Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Merry Christmas ... Here's Your Debt ...

So, back in September ... September 18th to be exact, my parents, my brother, and I were driving down to St. Louis to spend the day with each other and have some fun at one of the casinos. At the time, I had a horrible cold and felt like shit. I did not want to go, but, since my brother usually only comes to visit once or twice a year, I really wanted to spend some time with him.

We stopped for lunch on the way and Dad started having chest pains. He brushed them off, said he felt fine, and still wanted to go to the riverboat. Well, we convinced him to let us take him to the hospital ... just for an EKG ... and if it was fine, we'd still go. So, we drove back and, as Dad walked through the doors of the ER, he collapsed and his heart stopped.

It was just like on ER ... a nurse screamed for the doctor, they came running with the crash cart, and shocked him back to life. Of course, we didn't get to see the actual shocking ... they ushered us into this little "quiet" room ... which was awful. Let me tell you, folks, when they put you into the "quiet" room, things are bad. That means they don't want you freaking out in front of the rest of the people in the waiting room when they deliver the bad news.

But in our case, Dad survived ... barely. He had six by-passes and had so much damage that he only has 25% function in his heart. The cardiologist said that 40% of the mussel has been permanently damage and will not recover ... that means almost half of his heart is just dead.

He spent a month in the hospital ... he went into congestive heart failure and his kidneys shut down. Then, when they brought him back from that episode, they discovered he had a massive staph infection that had completely eaten away his sternum. Yes, I'm serious, it ate away the bones in his chest.

The point of all this is that he's finally home ... he's weak and still not well ... and will have to have a defibrulator implanted in less than a month. BUT ... they got a letter from the insurance company a few days ago that said they're denying ALL their claims. ALL their medical claims. That means they're liable for the $154,000 hospital bill ... they're liable for the $34,000 surgeon's bill ... they're liable for $5,000 in visiting nurses bills.

WHY? Why have they been denied? Because there's a missing form. One simple form. The insurance company believes that there must've been an accident of some kind that would involve someone ELSE'S insurance. They want a third party insurance to pay for some or all of these bills. But there was NO accident ... it was a heart attack! Plain and simple! He has massive heart disease ... and no one else's insurance is liable for it.

The worst part? We already SENT that form in. They've sent it to my parents twice ... and each time we sent it back explaining that there was no accident or incident. Yesterday, we finally took a copy of it and FAXED it into the insurance company. They said they have it and are reviewing it ... they'll let us know if they accept it next week. Merry Christmas ... here's your mind-numbing, back-breaking debt. Yes yes, we know you're permanently disabled and can still have cardiac sudden-death at any moment ... but we'd prefer not to pay and let YOU handle the $200,000 in medical bills.

Back to my previous blog posts ... what is it about the holidays that causes the wheels to fall off and everything go wrong? It's hard to enjoy Christmas with the knowledge you may have to declare bankruptcy and lose everything because your health insurance refuses to pay.

Everybody, I'm not overly religious, but if you're reading this please say a prayer for my parents. My dad's a veteran ... was in Vietnam with the Marines ... and he doesn't need this kind of stress at any time ... let alone the holidays. My mom, poor thing, is a great person and is trying to take care of him and keep everything afloat. Any good thoughts or karma you could send their way ...

Christmas waves a
magic wand over this world,
and behold, everything is softer
and more beautiful.

Normal Vincent Peale

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