Attempts To Cut The Line Are Painful

, , , , | Healthy | June 22, 2018

(I go to a small chiropractic office with no receptionist. As you come in, you ask the others waiting who is last in line, and then you know where your place is in line. The doctor brings the previous person out, and the next person in line goes in. Works excellent, usually. One day, I have been waiting through three or four previous patients and I am the only one left waiting. A guy comes in, looks around and sees me, a middle-aged woman, standing there.)

Guy: “I’m sure you won’t mind if I go ahead of you. I’m in a lot of pain.”

Me: “Actually, I’m in quite a bit of pain, too.”

(The guy gives me a dirty look and sits down. The doctor emerges and the guy jumps up to be next. The doctor swivels sideways to block the guy’s entrance to the office.)

Doctor: “Hello, [My Name], you’ve been waiting so patiently even though you’re in too much pain to sit down. I’m sorry to have been so long.”

(Apparently the guy tried this whenever there was a woman in front of him. Love my chiropractor.)

America: The Land Of The Freely Medicated

, , , , , | Healthy | June 21, 2018

(I consider myself very lucky that I have always been healthy. I was never sick often as a kid, and have no chronic ailments as an adult. Call me crazy, but I generally assumed that was the case for most people unless they had a serious accident, or developed a condition, etc. That is, until recently, when I check into the hospital for a minor procedure. Nothing is wrong; this is a procedure having to do with fertility. My mom goes with me the morning of my appointment and is sitting by my bed while I fill out the final pre-surgery forms and get set up with the IV, etc. Over the course of the next half-hour, I have only slightly different versions of the same conversation with every nurse and doctor who comes to check on me:)

Nurse #1: *checks my chart* “I see here your only medication is birth control?”

Me: “That’s right.”

Nurse #1: “No allergies? No other medications?”

Me: “Nope.”

Nurse #1: “Hmm… Okay.” *leaves*

(Mom and I give each other a look, but don’t think anything else of it. Then the next conversations happen:)

Nurse #2: “Are you sure you don’t take any other medications?”

Nurse #3: “Are you sure you don’t have allergies?”

Doctor #1: “Wow! No other meds?”

Nurse #4: “I can’t believe you’re not taking anything else!”

Doctor #2: “Birth control is the only thing you take?”

Me: *turning to my mom after the last doctor leaves* “Are they being really, really thorough, or do we just live in a very unhealthy area?”

Mom: “When I had surgery last year only two people asked me about the medicines I take. It seems strange to me, too, and you’re so young! What do they expect you to be taking?”

(The procedure goes fine, and soon I’m waking up from the anesthesia.)

Mom: “Hi, honey.”

Nurse #5: “Hi there, [My Name]! You did great!” *checks my chart* “Are you really only taking birth control, and nothing else?”

Me: *slurred and groggy* “Seriously?! How unhealthy did you expect me to be?!”

Taking A Knee To The Wallet

, , , , | Healthy | June 11, 2018

(I work for a Spanish company in Madrid. The company’s CFO and I fly to New York for ten days for several business meetings. After arriving in New York, I trip and injure my knee. As we have the first business meeting that afternoon, I just bite through the pain, and go to the meeting. After the meeting, in conversation with my CFO:)

CFO: “[My Name], is your knee still hurting? You were awfully quiet the entire meeting.”

Me: “Yep, still hurts. I’ll put some ice on it when we get to the hotel after dinner to see if it helps.”

(The next morning my knee still hurts, and now it’s swollen. My CFO insists that I go to the hospital, and takes me to the emergency room. I am seen in less than half an hour by a doctor.)

Doctor: “So, what’s wrong?”

Me: “I tripped yesterday and hurt my knee. I had ice on it the entire evening, but it didn’t get better. It’s slightly swollen.”

Doctor: “All right, and does it hurt?”

Me: “Yes, it does.”

Doctor: “Okay. Let’s take an x-ray, and I’ll give you some medicine for the pain.”

(The x-ray is taken. I receive my medicine and wait for the doctor to come see me again.)

Doctor: “All right, it seems you did fall pretty bad. You did some serious damage to your knee, and will definitely need surgery, sooner rather than later. We can do it here if you’d like.”

(As my CFO is there with me, I quickly speak to him.)

Me: “[CFO], I have no idea how much this is going to cost. I can pay this x-ray; however, I’m not sure about the surgery and hospital stay.”

CFO: “[My Name], don’t worry. It happened on a business trip; the company will pay for everything.”

Me: “Thank you! [Doctor], I’d like to do the surgery, then.”

Doctor: “Okay, perfect. I cannot do it today, but wait in the waiting room and I’ll send someone to tell you when we will be available within the next few days.”

(We both go and sit in the waiting room and wait for almost one hour, before someone in a suit shows up.)

Billing Guy: “Hello, my name is [Billing Guy], and I am from the billing department. Since you are a foreign citizen and have no insurance, we need to go over the costs first. First of all, I expedited the billing of your ER visit, and the x-ray and medicine you had costs [amount slightly under $1,300], which you have to pay before we can even think about scheduling the surgery. The surgery itself will require you to stay in the hospital for a while, and will be significantly more expensive. We cannot tell you how much it will be, as it varies; however, if you want to play it on the safe side you can expect something between $25,000 and $30,000.”

CFO: *suddenly awake* “Okay, the $1,300 I can pay right now. The surgery should not be a problem, as well; however, I need to call HQ to let them know.”

Billing Guy:Should? All right, I will have to speak to my boss. Leave me your contact details, go back to your hotel, and I will call you the latest tomorrow morning so we can work out the details.”

(Two days pass, with no word whatsoever. Suddenly, in the middle of our next meeting my CFO gets a call and excuses himself from the meeting. He’s gone for almost half an hour. When he comes back:)

CFO: “[My Name], they refused to do the surgery, as they couldn’t be sure we would pay. I told them we already paid the ER visit with no problems whatsoever, but it wasn’t enough for them. They said our company’s finance department could afterwards simply refuse to pay. I told him I was the CFO and would guarantee payment, but that wasn’t enough for them.”

Me: “Okay, I can work this way for another week, and I’ll just go to the hospital back in Madrid.”

CFO: “No, you can’t. I already called the airline; they changed both our flights. We fly back this evening, and [CEO] is on the phone with a doctor friend of his who works at [Public Hospital] to make sure they’re ready for you as soon as you arrive.”

Me: “And the meetings?”

CFO: “We’ll reschedule; don’t worry.”

(The next day we flew back home, and my wife met me at the airport and drove me to the hospital where they were waiting for me. They immediately took an x-ray, confirmed I indeed needed immediate surgery, and simply did it. Including fuel money, surgery, medicine, and hospital stay, it didn’t cost more than a lunch for two. I now appreciate our Public Health Care system; even though it sometimes is slow, it is either free or inexpensive. Kudos to you Americans for being able to live with that health care system of yours without insurance. I am not sure I would be able to do it.)

Man, Have They Got A Problem

, , , , , , , | Healthy | June 6, 2018

(I’ve gone to the emergency room. I get checked in through triage, and the nurse gives me the appropriate paperwork and sends me to the next waiting area. I drop my paperwork into the tray at the waiting area as instructed and take a seat. There are five or six other people already waiting. Every few minutes, a nurse will call a name and direct that person to an exam room.)

Nurse: “[Female Name that isn’t mine].”

(Nobody responds.)

Nurse: *repeats*

(Still no response.)

Nurse: *looks directly at me* “Are you [Female Name that isn’t mine]?”

Me: *a male, shakes head* “No, that’s not me.”

(The nurse disappears after that. A short while later I’m called by the same nurse and sent to an exam room. The nurse pulls open the curtain and there’s already someone there. She seems surprised by this but directs me to another room and leaves the curtain somewhat open as I sit down. The doctor comes in to see me after a few more minutes.)

Doctor: *reading his papers* “Okay, [Female Name that isn’t mine], looks like you’re here for [not my issue].”

Me: *still a male* “No, I’m [My Name], and I’m here for [my concern].”

(The doctor looked up for the first time and saw me. He was obviously confused, but double-checked his papers and walked out. I saw him go to the occupied room I was sent to initially. I don’t know why they were so insistent on me being that woman.)

IOU One IUD, Part 2

, , , , , | Healthy | January 25, 2018

(I go to a family doctor, meaning she’s qualified to treat children and adults, so she’s been seeing me since I was 12. I’m 18 at the time of the story. This conversation takes place during my annual check-up.)

Me: “Can you write me a referral to the gynecologist? I want to get an IUD.”

Doctor: “What? Why do you need an IUD? You said on the forms that you’re not sexually active.”

Me: “Well, I’m not yet, but I’m leaving for college, and I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Doctor: “No. No, you’re too young for birth control.”

Me: “Excuse me? I’m eighteen.”

Doctor: “And you’re not married. You’re too young for birth control, and besides, if you have an IUD and you get pregnant, chances are you’d miscarry when you had it removed.”

Me: “Being married doesn’t have anything to do with it, and if I got pregnant while on birth control, it’s not like I’d want to carry the pregnancy to term, anyway. And isn’t the chance of getting pregnant with an IUD, like, less than one percent?”

Doctor: “It doesn’t matter; I won’t write you a referral. Does your mother know you’re planning this? I need to speak to your mother.”

Me: “Hang on. I am eighteen years old—”

(She walks out of the office and into the waiting room and gets my mother. My mom comes into the exam room and listens to her, while I protest.)

Mom: “Um… [Doctor], you do realize you just committed a pretty major HIPPA violation, right? She’s eighteen, and legally an adult. She’s allowed to make these choices herself.”

Doctor: “Well! I am not writing this referral for a young girl to be given an IUD!”

Me: “Fine! I’ll figure it out myself!”

(My mom helped me get an appointment with a gynecologist — which my insurance allows me to do, but the way the system is set up, for non-emergencies it’s much easier to get an appointment if your GP gives you a referral first — and we filed a complaint with the hospital against the doctor. She was an older woman, and apparently this wasn’t the first time she’d tried to push her own agenda on a patient, but it was the first time she’d disclosed medical information without someone’s consent, so she was “encouraged to retire” and no longer practices medicine.)


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