Finally, after about six months of scrimping to make ends meet and keep my family fed while I get to and from work, my finances have opened back up. Only a tiny amount was taken from my check in this coming paycheck but holiday more than covered that. It feels good knowing I’ll be able to give my son a good birthday party and a nice gift all at the same time.
Why have things been so tight you may wonder?
Wonder no more. Simple. It was to pay off a medical bill I had. but, there’s a story behind this and I will keep it short and to the point.
A year ago in April, I had gotten pretty sick. I was at work and suddenly had no strength to stand, I was dizzy and nauseous. It was not a fun week and lost half a day of work. Thankfully that happened just before my scheduled days off. It took a while to get over the whole ordeal, but I came out of it okay. Why I had the medical bill is on that weekend, I was having trouble keeping anything down at all so I tried to call 211 to find a doctor or something to look into the reason why I was so sick. Nothing could be found at that time, so I was taken to the emergency room.
Now, if the light bulb has flickered on, you know why there was a bill. Needless to say, I spent eight hours there with two hours in one of the exam cubicles waiting for the doc to come and check me out. Just happened I got in during shift change, so the assigned doc decided to do their paperwork instead of checking on the patient.
I had to wait for the next doc on duty to get in, figure out what is going on all while my mom and I sat around in this cubicle wondering what the hell was going on and why no one had come in to say anything at all. It took one of the nurses coming in to see if the cubicle was open to notice we were there and did the appropriate apologies and let us know what was up. Not long after, exam was done and were on our way with two anti-nausea prescriptions. No idea what was wrong and the doc couldn’t figure it out either.
I was given a phone number to call to get aid in paying the bill when it came in along with the normal paperwork as they shoved us out the door.
The number was tried but I wasn’t able to get through. Eventually, the card it was on drifted away into some mysterious corner where I’ll never see it again. No aid, and certainly no money to pay. At the time, I was just making my bills and requiring help from LiHEAP to help pay my electric bill through the summer. $120+ power bill was very difficult to handle during the heat of summer on my own.
Eventually, the hospital sent their bills which I did try to pay but I have to get to work and pay rent, buy food, so on and so forth, on part-time wages. Late last year, I finally went full-time and managed to get things caught up along with purchasing a car so I didn’t have to ride the bus everywhere or ask family to take me shopping once a week.
About mid-November, I get a letter from their lawyer saying contact them within such and such time to negotiate a payment schedule or go to court. I never could get hold of their offices so I received a subpoena to go to court after the first of the year. No bill, I went and met with the lawyer there and explained what happened. She seemed understanding and we worked out an agreement. I’d pay $7/month and they’ll leave me be.
Cue the winter storms. First payment was going to be a bit late but it was sent off. I guess it didn’t arrive, knowing my thieving neighbors. February’s was going to be combined with march’s payment to catch back up then onward into the future.
Lo and behold, no more than two weeks after the court date, the hospital had papers drawn up to garnish my check. THEY reneged on our agreement before I was late with the first payment. I find this out when I receive said papers after the first garnished amount is taken from my check. They took a quarter of my check, which was my entire food budget and gas budget, leaving just enough for rent and bills.
If it weren’t for mom helping, and me taking the pharmacy tech job, I’d be in a world of hurt now. Lucky for me, the bonus we got last month gave a big push toward getting this thing done. This check, almost $40 was taken so now they can leave me alone. My food budget is back, extra cash can go back into the bank so we can get a new car (hopefully before this one dies), and my son can get the things he needs for school or whatever.
This Sunday (the 24th) is his 7th birthday. Instead of something small and cheap with a lame gift. I’m taking him to Mohawk Park to play with his friends in the water park there . He will have the cake he wants at home and a giant chocolate chip cookie to share with his friends and family. I have a list of some good toys he really wants, plus a few games I know he will enjoy so he will be surprised. It is going to be great!
Just for my boy, I requested both Saturday and Sunday off for him. The long week I’ll work after that will be well worth it. If I get too exhausted, there’s sick time to use before the work makes me sick or too sore to handle.
Speaking of sore, it is super late and I have a chiropractor appoint coming up before work.
Moral of this tale is: do not trust hospitals and lawyers, they are greedy and care nothing at all about the agreements they make.