Yesterday at 10 am Arden’s dentist began a procedure that normally starts with the child being put to sleep. A procedure that because of Arden’s diabetes needed to be performed in a hospital. But instead of a hospital we did it in the dentist office. Instead of being asleep Arden was awake. All because United Healthcare refused to cover an anesthesiologist and an outpatient visit.
Arden (as you can see in the picture) was scared but she sat in the chair without incident. She tried her best to be brave but she became upset when she received the injection in her jaw. She pulled herself together as best she could but about 5 minutes into the work her fear got the best of her. Later that night I told Arden that, “she was very brave today” and that, “she was toughest little girl I knew”. Arden replied that, “I’m not tough - I couldn’t stop crying”.
Hopefully someone from United Health Care will read this next part...
I began the procedure by holding Arden’s hand and rubbing her legs so she would know that I was right there. After a few minutes I had to let go of her hand and take hold of her wrists to keep her still. By the end I was laying across her legs, I had her arms pinned at her sides with my elbows and I was restraining her head with my hands. All the while she screamed and begged to go home. I hope sincerely that the few thousand dollars United saved yesterday makes that all worthwhile.
A side from the psychological trauma Arden endured yesterday her long-term health was also effected. I began preparing Arden’s blood glucose the night before. I sent her to bed with a little too much insulin so that she would wake up on the low side in the morning. She woke up with a BG of 66. I let her sip a tiny bit of juice to get her above 100 and by 10am she was 120. I withheld all of her insulin to avoid a dangerous low during the procedure.
The stress of the dental work caused her blood glucose to rise to 220. I gave her Levemir after the work was finished to try and hold it steady at 220 but I couldn’t risk trying to bring her level down because she was significantly distressed and unable to eat or drink. By the time it was safe to begin the process of bringing Arden’s blood glucose down to a safe level she was 400. I was finally able to get her corrected by 5:30 pm. Arden spent the day feeling nausea, loosing minutes from the end of her life and frightened beyond description because United Health Care had a loophole at their disposal that let them ignore Arden’s basic needs. A loophole that cost her in more then one horrible way. United’s actions also provided me one of the worst days of my life as a parent - and if you read this blog, you know that says a lot.
The doctor was only able to repair the two worst teeth. There are more but now we wait to see if our appeals reach a person at United whose conscious is stronger then their desire to effect the bottom line.
I want to say that the dentist that did Arden’s work yesterday was fantastic, as was his entire staff. I’m not sure if he wants his name on the blog so I’ll just say, thank you to Doctor G. He bravely performed a procedure that for many reasons many doctors would have passed on, he did it because we couldn’t afford to do it another way. If United Health Care had even 1% of his compassion for children this never would have happened. They should be ashamed.
There are many ways you can become an advocate for children with diabetes. A great place to get started is here.