Raccoons and rabies

First Things First, because our democracy is at stake. New York Times Commentor Joanne DavisB from St. Louis put it better than I ever could:

Donald Trump is uniquely ill-suited to and unqualified for the Presidency. He is temperamentally unfit, perhaps to the point of mental illness; he is a studiously ignorant opportunist with no discernible moral compass.

Now that I’ve done what any other patriot would do, I can get back to the pure drivel which is this blog.

Even though it is unbearably hot here on the north shore of Long Island this week — 90 degrees with 94% humidity, which means that the air here is as heavy as if you were wearing a Winter coat made of the itchiest wool and spun glass blend you can imagine — I modeled my re-purposed beachwear thingy from last week, which originally looked like this (more was not pink):

But I cut off the hoodie, nixed the weird sleeve-holders, and sheared the hem to non-shirttail length:

I have been wearing this top every day since I “made” it. And I must say that since I’ve become a Fashion Designer, I’ve been a lot less bored with myself. Lately, I’ve been wondering if Boredom is one of the least inspected aspects of being human, because I suspect that Being Bored is a HUGE part of being human that nobody ever wants to talk about. I, for one, find myself Being Bored at least 20 times a day. Is that just me?

Ah, but then I got something in the mail that was a complete surprise this week, which is an increasingly more rare event these days. I pity the kids who are growing up toady who do not know what it is to anticipate the delivery of the daily mail — love letters, post cards with foreign post marks, a brown paper package wrapped up in string, etc.

But I digress.

I got a carton of books from my Korean publisher:

This is Le Road Trip as it will be read in South Korea. I like that they chose to put les escargot on the cover. And the cats. I am dying to know if that bundle of symbols at the bottom edge is my name. I would love to write my name in Korean!

I have one last story to tell you today, about a girl who did not die from rabies but was still very, very annoyed:

I knew what I was doing: I had taken the precaution of draping an old Winter coat over the raccoon before I tried to lift it off the fence in my backyard. It was the middle of February, and the raccoon had been sitting on top of an old wire fence in my backyard all morning. I was sure he’d gotten his foot caught in it, somehow, and I was determined to set him free. So I persuaded my husband to traipse out in the snow with me and distract the old varmint while I attempted to release him. In other words, I HAD A FOOLPROOF PLAN.Rabies is 99.999% fatal. It is also 100% vaccine-preventable. 95% of all rabies incidents occur in Africa and Asia. 95% of those deaths are caused by domestic dogs that have not been vaccinated against the disease. So if you are heading out for a dive into the dog pounds of Africa or Asia, it is not a bad idea to get a human rabies vaccination before you go (it’s good for 2 years), which will cost you (in America) anywhere from $165 to $395.

If, however, the raccoon that you are trying to lift off a fence in your backyard bites through the Winter coat and sinks his teeth into your middle finger, the cost to prevent rabies retroactively (Is that a thing? “Prevent retroactively“?) costs a whole lot more.

In my case, on that February morning, the bill came to $21,429.00

First of all, as you can see, just walking into the Emergency Room costs $1,600.

I refused the bed they offered me, but I did let them weigh me and take my blood pressure, and I answered a few questions about my current medications and history of cancer (none, and none). It was about 10 minutes of admin.

Four hours later, the hospital pharmacy had finally sent the vials of fluid that had been requested four hours previously. As you can see, the rabies vaccine itself cost $2,092. The Immune Gobulin is given to provide rapid protection until the rabies vaccine becomes effective, and it  cost $16,628. (I am currently objecting to the note that 4 units of 150 — 600 units — were billed; I believe that the dose for my weight would have been all of 80 units. I await a call back from a manager of records to get to the bottom of this.)

The diphtheria / pertussis shot is standard treatment for dog bite wounds — you can see that it cost $289 to get the vial, and then it cost $399 to have a nurse shoot it (in England they call it jabbed) into my arm.

The “Vaccine Other” charge of $236 is anyone’s guess.

The Drug Req Self Adm charge of $29 is for one amoxicillin pill (in England they call it a tablet) that I put in my mouth and swallowed all by myself.

The last charge for $347 for Tx Svcs General must be for when I refused to have a X-ray of the raccoon bite.

So that’s how this visit to the ER cost $21,629. However, because I have private health insurance, this hospital and my insurance provider have already contracted set fees for this kind of service and my good old insurance company is contracted to only pay $7,045 to have me not die of rabies.

The difference between the $21,629 that the hospital wants, and the $7,045 that my insurance company has pay, is “written off” as a credit, or a tax deduction, I don’t know.

If I were uninsured but gainfully employed or owned a house or a car, I would probably be responsible for the whole $21,629, for which they can (and probably would) either sue me or sic a collections agency on me. If I were dead broke or here illegally, the taxpayers would pick up the bill.

My question is, if the hospital and my insurance company have agreed that this service of saving dumbshit raccoon saviors from dying from rabies costs $7,045, why does the hospital rack up charges of $21,629? If the service was truly worth $21,629, why didn’t the hospital negotiate for that price, instead of cutting their cost by a whopping  78%??? Shouldn’t a hospital bill reflect their actual costs of care???

P.S. I have to pay a $200 deductible, which the hospital they will get when they explain their bullshit charge of  $16,628.

It’s a whole other story about how many phone calls I had to make to get this info, between me and Billings, Montana and etc., but it’s not very interesting.

Have a wonderful weekend, my Wonder Ones, and stay cool. Our dear Commentor Kirra from Down Under has left our shores to return to “Wintery Australia”, and all we can say is TAKE ME WITH YOU.

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