Sunday, July 09, 2006

disillusionment in dealing with the bills

Up until just about 10 days, I had neglected many of the medical bills that had arrived at our doorstep. Prior to my transplant, I was on top of all the bills making sure that they were paid by my insurance carrier and/or Medicaid. I followed up with the representatives at the insurance company or the hospital regularly in the hope that I'd advert any problems with the payments. My insurance case manager praised me constantly for how diligent I was about keeping track of the bills and their payments. But everything changed after the transplant. Naturally, for my first few weeks home out of the hospital, I didn't bother with the medical bills but when my health began to bounce back and I felt better I continued to avoid the bills. I avoided them and avoided them. I just allowed the bills to stack up on my desk or in the corner of my floor next to my chair, where I promised myself that I'd look at them at some future point. But that point didn't come until just recently.

I know of other cancer survivors, who have expressed a similar disillusionment when dealing with the seemingly endless bombardment of medical bills. As I learned rather quickly in the months prior to entering the hospital for the transplant, dealing with the bills can become a full-time job. It's so taxing, which just takes so much out of you. And especially if you try to do a little each day like I did so earnestly in the beginning, the process can become overwhelming. I spoke to Dr. Roberts two weeks ago about this problem. He brought up a point, which I myself had considered a little and that is that dealing with the medical bills now, at a time when I'm so immersed in filling my life with activities that bring enjoyment to my life, unfortunately brings me back mentally to the world of the hospital, treatment, and the depressing, exhausting business of bill keeping. It's natural for me to want to push the stack of bills to the side as I desire to spend more time with Su or exercise at the gym or learn new massage techniques or work on my blog or go to a museum. These activities are a 180 degree turn from the sorry but necessary task of dealing with bills.

But my mom was giving me a lot of flak about my seeming laziness, which created a bit of tension between us. She warned me of a future filled with bad credit amongst many other horrors due to my negligence. But I had proven in the past that I could take care of my finances and the hospital bills, I just had no desire to deal with them again in the months after coming out of the hospital. Yet honestly, despite my annoyance with her nit-picking about the bills, I think her admonitions were significant in making me to start taking care of my medical bills once again. My conversation with Dr. Roberts two weeks ago was the other major piece of the puzzle. Our talk spurred me to become more diligent about the whole process before it became out of control. I've heard some horror stories about all the worst-case scenarios that may result from not taking care of medical bills. I definitely don't want to know those scenarios first hand.


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