There are easier ways to make $200…

There are lots and lots and lots and lots of better ways to make money than to go to the Emergency Room with chest pain and shortness of breath.

It started Sunday night, when for the second time in my life I (Apparently?  Hopefully?) had heartburn.  The first time (several years ago), I thought I was having a heart attack, but thought I’d  go get some Tums and see if perhaps it was that heartburn stuff I’d heard about over the years.  The Tums did nothing for me (and didn’t years later when I was pregnant, either!), so I went back out and bought some Pepcid, with the plan that if I didn’t feel better in an hour I’d go to the ER.

Pepcid, lovely product that it is, worked in twenty minutes.

So,  when I started experiencing chest and back pain on Sunday night I popped a Pepcid.  And, because one of my dearest friends had a heart attack at age 44 just three months ago, I sent Husband to the store for baby aspirin, just in case.  I chewed 4 baby aspirin, and promptly fell asleep.

Well, that wasn’t  smart.

But, I did.  And when I got out of the bed the next morning my chest felt a bit tight.  And when I started huffing and puffing just walking from the refrigerator to the microwave to the sink I thought something might be wrong.  Seriously wrong.  I called Husband, and we decided, “better safe than sorry”.  I arranged for my sister-in-law to come pick up Son, and went to the Emergency Room.

Funny thing.  Mention the words “chest pain” and “shortness of breath” and your ass will be in a wheelchair so fast you won’t notice the dirty looks of the other ER patients-in-waiting as you are whisked immediately into treatment bed 6.   I made sure to tell the doctor it was  “probably heartburn or a little anxiety”  because, well,  G-d forbid he think I’m a hypochondriac.  He wasn’t impressed by my Curriculum vitæ as regards medical training (watching Marcus Welby, MD, ER and Quincy do not an MD make, apparently).  One EKG later and the doctor admitted me, even though my EKG showed no abnormality.  Seems the heart likes to play coy and only sometimes shows trouble on an EKG.    I was admitted for more tests and for observation.


While I waited for a room, I was treated to an array of visitors.  There was the girl from registration, who wanted my drivers license and insurance card (smart girl that I am, they’re the only 2 things I brought to the hospital).   Patient relations came for a visit  (Did I need anything?  Yes – how do I make sure that everyone who touches me is covered under my insurance?  She blanched, ran from the room never to be seen again.)  And, surprise, the Chief Financial Officer of the hospital.  He “didn’t want any money from me”, just wanted to see how I was doing (Seems my bigwig brother sits on the Patient Relations Board, called the COO, who made sure I was taken care of.  And, ahem, that got me a private room, never mind that it was at 3 am).

So, while I waited for a room I called my insurance company, who verified that I needn’t worry who  touched me (well, not for insurance reasons, anyway).  Because I was at a participating hospital, and because I was admitted from the Emergency Room, everything was 100% covered.  And my ER deductible was waived because I was admitted.

I was quite relieved, having read about and experienced (while handling the insurance claims from my stepmother’s final hospital stay) horror stories about in-hospital services and doctors’ bills being  not covered or covered at much higher out-of-network rates.  I am seriously hoping the information I was  given was accurate.


And so began a twenty-four hour odyssey of tests and blood draws and two room changes and massive headaches-as-side-effects-of-medications and sleeplessness and really bad food (there was a hamburger that looked suspiciously like the roadkill I’d noticed in the parking lot as I walked to the ER), but at least all of the personnel I dealt with were top rate, at least I had a private room (thanks BW!) and at least I’ll be making money on the deal.

How?  Well, remember the Hospital Income policy I told you about?  Yes, well, I get to put a claim in for my lovely day in the hospital.

There are easier ways to make $200.  Perhaps next time I’ll try something that doesn’t involve needles.


2 Responses to “There are easier ways to make $200…”

  1. Patty Says:

    I am just glad that you are ok!

  2. Funny about Money Says:

    What a scary experience!

    A doctor once told me, with a straight face, that if you want to get attention quickly in an ER, tell them that you’re having chest pains. That’s how you get past the gatekeepers. Otherwise (around here, anyway), expect to sit in the waiting room upwards of four hours. And it certainly was true that when I showed up with a stress attack that caused chest symptoms and light-headedness, they had me in an observation room hooked up to a half-dozen machines within minutes.

    Glad you’re feeling better. Heartburn-like symptoms that morph into a feeling of pressure in your chest are nothing to fool around with.

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