How to Not Die From Boredom or 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.

9 Comments, RSS

  1. This rabies bit — this should be bigger than just your blog. It’s a travesty and I am glad you are digging to the depths of all this. Keep being the terrier that you are and shaking this to the roots. I know there are a zillion stories like yours that never get “out there.” I’m glad you’re sharing it.

    The new Road Trip cover for Korea is fun — but I adore the original all the more. But I do love the cat vignette in the corner. Sort of says it all, doesn’t it?

    Your fashion designing ‘venture’ is looking good!

  2. ann

    I think my recent gaud bladder surgery was cheaper than your rabies emergency room visit.

    Maybe the south is cheaper.

    My aunt Ethel’s dog Lad died by having its foot caught in a similar fashion in Ellaville, Ga, on her farm.

    I helped her bury the dog and the point is I think that is a horrible way to go.

    I wonder if you would do it again? Or what would you do differently.

  3. Becky

    Your sewing project turned out great!! I love it.
    Medical charges are thievery. I sympathized with your story as I watched my Dad battle as to why the hospitalized charged outrageous fees. One was for a Dr. visit where the so callled specialist stuck his head in the doorway. Asked my dad how he was feeling before taking off…..charge $800.
    It is disgusting.
    Hope all the kitties are well and keeping cool. my big 65 pound baby is a house and couch dog. After being deluged with rain we are now in a drought. Oh well at least I don’t have a wet dog trying to beat me to the couch.
    The day to day drama is awful….he IS mentally ill….how about that comment about Macron holding his hand. What is 45 fantasizing about…..I don’t want to know. between tweeting….watching tv and playing golf…..we are paying a huge baby sitting fee.

  4. Megan

    Congratulations on getting your hot little hands on the new Korean books. How exciting. Mail is a wonderful thing and I do send letters and little parcels to my friends children. I had a friend who took me to task as when ever she went somewhere I said send a post card. She travelled a lot as she worked in Outside Broadcasts. One day she came to work and said, “I get it now”, she’d got a card from me and she said how nice it was to get something in the post. She lives in London now and we do correspond and she reads through her old mail sometimes, so much better than just getting bills in the mail. As for the rabies shot, I am still totally appalled. No other way to describe it. My sister was trying to catch some feral kittens at work… we worked for years at a very large television station next to a large cemetery and people would dump cats regularly. Michele was determined to get these kittens and take then to the vet who would assess them for rehoming… she saw her chance to get one, grabbed it and it bit down to the bone on her thumb. She did not let go. Adjacent to work was also a large hospital, after about an hour in emergency she got her tetanus shot and a nice bandage and was sent home, nothing to pay that God for Medicare, people get the treatment they need free, sometimes you do have to wait but I think even if you are a private patient you need to wait? Thank God there is no rabies here. I guess the moral is to get a preventative shot? My friends toddler was scratched by a monkey in Bali and she got him rabies treatment when they came home, free also. I still think you did what anyone would do if they saw an animal in distress, too bad he don’t know what was in your heart. Very nice remodel on the ‘cover up’.

  5. Kirra

    Well I made it back to Australia and I will apologise for saying it was winter as we had two lovely sunny days of 18 degrees (64 degrees) which was a bit of surprise, but now it’s raining and wintery! I also had a great time in the US (despite the current news) which I wasn’t necessarily expecting, I will hopefully get to come back and visit again soon. Also I am a big mail person, I sent about 25 postcards to friends and family when I was in the US. It’s nice to share your holidays with people!

    That New York Times quote is very good and succinct, you guys are paying for a huge baby sitting fee – I agree with Becky!

    Your sewing looks great, good job! It looks like the perfect top for very hot and humid weather (I don’t like humidity).

    I am with Megan, that racoon bite bill is RIDICULOUS!! What a waste of time system that the agreed cost for a medical treatment is not what the hospital bills for. There must be lots of admin people who spend time dealing with this, what a waste of money! It’s kind of hilarious that they still add the ‘vaccine other’ mystery charge when they’re already charging you so much to walk into a hospital. Here in Australia we have enough poisonous animals that if you’re bitten you just need treatment asap. We also have the Royal Flying Doctor service for very remote areas, plus helicopters deliver injured people to our city hospitals when needed. There’s no way we could pay for this, thanks for Medicare.

    Enjoy your Korean book, I’m sure if you want to learn to read it that will keep you from getting bored too!! 😉

  6. Patricia

    But what happened to the raccoon? Other than being an ungrateful bastard who objected to a winter coat being dropped on it’s head?

  7. Christine

    Regarding your fashion re-do: very cute! Very clever! And your hair looks fabulous!

    Regarding der Drumpf: I can’t stand to look at that stupid face or listen to that stupid voice. I’m not prone to swearing much, but I’ve never used the word “ass” so much in my life. He’s an ass. He’s a self-serving, dangerous, embarrassing on every level ass. I still can’t believe he got in and has the nerve to follow our former elegant, articulate, educated president.

    Off topic, but regarding your book WWCTR: July’s 5 forms of fire is a personal favorite and I especially enjoy re-reading that section every year! Yay!

  8. Margot Boyer

    1) I love the shirt.
    2) the wonderful British analyst/writer Adam Phillips has a book called *On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored.* worth reading!
    3) the “health” “care” “system” in the United states is a fecking national catastrophe. This morning the US Senate is going to try to break it some more. I look forward to the adoption of National Health Care by the 85% progressive Democratic Congress in the 4th month of the Warren administration. (Or, okay, the Franken, Klobuchar, Inslee, Gillibrand, Booker administration).
    4) you must have read *Rascal* as a kid. (Sterling North). Only someone who grew up on *Rascal* would try to pick up a raccoon.
    5) please take care of yourself.

  9. I, too, am curious about the fate of the raccoon.

    I, too, am equal parts appalled and puzzled by the medical charges.

    I like Margot’s optimism (above). Put me down for some-a that!

    I like your shirt-making achievement.

    I think boredom is an insidious disease that needs to be combatted with taking any action. Witness that solving it by sitting on Facebook ranting at politicians for three hours is not a successful solution to this problem.

    I am now going to go do…something.

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