Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Minor Annoyances of the Day


…park selves at back door and arf. Human gets up (having just barely brushed the seat of its easy chair with its fanny) and lets the dogs out. Dogs go out onto the patio and stand there, staring expectantly at human.

Human: It’s 105 and overcast out here, and you want to go outside and stand?

Dogs: Well, yes. Yes. Of course.


Phone Solicitors…

…apparently are having a phone-solicitor jamboree.

Despite the wonderful call blocking device, quite a few still get through. They do this by spoofing phone numbers that are not in service (reinforcing one’s suspicion that Cox is in cahoots with them: how else would they get such extensive lists of out-of-service numbers?), or simply by calling from numbers that the device has yet to block.

Even the calls that get blocked still jangle my phone: they ring once and then are cut off. This has to do with the way the gadget has to be connected, because of the number of computers and phones and crap that are attached to the incoming cable. In one way, this is annoying: whatever you’re doing still gets interrupted, albeit very briefly. In another, it’s kinda gratifying, because you know the bastards are getting hung up on. The ones that do get through, though, set off your answering machine, so you have to listen to that thing yap. Sometimes they stay on the line long enough to cause the answering machine to pick up the “busy” signal that ensues, so you have to get up, walk to the machine in the back of the house, and delete the voice message that’s going beep-beep-beep-beep-beep….

Today I’ve had at least eight calls, about half of which have gotten through. That’s just while I’ve been here: left the house at 6:30 a.m. and didn’t get back until sometime after 11.

Whoops! There’s another one: the third from “Bountiful, Utah” today!


…definitely are having a mosquito jamboree.

Don’t know when I’ve seen so many skeeters around. I think it’s probably because I left a dish of water out for the dawgs while it was excessively hot, because I was afraid Ruby would slip out unnoticed, as she’s inclined to do.

Cassie prefers to lurk indoors, but Ruby will go out and lurk in the yard even when it’s hotter than the proverbial hubs of Hades. I do try to check to be sure she’s inside, but given my growing level of incompetence, the chance remains that she’ll get herself stuck out there in the heat.

Even with water, she wouldn’t last long at 115 degrees. It’s cooled down to 105, so I brought the mosquito habitat inside. But that left, of course, a generation of little biters flying around.

There’s a chemical-free way to keep them from chewing on you, though: turn a reasonably powerful fan to “blast” and point it at yourself. Interestingly, mosquitoes are not very strong fliers, and they can’t navigate well in a breeze. Right now we have a large box fan roaring away. Whenever I work up enough energy to get up, I’ll turn on the other three table fans in this room. The box fan is sitting here next to the sliding door, because I take it out onto the deck at breakfast time by way of discouraging the little biters in the morning.


…Really? Is it really possible that I could get the date of a Mayo Clinic appointment wrong not once, not twice, but three times?

Entre nous, I begin to doubt it.

The journey from my house to the Mayo is halfway across the galaxy. I just simply HATE driving out there. So when I needed to traipse across town by way of finding out why whatever ails me has been hanging on for the past five and a half months, I was not pleased.

I had a meeting in Scottsdale this morning, which would put me about halfway there. So I arranged an appointment at 9:10. This meant that the errands I needed to do while I was in the area where the group meets had to be deferred until next week, and some of them are things I would like to get done this week, not sometime in the far future.

So I leave the meeting early and fly across Scottsdale headed toward Payson — for reasons I can’t imagine, the Mayo built its office complex damn near out to Fountain Hills, which borders the freaking Beeline Highway. Naturally, Shea Blvd, the only way to get out there, is all dug up with “lane closed” signs all over the place. But I hit the campus just in time: run up the parking garage stairs and race into the reception area, only to be told…

“Oh, that’s not today: that’s next week! :-)”

Son. Of. A. Bitch!

This is the third time I’ve trudged way to hell and gone almost to freaking Fountain Hills and been told the appointment I had on my calendar was not for that day but for a week hence.

The first time, I put it down to my usual old-lady incompetence.

The second time, I was really pissed.

But this time? Now I’m beginning to wonder.

Does it really make sense that I would get the date wrong for a trip I truly hate loathe and despise three times?

I go to a whole lot of doctors, dentists, veterinarians, car mechanics, and whatnot. Why would this keep happening only at the Mayo? It never happens with Young Dr. Kildare or CardioDoc or the glasses guy or the dentist or the hair stylist or the vet or the business meetings or choir…so why would it happen with the Mayo and only with the Mayo? Why would these errors consistently be exactly one week off, when they’re usually made pretty far out in the future? (This one wasn’t: I made it a few days ago, but mostly you’re scheduling three or four weeks down the line.)

(Wow! Here’s the fourth call from Bountiful! This guy just does not give up! Now we’re at about 9 nuisance calls today.)

So, yeah: does it really make sense that this kind of scheduling error would happen only with the Mayo?

If they’re deliberately mis-scheduling, why? Could that make sense in even the wildest scenario?

The only possible reason I can imagine is that the Mayo doesn’t like to deal with Medicare patients. Medicare doesn’t pay enough, and collecting is a hassle for them. The Mayo prioritizes private patients over Medicare patients. They may be quietly trying to discourage me from making appointments at all. If a person makes enough wasted trips — especially if the person is elderly or disabled and it’s hard to get out there at all — maybe she’ll just give up and go someplace else.

And I certainly would, if they weren’t about the only game in town.

Overall hospitals and medical care in Arizona are pretty piss poor. In the Phoenix area, only two hospitals are rated excellent; one is the Mayo and one is a facility way to hell and gone out in Sun City. I don’t know anybody who practices in Sun City, and I sure as hell don’t want to drive as far to the westside as I have to drive to the eastside to go to a doctor.

It’s late. I’ve got to get up and start preparing the walls for the upcoming paint job. And so, away…

Why? Because endlessly annoying Facebook will not pick up the image you want to illustrate your post. It wants to pick up the banner image, which, if it’s generically the same day after day, quickly bores readers or makes them think today’s post is a repeat of yesterday’s. So the only way to force FB to use an image that has anything to do with your post is to change the banner image to fit the subject of the day. That means today’s banner image (a historic photo of four Nazis, for example) bears no relation whatsoever to the topic of yesterday’s post (ruminations on power outages, for example). So annoying.

Author: funny

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  1. I agree, the Mayo is jerking you around, hoping you’ll go elsewhere. Talk about crap treatment! Can you make some kind of official complaint? Oh, and I’d call the day before an appointment and confirm it. Make sure you get names, too.

    • Yet it doesn’t really make sense, even as a conspiracy theory…though of course, a conspiracy theory isn’t required to make sense. 😉

      It would mean they would have to have coded or in some other way marked each person’s records AND trained employees to do something unethical.

      The people they’d have to train for the purpose would be pretty low-end employees, phone answering folk making minimum wage or not much more than that. Some people won’t behave unethically no matter how much they’re paid, and some people won’t do it for peanuts. The risk that someone would talk would be VERY high.

  2. Could they be overbooking, like the airlines?

  3. MAN….I hope the Mayo isn’t “discriminating” because of your age and health coverage….That’s just wrong on too many levels. With my parents I have not noticed any difference and they are/were on Medicare. What a pain to arrive and be sent away…I’m surprised some kind of appointment couldn’t have been put together.

    • If anything is going on (there may not be…), it has to do with Medicare.

      They actually did offer to squeeze me in, but since I assumed it must be my fault, I felt I didn’t want to impose on someone who probably was already working at full tilt.

  4. Or maybe they’re not paying the employees enough to be super-careful about the scheduling?

    I go to a health center, which provides a sliding-scale fee and sees a lot of Medicaid and Medicare clients. But they always have someone call the day before to remind you of your appointment. Same with my dentist, except that he uses a program that sends an e-mail reminder.

    I’m really surprised that they don’t do something similar, especially since we older folks DO get forgetful. They’re not making any money if they have an unused appointment slot.

    Maybe you will have to add the extra step (in your copious free time) of calling to determine that the next day at 10 a.m. is, in fact, yours. And get the name of the person who does the confirming, so you can politely but insistently state, “I called yesterday afternoon and Jaden/Hayden/Caden said that this is my time frame. And do you folks realize that some of us still do work and making us drive across town only to be told we’re wrong is costing us money???”

    A letter to the director might or might not bear fruit. Here’s what happened to me last year: The health center coded my annual exam as a regular office visit, so my insurance wouldn’t pay for all of it. When I called it to the attention of the health center I was told that I hadn’t SAID it was an annual.

    My reply was that I specifically made the appointment for a year and a day after my previous annual, to make sure, and specifically asked for an annual exam. The health center person said, “But the doctor didn’t examine you.”

    But I don’t NEED an annual Pap et al. at this point, so there was no need for an examination. Thus when he listened only to heart and lungs I thought it was a bit odd but figured there was no need for anything else. And anyway, I specifically asked for an annual and the scheduling person helped me make sure it was one.

    The health center person said, “Well, we can’t help you. Next time ask for an annual.”

    But I freakin’ well DID ask for an annual….And more in this vein. So I wrote a letter to the CEO of the health center, explaining what had happened and that this was a disservice to those of us who don’t understand medical billing. Also that, again, I had bloody well requested an annual. And that the result was that I was on the hook for $53.09 and that was very frustrating. And furthermore, if I should have done things differently how in the heck would I have known that? So they should maybe train scheduling folks to be very specific.

    Believe it or not, the CEO wrote back to me! She said there’s a difference between “annual exam” (which could mean just that you wanted to get blood work done so you can get your prescriptions renewed) and an “annual preventative exam.” But since that is hella confusing, they were removing the $53.09 charge from my bill and that she would “ensure clinical and administrative staff receive additional training on this subject.”

    I hope you get a similarly positive outcome. (For the record, I am not holding my breath. Nor should you.)

    • Ditto here Donna…EVERY year I have a heck of a time with my Doctor and the “annual wellness exam”….IMHO it’s a way to “game the system”…My insurance covers an annual wellness exam which includes labs with a $10 co-pay….a bargain. But the practice I go to tacks on or tries to tack on additional fees. The last visit I received a bill for additional lab work that insurance wouldn’t cover. I called the insurance company and they said because it wasn’t warranted as I take no medicine and had no problems to report. The practice said….”the Doctor thought it was a good idea”….WHAT??? And it gets better….the lab work was performed by a lab OWNED by the same entity that owns my Doctor’s practice…Aaaand if I would have used the lab that my insurance company has a “special contract” with the testing would have been FREE or greatly reduced….Aaaand my insurance carrier says the practice is well aware of the discounts and often sends practices directives on sending clients to this lab for significant savings.
      Donna….I share your pain….

      • I had the same experience with the Mayo! Went in for an “annual physical” — which BTW is now widely recognized as unnecessary and likely to lead to invasive and unnecessary further testing — But the Mayo, by way of shedding Medicare patients, has established a policy that to stay on their rolls you have to show up once a year whether you’re sick or not. Fail to do so and they announce you’re no longer a patient, and since they won’t take Medicare patients, you’re out. This would be fine by me if there were another decent hospital within driving distance (their hospital is fairly close to my house, as opposed to their doctors’ offices)…but not so fine when they run the only certifiably safe facility in town.

        First time I went in for the required physical, they charged me $350 (!!!!!) for a bunch of tests Medicare deemed SO unnecessary they weren’t covered. Next time I went in, I told they they were not to inflict tests on me that Medicare didn’t cover…they cut back and I still ended up paying $150.

        I realize they have to cover their overhead — most doctors earn a lot less than most of us think, and Mayo doctors are paid a salary, not net from a practice. But not, I think, my inflicting a lot of unnecessary tests on patients.

  5. That is just flat-out ridiculous. They have to hire specialists trained in the bureaucratic gobblydegook to run their office…WHY would they expect the ordinary person on the street to know all that garbage?

    And then she looks right at you, opens her mouth, and reveals she wasn’t even listening to what you said!

    Whatever this ailment IS, it’s clearing up…I have a suspicion that time is the best healer here. A lot of time, apparently.