Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hearts and A Cute Little Cherub

Hope everyone had a happy over-rated, consumerist, singles-awareness day Valentine's Day.
Joe asked me if I was doing anything special for him for Black Sunday. After moments of deep thought, I said I wouldn't consider holding a pillow over his face tonight while he slept. But just tonight. Tomorrow, well, fair game.

Heh, I'm romantic like that.

But enough of sappy holidays that make me want to yack. I've been up to my ears in heart business, and I'm not talking about the kind with little edible messages.
Apparently my Doctor wants to buy a third vacation home thinks I may have a little issue called arterial fibrillation which, technically speaking, is a wonky heart. It also can cause a stroke, like the one I had a few years ago.
After the stroke, I went through a bunch of tests. One of which required a camera to be shoved inserted down my throat and filmed some sort of horror flick of my heart, which resulted in me loosing my sense of taste for five months (boo!) which lead to losing 20 lbs (YAY!). Unfortunately, after reviewing the footage, the director wasn't thrilled and wanted to re-shoot. Hellz-to-the-no! Plus my blood-sucking health insurance company said if I had one more test, a big guy named Brutus would show up at my house and club me to death. Or something like that.
By then I was also tired of being a human pin-cushion anyway so I cancelled all future tests and decided to just get back to the business of living.

Flash forward several years and now my Doctor has recommended that I revisit the issue and referred me to yet another cardiologist. Last month I had to wear a 24 hour heart monitor. If you've never had the pleasure, it looks like this.

And no, the zebra print boob-tube isn't required.
But the wires, 2lb recorder with fanny pack, and 40 yards of tape is. It's as comfy as it is fashionable, trust me. But besides looking like a terrorist, you can't take a shower and sleeping with it just plains sucks. In short, longest frickin' 24 hours ever!

But now my sadist of a Doctor wants me to be hooked up to the heart monitor for a month! A month of being C3PO! Are you kidding me?! Of course he wanted me to get wired up right before my vacation. Yeah right! Who wants to try to make it through airport security with me? Anyone? No one, eh? Thought so.

Besides, can you imagine the tan lines?

So the Doc scheduled me for a special Valentine's wiring. But before my appointment I called to get a grand total on how much all this fun is going to cost me. Actually, I called several times, over 3 weeks, and the bastards never called me back. Finally I get a call... from the hospital to pre-register. Not only did the lady have no idea I was waiting for a call with a total$, she had me down as a 78 year old widow with no living relatives! What the friggin'-frack? Oh and they even had my phone number incorrect despite the fact THEY JUST CALLED ME. Thank gawd they're just super gluing electrodes to me. Trust me, I'll have serious second thoughts if they come after me with a scalpel!

Several calls and nearly an hour being transferred or on hold later, I finally spoke to someone in billing regarding the cost. The following is the abridged version of the conversation:

Me: So how much is the heart monitor?
Dingbat: $460 Me: A day? Or for the month?
Dingbat: A day. I think.
Me: You think?
Dingbat: Yes. Maybe. I don't really know.
Me: So what you're saying is it may cost me $460 Orrrrrrrrrr..... $18,000.
Dingbat: yes
Me: But your not sure which.
Dingbat: Right
(longer pause)
Me: That's a big difference between $460 and $18,000
Dingbat: Yeah, it is.
Me: So if you don't know which it is, who does?
Dingbat: I don't know.

After muttering something about the state's 7% unemployment rate, incompetent shit-for-brains, and recommending she connect me to the bitch who writes up the bills and mails them to me because that lady seems to have bionic super powers, I hung up with still no clear answers.

The day before my appointment I made one more attempt to get a price. This time I got the head of billing. I won't recreate that conversation but let's just say she was a passive-aggressive bitch that repeatedly called me "madam" and couldn't fathom why I would need such information and in the end, still couldn't give me a price.

I ended the day with a call to her manager and another to my doctor to let him know I am no longer his patient and why.

I've decided that going on with the business of living was the right decision and I'm not being dissuaded from it. The Doc had already been talking a bunch of smack about putting me on high octane blood thinners that would prohibit me from ever riding again. Hello?! I own a horse farm! In addition, Dr. Buzzkill said no more coffee, no more alcohol, and definitely no more fun. Seriously? Why the hell can't I be restricted from housework, annoying husbands and whining children! FML!

But before you think I'm jumping ship because of no more drinking the "negative effects on my quality of life", Doc's words, it's not. I feel in my heart of hearts (ha!), that this will just be more testing, more expense and not a single definitive answer...again. And frankly, I have better things to do.

Besides, when your time's up, your time's up. There's no gettin' away from it. Even if your sleeping safe and sound in your own bed.


janiece said...

You really need to move to Wisconsin where I can hook you up with the good doctor--who will screw up things occasionally-but I have the "special" phone numbers to file complaints that get results.
I would definitely encourage a visit to different doctor and get a second opinion.

Bev said...

I have mixed feelings about this decision, as you know. I agree that this doc and his office SUCK, but don't think just ignoring it and saying "if it's gonna kill me, it will" is a great solution either. :(

I've told you a million times, I cannot live without my Malomatic!! Damn it, woman, won't someone please think of MEEEEEEE?

Ha ha, I kid, I kid. I think you're right to tell him to cram this expensive test, but I do hope you get a better doctor and try to figure out what's going on with that ticker of yours.

Why? 'Cuz i wuv you, that's why. And if you don't then next time I get cancer, I will willfully ignore it and say, "Oh well, when your number's up...."

So there! :-p

Elliott said...

I understand the pain of this all, Insurance companies are a pain in the ass if you don't have a go-to person. Two years ago I had a bad reading on an EKG that led the doctor to believe a third of my heart wasn't pumping. LOTS of tests later, including the halter monitor, and nothing. Heart's fine.

I even passed out at the wheel of the car while wearing the halter, and it didn't show anything unusual. I think it was defective.

Samsmama said...

Alright, if Bev's comment doesn't set you straight, I doubt there's anything that I can say that will.

If you were hooked up to this thing for a month, could you, um, not shower for a month? Because that would be pretty freaking sick.

And I want you to know that if I had an extra $18,000, I would give it to you. I heart you and your heart.

**If the cause of my death involves an out of control car and me being in my bed, I will be pissed! Especially since our room is on the third story of our house.

Anonymous said...

I encourage you to try a different hospital altogether!! CH sister had major issues with them and diagnosing her breast cancer - which they didn't actually do - they didn't even do further tests when they should have. She went to Dartmouth in Lebanon and loves it (if you can love a hospital) there and the staff.
Courtney would be very sad too if her Aunt Mala went before her time!!

MtnMama said...

Aw, Sweet Mala, I can only repeat Bev's sentiments also. While I TOTALLY get what a suckwad this doctor's "establishment" is, and I applaud your decision to tell them to prance nekkid in a snowstorm, I would love to know that you were able to find an alternative healthcare arrangement, preferrably with practitioners who studied and got good grades... and weren't douchebags.

Because the world needs you in it, Sunshine!

I'm always amazed that people like some of the choice specimens in my family sail through life only making others miserable, while people I love have to go through shit. I am truly sorry for that.


Mala said...

Janiece - "special" numbers are awesome! Actually, this is my third (at least) cardiologist. Boo.

Bevers, MtnMama, Anon and Samsmama - Oh I ain't goin' nowhere. Seriously, if I thought it was worth it, I'd do the tests in a minute. My gut is telling me it's just a waste of time. If that changes, I will do something about it, I promise.
Oh and Samsmama, this one is for you. See!

Elliot - Yowza!!!!! Ummmmm, did they check to see if they had batteries in it?!

Anon (Lisa) - I've already gone through CH AND Dartmouth! I'm not at NE Heart Institute. Safe to safe I've cut a check for nearly every cardiologist in the state.

EVERYONE - Thank you for the kind words, but really, I'm fiiiiine. Ya'll are too sweet.

Samsmama said...

Oh, thanks for that. Really.

onebadmamajama said...

There's not much left to say that hasn't already been said! I understand your frustration and I agree to a point. Looking at that sweet little cherub at the beginning of this post makes me think you should take a week or two, catch your breath and go back at this problem from a different angle or at the very least with a different dr!


Hilary Marquis said...

I'm with Bev! The doctor was obviously an idiot but...I WANT YOU HERE FOR A LONG, LONG, LONG time!!! Go see someone that actually listens to you and knows what their job actually is ;)

Lori said...

I echo everyone else...yada, yada. You've heard it, you know you are loved and all want the best for you. I won't bore with redundancy.

I do have to say, though, that reading the dialogue between you and the dingbat seriously made my stomach scar hurt. In a good way. I do not get how some people can be SO obviously STUPID.
Good laugh, though!

Mala said...

OBMJ, Hil and Lori - Thanks ladies.

Asthma Treatment said...

wow! really cute girls.