The Costs of Care

Dearest Rachel –

Have I mentioned recently how mornings can be the worst?

It wasn’t even the usual things, either. Chompers actually let me shower this morning before waking up and barking for… whatever. Once I got myself dried and dressed, I got him basically everything at once: hauled him outside and delivered him his breakfast al fresco. It’s been that kind of day, sunny and reasonably warm. So that was nice.

Even puttering around your side of the bedroom wasn’t too wrenching today. Most of what I picked up was pretty far gone (so, headed for the trash) or old newspapers (which I’ve talked about previously – bag ’em up and put them in the recycle bin).

No, this was a little more involved than that, and not entirely based in this morning’s activity. Last evening, among the other mail items, I received a bill – another bill, actually – from Froederdt Hospital regarding your treatment. Look, I understand that the machines have to be run and people worked hard on you regardless, and it isn’t as if we (and your parents, and their parents) hadn’t saved and invested enough so that the price doesn’t break us like it would far too many people. But I confess, it seems to be rather galling to have to pay multiple thousands of dollars for what is referred to somewhat euphemistically as a “negative outcome.”

Any other industry, when you don’t get what you paid for, you don’t pay for it.

Do I sound bitter? Maybe. Again, I know that there were a number of doctors and nurses, who ran a number of tests and scans on you to see what, if anything, could be done for you. And everything has to be paid for somehow, after all. And ultimately, this will be assembled and forwarded to our insurance provider for them to handle, I suppose. But the piper has to be paid right away, and I don’t remember dancing.

So, from a health angle, I was already in a sour mood this morning (although I need to give credit and praise to Chompers for doing his unwitting best to help improve things). It gets more involved, though, because, as you might remember, I had finally arranged for my colonoscopy – two years behind (ha-ha) schedule – and had to go in this morning for a Covid test beforehand.

That wasn’t the problem, though. The problem was that, barely half an hour before I was supposed to be there, I got a call from the hospital. Apparently, my health insurance coverage had lapsed.

What…?

I had written a check to Blue Cross back on the 22nd that should have covered March, and probably April, based on the amounts in the previous bill (and the fact that I’d changed my coverage – well, there isn’t any point in covering you for your health at this point, is there?). But sure enough, when I checked the bank, there was no indication that the check had cleared.

And for that, I’d been essentially cancelled.

Which, to be sure, would have been nice if it had gotten me out of having to go through this whole procedure. I guess between this, the looming effects of late-in-life dementia, and the prospect of putting Chompers down within the year, you certainly found a way out of a lot of nastiness in life, didn’t you?

But no, this wouldn’t do. So I got on the phone, even as I’m driving to the hospital, to try and iron this out. And, to be fair, the Blue Cross guy was pretty understanding, and walked me through paying at least the balance due on the phone (which wasn’t nearly as large an amount as what I tried to pay early last week, so there’s that). So I think everything’s on an even keel at this point.

Well, everything except me. I’d seen in my online health profile I was supposed to go to one building, so I went there (passing the building I’m generally used to parking at), only to find out that I should have gone to the building I almost went to out of force of habit. Added to the wrangling I was doing on the phone, and you can see why I cancelled the stress test my GP set me up with a week before the accident.

Then, on moving the car and parking at the other building, they proceeded to tell me I was, in fact, supposed to have gone to the building I went to in the first place.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I slammed my insurance paperwork on the floor in frustration at this point.

Eventually, this, too, got sorted out, and I went in for the full brain-tester. The nurse warned me that my reflex of tensing up was only making the sensation of the swab going in that much worse, and I tried to relax, but it still wasn’t pleasant. Although, come to think of it, it all went a little quicker when I tried to relax.

Or maybe that was confirmation bias.

And as she pulled the swab out of the second nostril, my phone went off, and I scrambled to answer it. A good thing, too, as the vet was about to refill Chompers’ prescription. So he’ll be happy with that.

I also asked the nurse about the prep formula, and she said I should have taken that up with the administering physician some time back. Oh, dear…

So I got home to deal with that (although not before taking delivery of our newly tuned-up snowblower and lawnmower – and a very long dissertation on how to properly use them going forward. The fellow is knowledgeable and reasonable, but he can talk. Useful information, to be sure, but way more than I could expect to digest), and his staff told me they sent the prescription to the pharmacy several weeks back. Which is weird: I normally get texts from them about prescriptions that come in, and the last message I got from them had to do with a delay in a prescription…

…which turned out to be the very stuff I would need for tomorrow. Wait, it’s still delayed? After nearly three weeks? Well, apparently, the lemon-lime flavored powder has been on backorder for a ridiculous amount of time. So, they’re hooking me up with the unflavored stuff, to pick up in a few minutes.

“Unflavored” – yeah, I’ll just bet.

Maybe I’ll let you know what you’re missing out on tomorrow.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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