Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Morning Staff Meeting

Thanks to everyone who left comments and sent e-mails concerned about my week long absence. I've been nursing a sore throat which doesn't seem to get worse and doesn't get better either. On top of all my other health issues it's just an additional annoyance.

Here's a brief synosis of what else has been going on. I've spent the week (actually longer) as a problem-wrangler.

- Shortly before the Farmer lost his job, the company switched insurance carriers. Then they proceeded to appoint a third party administrator to our COBRA account (in order to apply govt. monies from the stimulus package) and set up things with the insurance company incorrectly. It only me some time to determine what had happened but no one seems able to correct this situation.

- I've been stunned to discover Orwelian phone systems and talk to "customer service" reps who have no authority and no knowledge.

CUSTOMER SERVICE REP - "How can I help you today?"

THE FARMER'S WIFE - "Blah, blah, blah......blabeddy blah."

CUSTOMER SERVICE REP - "I'm sorry, I don't have access to your information."

THE FARMER'S WIFE - "How can you help me if you don't have my information?"

Crickets chirping.......

Supervisor please!

- The clinical pharmacist of said insurance company decided to trump my physician. The miracle drug (I'm not using the term loosely, this HAS been a miracle for me) is not on their free-as-candy list and the clinical pharmacist has decided that my physican must jump through hoops before they will pay. I'm pretty sure my doctor went through 12+ years of schooling to practice medicine and NOT argue with insurance companies.

- I've been calling every day to check on the status of this medication. Each time I'm speaking with a medical insurance company representative who had no knowledge whatsoever of medical terminology. This is a comedy routine.

CUSTOMER SERVICE REP - "Our pharmacy department needs the et.... et-eeee...hmmm,
the E-T-I-O-L-O-G-Y.

THE FARMER'S WIFE - "The etiology?"

CUSTOMER SERVICE REP - "Is that how it's pronounced?"

My local Walgreen's pharmacists have been terrific in attempting to solve the problem from their end. By this time though, they probably hate to see my number coming up on their caller ID.

PHARMACIST - One of the problems is that this medication is a controlled substance.

THE FARMER'S WIFE - Why is it considered a controlled substance?

PHARMACIST - There's a possibility for addiction issues.

THE FARMER'S WIFE - HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!!!! Yes! I'm addicted to not being in pain. I'm totally addicting to being able to have a life. I'm addicted to being well enough to start my own little company and help my family out. That's me....I'M ADDICTED!!!

In the middle of these battles the doorbell rings and the Farmer discovers the zoning officer from our tiny village standing on the doorstep.

"You need to remove those weeds from the culvert before Nov. 1st or you will be fined $750 PER DAY."

I don't feel bad. He didn't single us out, everyone gets one! I take offense because I'm the Queen of Mowing. My property it two acres of carefully manicured lawn, EXCEPT for the tiny bit of culvert that is deep and muddy. Can't mow that.

We tried to explain that in fact, the village is responsible for maintaining the culvert and that cattails actually soak up excess water, stabilize the soil and prevent the drainage tube from silting up.

Stay tuned. The neighbors are planning some civil disobedience or a party involving gasoline and immolating cattails.

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Although a stinking annoyance, these problems are not serious, just time consuming and frustrating.

I need to thank my wonderful readers for their continued support. A special hoorah for Mary Rex who sent me TWO books to read while I was snuggling in an attempt to stave off illness. I've already finished them and they were both wonderful reads.

The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society was the first novel I've read in a long time that I thoroughly enjoyed. It contains wonderful characters in believable situations. It actually came to a conclusion and didn't simply drift off somewhere. She managed to write a book without including a single preposterous situation.

If I Live to be 100 is the book version of a NPR radio series in which the author interviewed people who were 100 years or older. It's a delightful look into some real life characters.

While I was reading I kept thinking about Vee's grandmother, Nan, who's turning 100 years old this week. Happy birthday, Nan!

Mary has asked me to pass these books along and that's just what I'm going to do. Are you interested in reading one of them? Leave me a comment and let me know which book you'd like to receive. I'll do a drawing on Wednesday and get them in the mail to you.

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Thanks also for all the home remedies. I've tried a few of them but not the ones containing Scotch. Don't ask me why, but my body reacts to Scotch whiskey as if it were poison! The first time I drank Scotch I was so ill they almost hospitalized me!

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I apologize for not baking something this morning but I'm being lazy. I'd love to hear what you've been up to because I haven't been able to follow my blog feeds in the last week and I'm feeling very out of the loop.

So, what's up with you?


Kitty said...

Well, it's so nice to have you back! And despite all the "situations" you've been going through, it's good to see you're coming through them.

I would love to read either book, so put me in the drawing. I would probably choose the Gurnsey one first, although both sound like a good read.

As for my activities this week--quilt guild on Tuesday, Canasta with "the girls" on Wednesday evening, and the Harvest Days/Fiber Festival on Saturday (in which our quilt guild will have a booth for the first time). And, in between, all the mundane things that have to be done day to day.

Glad you're feeling better and back to blogging! Missed your posts everyday.

Becky said...

What a pain!!! Bless your heart for finding some humor in these impossible conversations! I know while they are going on they aren't funny at all!

I would love to read the Gurnsey book. You are the 3rd blog I've read today that recommended there must be something to it that I don't want to miss!

Keep a stiff upper lip, carry a big stick, don't let the bed bugs bite and all those other little gems of other words, hang in there!

chocolatechic said...

So glad your feeling a wee bit better.

My week has been chronicled on my blog today...

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure, but I think this series of calamity type stuff is circulating on a viral type level. Lord, nearly everyone I know (us included) is going through stuff like this! It stinks! I'm so sorry you're going through all of this!

I'm still healing up from my long illness - I'm 4 weeks into nothing by mouth, two more to go. Still on IV nutrition daily. Still weak as a kitten. Trying to do a little more each day - but sometimes overdo, which requires me to spend a day or two resting up.

Feeling your pain on the insurance thing. My last hospitalization was for three weeks - when they were discharging me the social worker came in to tell me that my insurance was denying coverage for the $50,000 stay. Apparently a snot nosed resident incorrectly coded stuff. I've logged many hours on the phone with the clueless customer service staff, as well. I *think* we may have resolved the whole thing. I PRAY we have resolved the whole thing!

Black tea for the sore throat, girlfriend! Constant Comment is the best, IMHO. It has great healing properties in it.

Keeping you in my prayers!

Rebecca said...

I have read the first book. Yes, I agree it was a very good read.

The second "If I live to be 100" sounds interesting.

May I recommend "The Widow of the South" by Robert Hicks. Based on a true story. I am only a third of the way into this book but it is well written. It is from my sis and others are waiting to read it so I can not send it your way.

Good luck with the insurance. I think they purposefully make it hard to get thing straightened out so they can make more money.

Jenni said...

I hope you get all the mess straightened out soon. The insurance companies can be especially frustrating. My mom has had to jump through the same kinds of hoops to get medication and procedures she needs. Don't they realize that all of that just costs them more money?

I'm so glad you like that Potato Peel Pie book! I was sure you would. (This is just a comment. Please don't enter my name in the drawing:o))

bv said...

yes, lazy, that's you. health insurance has become hell on earth. hope you get this solved. living to be 100? good stories? my 92 year old mil took her life last monday. so much for the golden i am unraveling her life. such a long and complex story. on a GOOD note thurs i am attending my dads ww2 487 bomb group reunion in phoenix. he flew b17's at the age of 21! he is a true hero and I am honored to be his daughter. that's my week!
take care bv

Anonymous said...

I knew you'd like the Guernsey book, it was a great read. I am fortunate to work in a medical office with many patients over 90 years old and a few 100 year old patients. The wisdom these people have and their attitudes are remarkable. People-when you meet an elderly person with all of/most of their marbles listen to them-you can learn a lot.

bv said...

me card i got this last week...'life is tough. i recommend getting a manicure and a really cute helmet'. it makes me smile.

Lisa said...

I'm glad to know you are feeling better! Although dealing with companies on the phone can make one prefer a cold I think. I cannot stand talking to "customer service" representatives on the phone...they are usually a little short on the service end. a wonderful book! I loved every single thing about it. I would love to read If I Live to be 100. Reading or listening to stories from older generations is fascinating to me.

My week has been spent doing school work, trying to get over a sinus infection, and getting reconnected with family that I haven't seen/talked to in 9 years. It's a long story, but this past week has been the best!

I hope that all the snags will be sorted out with the insurance. Oh, and a cattail bonfire would be interesting.

LydaBabes Going Ons!!!! said...

So glad your better and can enjoy the little pains of every day life. It will be better when the goverment takes over all health care.....hahahah talk about a nightmare.....that will be. I pray it isn't passed. I'd love to read the 100 one. I've read the potatoe one and it was good. So pick me.....

Glad your feeling better.

Ang. said...

I would love to read the Guernsey book! It looks intriguing.

Here, I just baked some oatmeal raisin cookies that I'll share. And if you wait a little bit, I just popped an apple pie in the oven.

I hope you get your insurance issues solved quickly. As well as the weed issue. And I hope that throat gets better!

I'm Pumpkin Fest bound this weekend! Let me know if you will be in town and we can meet. :)

Thirkellgirl said...

I feel your pain and wish you well. I have spent entire DAYS on the phone with BC/BS fighting with them over my elderly parents' care and reimbursement. It's a war of attrition and they want you to quit. Don't quit!!!

Even CUTTING cattails is a crime here (I thought it was federal law but maybe not). Those "weeds" are supposed to be there!

Thirkellgirl said...

Also... a little trick that seems to help is using the magic letters HIPAA in your correspondence, and copying an attorney (any attorney) on your correspondence. As in "cc: James Joyce, esq." and "per your responsibilities as spelled out in HIPAA..." They jsut get scared.

Heidi said...

Hey - as for the cat tails... the DNR may not allow you to touch those... Its wetland habbitat. no, I am not kidding. Tell that to the zoning far.

Lori said...

I would love to read the "Gurnsey" book.

Gotta love the zoning folks don't you? We had one stop a couple years ago telling us our driveway was too wide and that we had to narrow it up. I don't think so. We decided we would wait until either we got a letter or a second notice, neither of which ever showed up. We've never done anything about it and he's never been back thankfully.

Beth said...

Well here's to hoping you start feeling better and that the insurance company pulls there head out of their you know what.

I would love to read either of them but I guess my first choice would be The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It's been on my to read list for a while I just can't ever get a copy at the library.

Ruta M. said...

If we had fines in the UK for not mowing I'd be broke! Probably the fact that most people have toally enclosed gardens explains why no one cares what you do in them. Also thank goodness for our NHS, no insurance companies to deal with - ever, though some treatments are just not available and the service is not always the best. What am I doing this week - teaching all week and praying that some school in NZ will offer me a job on the strength of a Skype interview - dream on! Half term next week and the children in my school have just started going down with swine flu. I have a stash of high dose co-codamol which I haven't used for my shoulder which will put me in la la land if I do get the swine flu. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Stephanie-Oh said...

I hope you are feeling better. And , yes, insurance co. are a PIA.
Hope you get everything straightened out.
I would love to read either of the books but esp. the Guernsey book.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

It just takes ONE reasonably intelligent insurance rep. Sadly, they're far and few between. If and when you find such a paragon, get her name. And her extension.

One of my best friends was 104 when she died. We'd joke that she was wise beyond her years. (Badomp bomp.) Bad jokes aside, I'd love to read either book. They both sound fascinating.

Kat said...

The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society book keeps popping up all around me, yet I can't seem to get my hands on a copy to read myself! What a joy if that came in the mail!
I hear you on the insurance company debacle. Been there, done that, and swear I ended up sicker as a result!
Glad your chin is up, and go get 'em on drainage ditch issue!

lifeinredshoes said...

Glad you are feeling better!
Doesn't it seem as though insurance companies make up the rules as they go along? AND, they are the only ones who know the rules...but they don't actually play by them.
As for said wonder drug,I went through this with my Mom and the famous Oxycontin. She was living out her life in nursing home, in constant pain and miserable. The doc's were hesitant to give it to her, she may become addicted they said.
WHO GIVES A RAT'S REAR! it wasn't like she was going to start drug deals in the hallways!

Stuck on Sunflowers said...

You're Back --- SOOOOOO GLAD. I missed you!

rebecca homecca said...

Not only would I love to read these books, but I would also pass them along! I love your book suggestions (well not Team of Rivals, but that wasn't your fault. I had heard about before you were reading it)
Hope you medicine mess gets worked out

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne-
I was sorry to read that you have been ill and dealing with insurance companies. They are a joke! It is a shame you have to suffer for their inabilities.

Please enter my name for the book drawing. I would really like to read If I Live to be 100.

Thanks so much and please take care.

All the best,

Susan Z in Acworth, GA

Anonymous said...

Please enter my name in the "If I Live to be 100" drawing.

Good luck with your insurance company. My recommendation is to keep trying until you get someone who cares.

Try Emergen-C vitamin C packets. I have been taking one every day to help prevent cold/flu symptoms.

Other than that try baking a rum cake.

Good luck. Ruth in MN

Nance said...

The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society . . . how intriguing is that? I would love to win a book and I promise I would pass it on to the next deserving person!

Liz in PA said...

Suzanne~ I've thought about you every day, because I miss your blogging and knew you were fighting a nasty cold. So glad you're back where you belong.....

I would so love to receive:
The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society Book
....I've wanted to read that book for the longest time.
Hope I am a lucky winner!

.........I well understand the nightmare of the new Health Ins. you are entangled with.......Red Tape, Black Tape, Grey's all a friggin mess.

Mary said...

If your "getting the ditch into code" involves fire.... I'd love a good civil disturbance. I'll even bring the ingredients for s'mores. Let me know. You go girl. And Insurance woes.... i'm so sorry

PJinIL said...

Insurance, Phhhhhht. And that's all I'm going to say about that. I love a good book that comes recommended, put me in for either one of them. They both sound delightful!

Vee said...

Thanks, my friend, for thinking of us. We actually have a date for the party...only two weeks past the real event, but we're heading in the right direction.

Good lawd, this post made me want to hit somebody. Preferably some insurance person who'd like to pull your meds out from under you. They don't know who they're messing with now do they?!

As for your town requiring you to pull out cattails...grrrr...government run amuck. Hope that you and your neighbors have a lot of fun with your civil disobediences. Seven hundred fifty dollars a day? They must be running in the red.

Take care, Suzanne, and don't let the basters get you down. Oh that apple caramel sundae looks some kind of scrumptious!

lisa said...

I think someone else mentioned it, but in so areas it's illegal to cut cattails. It might be worth checking out.

Millicent said...

I'm so glad you're back! Thanks for the info on the 2 books. They sound great. I'm not sure if I've commented in time to be entered, but I plan on looking for them if I don't "receive." I know your frustrations with the insurance company. While I'm sure you haven't been amused with the situation, I have been with your telling of it. Get well.

Nancy said...

I think both books would be good, and I would love to win either.

Thanks for sharing.