Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Nummers and Nonnies and a Blessed Reprieve

So, went in for the annual mammogram yesterday; they tried to shove me into the 3-D tomography/fancy beshmagel-stuff, saying they were "including it as a courtesy."  But then they said, "As such, we won't be billing your insurance, and there is a forty dollar charge associated with . . ."

That's as far as they got.  It's not really a "courtesy" if they want forty bucks on the spot for it, is it?  It was so obviously a sales pitch, it was sort of disappointing.  I expect sales pitches in my dermatologist's office, but at a radiology center?  Ew.

I had actually been reading about the 3-D mammograms just recently.  About a 7% improvement in detection rates (less with invasive ductal, more with some other types), with increased radiation exposure.  After undergoing three CT scans (including two 64 slice cardiac scans) in the past four years, I'm trying to limit my exposure here.  Plus (and more to the point), we don't have the money.  We dropped the cash for hubby's birthday dinner (well, we dropped the credit card), and that's it.  I'm not throwing 40 dollars at a fancy 3-D mammogram that delivers more radiation.  If I had a family history, if I had a history of breast problems, if I weren't so damnably broke?  I might feel differently.  Maybe next year.


Speaking of hubby's birthday dinner, it was quite tasty.  The cheesecake was a little eh (not bad, just average), and the waitress did forget that it was hubby's birthday, but her service was otherwise spectacular, and the place is one of the busiest restaurants in the country, so I'll give her a pass there.  She was lovely, a little sassy/edgy, smart, funny, on-the-ball, and all-around terrific.  The steak was better-than-average (though I have had better), the asparagus with the creamy  mustard sauce was probably the best asparagus I've ever had, but keep in mind I don't like asparagus.  So it was probably not very asparagus-like.  Our boy's chicken, bacon, and muenster sandwich was a hit (so now we know he likes muenster, too), as were the fries.  The clam chowder was fantastic, the cheese sampler plate was . . . overpriced (not bad, just not that good).  Our boy's chicken wings were amazing--only a little heat, but very flavorful.  Hubby's chocolate cake with raspberry sauce was quite good, as was our boy's cappuccino ice cream brownie, though it was too coffee-y for me. 

Where did we go?  Oh, yeah--duh!  We went here:

Overall, a nice place.  A little too crowded, a little too loud (though the noise levels dropped appreciably after ten pm, which was nice), but fantastic staff, great decor if you're into the polished mahogany and rich fabrics of the Hemmingway-esque/Great White Hunter thing (which I am), and an all-around classy feel.  No dress code to speak of, which is great, and there were folks there in everything from hoodies and shorts to thousand dollar suits.  Most folks somewhere in-between.  

Overall?  I recommend the place.  I expect someday, when we've got ourself in a better place, money-wise, we'll go again.

And again.


My husband's poor niece is coming to visit for a few days.  She sold her car and flew out to NYC because she had a job offer to work on the new Spiderman flick, "The Amazing Spiderman 2."  Understand, she flew 2000+ miles for this, went on furlough status at work, and has blown her savings.  Hey, it's not the first movie she's worked on, and this is the direction she wants to go.  I'm proud of her for taking the chance.

Sadly, she got to NYC and the ass who'd offered her the job reneged.  She's spent weeks there, calling him every day, trying to get word on when she should report to set, but he doesn't return her calls.  She called the guy who lined her up with him, and he said, "Oh, he does that sort of thing a lot, I suggest you just come home."

Holy cow, are you SERIOUS?   You sent her 2000+ miles on a job you knew would probably fall through?

She's feeling seriously demoralized, and I'm worried she's just going to give up on the whole "working in movies" thing.  We've advised her to join IATSE, because, as the go-between said, "If you were union, you'd have some recourse."

Poor kid.  She was SO psyched.  Now it's just a bitter lesson, one I hope she puts to good use instead of letting it defeat her.


Oh, goodness.  Speaking of the mammogram, I was told yesterday that the hospital hadn't forwarded my radiology records from last year.  I was told, by some radtech (I think they call them something fancier these days), that my records weren't there, and that I would have to pick them up in person from the old place.  I said, "No, actually I had to fill out a request for records and fax that to them, along with this place's information and fax number."  She insisted that's "not how it's done."  Hmmm.  Okay, but I'm looking at the form I faxed right now, and it turns out that's exactly how it's done.  Catch up, babe, it's the 21st Century.

Anyway, bottom line, she says they don't have my records and they require them. So I call the old place this morning and ask if my records were forwarded to the new folks.  They were VERY on the ball, and found me immediately.  And yeah, they did send the records--faxed them out the day I faxed them, and received a confirmation of receipt from the new place.  

I called the new place afterwards, and they COULD FIND NO RECORD OF ME.  At all.  Nothing.  Woman put me on hold over and over, and kept popping back on to ask, once again, what my last name was or what my phone number was.  She asked, "Are you sure you had a mammogram yesterday?"  

Yeah, darlin'.  I'm sure.  12 noon, there I was, near-crying because you people were torturing me.  So, yes, I'm quite sure.

She finally (after about 30 minutes), came on and triumphantly declared that I, in fact, HAD been there yesterday for a mammogram.  Like it had been in question, you know?  But she once again stated that they never received my mammography records from the old place.  She said she'd make a note for her manager to call me.  

And then I got rude.  I said, "Oh, hon, no--I'm just calling to let you know that this isn't my problem anymore, it's yours. I was asked to request my records, and I did. I had them faxed to YOU, and you confirmed their receipt. You lost them. According to the folks who sent them, it's now YOUR problem--you need to track down the records or you need to call PWH and re-request them. I am now out of the equation. You have a good day."

Sometimes I just ain't got the patience.  You see, I'm of a mind that it was never my job to get my own records in the first place.  I am increasingly tired of businesses forcing their customers to do leg work that used to be part of the service.  When I was dealing with the whole "mass" thing last year?  I had to schedule my bloodwork, I had to schedule my MRI, my ultrasounds, my exams, and even my appointments with the urologist/surgeon.  Hell, the only thing I DIDN'T have to do myself was the actual surgery.  MY "Primary Care Physician" did NOTHING.  Well, except stick a couple fingers up and declare that there WAS no mass.  Otherwise, she had NO involvement, even though our insurance describes her as "vital" to my health care, as the "coordinator" of all my health care needs.  She's put forth as my "advocate in healthcare."  Wow, what a bunch of twaddle that is!  Used to be, the doctor's staff did all those scheduling things for you instead of leaving you to look up the numbers and make the calls yourself.  It was part of the professional service.  Part of why they're so danged expensive.  Seems the expense has stayed, but the service has dropped off precipitously.  


The IRS thing seems to have resolved without too much pain.  Turns out the "bucking down to single with zero" is a default thing--we were able to get it shifted about.  In fact, they said we're entitled to married with six, but we settled on married with three.  That way, we'll owe almost nothing come the end of December, and can easily make the taxes in April.  And then we're set, we're good to go.  It's still going to be a hit, but not the devastating blow we were fearing.  Whew.


One last thing?  You know the obits I scrounge up for old classmates from my high school?  Well, I found one last night, not an obit, really--more a memorial site for a certain class group.  Problem was, the guy being memorialized? 

Isn't dead. 

I know this because I know him on Facebook.  And yes, it is him.  He has a distinctive name and has his class year listed on his profile page.  The odds of there being two with the same unusual name in the same grade at the same school?  Who look the same?

Yeah.  Yeah, they Abe Vigoda-ed the poor guy. I dropped them a note, let them know he's still with us.

As is Abe.  Bless his heart.


Oh, one last last thing?  I was searching for lost classmates for the reunion when I stumbled across Deborah.  I won't post her last name because that would be bad form, but wow, Deb.  She grew up RICH.  I mean RICH.  Holy COW!  Married a famous surgeon, and she's gorgeous.  47 years old, looks 30 (no, he's not a cosmetic surgeon), and is at all the black tie affairs.  She looks like she's straight out of Devil's Advocate (in a good way, not all lumpy and demonic, of course).  Good on ya, Debbie!  Seriously, I am practically giddy at her success!  How wonderful!


And finally, here's a place that doesn't look anything like Debbie's digs!

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