Monday, August 24, 2009

What's News

I passed this exam on June 27th with a fine score. The following week, I did the paperwork for the States of Virginia and Maryland, and the Securities and Exchange Commissions. The following week, my partner and I were asked to resign due to a lack of production. Since I wasn't allowed to solicit clients until registered, they were clearly after my partner. In Financial Services, the most heavily regulated industry in the country, you can't work unless you are working for a broker/dealer or an organization that looks like one that is registered with the S.E.C. Approximately 60% of the industry is now out on the street as a result of this "recession" as the World re-makes itself.

Then the wheels really started coming off the cart. We refinanced the house to bring expenses down. That stretched into three months, and we almost canceled at settlement when they handed us a bill for $909.00. I stopped the settlement and told them there would be no settlement if they thought I was going to come up with that kind of money. The guy doing the settlement wasn't from the mortgage broker, and could have cared less. The salesman wasn't there, so I grabbed a woman walking by who said that she had just arrived at work. I told her I didn't give a hit, the settlement was over if she didn't get someone in there immediately. The owner showed up in 5 minutes, and the bill went away. We settled, and I apologized voluntarily to the girl I terrorized.

A few weeks later, the parents of the twins I tutor came over with papers from their bank. They had a mortgage work out that you may have heard about in the news. What was eye opening was the mortgage they were given when they moved in. The local Methodist Church had bought the house over 20 years ago and their minister had lived there. We were friends with him, and he was a great neighbor. When he retired, the Church decided to sell the property. They used their own people in the Church. The housing decline had started and the only people who came to see the house was a Salvadorean couple who knocked on my door to ask if I knew anyone who spoke Spanish. The people next door to me are from El Salvador, so I hooked them up. The couple made an offer and the Church accepted it, and provided financing. Turns out the mortgage broker gave them a very sophisticate loan used for real estate investors who want to flip a house. It's a 5 year mortgage with a balloon that accelerates in prices every year. It started at $3000 a year, $4000 the next year, then $5000 and after 5 years, the entire mortgage is due. The couple thought they had a $3000 a month fixed rate 30 year mortgage. No one explained it to them at settlement in any language. I wonder who regulates mortgage brokers? My neighbors still don't understand balloons much less hybrid mortgages. Hopefully, they will end up in a nice fixed rate 30 year mortgage.

When things get really nuts, I hide out in Richmond at Wrenn and Elaine Spellbound's home. I typically go for a weekend. We go dancing, we eat, we go to the Hanover Tavern for Brunch, Wrenn and I go to Civil War fields, most notably Cold Harbor.....a completely cathartic weekend of mental health. Elaine was the last nudge saying, "you haven't posted in so long no one is going to remember you".

I haven't wanted to write about the things that have made me mad or the things that have made me so very sad. I had a third of my colon removed in May of 2007 when a diverticulum started bleeding. A diverticulum is when a cut develops in the wall of the intestine and it can fill or become a pocket. I was in the hospital for 17 days. I felt lucky to have escaped. One of these little goober can open and start bleeding, and the medical response is to cut either the diverticulum out during a colonoscopy, or remove the colon if they can locate the bleed. Last March 31, I was told to go to the emergency room because I was blocked up. There were no bowel sounds. The procedure is to first do a CT scan (think X ray) to make sure there is no blockage, then administer an enema. After waiting six (6) I was x-rayed and found to have no blockage. I volunteered to go home and self-administer the enema, as the emergency room's idea of an enema is a soap suds enema. I took Judy to McDonald's for a hamburger because she was starving. I got a stool softener the next day and have been self-administering them since.

And then I started fighting back with the hospital's billing staff. They like to call with an unknown number (they block you seeing their number) and leave a message to call Shady Grove Hospital Special Billing regarding case # xxxxxx. First, they wanted $1250. They raved and ranted about my insurance company. I asked them to wait and called the insurance company. The hospital hadn't submitted the bill. I asked the hospital when they were going to submit the bill to the insurance company? More ranting about the insurance company. I yelled at them that if they didn't submit the bill, they wouldn't get paid and to not call me back, and I hung up. They called me back a month later wanting their $100. I asked what $100? They told me I owed them $100. I told them that I didn't have a bill and I didn't pay bills I didn't have. I then said, if they sent a bill and if it was valid, I'd pay it, otherwise, don't call back. Two weeks later, we got a bill for $100 and paid it. Two weeks later, I got another call, and I ignored it. A month later, I got another call, and I called back a little later. I left a message, I paid your bill on June 12th and there is no reason for you to keep calling me. Have you ever heard of harassment? Three days later, I got a call and I was told they mis-posted my account. I asked for a supervisor. I told the supervisor that they had mis-posted my account and they should fix their own problems. She said that I had failed to put the account number on the payment. I told her that the payment was electronic and there was no place for an account number. She claimed that I had nine accounts. I told her that this wasn't my problem, why would she post money to an account with a zero balance. They were responsible for their systems, not me. They accept no responsiblity at all. I told her that I can't afford to waste my time coming to her hospital again and that I would tell the hospital administrator exactly that.

So last week was pretty bad when I found out that my friend Jack McGeorge had died of complications from open heart surgery. That was last Wednesday. I had planned to go to the funeral Sunday. Jack was four (4) years younger than me and very accomplished and well known. Early Saturday morning, I started bleeding internally. I called the doctor. She recommended I go to the emergency room, and let the hospitalist admit me. I told her I needed an alternative strategy. She told me to go onto a clear liquid diet and to lie down and take it easy. No chores. She went through my meds list, cancelled two meds, and told me if I kept bleeding I'd have to go to the hospital.

I have now lost about 4 pounds and I haven't eaten any food since Friday. I don't know if it is stress, anger, sadness or all of them. I think it best I didn't go to the hospital. By now, they would have wanted a colonoscopy. And you drink a gallon of Go-Lightly and leave the contents in a toxic waste barrel. If I'd have been in the hospital, I'd have taken that barrel to "Special Billing" and turned it over someone's desk by now. See, there's a happy ending!

I'm off to the doctor's to see if I can try eating. Have a nice day, I'll be back at you soon!

37 comments:

Dark Cloud Nine said...

I feel really dumb I missed the existential question on Saturday...
although maybe...?

1. I didn't forget you ;)

2. you can live very well with much less colon (you might have to take vitamins though)

3. oh yes stress can do incredible things... never underestimate the healing power of relaxation.

Alison said...

Take care of yourself, man.

WanderingGirl said...

I'm sorely tempted to advise you to do the colonoscopy and dump the contents in billing. And, if you keep bleeding I'll insist on it. :)

Be well.

Moi said...

wow, you've had a heavy load these past few months, haven't you? Wishing you a speedy recovery and a good steak dinner soon...followed up by some good cafe cubano!

Mel said...

Honestly, I found myself getting angry FOR you in all that (no pun intended) crap!! Good grief....talk about a full plate!

And yup--I've been concerned. I've never had an unanswered email from you.....and now I know under what circumstances that'll happen.

*sigh*
Would I be over the line to suggest that you please show up and let the doctor's do what they need to. I know I sometimes think I hold a degree in medicine and self diagnose/discount the professional involved. Mostly it's when either I'm fearful as all get out--or I simply don't trust the physician.

I'm graced to have the oncologist I do (whom I'm fired multiple times.....LOL....I'm kinda like that!), who'll let me tell him no and look for the next closest solution. Sometimes I actually let him do his job and he does it well!

*sigh*
Let us know how this one turns out, please.
And I don't (ohboy....excuse the language here)--- I don't give a rat's ass if you think it's whiney and stupid or kvetching or whatEVER....people here care about your life.
k...

*done!*

:-/

Brook said...

What they said! Take care of you-we still need to come visit and keeping up with Evie is no small feat!
Kisses!

The CEO said...

Hi DCN, thanks for the good thoughts, I think you got all of the salient points.

Hi Ali, I'm working on it.

Hi WG, I suspect that when the blood test comes back, there is a flexible sigmoidoscopy in the doctor's office coming (why do they call a chromed tailpipe from a '32 Studebacker a Silver Stallion when they are going to jam it up your rear with 80 psi of air and tell you that you're going to feel a sense of 'fullness'?) As for the hospital's billing office, got a Claymore mine lying around?

Hi Claudia, when you come visit we're going out for that steak dinner. Bring the Cuban coffee, we'll sit around and talk photography. Bring your cameras!

Hi Mel, I had some oatmeal earlier and some tomato soup this evening, but the real news is they let me have COFFEE today! It's like the sun came out!!! Things are looking up. I'll try to be better. You know it's all attitude, and I have been working on mine. Shaping up, ma'am.

Hi Brook, I understand completely. I miss you.

Pamela said...

I was wondering what happened to you. I thought you were just celebrating your victory for days/weeks upon end. Wish that were the case. And hope good luck comes your way soon.

The CEO said...

Hi Pamela, I have just been hanging around the house, sitting on the phone talking to the World every day.

Spellbound said...

sounds like it's time for another spellbinding party in Richmond

The CEO said...

Hi Spellbound, please have a party, PLEASE!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm so sorry all this is going on at the same time. Just try to take care of yourself and rest so you can start healing.

Sending warm hugs and good wishes to you, Monty. I'm so sorry about your friend, too.

skinnylittlesister said...

(((Monty)))
I know you know...
ugh,sometimes it takes days like these...
sometimes it's not easy living...
Our days don't come wrapped up in colorful & fragrant papers and tissues, neatly tied tight with a shiny red bow but they are still magical, wonderful & limited gifts.
Sometimes it's hard to remember that when everything seems out of whack.
I hate that you have had so much going on, although I am sure that somewhere there is a lesson and a butterfly effect... probably on many levels, reaching out much further than you will ever realize.

findingmywingsinlife said...

Found your blog through the lovely Spellbound.

I see alot of people come into my office who've walked in similar shoes as your story here. It does get my blood boiling as I realize how much many people are not informed and not neccessarily because of their own choices. Medical bills are more aggressively pursued than they were 5-7 years ago and we all know the deal goin on with the rate of foreclosures these days.
Ah, forgive me for ranting on here. I do hope your health doesn't turn out to be a serious issue for you and that things start to look much brighter than they did yesterday. Life is truly always worth living- even in spite of our challenges.

The CEO said...

Hi Hearts, things have been a little dicey lately, but I'm working on it. I'm glad Obama is in office, and I support the 'public option' because I have added insurance companies to the list of people that I spend days fighting with now. But it's like you said, Jack doesn't have to fight with anyone anymore, so I view myself as lucky!

Hi Skinny, how right you are! If it never rained, you'd get bored with the sunshine everyday. I hope you had a wonderful time with your sisters at the beach.

Hi Wings, welcome to my blog. I am going to visit Spellbound and Wrenn with my wife tomorrow for the Labor Day weekend, a nice break in the insanity.

My anger at the hospital was them persuing a debt they hadn't billed. Then persuing one they had been paid. My anger at the insurance companies is their pushing people around (like me) and their constant power plays. I am not a liberal Democrat, but we need a public option in health insurance just to introduce competition to health insurance. They have none now. We need universal coverage just to pay for the emergency room and reduce hospital's accounts receivable. Maybe then they could afford working billing programs.

Please don't start me on mortgage brokers and ethics, my blood pressure...

Echomouse said...

Dear Monty and Judy,

I'm sincerely deeply sorry I haven't been here. You've been in my thoughts a lot over recent months.

Monty, you are one of the smartest, strongest, most fearless people I know. As long as you keep pushing, I think I can.

I'll come back when I have something positive to help you feel better.
I just wanted you to know that I've thought of both you and Judy often and continue to.

{{Hug}}
Carrie
(aka. Echomouse)

The CEO said...

Hi Carrie, I'm more worried about how you're feeling. I guess you know what I've been doing now, I should write and find out about your life.

Echomouse said...

No no, please don't worry. I'm holding my own. Just hit some low points because illness had me down for the count too much this summer. It gets boring being too sick to do anything, including reading.

You just look after you and Judy and the pets. {{Hug}}

Oh, the non-profit registration is filed. Been doing too much (hence the illness kicking me) to get that done and keep helping other sufferers. I'll keep you posted on this :-)

Wallis said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan

http://pay-dayadvance.net

WanderingGirl said...

Hey, looky there! Wallis left you some spam! That ought to make you feel loved for sure. :) Hope you're feeling better and had fun with Elain and Wrenn over the holiday weekend. Do let us know how you are. Oh, and I have a new rescue that may be having kittens at any moment. Isn't that something to look forward to?

The CEO said...

Hi Wallis, you old automated advertising system.

Hi WG, both Judy and I got sick, and we had to cancel at the last minute. I'll write about it. Kittens. I need to talk to you about Jake. Maybe I should call.

Mel said...

*tap tap tap*

((((((((((( Monty )))))))))))))

(just a drive-by hug moment!)

Keeping you and yours in thought and prayer...

Mel said...

Yup. I still check in--and yup.....still want you to know I'm keeping you and yours in thought and prayer.

It's just what I do Monty.
But I think you already know that.....

Amy said...

Hope you are feeling much better today. All that billing crap makes my blood boil. NIN accounts? that is insane.
OH well-like I said-hope you are healing up.

Amy said...

Shoot. NINE not NIN...

Mel said...

(((((((((( Monty ))))))))))))

Abundant blessings to you.....

Claudia said...

It's been five months. I hope you're all right.

((hug))

Matthew Mientka said...

Is that it for your blog?

--Matthew Mientka

Spellbound said...

Hey, I think you need to step away for the Mafia for a few and let folks know how it goes. Just saying. Talk to you tomorrow my dear.

Mel said...

((((((((( Monty )))))))))))

Every once in a while--

I do hope life is treating you and yours well, yaknow?

Bruce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce said...

How are you, Monty? Where are you?

Hope all is well, my friend.

Bruce

cmhl said...

update please.... hope all is well!

Mel said...

Happy Dad's Day, Monty.

I do hope life is treating you with kindliness....

Mel said...

Some people just don't quit, huh?

<-- is one of 'those'.

Mel said...

<-- still proof

I do hope that you and Judy are well.

Anonymous said...

Monty---

I hope you are out celebrating the day.

Very worried about you.