punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

On sickness, bills, and lactose intolerance...

I didn't feel well after class Thursday, which ended early, but gave the option to stay if we were C programmers who wanted to apply Perl to C. I left after the official class was done, thanked the teacher, and went home. I spent some of the day cleaning, and some copying CD songs into ogg files for my server. I didn't get much sleep. I was pretty sick, and I think it was the lunch I had there. I ended up finally getting into sleep around 5am, and woke up at 2. Luckily, Christine called me in sick.

I have been having blood pressure problems, the return of migraines (they come and go), and just general malaise today. A friend was supposed to come by Friday, but she got stuck in traffic from Boston to here, and as I am writing this, she probably won't arrive until 1am or so. I have to stay up for her, because someone has to let her in.

I killed some time going through bills early, and good thing I did because our insurance has REJECTED Christine's hospital stay, saying it was longer than necessary, and require a meeting with the doctor, the hospital, and Christine to prove she was really sick. This is ironic because Christine didn't want hospitalized in the first place. They forced her, stating her life was in danger. Gaaah!

Last time this happened, we were bilked, and bilked HARD because of these "three-way meetings." CR was about 4, and he went to the emergency room for an asthma attack. They gave him some meds, he felt better, and we went home. Then, a few hours later, he got very much worse. So they treated him with different drugs, and those worked, he was sent home, and we thought insurance would pay for it. here's how that went:

1. Insurance paid for it.
2. About six months later, they changed their minds and rejected it.
3. The hospital sent us a bill for the first visit. Over $1200.
4. We called the insurance company, They said it was a double bill. We explain he went twice in the same day. They said they'd pay it.
5. The hospital calls a few weeks later: they haven't been paid.
6. Call insurance company. The said it was a double bill. We re-explain he went twice in the same day. This time, they said they'd call the hospital and straighten it out.
7. A month later, the hospital calls and says if we don't pay them in full immediately, they are sending us to a collection agency. We explain the insurance company was supposed to pay it.
8. The insurance company seems baffled: they claim to have paid it.
9. We conference call in the the hospital, insurance, and ourselves. They get it all straightened out.
10. A YEAR later, we get a call from a collections agency. The bill is now $1500, and we are delinquent for over a year.
11. We call the hospital, furious. They claim it was an accident. They don't know how it got referred to collections. They seem sympathetic, but it takes a long time to get them to alert the collections company.
13: A few months later, the collections company FREEZES OUR BANK ACCOUNTS. Since this was done illegally, the bank realized their mistake, and unfroze them about 48 hours later. They also paid for the bounced checks this caused. We start the whole hospital-insurance-bill collector conference waltz again.
12: Several months later, the collections company says they will settle for $425. We tell them we owe nothing to anyone, insurance paid for this over a year ago. We get a letter from our previous insurance company, which was very difficult, because now we were under another plan. We fax everyone proof of payment. We don't hear from anyone.
13: It's now 4 or 5 years later. While trying to get a car loan, the $425 is showing "unresolved." In order to get the car, we have to pay it off. GRRRR! Now the case is SO old, it's easier to pay the bullies the $425. They won. Fuckers.

This has happened with another bill, one to a vet's office. That's a whole 'nother story, but the summary was that the vet did a procedure we did not approve, the cat died, they billed us, we told them we didn't have the money, they sent us to a collection agency in less than 4 weeks (and this company hired the worst, most unscrupulous people), and we ended up paying them off. They never recorded we paid them off, so we had to pay them off again to get the car loan. Then, when we bought the house, they STILL claim we never paid them, and we had to pay them off AGAIN. The same $350 has been paid three times now!

So you can see why this whole affair makes us nervous.

In other news, I tried Lactaid for the first time. As a kid, I drank milk in huge quantities. The concept of Lactose-intolerant was know to me, since many of my friends had it, but I felt invincible. Then, around age 24 or so, I began to notice that milk and I were not getting along. Now, over ten years later, a glass of milk makes me very sick indeed. It's gotten to the point where milk-based items like ice cream and cheese are starting to have the same effect. I keep hearing all kinds of stuff from people about this being common, or it was because I didn't keep drinking milk. All I know is I am having the same allergic reaction to milk that I do with certain types of vegetables and legumes (notably beans and corn), and eggs. Honestly, living without corn, beans, milk, and ice cream don't bug me much. Living without cheese sucks, though. So I tried my first glass of Lactaid Milk, that supposedly has the enzymes I need to digest milk.

Bzzzzt. Thank you for playing.

Luckily, I was very cautious with the Lactaid. I only drank about half a cup, and it was hard to swallow. It was sweet and thick, and tasted like I was drinking melted weak ice cream. Not more than a few minutes later, I had a mild reaction which turned pretty severe after about an hour. In fact, with the half-cup I drank, I had more of a reaction than I do with two cups of milk. The symptoms went away about an hour later, but I can just imagine if I drank a whole glass! Misery, misery, misery...

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000559.html
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