But the cancer has kept growing, and I went to the E.R. again on Sept. 17 when I found that I was losing all strength in my legs. They did an M.R.I. and saw that there were tumors pressing on my spinal cord. They have been treating me with radiation for three weeks now to shrink those tumors and will continue to do so for another week.
I submitted an application to the hospital for charity care and was approved. The bill is already north of $550,000. Based on the low income on my tax return they knocked it down to $1,339. Swedish Medical Center has treated me better than I ever deserved.
Some doctor bills are not covered by the charity application, and I expect to spend all of my I.R.A. assets before I’m done. Some doctors have been generously treating me without sending bills, and I am humbled by their ethic of service to the patient.
Some things I have to pay for, like $1,700 for the Lupron hormone therapy and $1,400 for an ambulance trip. It’s an arbitrary and haphazard system, and I’m just lucky to live in a city with a highly competent and generous hospital like Swedish.