Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Phoning In My Cardio (and other ways to raise your heart rate)

Because I'm such a hardcore athlete, my heart rate is around 150 bpm when I run. If I really push it with fartleks  (stahp) I can reach 190 bpm.  Last week I had a chance encounter with an Accidental Personal Trainer from Hell named Sharon*, who single-handedly maxed my heart rate to over 200 bpm without even a proper warm-up.  She's lucky I didn't have a heart attack.

Before we talk litigation, I might need to clarify that I've never met Sharon in person.  I don't know if she has any kind of fitness training because I've never asked her credentials.  Stupid to put my personal well-being at her mercy, right?  In my defense I was fully unprepared for our exchange that left me panting for breath with my heart about to leap out of my throat.

I mean, who expects a phone call concerning medical billing to get your heart pumping and leave your face flushed in a pique of rage over incompetence and horrid customer service? (Oh, everyone?  Sorry, I always forget what's undoubtedly going to happen until it's too late and it would be rude to hang up.)

This is roughly my totally unbiased best recollection of the exchange between me and Sharon* in the billing department of a local hospital.  The parts in pink are not things that I actually heard out loud, and may not be in any way based upon reality but I'm pretty sure this is what was going on inside Sharon's head.

Sharon = Local Hospital, this is Sharon, how can I help you? *internal giggle* I'm totally not going to help you.  I will laugh at your problems and tell all my friends about you when I discuss Crazy People I Deal With.

Kelly = Hi Sharon, I'm so glad I get to speak with you today.  I'm having a bit of a problem and I hope you can help me.  Hi, yeah.  I've been dealing with this PROBLEM that you 100 percent caused for six months and I just got off the phone with the collections agency you sent me to and they sent me back here and you need to fix this.

Sharon = Name and date of birth please. Awesome, a really mad woman.  I haven't dealt with a really mad woman since my last phone call.

Kelly = Here is the pertinent information and I will not put it on my blog because I'm not retarded. But for the record, we are dealing with Ezra's speech therapy.

Sharon = So what can I help you with? Please, yell at me a little while I have no recourse because your issue is with company policy and not anything I can change in one phone call.

Kelly = Well, in August we started speech therapy through Early On.

Sharon = Early On, the state funded program that supplies ten FREE therapy sessions for children in Michigan but only at two locations, both of which are about 20-30 miles from your home something you are obviously still a little bitter about?

Kelly = Yes, Sharon, FREE therapy that you billed 1. my insurance company for and 2. me for because you didn't process my paperwork in time. You know, the ONE HUNDRED TWENTY DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS for ONE HALF HOUR of speech therapy for a two year old? (This last information exchange totally never happened.  It's a little writing technique where I make stuff up to creatively supply you with the applicable information you need in an entertaining way.)(You're welcome.)(Sharon and I both know all about how Early On works and what it is for.)(But Sharon doesn't know how far the therapy was from our home.)(I threw that in for free.)(Just kidding, Imma send you a bill for $120.50)(And *that's* how a gangsta makes money.)

Sharon = Let me look up your account while I roll my eyes at my coworkers because you can't see me anyway. And I know you are already steaming but $120.50 ain't a thing in the medical world.  Honey, $120.50 is the price of four Tylenol, as long as they are administered by an RN.


Sharon = It looks like Anita* contacted us in September about this. Poor Anita.  I hope you were nicer to her.

Kelly = Anita, the receptionist in the speech department who is awesome, did contact you in September about this.  And twice in October.  And in November.  And three times in December. And when the January statement sent me to a collections agency, Anita apologized to me because although we have not been a patient there in months we have talked on the phone regularly and she is as puzzled as I am about this whole situation. And yes, I was nicer to Anita because I am generally a really nice person except when this mess has dragged on as long as it has and because the collection agency already told me the real problem and I am beyond pissed about it. But I am champing at the bit because you are about to act like you fixed everything and I know better.

Sharon = It looks as though you don't owe this money and we are just waiting for a refund. Chill out lady, I found the answer.


Kelly = Yeah, I talked to Amanda* at the collection agency about that.


Kelly = So, we are in agreement that I do not owe this money, right?

Sharon = Yes.

Kelly = And we are in agreement that I should not ever pay this money, right?

Sharon = Yes.

Kelly = Then please clear it off my account, and tell collections to leave me alone.

Sharon = I can't do that. We are waiting for Aaron* - who is an employee at this hospital and works in our billing department - to issue a refund to your insurance company, then your account will be cleared. Woo-hoo!  Everything's cool!  We can all go away happy!

Kelly = So.  Let me be clear (Presidential quotes, now they know I'm legit). You are saying that until the Big Business Hospital refunds the Big Business Insurance Company for the $120.50 they wrongly paid for the first therapy session in which you wrongly charged them, which was totally a mistake on both sides that has nothing to do with me, I am being sent to collections for a bill I do not owe.

Sharon = Yes.

Kelly = And you are not going to take this $120.50 off my account, effectively charging me for your clerical error and incompetence.

Sharon = I can't clear your account, no.

This is when I requested a manager and was told that all three managers (Melvina*, Sheryl*, and Danni Ann*) were out on a lunch break.  At the same time.

And then I lost my stuff.

On the bright side, I totally got my heart rate to hover in the upper 100's long enough to consider this phone call a cardio session.  Because that's how exercise works. Maybe Sharon is the new Jillian.  30 Day Shred - Customer Service Edition.

*totally their real names.  All of them.


  1. your post was hilarious! But I can totally feel your anger --- it's just so absolutely ludicrious! What is WRONG WITH PEOPLE!!!!????!!! So I gather you will be calling them again in a month or so??? Doesn't sound like anything is going to change.....

    1. Seriously! I've already geared up for the next call. At least I'm finally being smart and documenting all of this nonsense. I just might email them this link ;-)

  2. This sounds exactly like me on the phone with Verizon Customer Service. Went into store. Told me to call customer service. Left store. 3 hours on the phone and they tell me that, in fact, they can't help me even though I have both a warranty and insurance for my phone which is less than a year old and therefore technically still under their care. They send me to the separate insurance company. 1.5 hours on the phone with them and they send me back to Verizon. 2 more hours on phone with verizon. Went into a Verizon store, looking murderous, problem solved in EXACTLY 4 minutes. In short, I think I might hate everyone.

    But only a little. And it's totally exercise. So much exercise, in fact, that you deserve a cookie and some Tim Horton's iced coffee.

    1. Iced coffee? Totally done. Thank you. Phone companies and medical billing are the worst at customer service. Why? Why? WHY?!


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