Monday, August 6, 2012

The Check: Temptation and Some Very Surprising News

A week ago while we were driving the final leg of our trip, I was making a budget and stressing about making ends meet while moving cross country  and several times reminded myself that it would work out.  I know it probably sounds strange to some, but since converting and accepting God's will for our marriage by being open to life, we've found that while we have far less than we did before the recession hit, things somehow just seem to work out.  Some badly timed accident will occur, whether it's a broken down car or a hospital bill, and then simultaneously, some check will arrive for nearly the same amount, just when I've begun to despair about how to pay it.  Then there are other times when things aren't really that tight and we manage without a surprise check appearing from somewhere.  Somehow it usually works out, and I'm reminded that, while God isn't some Santa-like figure granting wishes, he does promise to care for us (of course part of that is the painful spiritual growth that is sometimes what's meant to happen... when we go through the unpleasant process and find our suffering transforms us).

When we arrived home there was an official looking envelop from one of the local hospitals.  I glared.  A bill.  Another bill.  Our insurance had recently refused to pay for part of a visit that they usually cover (and they refused twice) and so I was wondering if this was more news in the same vein.

I quickly tore away the envelope and found... a check.  There was no phone number and no reason given.  The words: "refund" were written further down on the paper.

And that's when the temptation began.  You see, I'd just been hoping (and trying to resist hoping) for some sort of help to balance my ledger.  And this check was perfect.  But I'd only paid a bill for less than half of this check in the recent past.  In fact, my insurance had covered everything else.  So I was fairly certain this money was meant for our insurance company and belonged to them, even if they had refused to cover my last bill.

I sighed, groused about having to go to the hospital to straighten it out in the middle of packing, and got back to work.

While I was packing up my office the next day, a paper with handwriting fell to the floor.  I bent and picked it up and found that it was a receipt for nearly the same amount... from that doctor from last year.  Could it really be a refund for what was basically the entire amount of the visit (which I had paid out of pocket since he didn't accept my insurance)?  The amount was off by two dollars, but it was pretty close.  A business card fell to the ground and I saw the doctor's smiling face, next to the words: Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology (followed by the name of the gigantic private medical group that includes two big private hospitals and tons of offices).  Could he have heard of what happened from the horrified staff that saw me after he told me it was all in my head and sent me home to die of septicemia (plenty of people in the hospital had wanted to know who possibly could have missed it)?

This morning stopping by the hospital was one item on a long checklist of things to do.  I expected that the amount was a coincidence.  I was sure that I would be handing the check over so they could pass it onto the right person.  Instead, the woman at the customer service desk looked up her hospitals records.  She asked if I'd been to the other hospital.  I said that I had and she looked those up.  I added quickly that I'd also seen one of the doctor's and paid out of pocket, but I couldn't imagine that was what the check was from.

A moment later she nodded and informed me that the check was in fact from him.  "Take that check and run!" she said with a smile.

I was pretty shocked as I walked back out to the car.  And I realize now how much it bothered me to have had to pay to basically be made fun of and misdiagnosed.

I'm still in a state of disbelief (and I guess I'll probably never know for sure how I got the refund!).  But it's nice to not have had to pay to be told it was in my head and be ridiculed for not wanting to pump my body full of carcinogens.

Now to get back to packing!


  1. Wow, that's great!

    So when do you find out if Baby is a boy or girl? :)

  2. That's great! I'm sure he sent the 'refund' so he wouldn't get sued. But money is money and now will help make the move less stressful.

  3. Wonderful news!! I have the same question as JoAnna, When do we find out? :)

    Praying that He continues to keep you in the palm of His hands.


  4. How wonderful!!! It is absolutely amazing how often things like this crop up out of nowhere when most needed.

    I also figure that the doctor feels it is likely a small price to pay to avoid what could have been a significant malpractice suit, but as the lady said, "take the $$$ and run!!!"

    God bless!


  5. I agree w/Paula. . .my aunt received, from the OB-GYN who did her hysterectomy, a most lovely ($$$) floral arrangement. . .the day after hysterectomy (while obviously - still in the hosp). Later, she learned that he had made an error, and then LIED TO HER ABOUT the possibility of having the fistula that HE CREATED, fixed.It (the sent flowers) was CLEARLY an attempt to get in her good graces. (My husband is an MD, and he agrees.) But, as I'm sure Paul can tell you, this is not a case that would be worth the trouble, since you did not incur a substantial $ loss - so suing probably would not be too beneficial, outside of a moral victory.

  6. It frustrates me that some people reading this story instantly assumed the doctor was trying to CYA, instead of entertaining the idea that the doctor was genuinely trying to make amends. Cams paid for a service that she did not get, so he's refunding the money. Don't doctors also get to be good sometimes? Especially if they have recognized that they made a mistake?

    As a person who works in healthcare I see this type of behavior more than most, and it frustrates me when people assume the worst.

  7. I'm so glad to hear that things worked out for the best!


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!