This Ought To Be Fun

A few posts back, I talked about my wisdom tooth surgery and how they had to do a bone graft to replace bone taken out of my jaw as well as the hole where the tooth was that they removed.  Apparently, a big enough hole wouldn’t have healed well (if at all) by itself, and could have led to problems with my jaw throughout life.

Yes, it’s as fun as it sounds, plus it still gets sore.  I guess the level of grafting that they had to do, it will probably take another two or three months to fully heal.  It isn’t impacting my eating or any activities, but I still don’t eat foods where you have to pull with your teeth/jaw really hard, and if I do use my jaw a lot, I’ll be pretty sore by the end of the day.

But, the really fun part came with the bill.  Apparently, the $900 figure they printed out wasn’t exactly accurate.  I logged online to my insurance website and saw that the claim had been filed in the amount of $2,400.  Yikes!

I really hope that, like so many procedures, the agreed upon amount is a fraction of what the billed cost was.  That would make my 10% co-pay even worse.

Still, since the claim is in ‘Open’ status I’m having nightmares of them denying the claim altogether or revealing that they will only pay up to a certain amount, or something else crazy like that.  Usually, this insurance company has come through in the past, so I’m hoping that it works out fine, but until that claim status goes from ‘Open’ to something more agreeable, I’m a bit anxious.

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Net Worth Review: October 2009

It’s officially fall.  We never really had all that great of a summer from a ‘warmth’ perspective, so it shouldn’t surprise me that it’s already chilly.  Again, it’s been below normal temperatures, which is sort of the norm for the year.

In any case, here is our net worth chart for October 2009.

Assets

Property – The value of our home was actually reported to go up a little bit this month.  I’ve noticed houses in our neighborhood selling a lot faster than even a few months ago, so I’m hopeful that we’ll at least start seeing some even values for a while, and then hope for some increases in the next year or two.

Autos – My wife’s car actually reported a slight uptick in value this month, for whatever reason.  Mine went down a little bit.  I am hoping to put mine on the market soon, so wish me luck!

Investment Accounts – The stock market went up a little bit, so our investments went up accordingly, which was nice to see!

Cash Accounts – Cash holdings were stable for the month

Retirement Accounts – The market plus regular 401(k) contributions pushed this up.  The total balance for retirement savings is almost at an all time high, which is nice to see.  Although we’re still off from market highs, the regular contributions have helped speed things along when it came to re-building the balance.

Debt

I’m not going to break this down into individual categories, because things have been running on autopilot lately.  We haven’t put any ‘extra’ towards debt, which was pretty much what we expected when we went to a single income.  We’re making progress, but it is definitely not as much fun when you can’t put a little extra.  Still, tax refunds and other windfalls will help in this regard, but they’re going to be the exception and not the norm.

Overall

Though things are running on autopilot, there are some things that I’m very happy about.  The biggest achievement for the month is that if you look at net worth excluding property, our value here is at an all time high!  That mostly has to do with regular contributions to retirement plus paying down debt and not adding any new debt.  Though sometimes it seems like things get a little monotonous, it’s seeing things like this that show we’re making progress!

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Monthly Goals – Review and New Ones for October

Let’s review the goals I set for September and see how I did:

  1. Continue to work out – Mostly accomplished – I was doing great up until my wisdom tooth surgery.  I haven’t gotten back into it yet, just because my recovery has taken a bit longer than expected, but I am gearing up to get back into it full swing next week pending doctor approval.
  2. Recover from wisdom tooth surgery – Mostly accomplished My surgery for extracting teeth was rather complicated, and as an update to my post, I had a further complication last week when a small hole appeared between my sinuses and one of the extraction sites.  The surgeon was fairly confident that this would heal on it’s own.  I’ll find out more next week.  So far it seems to be doing well, and I’m back to eating all but really crunch foods.
  3. Figure out what to do with my MY money – Somewhat accomplished – As I mentioned, I bought a pair of running shoes with money that my parents gave me for my birthday to spend on myself.  I still have some left, but am in no hurry as I don’t want to spend just for the sake of spending, but would rather wait until something truly important comes along.  In any case, the money is earmarked accordingly.
  4. Sell a car / buy a car – Not accomplished – Again, I’ll blame the wisdom teeth. I have a few small things I need to get straightened out, as well as do a thorough cleaning.  I’m moving this to October.
  5. Do good in my fantasy sports leagues – Accomplished – I had dropped from first to fourth in my baseball league, but am now at second.  Either second or third is likely for me, and that will ensure me some prize money.  I also started off 2-1 in my football league, so I can’t complain.  This week might be brutal, though, as I’ve got a double whammy of injuries and bye week players that are leaving me no choice but to field a bunch of scrubs. 
  6. Get caught up on insurance co-pays – Accomplished – Everything is finally caught up with the bills from Baby Beagle’s delivery.  I also had an issue to work out with regard to coverage for Baby Beagle’s immunizations that was straightened out.  Even the oral surgery bills are pretty much finished off, except for one claim that I’m expecting to run through any day.  

October Goals

  1. Get back on the treadmill – By the end of the month I should be fully back into the workout routine unless something really creates a setback with the wisdom teeth removal.
  2. Sell a car / buy a car – I’m moving this one up a month and see no reason that it can’t happen.
  3. Winterize around the house – Some of the windows need re-caulking and I’d like to have the furnace tuned up to make sure everything is running efficiently.  
  4. Donate – I have stuff that needs to be donated that has been with us for way too long.  Getting rid of those piles in the basement and the garage will help get those areas clean, and hopefully help others that can use the items.  
  5. Figure out our Netflix plan – Right now, we’re on the $4.99 minimum plan where you get two movies per month.  We’ve actually now gotten into a habit where we like to watch a movie on Saturday night.  So, this leaves us two or three movies short per month.  I am convinced that our library has a decent enough selection where we could supplement our Netflix rentals with free library rentals, but my wife is skeptical.  We need to go check it out and determine if we can stick to our current Netflix plan or if we will need to bump back up to the next highest plan ($8.99) that would allow us to watch a movie a week.

Happy autumn!

  

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Wisdom Of Teeth Removal

I had three of my four wisdom teeth removed last week.  I had been in discussions with my dentist about my wisdom teeth for years.  Probably 15-18 years ago, he pointed out that my wisdom teeth were in bad locations and were not ideal candidates for ‘automatic’ removal, which is the path that many dentists / oral surgeons seem to be leaning towards.  The idea behind that is that getting them out in your late teen’s or early 20’s is the most ideal time, as your body can adapt and heal the quickest.

The main reason that he recommended holding off is because my bottom wisdom teeth were in very close proximity to a nerve, and he thought the likelihood of damage outweighed the benefit of taking them out without cause.

So, I was fine for years and years, but then a few months ago, the area around one of the teeth started to hurt.  I went to the dentist, and was told that I had an infection and that once a wisdom tooth started getting infections, it should come out.  We gambled on leaving them in, but unfortunately it didn’t pay off.

I was referred to an oral surgeon. Upon exam, he actually recommended taking three of my four teeth.  He recommended the one on the bottom that was getting infected as well as the two on the top, which had shown progression that would lead to decay of other teeth within a few years. He actually pointed out that the surgery would not be easy.  The bottom teeth, in addition to being close to the nerve, were embedded in my jaw.  The upper teeth would need to be cut out, cracked, and removed in pieces to avoid damaging the roots of the nearby teeth.

He recommended that I get knocked out during the surgery.  I stopped him and said that I wanted to get knocked out just for hearing any more details about the extraction!

The day of the surgery came and things went well. The knocking out portion was the easiest.  They hooked up an IV, and I asked “Did you guys start the medicine yet?”  The nurse answered, “Yes, we just did.”  I said, “That’s what I thought because things started….”

And next thing I know, they were waking me up having extracted all three teeth.

All three of the removals were as complex as could possibly be.  The bottom removal required a bone graft in my jaw.  While they didn’t know if any nerve damage occurred, the graft would reduce the chances of any damage being permanent, as well as reduce the time for the bone to heal, which would minimize my chances for future infections.  The upper teeth both were discovered to be extremely close to my sinus walls.  In some cases, the removal actually breaches the sinus wall, in which case secondary surgery is often necessary to close the sinus cavity.  Luckily, mine wasn’t breached, but because the hole from the tooth was so close, I have to take extra medicine and additional precautions to minimize the risk of blowing open my sinus cavity during the healing process.  This meant trying to avoid any sinus pressure, so I was on medicine to reduce that, as well as not holding in sneezes.

So far, my recovery has had it’s ups and downs.  I am still not eating solid foods.  The fact that they had to do so many cuts and go up so deep into my tissue has made it difficult than a simple yank.  I was also concerned that I was still getting occasional bleeding as late as yesterday (4 days after the surgery) but was told that this is normal given the complexity.

On a positive note, the complications seem to *knock on wood* have been minimal.  If I’d had nerve damage, I would have spots on or around my lips where I would have little or no feeling.  So far, I think I’m in the clear.  I also haven’t had any problems with my sinuses, where if I’d have had any bloody noses or undue pressure, there could have been complications.

If I can get away with the short term pain and not being able to eat solids for a week or so, I’ll take that as long as I don’t have any major complications.

The other fun part will be in dealing with the insurance and financial aspect.  I actually went to a different oral surgeon than my dentist referred me to, for the reason that I wanted to go to an in-network facility.  They were great with working with me, and even had me pre-pay a certain amount knowing my dental coverage.  There will be a little bit extra cost on the dental side because my maximum claim limit for the calendar year was exhausted.  That I’m cool with.  What I also expect to be fun is the bone graft side of it.  That gets billed to my medical insurance.

I had previously called my medical insurance provider to make sure that they covered it, and that the oral surgeon was in network.  Both were confirmed.  The submitted claim price for this was $900, so if everything went according to the way it should work, the most I should have to pay is $90, since my insurance covers 90% of such procedures.  It could be less if they have a ‘negotiated’ price on services, which would be nice.

However, things with the insurance company are never easy, so I expect it will not be as easy as just writing a check for $90 to cover that.  It never is.

All in all, I’m on the mend.  Today is the first day that I’ve felt halfway normal, and I’m hoping to be eating somewhat solid foods by the weekend.  It’s so nice to have goals!

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