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Step Two - The Surgeon



I could hear my phone ringing, I jumped to my desk and checked the number. Wasn't a number I recognize, but wasn't a silent number either, so I answered. "hi, it's the clinic. Just wondering if you would like an appointment for tomorrow, we've had a cancellation."

Tomorrow! Lots of things where going though my mind still as it was only a few days ago I went to the information session. It's all so quick, but it also might mean that I could get a surgery date before Christmas... Now there is a positive!

"Thanks, yes I will take that appointment, see you tomorrow". So soon... I had all those thoughts go through my mind: is this the right thing to do, is it too soon, are you sure your gonna cope with the changes? Best to sleep on it I think.

The next day I had the morning off work to attend the session at 10am. By this stage I had my 'just do it' attitude back. I got myself ready and hopped into my ute and headed on down to the clinic. Still had no real thoughts about going.

I parked my ute and went inside. When I sat down I realized that this would be the first time I met the actual surgeon that was going to perform the procedure. What if I don't like him? I suppose there was his off-sider who gave the information session, but I had already not taken a shining to him either.

"David?". That was me, I looked up and there he was, the person I was entrusting my life. We went into his office and started to talk about the procedure, what I wanted to achieve, what was realistic and some of the expected results and risks. By about five minutes we'd come to the decision that banding would be the best thing for me at this stage.

The next twenty minutes we spent discussing the world financial markets, my self managed super fund, gold and silver and how best to hedge your super to prevent the fat cats of the worlds largest banks from stripping away your life savings when the next bigger Global Financial Crisis hits.

This gave me a lot of confidence in my surgeon, having a social chat just reassured me that I was in capable hands. I was relaxed and confident that he was the one for the job.

"So, when would you like me to band you? I have the 23rd, 30th November or 7th December". Gees the 23rd is only three weeks away and I would have to get things organized very quickly, I don't think that would be enough time... "Better make it the 7th" I said.

So time to see the dietitian! I had back to back appointments, makes the process much easier in thought. While not as important to like the dietitian, unlike the person opening you up, I still dreaded having to talk in depth about what I use to eat, half the time my friends didn't even know what I really did eat.

While I know I'm not the worst, I still had an aversion to talking about it. However after a few minutes I started to feel more comfortable and relaxed. He was really nice, understanding and not judgmental. He didn't make me feel bad at all, we even shared a few jokes along the way. So he told me what was required and went through all the different stages. After the session I thought this is going to be tough, I can do it!

So many thing to do, so little time... While my health fund is covering the most part, there still is the little problem of the gap. Gap.. Why the hell do we pay for private heath and still have to pay even more... I really do not get it. While I could wait for a heart attack or two to get onto the public waiting list, private health does serve its purpose to some degree.

My gap was as expected, around the $6000 mark and I didn't have the cash to fork over. Some research online even before I went to the information session brought my attention to a little fact that you could possibly have your super fund pay the gap under a program called the Early Release of Super on Medical Grounds.

Initially APRA, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority handled the applications for early release of super, however with the latest machinery of government changes to departments and agencies, this was transferred to the Department of Human Services which now is the umbrella for Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support.

From the new Centrelink page I downloaded the application form and began to fill in the particulars. The key to the process is that you needed to have a letter from your surgeon stating that this was a life threatening condition and that it was not provided for under the general Medicare arrangements. I had this, so I put the final touches on the application, attached all the paperwork required and submitted it online.

The next day I followed up with a phone call, which the lovely computer generated assistant mentioned that it would take approximately 10 working days to process the application and be notified of the outcome. Sweet, leaving me an extra two weeks up my sleeve in case of any delays. When my call was answered I confirmed that they had indeed received the applications and hung up.

Looks like everything is setup ready for the 7th, or is it...


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