I am angry right now... or hurt... or maybe both I guess, back and forth in surges that have been slamming against me since I got a letter this afternoon informing me that I owed a collections agency a little under a thousand dollars.
The letter was from Florida and had been forwarded to our new address.
The knot didn't form in my stomach right away. It waited until I saw the date and then dropped into my stomach like a stone.
August 15th, 2011. The Feast of the Assumption. Paul's first day of law school. The day I, with shaking hands, performed a conditional baptism on our just born child, tears running down my face, alone in a hospital room since we didn't yet know anyone and someone had to be home with the girls.
It was easily the worst moment of my life... the worst day of my life... and the hospital staff... well... it was a nightmare. I would spend weeks... months... going over that day in my head. I would shake and feel sick every single time we drove by Naples Community Hospital. And the bills started to come in and I just couldn't believe it. I had to pay for that? For being treated horribly during the most vulnerable moment of my entire life. I couldn't sleep. And I hardly had the energy to fight, since what we didn't know yet was that "debris" had been retained. At the time I knew that the illness that would follow for three months (when a NaPro doctor discovered what everyone else had missed when she gave a third opinion) wasn't really "just in my head," but the medical opinions I'd receive for those twelve weeks was basically that it was all psychological.
It would be three months before the D&C. It would be longer still before I'd have the strength to write up what happened, in the form of a 20 page letter and send it to the hospital. That day the hospital called me. My bills were forgiven (at least the thousand dollars I hadn't already scrimped together to pay...). A two page letter of apology followed.
I thought that it was over. Finally over.
And then the letter arrived today from a collections agency. A certain doctor is trying to collect on his bill. What? was my first thought. I was never even seen by a doctor. All the "doctors were too busy" to come down to see me. I delivered the baby by myself in a little porto-toilet after my cries for help were ignored by the staff I could see standing just outside my little curtain flap talking.
Paul spent an hour on the phone with the collections agency today after trying for a long, long time to get through to someone at the hospital. They said that the bill is from the doctor so the hospital can't forgive it.
I stood in the kitchen, sick to my stomach, and sewed two more quilts while Paul was on the phone. My back and feet had been aching from sewing for so long, but with my thoughts racing I could hardly feel them.
Somewhere in those boxes downstairs, safely tucked away, is that letter of apology. I don't need to waste work time digging through the basement searching for them, this week of all weeks, but it looks like that's what I'll be doing.
I'm trying really hard not to be angry or stressed about this right now (I'm pretty much failing at that). I can't help but think: What, you couldn't control your staff? They didn't act professionally when I was at the hospital. And now you can't be responsible enough to do what you actually said you were going to do and make the bills go away and all this comes up again?
I hope this is an easy fix... But dealing with collections agencies are always stressful... and bringing up all of this again... I'm surprised at how painful the memories of what went on in that hospital still are.