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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When A Question Costs $35.00

So yesterday, I'm going through the pile of medical invoices on my desk and I run across a new one from the foot surgeon.

Now, I've just made a payment to the foot surgeon earlier this month, and I was kind of surprised at the amount still owed. After going over the invoice, I realized that they had charged Bob $35.00 for an office visit which was a post-surgical (free) office visit. So I called and left a message with the billing department.

Who called me back.

And told me that during that post-surgical office visit, I had asked the doctor a question about Bob's right foot. And since it was the left foot that had been operated on, the question about the right foot disqualified the office visit's "post surgical" status. And therefore, we are being charged a regular office visit.

And I said, what?!

She said, you talked with the doctor about his right foot and so therefore you are being billed for the office visit.

I said, but this was a post-surgical visit. They took x-rays of his left foot that day and everything!

She said, well, I'm sorry, you shouldn't have asked about the right foot.

I said, this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of! Since when do doctor's charge $35.00 to answer a question???

She said,  if the question had been about the left foot, you would not be charged. But you asked a question about his right foot.

I said, I asked the doctor if he could look at the right foot because I was worried it might need the same surgery as the left foot. So, I was actually talking about the same surgery as the left foot---

She said, I'm sorry ma'am. You asked about the right foot. And that disqualifies the visit as post-surgical.

I said, Geezus, you ought to warn people not to ask the doctor any questions! You ought to have a sign in the office! This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of!  Can I talk to a supervisor?

She said, You'll have to talk to the doctor.

I said, Get me the doctor.

And she said, he doesn't take phone calls so you'll have to write him a letter.

And I said, well, we see that doctor tomorrow, can I ask him about this then?

She said, of course.

So we're off to the doctor's office today. But, I just realized, this is a free post-surgical appointment so am I allowed to ask the doctor about the bill? Or will he charge me another $35.00?

All I can say is: GA!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Day at the Beach (sort of)

I did manage to get Bob to the beach while my sister was staying there, and managed to wheel him out to the end of the boardwalk to see the sand and the water in the distance. And I could see the wistful look in his eye. And he said, "Nice."
Bob with my sister and her friend at the beach motel.

But after an hour, his pain levels skyrocketed.

So we didn't stay very long.

At one point, I went down to the water alone, to look out at the waves, and Bob told my sister, "Sad."

Afterward, he told me, "I try."

I tell you, it breaks my heart that he can't enjoy simple things like a sunny day at the beach, anymore.

Anyway, last Friday, we went back to the neurologist and Bob got a second set of Botox injections in his neck, leg and also in his right foot.

Yes, you read that right:  right foot. That because the post-stroke dystonia is spreading and now the  toes on his right foot are starting to curl in just like they did in his left foot. It seems, in fact, that his whole body is sort of twisting and he is no longer comfortable sitting in the wheelchair.  And although his left toes have been surgically straightened, he is still complaining of pain in that area.

The neurologist thinks the pain Bob has been experiencing in his foot and also his mouth are caused by "central nerve pain" and he prescribed Lyrica. Which Bob's used once before and it didn't seem to do anything. But this is different pain, so we'll try it again and see what happens.

Meanwhile, my sister has gone back north and life is back to "normal" here. And I am feeling recharged and much more relaxed, though a bit sad to see her go...

But good news: I got 20 more units of home PT approved by the insurance! So Bob will have therapy through the end of the year. Then, I'll have to fight for more.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

And Bob said

to my sister, when I left the room:

"Diane," and he pointed in my direction. 
"I want to kiss her... and, um, but..." 
he pointed to his mouth, 
"not working...hurt..."

"And want to..."
He touched his hand to his chest, 
"open my heart...
"my heart to her... but..."
He touched his forehead,
"...all fucked up."

I tell you, sometimes I am just filled with the saddest joy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Went to mediation today and what a joke...

I am not supposed to talk about the details as it is all "confidential", i.e. "what happens in mediation stays in mediation" sort of like Las Vegas, I guess.

But I will say that the only offer the defense actually put on the table didn't even cover the amount of the insurance company's lien, not to mention attorney's fees. So we would have ended up with no money and deeply in debt...

All I can say is I am seething....

And can't believe that attorneys (for the defense) will actually look you in the eye and make up lies.

It was a really stressful day.

Tomorrow, our attorney is filing for a court date. Law has it that you can't file for a court date until you have tried mediation.  So we did that and now onto the next step.  Our attorney thinks we might get a court date set for about seven months from now...

And I am glad my sister is still here. Tomorrow, we shall go out and about and will try to have some fun and forget about this crap.

Now, I need to try to get some sleep....

Monday, November 11, 2013

Having a Wonderful Time!

Well, I can't sleep and here it is 2:30 a.m. and I need to get up at 5:30 to get ready for mediation day. So this is just a quick update:

And my goodness, I have been having fun this week! My sister and her friend are still here and we haven't been doing anything spectacular but have been going out to lunch and shopping and laughing and talking and sipping margaritas at the water's edge! And jeepers, it's just what I needed to recharge my batteries! (Chris, bless her soul, has been sitting with Bob so that I can get out and about.)

Yesterday, we had a "professional" caregiver to watch over Bob (thanks mom and dad!) and for the price, she also does "light housekeeping" so I asked her to clean my office (which hasn't been cleaned in 3 years! yikes!) and when we came home, after a day of flea marketing and a nice shrimp scampi dinner, my oak desk and file cabinet and library table were all lemon oiled and gleaming and the cobwebs were out of the corners and the dust all gone, I tell you, I feel like a queen!

For some reason, it took a lot of gumption just to ask for this little cleaning job. I guess I hate to ask for help.... but I am learning.

On Friday, I had to sit in on the deposition of the surgeon for our lawsuit. All went well and my sister and her friend stayed with Bob and cleaned Bob's room (the living room) and the bedroom while I was gone!

So my house in getting cleaned up and I am getting some much needed rest.

The only bad thing is Bob does not want go out and about. I really wanted to take him out for a day or two at the beach, but he is complaining of too much pain....

Anyway, mediation is tomorrow (or I should say-- today!)

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Good News & Bad News

The bad news first --

My mom and dad, who have been coming to visit us every year at this time for the past 15 years, are not here.

This because my father is not feeling well enough to travel.

And I do miss them dearly.

Now the good news --

My sister came instead! And yesterday, she (along with her travel companion) took me out to brunch where we sat across the street from the blue bay waters and sipped mimosas (a first for me) and ate goat cheese stuffed omelettes under an umbrella at an outdoor cafe. Afterwards, we toured the city and popped into a few open houses, just to check out the real estate market. And of course, I had to show them one of our more hokey tourist attractions:

My sister & friend at, yes, The Fountain of Youth!
Anyway, I cannot remember the last time I laughed so much and so hard. Chris sat with Bob and told me that she would come as often as I needed her so that I can get out of the house, because, after this visit "it's back to jail" for me. (Her words.)

And my sister will be able to attend our mediation next week, so I won't have to do that alone.

So if this blog is quiet, you know why!