembolisation)”

  1. It is amazing what they charge for anything medical I saw a dermatologist was in there for 15 minutes she charge 760 bucks that’s more expensive than my doctors visit. I don’t know the anybody can expect to pay medical costs are just so sky high compared to the rest of the world. I can’t believe you were awake the whole time without the anesthesiologist be in there that would’ve made me pass out just from the needle going in the skin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *