Friday, May 16, 2014

Insurance beating me down left and right

So this week I received a letter from Medicare stating I owe them $14.4k because they forked over the money to pay for my hospitalization after my partial hysterectomy surgery. Oh, they paid for the surgery - but the fact that I didn't just get up and walk away from it that night and had the audacity to stay 48 hours to make sure I was not, you know, bleeding internally WAS JUST OUTRAGEOUSLY GREEDY.

Never mind they already paid it and it's been two and a half fucking years; I have to back pay them. SO I now have to rally both my GYN and cardiology team to submit ample documentation to support the justification for that stay. 

I am too stressed out to make any witty jokes. I just want to live a fucking normal life where having a chronic illness that needs constant upkeep isn't a punishable offense. 


Upon further inspection, the bill is actually for the provider - not the beneficiary (i.e. ME). I just received a copy to keep me aware of what is going on. So, apparently, UCLA did not bother to submit the claim until Nov 18th - and by that time I'd had my surgery, was discharged 48 hours later and re-admitted with an infection. I don't know if that was some diabolical strategy on someone's part to make sure I had my surgery anyway, or just some really lazy jackass, but wow. Now, I'm not out of the woods quite yet  - I fully expect UCLA to be petty assholes and come after me for those charges, even though Medicare made it very clear that they deemed me unaware of the situation (which I was) and not at fault or responsible.

This could potentially get ugly.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Venting about my Pharmecuticals

Believe it or not, I've had a lot to talk about these last 6 or 7 months but just chose not to.
Something happened tonight, however, that is preventing me from a decent night's sleep and where two hours ago I was excited for what is one of the best events I'm fortunate enough to get invited to, I am now dreading the morning.

So, somewhere in the ballpark of 4-5 months ago, I had a huge argument with my pharmacy about what prescriptions I take precisely. I take two different doses of the same medicine each day: 160 mg in the AM, 120 mg in the PM. I can't even tell you how long my dose has been like this; somewhere between 12-15 years. So it's not like I'd forget something like it.

My pharmacy had enrolled me in "auto-refill" which was giving me an abundant number of pills - so much so that I eventually put a stop to it and weaned off the stockpile I had so none expired and went to waste, and then when I went to manually fill it in, they had a HUGE shit storm and instead of actually calling my goddamn cardiologist office to confirm the prescription, they just decided to ignore the issue for four fucking days until I came storming in demanding my fucking medicine. They kept insisting I don't even take those pills and I was like YOU ARE FUCKING INSANE I take these goddamn pills every single mother fucking night. I won't lie - I looked like a crazy woman because I was near tears and my tone could cut a bitch in half. Long story short, it was resolved and the prescription renewed and you bet your bottom dollar TEAM RACHAEL! reamed them the fuck out for not contacting them.

Then I started noticing something weird - so, as stated, I take 160 mg in the morning. Usually, I'm given 60 pills of 80 mg - i.e. I take two of these in the AM to equate to the full 160 dose. Still with me?

Well, shortly after the debacle, I began to receive 160 mg pills straight up. OK. No big deal, so long as I get it. Then, within the last cycle of refills, I received 80 mg again. All right. Whatever. The last pick-up, though, gave me with 160 and someone was telling me, "Oh. Sorry for the wait - we had to get it passed the insurance." The fuck--? 

Now, I should have said something, I'll admit because clearly someone is confusing my 160 vs. 120 again because...

When I go to refill (via telephone) my 120 mg tonight, the automated message tells me "your prescription is invalid."


The prescription clearly says on the label "refill 10 times until (blah blah date, 2014)"

I'm so livid I can't even see straight - I left a message on their machine but probably fucked up my phone number because I was THAT mad. I am that mad. So first thing in the morning, instead of doing my hair and make-up for this awesome event, I have to march down there and give them what for. Again.

I don't know who is fucking this up - there are a number of incompetent people in that pharmacy; brainless yahoos who don't know how to organize themselves or figure out the difference between 160 and 120 mg of the same goddamn pill. 

This is my third goddamn pharmacy in 10 years and I'm horrified by the complete ineptitude of these melon farmers. 

I really don't want to get TEAM RACHAEL! involved, but dollars to donuts my mom is probably not going to let me go down there in the morning because I'm so pissed off. The problem is it's me or her - and while I can be pretty scary, my mother is downright terrifying. Tiger Mom is the last team fighter you tag with Street Fighter turbo, you know what I mean? 

Anyway. I just had to rage this out so I can get some sleep. 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole Again

Well it's that time again - Surgery Time! Oh, boy oh boy.

So this will be a quick update because I need to be in bed asleep in about oh two hours ago. I have to check in at 4:45am. A.M.

You guys. That is my bed time.

My surgery is scheduled at 7:30 and I am just ugh. Yeah. 

So I am winding down now.

I don't even know what the hell to write anymore, to be honest. 

I don't like surgery.

Not even a little bit.

It's a necessary part of my life, however, especially when it is maintenance shit. That part I am OK with. It's the fracking recovery time that just makes me want to punch everyone.

And after not one but two reschedules I just want to get this shit over with.

Stay tuned. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Impending Surgery

My surgery is scheduled for Oct. 1st, which is in roughly 12 days time. I'd have scheduled it soon, but I really wanted to make my Seattle trip. I'm not just visiting friends but also attending a food bloggers conference. I flew in yesterday and felt totally plagued - and of course I forgot all of my anti-plague wards so I had to drop nearly $30 at the homeopathic store and down nasty ass propolis. 

My tummy is aching from emergen-C and I am tired as fuck, but I am feeling a bit better. Today is the last sunny day I'll have before a down pour, but I decided to be an adult and spend it indoors at my friends house to rest up and reserve my energy for the conference itself. I am thankful my room situation sorted itself out most favorably and I won't have to keep trekking back and forth as I initially planned. While this trip is all about friends, food and fun I am also being extra mindful about my energy level and just taking it easy.

Night time is the worst because my heart rate picks up a bit, especially when laying down, so I have to find that perfect position which will enable me to sleep. Funky beats and rhythm is to be expected, but so long as I can keep anything truly emergency room worthy from happening, all the better. 

I have to be honest and say I am very relieved this surgery is happening and rather quickly after my return at that. My heart makes sleeping, breathing, and let's just say it, living my life really uncomfortable right now. A new pacemaker means renewed energy, something of which I am desperately short in.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tick, Tick, Tick BOOM!

I start every morning off reading another chapter in a book of a series I am revisiting. It is one of my favorite series - The Nightrunner Series - by Lynn Flewelling. I am not a reader of fantasy, but Lynn is just that good of a fucking writer. The last book of The Nightrunner Series is due out next April and in anticipation of crying myself to sleep every night after I conclude the adventures of characters I love more than some of the real flesh and blood people in my life, I am rereading all of the books. Just so the wound will sting all the more.

I began Monday morning with my new ritual, and while I was lounging quietly in bed a sudden sensation overcame me. Internally. It was as if someone had dimmed the lights inside of my body, with the main switch being my heart. A sneaky suspicion overtook me, and after I concluded that chapter (come on now, I wasn't dying) I stuck the marker in my book and went to submit a transmission of a pacemaker report.

Within an hour, I received a phone call and my suspicion was confirmed: My pacemaker had fallen back on its reserve energy power. It's time to schedule the surgery to replace the battery. Not normally that big of a deal as far as procedures go, but this one is for me. To slightly paraphrase myself from an earlier post:

See, the issue is recovery and how long it is going to take my body to do so. Everyone, myself above all else, is biting their nails about this relatively simple procedure because of the nature of my history and anatomy. My pacemaker is located in my left abdomen, in a pocket under muscle, and the procedure will require the surgeon to reopen the latter part of my open heart scar - which is not something I desire. Given my history with fluid retention at the slightest provocation, everyone is anticipating that I am going to run into a similar issue that I found myself dealing with shortly after the last procedure in 11/2011. Now, I wasn't on the mega high dose of diuretics last time as I am now. So this may very well tip the scales in the favor of a speedier recovery.  

I'm not holding my breath for a speedy recovery, to be honest. I am anticipating the long road filled with weekly trips to the gastrointestinal doctor, another abdominal tap or two and just a lot of frustration and being run ragged again. 

Annoying still, my life has to be put on hold in a way I was not prepared for. As my battery crapped out earlier than I was expecting it to, I have to cancel a heap of plans I'd made for October - including a trip to Seattle and two fun food related events I was invited to as media. I have to put my dating life on hold. My friendships. My main blog will suffer. I've just reconnected with my dad, whose own health is on a constant roller coaster. All of this has to go on the back burner again, and it fucking sucks. I'm not saying this stuff is more important than my health, because it isn't, but it is still irritating.

Some days I wonder why I can't just go out and get a job like a normal person.
Some days I wonder why I can't just hold down a job, any job, and collect a paycheck and live on my own and pay rent and live the life that most of the population in the western world leads.

Then one morning while casually reading in bed a piece of machinery I need to function suddenly needs a battery via surgical intervention and I have to hit the pause button once more, and say to myself, "Oh yeah. This is why I can't have nice things."