Risk Of Breast Cancer Is Not The Worst Thing In This Story

, , , , , | | Healthy | May 26, 2019

I’m a young woman who doesn’t have to go in for yearly mammograms, but when doing a check one month, I notice a possible lump. Women are encouraged to visit their doctor immediately when this happens, as breast cancer can be very aggressive. I go in to my regular doctor office, but the PA I normally see is on maternity leave, so a different one is scheduled for my visit.

The new physician is nice, but it all goes downhill once she refers me for additional testing. Her assistant schedules the referral without a checking date or time with me and doesn’t give me all the appointment info. My mammogram appointment starts out rocky as a result, but thankfully they don’t find any cancer so I’m pronounced healthy and sent on my way.

Fast forward a couple weeks, and I get an outrageous bill for the facility I was referred to. I reach out to the hospital billing and then my doctor’s office. The hospital billing team is very nice but the doctor’s office doesn’t care that they botched my referral by pushing me over to one of their connected facilities. I talk to them about once a week for a month and a half, and their office manager can’t remember to return my calls. Finally, after leaving a message for the office manager’s boss, hospital billing gets involved.

The office manager has requested that they just comp my bill because of all the issues –more than what I mentioned above — I’ve had when dealing with them. She says it should be cleared up, so I end that call relieved. Hospital billing steps in, and suddenly I’m being told that my bill is not being comped. I’m normally non-confrontational, but the woman I’m speaking to is so rude and doesn’t seem to care that her organization’s facilities have repeatedly messed up just about every interaction I’ve had related to this initial visit, or that I’ve been promised the bill will be written off already. We argue for several minutes until she agrees to take another day to look into this more and decide. It’s really just a stall on her part, as reneging on writing off the remaining bill will be going back on what her colleague promised.  

She calls me the next day and begrudgingly agrees that they’ll comp my bill. I also end up speaking to the office manager again, who reminds me that they’ll expect me to pay my bills in the future.

For the record, I always pay my bills and had given them an initial payment which I thought was kind of a co-pay. I learned better as a result of this and will not make that mistake again.

We all think everything is resolved until a couple months later, when I get some cryptic call from some woman that I can barely understand. She’s asking for me to identify myself so she can discuss my account with me. I tell her that I don’t know who she is and I’m not comfortable with sharing personal info. She says that’s fine but I should call them back when I’m ready. Somewhere during the conversation, she says something that makes me realize this is a collections call.

Of course, she won’t tell me anything unless I share my info with her, but the only billing snafu of late was the hospital one. So, I call them and end up finding out that when they bill, the facility sends one bill but the radiologist sends a separate bill. And somehow, I should know that these bills are sent separately.

By now, I’m freaked because a) I thought this was resolved a few months ago, and b) I’m planning to buy a house and don’t want a collections account to show up on my credit report.

I make a few calls that result in me leaving a message with the rude hospital billing lady I spoke to a few months before. She leaves me a message later letting me know that she’s spoken to the second billing team and it should be taken care of. Our insurance person at work also tells me to call back the collections agency and let them know I’m working things out with the hospital. I do and they freeze the collections account for me.

I’ve not heard anything from either billing group, so it all seems to be resolved now. And I’ve switched to a different doctor’s office, one not connected to the hospital. Everyone is really nice and so far I’ve had no issues.

Moral of the story: ask lots of questions when your doctor refers you anywhere. And don’t go unless your insurance has signed off on that being the best in-network facility and estimated how much it will cost.

The Sub Is Sub Standard

, , , , | | Healthy | May 24, 2019

(I am in fifth grade, about ten years old. We are learning to play basketball in gym class, which is more or less just dribbling and passing. One of the boys in class decides, for whatever reason, to deliberately chuck a basketball full-force at my face. It hits me VERY hard in the jaw, and I hear and feel a loud snap in my mouth. The boy is made to run laps for the remainder of class while I am sent to the nurse’s office. Normally our nurse is great, and she knows me well because I am sick fairly often due to a weak immune system, but unfortunately, she is out today and we have a substitute.)

Me: *timidly* “Excuse me.”

Sub Nurse: *rudely and without looking up from her trashy “women’s interests” magazine* “What?”

Me: “Um, I got hit in the mouth during gym and I think I broke a tooth.”

Sub Nurse: *still not looking up* “You’re fine. Go back to class.”

Me: “But it hit really hard and I felt something crack. I really think my tooth is broken.”

Sub Nurse: *STILL not looking up* “You’re fine. Now go away!”

Me: “But you didn’t even look!”

Sub Nurse: *FINALLY looking up at me, glaring* “God, I am so sick of you kids making up stupid excuses just to get out of class for a few minutes! There’s nothing wrong with you. Now get back to class and stop bothering me!”

(I’m an extremely shy, mild-mannered child and I don’t know what to do, so I leave. Gym class is the second class of the day, meaning I spend the better part of three hours with a bruised jaw and a broken tooth. Finally, it is time to go home and I tell my mom what happened. She looks at my tooth, confirms it is broken, and takes me to the dentist, who easily removes the pieces of my tooth with a piece of gauze.)

Dentist: “Wow, you didn’t just break this; you snapped it clean in half! What happened, hun?”

Me: “A boy in gym class hit me in the face with a basketball.”

Dentist: *sympathetically* “Yeah, boys are dumb at your age. But why didn’t you go to the school nurse?”

Me: “I did. She wasn’t in, and the sub told me I was fine and to go away and stop bothering her. She didn’t even look at my tooth.”

Dentist: *silent for a moment* “I see. What school do you go to again?”

Me: “[Middle School].”

Dentist: “Okay. Well, here’s your tooth, [My Name]. I’m sure the Tooth Fairy will give you something a little extra, considering the circumstances.”

(The dentist gave a knowing smile to my mom, who smiled back. The next day at school the regular nurse was back and she apologized for what the sub had done. Apparently, my dentist had called the school after Mom and I left his office and told the principal what had happened. Mom got a VERY apologetic phone call from the principal!)

Not Thinking Outside The Damaged Box

, , , | | Working | May 21, 2019

(I order a fake fireplace heating unit and TV stand for my living room from a popular hardware and home improvement store. The order process is no problem and it arrives earlier than expected. The problems start when I begin unboxing the unit. There are several small pieces missing and the top and bottom panels are both damaged. I check the box over but can’t find any damage to say it was caused in transit, so I call the number on the care guide. It specifically says, “Before contacting [Store], call [Store] Customer Service at [800-number].” So I do.)

Customer Service: “Hello, and thank you for calling [Store] customer service. This is [Rep] on a recorded line. How can I help you today?”

Me: “Hi. I purchased [item] online last Friday, it—“

Customer Service: “Can I have your order number, please?”

Me: “Yes, it’s [number].”

Customer Service: “Is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Customer Service: “Yes, we have that your order was delivered two days ago.”

Me: “Yes, but it was damaged.”

Customer Service: “Damaged?”

Me: “Yes, the top and bottom panels are scratched and the laminate is peeling.”

Customer Service: “Okay.”

Me: “…”

Customer Service: “…”

Me: “So… I’d like a replacement?”

Customer Service: *pause* “Let me contact the warehouse.”

(I’m on hold for over ten minutes.)

Customer Service: “Ma’am?”

Me: “Yes?”

Customer Service: “There’s no one in the warehouse.”

Me: “Uh. Okay, so when will there be someone in the warehouse?”

Customer Service: “Hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.”

Me: “You’re aware that it’s 2:00 pm on a Saturday, right?”

Customer Service: *pause* “No one is in the warehouse today.”

Me: “Okay. So… when will someone be in the warehouse?”

Customer Service: “Hours are—“

Me: “You said that. By your own admission, someone should be there now, but they’re not. So, when can I get this replaced?”

Customer Service: “When someone is in the warehouse.”

Me: “So, just… never, maybe?”

Customer Service: *offended* “[Store] places customer satisfaction as an utmost priority.”

 Me: “That’s not the impression I’m getting.”

Customer Service: *ends the call*

(I wait until Monday to call again and hope that I’ll get someone else. Luckily, I do.)

Me: “Hi.” *gives brief overview of my problem* “I’m hoping to either get the parts replaced or a full refund.”

New Customer Service: “Okay, let me just see here.” *pause* “I have that you contacted us on Saturday for these parts, correct?”

Me: “Yes, but I was told there was no one in the warehouse.”

New Customer Service: “Oh. After 6:00 pm everyone goes home; I apologize for your wait.”

Me: “It was 2:00 pm.”

New Customer Service: “2:00 pm? No one was there?”

Me: “Not according to [Rep] when I spoke with her on Saturday. She didn’t seem to know when I would get help, either.”

New Customer Service: “That’s odd. Could I put you on hold, please? Let me just… Let me look into this.”

Me: “Okay.”

(I’m on hold for less than five minutes.)

New Customer Service: “I apologize, ma’am. I just listened to your call, and she must have been misinformed. There was someone in the warehouse that day. I don’t know what went wrong but I will take care of this for you.”

Me: “Thank you! What do I need to do?”

New Customer Service: “Well, you have a choice. You can go to your nearest store and return the unit if you’d just like your money back, or I can arrange for a pickup at your house so that we can do an exchange for you and have the new unit delivered in a few days.”

Me: “I really like this unit, so I’d like to exchange, please.”

New Customer Service: “I can do that. It looks like we can have someone come out tomorrow between 8:00 and 10:00 AM, if that works for you. They’ll take it to your local store to have it shipped back to our warehouse and you’ll get a new unit in a few days.”

Me: “That’s great. Thank you so much!”

(I boxed everything back up, sent it back to the warehouse, and I waited. And waited. And waited. On day 19, the package appeared on my doorstep. I opened the box to see that I had been shipped the exact same unit I’d just sent back. I loaded everything in my car and drove straight to the nearest store and got my money back. The manager on duty tried to short me $80 because it went on sale and that was the current price. I pulled up my order on my phone, proving what I’d paid, and he grudgingly agreed. He also refused to refund shipping, so I had to take the $15 loss since that isn’t controlled or charged by their company, but I was willing to do it to end this whole ordeal. I found a similar unit at a competitor’s store and they let me open the box to see if it was damaged before buying it. And no, I did not request a discount or an unopened box for my troubles!)

Acting Like A Caffeine Teen

, , , , , | | Working | May 21, 2019

(My coworker, who has just come in for her shift, comes up to my desk. She’s in her 20s and a fairly intelligent person, or so I thought. By my desk is a small coffee station for the residents, visitors, and staff.)

Coworker: “Is there any coffee up here?”

Me: “Probably not by this time of day. You could try in the kitchen and see if they have any.”

Coworker: *whiny voice* “I just did. They don’t. What do I do now?”

Me: *pause* “You could make some?”

Coworker: *eyes go wide* “Oh… I guess I could do that!” *trots off happily to the kitchen to do so*

Me: “I need to go home now.”

Pregnant With An Angry Appendix

, , , , , | | Healthy | May 21, 2019

(I am 19 years old and I’ve been experiencing intense pain and vomiting bile all night. I go to urgent care and am diagnosed with appendicitis and given pain meds before being transported to the hospital around 11:00 am.)

ER Nurse: “We need to give you an MRI. Take this pregnancy test, and then we can figure out what’s going on.”

Mom: “She has already been diagnosed with appendicitis at urgent care; they called and we are here for treatment.”

ER Nurse: “Well, they can only diagnose, not treat, so we need you to take the tests.”

Mom: “She will not take the tests again. You need to look in your files and find the test results they sent over.”

(I ended up going into surgery at almost 10:00 pm after being in even worse pain all day, with no meds because I wasn’t in a room but in the waiting room. I was released at 9:00 am the next day, went septic that night, and spent another three days in the hospital. We later learned that my appendix had ruptured while I was waiting and they still sent me home.)

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