Thursday, January 15, 2009

In The Eye of the Storm

The past few days have been like trying to fill an infinite bucket before all the water runs out a gaping hole in the bottom.

I received another bill from CareCredit and just realized that two charges that should have been on a 12-months-no-interest plan; one from when Carmella had her CSF procedure and another from Dr. Norwood's office two weeks ago showed up on my bill as only allowing 3 months to pay.

Yesterday was spent trying to get it set right, to no avail. It seems that they can refuse to allow 12 months to pay a charge under a certain amount, and in some cases even refuse to allow a 6-month account.

The problem is that nobody told me that and it was sprung on me suddenly. Now one of the halves of the charge from the CSF procedure has a promotional expiration date of 1/23/09 (I've already paid the other half off), and with events happening as they have, the charces of my getting that second part paid off before they decide to tack on interest are slim to none.

I've called CareCredit several times and they won't change it and say there's "no appeal process". Who in the hell has "no appeal process?" I thought all businesses were required to have one. Last night I even wrote consumer advocate Bill Liss on channel 11 who is an attorney to find out whether the law provides any recourse to challenge that arbitrary regulation.

I'm already breaking my natural gas bill into thirds out of necessity and more will compound next month when the next current charges are due. Higher expenses such as this have thrown a huge monkey-wrench into the works.

When I took Carmella to Dr. Norwood's office to be dipped the second time for mange I spoke with Gwen, the office manager about the problem with CareCredit making the due date for the latest promotional plan earlier than I'd agreed to, and she told me that for charges less than $200 CareCredit won't do a 12-month, but they'll do a 6-month on charges around $100. Nothing really was corrected after all the legwork of today and yesterday.

The pet insurance will help to some extent, but it won't come in time to pay that charge for the other clinic, and yesterday I found out that the claim for the procedure done at Briarcliff Animal Clinic still hasn't been filed. They've had it for about a week now and the vet won't be in until Saturday and is still working on it. His nurse was on vacation last week and had handed it to him before she left.

The insurance company so far has been pretty good about paying claims promptly although I have only really dealt with them for that one claim for Carmella's expenses related to the Distemper. Gwen was unsure whether to include the ointment and antibiotics in the claim or not and I came away unclear as to whether she included those or not because I'm not sure she understood that the two medications were related to that condition, and my brain could hold no more by the time I was ready to bring Carmella home.

I want to thank the kind soul who donated to Carmella yesterday, and ask any others who can afford it to keep these contributions coming. I am working to pay off this bill on faith right now, putting one foot in front of the other.

My own healthcare is currently under attack. Right now I am appealing the denial of one of my medications by Medicare part D for an off-label protocol that saved my life, and at the same time I'm waiting to hear the outcome of an SSDI review. These are uncertain times.

Carmella came home at 3:00 pm looking cleaner but with red-rimmed eyes after her dip. She has been resting comfortably in the kitchen on the dog bed she eviscerated and has been pulling the stuffing out of bit by bit since last week. She has now torn it to shreds. Each day I pick up and throw away more pieces of it. The design of it was great except that they should have made the cover out of upholstry fabric. I'd written the manufacturer online to give them this suggestion and have heard nothing back from them; not even to say "thanks for letting us know your experience with one of our products".

I touched-base the other day with Ed Bond, another NDV advocate whose dog had the body portion of the treatment. He's a former reporter for the LA Times with over 25 years as a journalist. There are some very good ways for us to collaborate to get Dr. Sears' treatment on the map. Ed Bond has started a FaceBook group. Here is where you can read more about it and/or join;


I am trying to find an influential vet that might help pave the way for Dr. Sears and my vets to publish in a medical journal, so if any of you out there reading know of one who might be open to this please give him the above link and the link to my blog, invite him to join the Facebook group and start a dialogue. We need a friend "on the inside" who is interested in seeing this treatment for Distemper given a fair chance. The sooner we can get an article into a respected journal the more dogs we can save.

Right now the outdated understanding of this disease is allowing dogs to suffer needlessly and die a horrible death because too many vets will still not try NDV when given the information about it. Not having that one piece of paper prevents many from reading about it or hearing it out, and many dog owners feel powerless to get help for their dogs, get tired of their pleadings falling on deaf ears, and give up. This is a tragedy because the solution is sitting right there, but only a vet can administer it. There is a cure, and the dogs who need it are worth saving.

I am hoping that Carmella, being the 1st dog in the US to have this complete two-part cure can become the poster-dog for this cause. She's photogenic and there's something endearing about her that transcends the disease, including the damage it causes. It is no accident that I ended up with a dog just as tenacious as I am.

2 comments:

Smiss said...

i just wanted to say that i am very glad to see someone so determined and unwilling to give up on her dog. she is a very lucky girl. :)

Giftbearer said...

Thanks so much! She's asleep in a chair right now in the computer room while I'm typing and looks so cute.

I think I'll take a picture of this.

Keep reading my blog. There's more to come.