25 September 2009

Pissed On, Pissed Off

One of my pet peeves--and hard as it may be to believe, I have many--involves the bathroom. (Or restroom, which is, I was advised by my not-quite-8-year-old son this morning, how one should always refer to a toileting facility that has no bathing mechanism. Pretentious little shit.)

The same child who found it necessary to correct my term usage this morning is a serious offender of my bathroom sensibilities. Regardless of his penchant for correct grammar, this is a child who can somehow smear all manner of human waste across an entire bathroom/restroom without even being within 30 feet of it. I've watched him pee, and it makes me want to break his kneecaps so he'll be forced to become a "sitter." Not that he's any less sloppy when seated. I won't disgust the sensitive with the details; I'll just say I handle his laundry with tongs and a HazMat suit.

Sadly, Mr. Messy is not even a close contender to the nasty fuckers I share office space with. I don't know who these people are, but I swear if I ever find out, I will be dunking their heads into the very toilets they desecrate on a daily basis for some well-deserved "swirlies."

It all boils down to one very simple premise--FLUSH THE FUCKING TOILET. This isn't difficult, people. See that little handle over there? Push It. Go ahead! It won't even hurt!

I, for one, am an over-flusher. I flush a minimum of three times on any given restroom trip. You may call this "OCD." I call it "I'm not going to be responsible for this toilet backing up and flooding all over the place." This practice was borne of necessity due to my equally over-zealous use of toilet tissue. You may also call this "OCD." I call it "when I get hit by a bus, there will be no skidmarks found in my underpants, thank you."

Let's also note a "courtesy flush" is called that for a reason. No one likes to walk into a restroom and smell what their idiot co-workers ate for dinner at the Indian curry restaurant last night.

Another plug for multi-flushing--the people who leave...evidence. Remnants, if you will. Which just causes me to have to flush another time (or two) because I can't bear the thought of my hind quarters hovering above that which you were too fucking lazy to get rid of. No one is going to fault you for flushing the toilet more than once. Don't let some tree-hugging hippie tell you otherwise. "If it's yellow, let it mellow" is all well and good as long as we're talking about mustard. Nothing else.

And while we're on the subject--please make sure you hit the toilet. I don't understand why this is a problem. Although I have a better idea, now that someone has clued me in to a practice some women engage in called "hovering." Really? How is this beneficial? I thought we'd established back in, oh, 1963, that you can't catch anything from a toilet seat? Unless, of course, your ass is covered in open sores, in which case you shouldn't be using a public toilet because you shouldn't be OUT in public, PERIOD. So stop doing this. Stop it right now. Because you're not protecting yourself from germies. You're just pissing all over the damned toilet seat.

And speaking of leaving a wet sloppy mess, what the hell is up with the sink? I'm glad you're washing your hands, but are you really? Or are you just giving your stupid little purse dog a bath in there and letting it shake all over the fucking vanity? Because that's what it looks like. Come to think of it, that's kind of what it smells like, too.

COME ON, LADIES. Start showing a little courtesy for your fellow public-restroom-users. You never know, the day may come when you show up for work nursing a wicked hangover and when the smell of your cube-neighbor's lunch sends you dry-heaving into the restroom, I'm sure you don't want to have to deal with "streaks" or pee on the seat.

I don't even want to think about men's restrooms. I hear they pee in a trough. And that conjures up some real vomit-inducing images, let me tell you.

No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

I don't watch Oprah because she irritates the piss out of me. I don't read 99% of the articles on CNN dot com, either, for the same reason. I do, however, subscribe the latter's RSS feed, so I peruse the headlines and generally use them to give myself a good laugh. Like this morning, when I rolled my eyes about another washed-up celebrity attaining hero status by simply being in the right place at the right time--and then I realized the headline "Sting catches alleged terrorist in bomb plot" wasn't actually about Sting, former Police front man, but a sting. I'm so silly!

Lately, however, the headlines are just making me shake my head and wonder when my real family will descend from the clouds and take me back to my home planet. I speak specifically about Mackenzie Phillips and her recent attempt at soul-baring.

Come on, Julie. I watched you run Bonnie Franklin nutso back in the day and not only did I want to be you, I secretly wanted you to be my older sister. But then you did what all child stars are supposed to do, which is develop a highly-publicized drug problem and then drop off the radar. I respect that; like I said, it's what you were supposed to do. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's in every standard child actor contract written prior to 1987.

But now, like the Dolly Parton song says, here you come again. Now you want to come clean about your drug problem (like anyone missed that) and let everyone know about how you had a "consensual" incestuous affair with your dear old nutjob dad that lasted well into your adult life.

Oh, Julie. Seriously? Couldn't you just "accidentally" leak out some naked pictures or a sex tape if you wanted attention? Seriously.

And your claim you're only doing this to "get people to start talking about" incest and their own drama? Not buying it. Sorry. I think you're doing this because Whitney Houston talked trash on her ex to Oprah and now she's famous again. I think you're trying to get one more hit to the snooze button on your 15 minutes of fame. I think your publisher thought it would be a stellar way to kick off your new book's campaign.

And let's just say, because I like to play devil's advocate, you really were banging your old man all those years while you both injected yourselves with Sweet Lady H. Even if it's true--I don't care. I don't want to hear about it. Because really, I got over that whole "silence equals death" thing after every other cause ripped it off from the AIDS awareness campaign. Now I can't make it through a fucking work day without hearing about someone's pap smear, or what someone else's therapist suggested to help her deal with her mother's drinking problem, or what someone else thinks about female circumcision and vaccinating children, and I've decided a little silence could be a very good thing. I don't want to talk about the importance of regular prostate exams with my father. I don't want to talk about those not-so-fresh days with my mother-in-law. I don't want to engage in heartfelt conversation with my husband about our respective colons. You all just keep that fucking information to yourselves, thank you, and we'll get on just fine.

So Julie, please, if you can't get back in the spotlight the right way by gaining a shit-ton of weight and then becoming a spokesperson for a popular diet racket--you know, like Barbara did--do us all a favor and just crawl back into your crazy cave and stay there.

21 September 2009

Health Care Reform, or "Why I Hate Blue Cross Blue Shield"

I think I may be having some circulation issues. My carpal tunnel appears to be acting up and every time I stand up today, I damn near pass out (and I haven't even been tweaking). Under normal circumstances, I might consider consulting a physician, or at least someone who works in the same office building as someone in a white lab coat with a stethoscope around his/her neck.

But these are not "normal" circumstances, friends. It's a scary, scary world out there, and I would advise you all to think twice (or five or six times) before you make any casual appointments with any medical personnel to have something "checked out."

I say this because of my recent health insurance shopping experience. Sit back, relax, ask a loved one to bring you a cold drink, 'cuz this is going to take a while.

Since we've been married, my husband has proven himself to be the more stable of our partnership--mentally and employment-wise, at least. I have the attention span of a gnat and therefore tend to float from shit job to shit job, and the shit job I held before this one didn't offer group medical coverage. (My then-bosshole graciously offered to either procure health coverage for me and mines or offer me a higher salary. I opted for the cash.) When I started my current shit job, we were well-covered under my husband's stellar group coverage, so I turned up my nose at the subpar (and brutally expensive) coverage offered me by my employer.

Then, as you are likely aware, THE ECONOMY fell into the shitter and my husband's company had to make some adjustments. Starting with a salary and hiring freeze. Then came the mass layoffs. Finally, they decided anyone left would be just so happy to still have a job they wouldn't necessarily mind having their health insurance benefits hacked to shit and taking a 20% paycut.

So when my husband was offered a position at another company with a substantially higher salary, he jumped on it. After all, the insurance benefits couldn't possibly be that bad, right?

Go ahead. Laugh.

They weren't that bad, they were fucking awful. And they were fucking expensive, eating up nearly half the increase in his take-home pay. But because my darling firstborn has some serious ailments that make him virtually uninsurable under anything but a group plan, we had to take it. Beggars can't be choosers, and beggars who are on maintenance medications can just bend over and take it like a trooper.

Upon starting his new job, however, my ever-resourceful husband discovered a way to save us substantial bank on the "employee contribution" for the premiums--select the "employee + children" option as opposed to "family." By simply cutting one of us off, we were able to save almost $400 a month. (Little does Humana know, they still have the most expensive member of our little family on their plate. Ha ha, fuckers!)

This, of course, meant I was left to my own devices for medical coverage. I consulted with my employer's benefits coordinator and discovered I could have a crappy Blue Cross Blue Shield policy for a mere $215 a month.

While I was picking up my jaw off the floor, I did a little research and discovered I could get damn near the same crappy Blue Cross Blue Shield policy for $105 a month. Because I am frugal (read: cheap), this seemed like the better option. (Actually, taking my chances as an uninsured American seemed like the better option, but my husband is convinced I would at that point develop something horrific that wouldn't actually kill me for several years, and he'd rather I bankrupt us now than later.)

I filled out the online application form, which is, by the way, full of bugs and other glitches that make it anything but possible to give full disclosure. I figured I'd be getting a call from an underwriter anyway, so I did my best and hit "send."

Sure enough, within a few hours, I got an automated email stating a representative would contact me shortly because more information was needed concerning my application. I waited patiently.

Two days later I got an email.

The underwriter has some additional questions regarding your application and it in need of medical records. Can I email that information to you?

By all means, please do, I replied. And I waited for the questions to come.

And I waited. And I waited. And I waited.

Two days later, I sent another email asking if the questions were forthcoming or not.

I got this in response:

I apologize I thought I emailed you this information already. Please see below: 1 Have you been convicted of a DUI in the last five years?2. Are you a tobacco user? If so please provide dates of use and when you stopped if applicable?3. Are you on birth control is yes what is the name of it?4. The underwriter would like for you to send medical records from Dr. Doofus from November 2006 to include the nerve conduction study done in November 2006. Medical records can be faxed to my attention at 816-xxx-xxxx. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

At first I wasn't sure what the hell she was talking about. Then I remembered. In October of 2006, I lived in a house with hardwood floors in every room, including the kitchen. On one lovely weekend morning, I was walking through said kitchen in aptly-named slipper socks and promptly slipped and fell on my ass. Well, not so much my ass as my outstretched left arm and my ass. It hurt, and continued to hurt. Since I had insurance, I figured it couldn't hurt to have it checked out to make sure I hadn't seriously jacked anything up, and I made an appointment with Dr. Doofus, orthopedist. He sent me for an EMG, which was negative. Knowing what I know about bone and joint injuries and how often treatment measures generally end up making things worse, I canceled my scheduled follow-up appointment after obtaining the EMG results, and what do you know, eventually the problem resolved on its own.

And here I was, nearly three years later, after I'd almost entirely forgotten the whole thing, being grilled about it by an insurance underwriter for a shitty policy that wouldn't even cover pre-existing conditions.

I responded:

1. No 2. No 3. N/A 4. I do not have copies of said medical records. I saw Dr. Doofus twice (two visits) for arm/shoulder pain following a slip and fall in my home. The nerve conduction study was within normal limits. Dr. Doofus advised he had nothing further to offer and recommended exercise. The arm/shoulder pain resolved on its own and I have not seen or contacted Dr. Doofus since that time. I am happy to sign a release for those records should the underwriter wish to obtain them; however, as stated above, I do not have copies.

I received another email stating tough titty, kitty, you're going to have to get copies of those records so suck it.

I muttered several choice words and typed up a very brief and cryptic letter requesting my records, filled out a release form and had it notarized (I work in a law firm, this is easy for me to get done) and grudgingly faxed it to the orthopedist's office.

A week later, I received a bill from the medical records copy service. To copy six pages of records--two of which being the letter and release I'd sent--and fax them to me (which wouldn't even require any copying, come to think of it), they wanted $25 ($20 of which was for "labor"). Or, they would fax the records to another physician's office for free.

Are you fucking serious? If my mother-in-law didn't work in a pediatrician's office, I would have seriously considered calling them to congratulate them on screwing me without even having had to buy me dinner first. Instead, I emailed them my mother-in-law's office fax number. That's right, I'm seeing a pediatrician now. What of it?

The next morning, I faxed the records to Blue Crap Blue Shit. Later, I received the following email:

The underwriter has some additional questions and also wanted to know where are the notes from your follow up visit with Dr. Doofus please see below:
1. Where are the notes from the follow up visit with Dr. Doofus

2. What is the status of your arm pain.
3. Did you have physical therapy or surgery
4. Where you diagnosed with carpel tunnell syndrome
Please have follow up visit notes faxed to my attention 816-xxx-xxxx. If you have any questions let me know.
Thank you

Yes, I have questions--beginning with "at what institution of higher learning did your underwriter learn to spell?" But first, allow me to address your query:

1. There was no follow-up visit, as indicated by the "DNKA" (Did Not Keep Appointment) notation for 11/16/06. I obtained the EMG results by phone, and upon learning they were normal, canceled the scheduled follow-up appointment. I have not seen Dr. Doofus, or any other orthopedic physician, for any reason since 11/06.
2. I have no arm pain. I have not had arm pain since the matter resolved on its own in mid-November 2006.

3. I did not have physical therapy or surgery or any other treatment of any kind.
4. As clearly stated on the EMG report, the test was "well within normal limits." I was not diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, or any other abnormality.

Seriously. If you can't read medical records, don't fucking ask me for them! Beyond that--you know from my application I am of child-bearing age. (Okay, it's a little late, but it could happen.) You know I am married and therefore might be "gettin jiggy wit it" on occasion. I have also admitted to you I am not taking any form of birth control. Therefore, I would think you would be much more concerned with the possibility of my becoming knocked up (not that your crappy policy for which I'm applying covers any form of prenatal care) or some other female-type health issue. I should think you'd be more interested in, oh, I don't know, ANYTHING other than busting my balls over a fucking slip and fall that happened THREE YEARS AGO and which was such a non-issue I completely forgot about it.

After my last email, the offending party emailed me to advise they would pass the information on to the underwriter, who would contact me if there were further questions. That was last Friday.

I swear on all that is good and holy, if those asshats come back to me with a higher rate than $105 a month based on my "pre-existing condition," I will personally invite them to accompany me to the gym, where they can watch me lift weights with my apparently useless left arm. And then I will personally invite them to kiss my ass.

Health care reform? Nah. We don't need it. It's all good.