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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Starting the New Year off with a BANG!

And the "BANG!" was the sound of the neighbor's sewer cap blasting into the air, followed by a flood of water into their yard and a huge geyser of sewage spewing forth from their downstairs toilet . This happened after I ran a load of laundry and, um, flushed our toilet....

And all this happened after I had been experiencing slow running drains and our toilet backing up and making strange gurgling sounds for a couple weeks, and called a plumber in to look at the problem. That plumber told me I needed the sewer line "roto-rootered" which he did for $200.00. He then ran a video scope down the pipes and told me that one of my sewer pipes had "collapsed" and my sewer line would need to be replaced to the tune of $4,000.

So the first thing I did was call a couple of other plumbers--well, that's not true. The first thing I did was totally freak out.  The second thing I did was call a couple of plumbers to get a second opinion and a couple more estimates.  The third thing I did was call the city to look into an "emergency loan" for "low income homeowners" needing "emergency repairs". The city told me that we would have to qualify for that emergency loan and the application process would take 2-3 months. Two to three months? I'm thinking, I could be standing knee deep in water in two-three months....

The two plumbers arrive (oddly at the same time!) and both run a video scope down the sewer line and both find there is no "collapsed" pipe but a bunch of tree roots growing in the pipes. Both, however, agree that there is a place in the pipeline where water is "standing" (not good) and they cannot see beyond this and don't know what exactly is going on.

So, I hired the plumber with the best bid to "hydro-jet" the line in order to clear out the roots and get a clearer picture of what was going. And thank you, mom and dad, for paying for this, because otherwise, I tell you, I don't know what I would've done. Perhaps jump off a cliff.  Anyway...

That was Friday. The work was scheduled for Tuesday. On Sunday, the neighbor's sewer cap became airborne.

It turns out that quite strangely our sewer pipe is connected to the neighbor's sewer pipe which is connected to another neighbor's sewer pipe before connecting to the "city tap". The city calls this a "shared line"--yes, I called the city and talked to them. They told me it's not the city's problem but the property owners and we have to "work out" the repairs between us. Which will be hard to do as the third house is vacant, being auctioned off for back taxes next month....

On Tuesday, my part of the line was cleared out, it was found that the main problem lies not within our sewer pipe but in the neighbor's, and if he doesn't fix it, well, I may just be standing knee deep in water....  The neighbor tells me that he's going to "look into it" because he sincerely thinks the problem may be in the part of the line behind the vacant/county owned house. The plumber advised me to "get a lawyer".... jeepers.

So, because I promised everyone involved (plumbers, owner of the property next door) that I would go "easy" on the plumbing until the problem is fixed--I am now sneaking around like a thief trying to wash my laundry (small loads) at odd hours (think: midnight, 6 a.m.) with the hope that no one will be using the plumbing except me and it won't back up, or if the sewage does back up in the neighbors' house and yard, they, um, might sleep through it. Ha!

Because I have to do daily laundry. I mean I have a daily laundry basket of urine soaked bed pads and towels. This from Bob, not me, in case you were wondering.

I feel I'm doing well if I don't hear any screams coming from next door... So far, so good.

And while I'm dealing with this plumbing nightmare, I get a call from the infusion pharmacy that delivers Bob's feeding tube supplies. They tell me that the new insurance will not pay for Bob's "nutrition formula" (i.e. the Jevity) because he is "over the age of 25" and the stuff costs $156.00 a month -- and do I want them to send it over anyway? GA!  The insurance company, however, will pay for the feeding bags, syringes, gauze pads, just not the nutrition formula. Which really makes no darn sense at all.

So I'm on the phone trying to get this straightened out, because the insurance agent assured me that this stuff would be covered... After going round and round with multiple phone calls, back and forth, insurance agent, insurance company, infusion pharmacy and some other strange place I was told to call and just completely confused me,  I finally learned that the insurance company wants "proof of medical necessity" before they will consider covering the cost of the formula. I now have asked the doctor's office to send a request for an "Urgent Medical Review" to the insurance company along with Bob's diagnosis codes, etc.  Meanwhile, I put Bob on a diet so I can save up some Jevity. He only has an eight day supply left! It seems to me one should not have to jump through these hoops. I mean, I ask you: why on earth would a doctor order feeding tube nutrition and supplies if they were NOT medically necessary???? And what am I supposed to do? Starve Bob until this is figured out??

And add to that, I am still fighting for a home draw for Bob's weekly blood test. The last battle scene this week went like this:

Nurse: I'm calling to tell you that the insurance will not pay for a home draw, so I'm sending you a lab slip to take with you to the lab.

Me: What?!!!!

Nurse: So you take the lab slip to any lab you choose---

Me: But the insurance company told me they would pay for a home health nurse to do his weekly PT/INR.

Nurse: I'm sorry, but they will not send a home health nurse just for PT/INR. It's not considered a skill etc. etc. etc., blah blah blah

Me: silently GAAAAAAA!!! (because I've heard this argument from their office three times before)

Nurse: blah blah blah -- In order to have home health care there must be at least two skills required by a nurse blah blah blah

Me: Look, the insurance company TOLD ME they would pay for this if the doctor ordered it.

Nurse: I'm sorry, they were wrong.

Me: But it was the INSURANCE COMPANY that TOLD ME they would pay for it if the doctor ordered it. I think that the insurance company should know what the insurance company will pay for!

Nurse: But if they were going to pay for it, you would have already been contacted by a home health care agency!

Me: I was contacted by the INSURANCE COMPANY, who told me that they cancelled the order because Dr. Big Cheese at your office refused to sign the referral!

Nurse: (long pause) Can you hold on a minute?

So now I'm told that the referral is waiting in Bob's regular doctor's mailbox for him to sign. I asked when that doctor will be in but am told they are unsure because he's been covering for someone else at the hospital who is on vacation.... So, no blood tests this week. We'll see what happens next.

I tell you, if I'm not out in the yard with plumbers, I'm spending all my time on the phone lately.

Never a dull moment, here at The Pink House!


Elizabeth, John and Jack said...

I'm sorry to hear about your latest issues. It seems there's always new challenges along your already "bumpy" road. I used to be a sales rep for Abbott and I'm sure your local rep, if you have one, would love to help you with the jevity. They might help you with the insurance too. Either call the md and ask for the reps # or call Abbott. They will probably help you with at least some of the feeding issues. All the best!!

J.L. Murphey said...

Wow Diane, you've had a nasty couple of weeks.

Happy new year. sounds like your neighbors had a smelly explosion. I thought I had it bad when my drain field for my septic tank collapsed the day before my stroke. I had a mess and half to clean up after I finally got home from the hospital a month later. Yours is worse.

Anonymous said...

I think the saying, "If I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all" was created for you. It just never seems to end for you.

I do hope the neighbor gets on the ball and gets his section of the sewer line cleared.

Sending you lots of hugs and prayers.


Thomas E said...

Is home testing for INR a possibility? I know in the uk it is becoming routine for people who find it hard to get to the doctors.

(I.e. you are given a machine and carry out the test the same way a diabetic would.)