Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Traveling Woes

We're sitting in the library in Mena, Arkansas so we can use our computers. This is a nice little library even if small. I've been here several times on previous visits. The only drawback I've found is that the employees are quite chatty and haven't stopped talking for nearly an hour. The tables we use are near the front door and front desk and so it isn't as if we can avoid it. I don't have a major problem with it but it is distracting when trying to read or write. It is a library, after all, and they shushed me and Sarah on one of those previous visits, so it must matter.

Our trip down was fairly uneventful if you don't count losing my debit card. Never fear, we immediately blocked it but it is annoying. Thank goodness I have my credit card.

We left at 6 a.m. and arrived by 5:30 p.m.  A long day but traffic wasn't bad at all. Sunday might just be the best day to travel. We'll see because tomorrow is Wednesday and we're headed back to Evansville, Indiana. I hope we can leave by 6 a.m. again.

I have a lot to do when I get back but I suspect I'll have to recover from the trip. Seems the longer the drive the harder it is for me to bounce back. I didn't drive at all but I was exhausted and am still tired.

This is old news and it gets annoying. I'm tired of being tired and hurting all the time is a pain. I'm going to stop here and find something to do besides cruise the web. I should probably check my library books I borrowed before I've read several in the last week on my Kindle and need to return them.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

First Memories

Billy Lavon Patch
Born: Oct. 8, 1959
Died:  July 10, 2018
My brother died this past week. They said it was a pulmonary embolism. That's a blood clot in the lungs. He was only 58 and so full of life. That smile you see? That was always there.  You would rarely see him frowning and if he saw you, he'd throw up his hand and give you a smile and say "Hey, how ya doing!" And now he's gone. The world has lost another bright light.

No, he wasn't famous or wealthy. He was just real.

Let me take a minute and tell you about the little brother I grew up with and what his life was like back then.

Billy was a cute, curly-haired kid and my younger brother. I'm the oldest of 7 and he was #2. We were raised by our grandparents, Mama and Daddy, a long story to be shared another time. As children, we were close but drifted apart as teenagers for a bit. When I married, he felt betrayed because our Mama had died and I left home. We became closer after that but Daddy remarried and the new wife didn't want a teenager in her life and Daddy sent him away to live with our mother. Another betrayal but he coped and grew close to our other siblings who lived with her. Eventually, Daddy was sent away too when the new wife got all she could from him. He brought Billy home and said he'd made a huge mistake and would never do that again. I think they both suffered during that period.

My first clear memory of Billy was not when he was a baby. It was when they sent for Mama to come and get him. You see, he originally lived with our mother and when she remarried a GI, she took him with her. Doctors said I should not be removed from my grandparents. You see, I became sick because of the pending separation. So, I stayed and he left.

He was 2 when they told Mama he needed to come home. He was having bowel issues. He's stopped pottying because he was whipped every time he didn't use the potty. I can tell this now because everyone is dead. Even Billy. He knew the truth anyway. We were told my stepfather whipped him but after I grew up, I believe it was our mother that caused the problem. But I digress.

I remember Mama and I boarded a train in Mobile, Alabama headed to Columbus, Georgia to pick Billy up. It was my first train trip and it was exciting. I remember sitting in seats that faced one another and I liked sitting across from an adult in my own seat. Mama faced front and I sat opposite, facing her. I was only 5. I remember the train stopping on a trestle and I looked out the window. Far below was a rocky creek flowing under us. It was so exciting and as clear in my memory as a snapshot.

When we arrived in Columbus, I still remember the apartment house. It was a two-story shaped like an L and inside, we climbed these huge dark wood stairs. On the second floor was my mother's apartment. The next few moments are like a movie in my mind. The door opened and I went in first. Billy was lying on a bed in the room, bedclothes all mussed and piled up. I can't remember that room. All I see is this tiny curly-haired boy pushing up on the bed and sitting, and a beautiful smile stretching across his face when he saw us. Today, that memory is bittersweet. He was such a lovely little boy. The redish brown curls made him look like a cherub. I remember his arms going around my neck. And the memory ends.

We brought him home.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Charges or Changes

Yesterday as I was paying bills, I reviewed some medical bills I received and when I went online to pay it I saw something confusing. They'd billed me twice for the same visit but it wasn't on the bill I held in my hand.

My insurance sends me an Explanation of Benefits that shows what they were billed and how much they paid. It also tells me the amount of my portion and a lot of other things. I always keep these in a file on my desk so I can compare them to the bills I get from the medical providers to ensure I'm not overcharged. Yes, that has happened twice. I pulled out my EOBs and found two for the charges mentioned on the website. They did, in fact, bill me twice for one visit. I lay it aside until I could call them the next morning. That'd be today.

When I called and explained my concern, the woman was very nice and happily explained that a lot of people get confused about their billing. I agreed they had a system that was very hard to follow. I get bills for Deaconess services from three different billing offices. Here's the story.

First, the reason the bill I had didn't reflect the second charge was that I hadn't been billed yet. Good to know but I don't know why they hadn't billed me at the same time since they had already billed the insurance and were paid. But moving on.

So why was I billed a second time? Well, you see, one bill is where you saw the doctor. That was $123. The other bill is a facilities charge of $177."


"I see," I said. I didn't but I'd give her a chance.

"That's for the use of the facility," she said.

 "OK." Did she say to use the facility? I didn't go to the bathroom. "Well," I said. "Thank you for your help."

After I hung up, I pondered this conundrum. I paid to see the doctor in their office. I paid to see her and I paid to use the office so I could see her. There is something wrong with this but I'm at a loss as to where exactly it is.

I am paying to use the building to see the person they HIRED to see their patients. And I'm PAYING to see the person they hired to see their patients.

I can't figure it out. One thing I do know it that I'm ready for a change. I think it is time we went back to house calls. If they can charge me a facilities charge, I figure I could do the same.