Friday, July 25, 2014

It's Hard Out There for Hypochondriac

I should be filling out my financial plea for desperation to the hospital right now. Instead, I will just procrastinate and sit here and worry about doing it. A couple of months ago , it was recommended by a doctor at the walk in clinic, that I go and get a fancy cardiac test. I was having trouble breathing. So, at that instant, he had me  convinced that death was imminent and if I survived the night, I would get myself to the hospital to get the test. Only I would drive myself to the emergency room,  I frantically white knuckled the wheel as I talked to myself the whole ride there.I was certain I was knocking on death's door.

Yes, the doctor told me to go to the emergency room, although while at the walk in clinic, all my vital signs were fine, I just had a hard time breathing. The doctor called ahead. I was told I was 'pre  registered'. Whatever the hell that meant. I thought it to mean that somehow I would not get banged for a trip to the e.r. and the subsequent influx of random medical bills flooding my mailbox for the rest of my life (however long that might be).
I sat there all day, got poked, prodded and abused by a nasty ass nurse who did not feel like running a line into my arm and instead used my hand even though they needed one in my arm. You know who you are, you evil evil lady. Amazingly enough, they found no explanation for my inability to breathe and gave me one random antibiotic pill from a z pac, and a nebulizer treatment and sent me on my way.
One day, the bill came. It sat unopened for a good week. One night, when I could not stand it any more, I opened it. It was for $27.31. Wow, I really dodged a bullet there, wow, someone up there likes me, wow, I worried for naught. I told my husband, I first made it sound like I had bad news about the bill, I know he was worried about it too. "I got that bill from the hospital", I said, all somber like. Then I said cheerily, 'it was only $27. 31'. 'See', I said,  'I told you they said it would be billed like  a regular office visit. Since, I was, ya know, pre certified and all.'  We laughed.

I stuffed that bill in my 'to pay' bin. I went on with my life.

Two weeks ago, we got home from vacation. A lovely vacation. The mailman brought the giant pile of mail that we had them hold. I rifled through it. And I saw it. Another letter from the hospital. I honestly thought it was just a 'friendly reminder' for the $27 bucks I put in that 'to pay' bin. I opened it. Just imagine someone punching you in the stomach, then pulling your hair and then throwing some cold water on your head. Go on, imagine it. That is what that invoice with $1260.00 printed on it did to me. Apparently my insurance paid  80% of the total, and I was responsible for the other 20%. What? Aw come on. Jeez. They told me it would not be like a hospital visit. This is going to suck. How am I going to tell my husband?????? I already felt like the biggest hypochondriac asshole for driving myself there and getting that dumb ass test that I did not really need. Why must the universe punish my self esteem even more with this disgraceful debt????? Panic. Sheer panic ensued.

I called my mother. She told me to write a letter. Not entirely comfortable with that, I called billing and with that faint hint of almost crying in my voice, I spoke to the lady and told her that this bill was completely out of my budget and I was not prepared for it. She agreed that it was high. She told me I could fill out a financial aid form and submit it and maybe  they would reduce it. Worse case scenario she said, I could set up a payment plan. Ok, ok I thought. I will fill out the form, I will write a letter, I will do whatever I can. I will fix this.

The form arrived the other day. It is pretty much a scavenger hunt from hell, asking for all kinds of documentation that I will have to tear my house apart looking for. I tried to find my husband's pay stubs, without letting him know why I was looking for them. That did not work. I found pay stubs from a job he had 10 years ago in a shoe box in my hoarders basement. But no current ones. I would bet my last cent that no one fills out this financial aid form because it's just too damn involved. Unfortunately, I had to fess up and ask my husband for his pay stubs and explain why I needed them. Thankfully, he was no where near as mean to me as I am to myself and he said to stop torturing myself. I will not stop torturing myself but I was thankful he responded in the way he was supposed to and it made me even more determined to fill out this Godforsaken form. I am going to include a letter as well.

What I would really like to say is:

Dear Billing Department,
Are you kidding me with this bill? My doctor told me to go in for a test, I went in for a test. If my doctor told me, 'go in for this $1200 dollar waste of the day that won't give you one good answer about your condition and you will be sent on your way with a bloody hand thanks to an asshole nurse and one stupid antibiotic pill' I would  have given the whole endeavor a little more thought.
While I am very thankful that  my cardiovascular system is running smoothly, I kind of think this test was not necessary and I was lead to believe that it was. I do not want to pay this at all. I don't have the funds to pay it in full and I don't want to be reminded of this stupid fiasco each month when $25.00 is taken out of my checking account for the next 20 years.

Can you just be a dear and make this go away? I am a nice person, I let people go ahead of me in the supermarket when they only have 2 items. I put my shopping cart away. I don't litter. Come on, just do this one little favor for me?
Your favorite little hypochondriac

edited to add: I could not breathe because I had anemia. FYI, anemia makes it hard for you to breathe.

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