It is still there

If you go back a few days, you might remember me posting about a “bumper sticker” that now adorns my new refrigerator. If you missed it, let me share the picture with you again…

I am pleased to announce that the magnetic bumper sticker is still proudly displayed on the front of the fridge. It makes me smile. I still think it is very fitting sentiment for around here. I really do love my people and I usually do cook them “tasty” food.

Well, today my husband, Ben, confessed (admitted) to actually liking the magnetic bumper sticker. He likes it! It can stay! I personally think he then proceeded to lose his mind as he said he wanted to fill the fridge with inspirational magnets just like it.

There are already three others much smaller that he brought back from New York when he went with his mother back in February. The three of them combined are not quite as big as this one, however. There is a fourth magnet from our family adventures at the Myth Busters Tour in March at Jones Hall.

There are several other magnets on the fridge. These magnets all look like band-aids–advertisement from a local “urgent care” center not too far from here. I found this place after a run-in with the billing department at the place we usually went. That would be the run-in I had with the billing department after I received the first bill for Lance’s stitches back at the end of January. He had another trip a couple of weeks later to the same First Choice Emergency Room for a crushed finger. A finger that he managed to crush at church due to the improper use of one of those heavy, metal folding chairs. He managed to get his finger crushed in the hinge where it was then pried out and the flesh was torn down to white tissue in two places, one of which was right at his first knuckle on his ring finger. I should add that he has tiny fingers. So we are only into February and we are two trips to “urgent care.” Except what we did not know is just how much a recently changed Texas law had changed where we liked taking the kids and we had been taking them for several years. We had always gotten good care in there.

What I thought was an excessive bill for stitches was not even the icing on the cake I found out that day as I walked in upset only to find out that the grand total for the outstanding charges was nearly four grand. Yes, you read that right, we had a bill that was nearly $4000 for two trips to what we thought was going to be charged at something like an “urgent care” center. That was what it always had been to us in the past. They never warned us that it was not any more. I found out that day when I went in there that day raving mad that they referred patients with minor things like what we had down the street to this other place that had been open since December. However, we were never referred down the street in either incident. It was out of network for our insurance, but even the cash payment price was a fraction of the price of what I was just pillaged for. I was stark raving mad!

Needless to say that First Choice Emergency Room lost my business that day. They lost the business of a loyal customer of several years (something like over 5 years or so) and who had referred many patrons to them because I was happy and pleased with the level of care that each of my children had received in there, and myself personally, because of the fact that they preferred to treat me as a patient instead of honoring the same respect that they gave every other customer that walked in the door. Even worse is that they did not refer my husband down the street and he is not the one that normally brings the children in for medical things. The child was not hysterical nor was he bleeding profusely. The child could have got the one mile down the street.

What did I get for those two trips? Three stitches. I also got to watch them dig at my son’s chin for an hour to get those same 3 stitches out. They could not get them out. They took them out too early, so we had to deal with steri-strips for much longer than we needed to. His chin bled and oozed for a long time after those stitches came out when it should not have. Oh and his finger they did not even do anything for it really. They did x-ray it to make sure it was not broken. They put some ointment on it, bandaged it, put a metal splint on it and sent us home. They did not even check to see how deep the flesh had been torn. I had to take him to the doctor a couple of days later when it was looking pretty nasty and have them do a wound check on it. They were the ones that verified that there was no serious damage done. They actually peeled back the flap of skin and checked and even cleaned it really good. It was pretty bad, but fortunately it would heal. It just needed to be protected really good and kept moist. Unfortunately, it did look like he was going to lose the fingernail. He never did. It looked pretty bad for weeks and even looked like it should have fallen off, but it never did.

In spite of all of that, I am grateful. In spite of the high cost pillaging done by the stand-alone emergency room, we did get decent care. It was fast, it was courteous. It was not perfect, but I was never made to feel like we did not matter. The level of care just did not justify the cost of the services rendered. If I am going to get charged those kinds of prices, I might as well go to a true hospital emergency room. Of course, then I have the hospital emergency room wait where here I had a five minute wait to see the doctor.

I am grateful for the urgent care centers that do have lower prices and do not charge the same prices. The one that is advertised all over my refrigerator supposedly has an x-ray machine on-site but does not have an MRI machine, thus allowing it to not be classified as an emergency room in the state of Texas. It can bypass some of the state mandates for emergency rooms as a results. They have decent hours and are even open on weekends when bad things still happen. They have real doctors in there. They even do stitches and they do not charge nearly $800 for just the stitches part of the visit.

Of course, that got off onto a huge rant that I did not want to get off onto. It just kind of burns me up still to this day. I am just grateful for alternatives so that we do not have to experience the same problem again if one of the boys happens to do something to themselves that demands “urgent” attention that is not life threatening.

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