So all day yesterday, something didn’t feel quite right. I thought I might have some sort of bladder infection, for various reasons. Last night, however it started coming to a head. It was during my kid’s bath time I started to have some pain in my side. I was thinking, “Boy this isn’t normal, I’m going to have to go to the doctor sometime soon.” When the pain became severe and I was laying on my side on the floor, shivering, my wife did what anyone would do in that situation…
She asked FaceBook. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a community of old friends and some relative strangers to raise a husband who doesn’t like going to the hospital unless blood is coming out (for good reason, as you will soon see).
The house was soon resounding with the noise of text messages flying in. These people may not be doctors, but I think some of them stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. By this time the pain started to lessen, so like any man, I said “Dont worry, it doesn’t hurt now, I’ll go to the doctor Monday”. Cooler heads prevailed thanks to an old college friend. She happened to be a nurse, and said, in no uncertain terms; GO TO THE DOCTOR YOU MORON. Well, it was nicer than that, but thus was the general idea (thanks Gini).
So off to the hospital we go, to sit in the waiting room. Thankfully there weren’t too many coughing babies, we were taken back within about ten minutes. The pain was coming and going, and I passed the time deleting people from my phone’s contact list. Really – I don’t think I’ve seen some of those people in years, some were dead, and some of the businesses had closed.
The nurse finally called me back, asked my symptoms, put me on the probulator, then ushered me to a big room with a glass door that reminded me of a car salesman’s office (which was about as comforting). IV time! I would have made a great Heroin addict. Nice big veins. She started giving me something to calm my “kidney colic” and ease the pain, but thankfully nothing to make me woozy enough to produce funny youtube material. All the while the male nurse was telling me “When she finishes I’ll be right back to catherize you”. Yeah. Funny joke. Ha Ha. It’s not so much the pain, as I think I could take it with no problem, I just don’t want strangers poking around at my Nads unless there is something wrong with them.
Mr. Hilarious and the nurse left, and I sat for a while. I had to pee a LOT, and they took a sample. Actually I told them – If you need a sample, give me a cup, because I don’t know how long this stream will flow.
At this point my wife left to do something, and I was pounced on. Mrs. Billing Lady comes in and has me sign some papers so they can treat me. Standard legal stuff, without any explanation. Sign here, initial here, blah blah blah. My wife comes back in. Then She says “You have a balance of $84 from your last visit”, (which is all that’s left from my $500 HIDA scan from earlier in the year that I have been faithfully paying). I said “okay”. She continued, “Would you like to take care of that now?”
What? Are you kidding me? I’m doped up, its 11:00 at night, and you’re hounding me for $84? My wife busted out laughing and said, quite loudly, “Oh THIS is going on Facebook”, and whipped out her phone. She should have taken a picture of the shocked look on my face and the woman standing over me. That would have been great.
She continued: “You have an ER Co-pay of $125, would you like to pay that now?”
My Reply; “No. Sorry, when I was writhing in pain on the floor, I didn’t think about bringing my CHECK BOOK!”
“Your insurance company requires we collect that co-pay”, she replies.
I said, “tack in onto my $84 then.”
I was really kind of upset by then, and she left. My wife and I discussed the whole event. Who does that? Waits until someone is doped up and alone to attack them with legal papers and hound them about bills? And how many people give in? After all, they are required to treat you or transfer you to someone who will. I came to the hospital once before, and they said the same thing, “How much will you be paying today?” I slapped two quarters on the counter and said, “There you go, where do I go for my test?”
The running joke at that point became how much they were going to charge for stuff. The radiologist came in to take me to scan my CT. I asked her if the CT scanner had a cash slot on it like a Coke machine, or could I just swipe my credit card in it before the test. She laughed at it. The test was fast, and they wheeled me back out.
After the requisite wait, the doctor said, “Yes you have a kidney stone. It’s moved towards your bladder, you’ll pee it out tomorrow.
The nurse came in with a paint strainer and told me to pee through it and try to catch the stone. I told her I had about ten of those at the house that I got for ten cents each at Sherwin-Williams, and I hope they weren’t charging me twenty bucks for it. She laughed at the whole Billing Lady story, and said it was “just wrong. I could never do that to people”. The nurses and doctors were the nicest, most professional people I’ve ever dealt with at that hospital. It’s the billing department I despise.
So – thank you FaceBook, you finally did something good. That’s one useful thing you have done, amoung all the inane banter and useless status updates and hundred of pictures that I never cared to look at.
You did good.