Fraud in medicine: oxygen

My father died of emphysema in June of 2013. I found him dead on the floor of his house. I expected this because he was nearly a hermit, but it was still hard.

He was on oxygen. It was prescribed to be continuous.

I started cleaning up the house and trying to find his will. I lined up oxygen tanks and called the oxygen company. There were ten tanks.

The oxygen company picked up the tanks.

I found eight more. I was very busy with a large house, a complicated estate, two years of unpaid taxes, he paid bills on line but had not updated the payments when costs increased……

I hired a local estate sale group. They did an excellent job. The house was sold. I picked up the last few things, including the oxygen tanks.

I called the oxygen company. “Why did my father have 18 oxygen tanks?”

They said, “We delivered them as needed.”

I said, “He didn’t need 18 tanks.”

They said, “They are paid for.”

Oh! Medicare paid for the oxygen. No, not medicare. You and he and I paid for it, because we pay taxes to medicare and medicare pays the oxygen company. Well, 80% and then my father paid the other 20% unless he had a medicare secondary insurance, which he also pays for…. Oh, are you under 65 and thought medicare paid for everything once you got it? Sorry to disillusion you…..My father  was supposed to be on oxygen continuously. So the company kept delivering it at the intervals covered by medicare, even though he was not using it all. He sometimes didn’t wear his oxygen and he also had bought his own oxygen concentrator, smaller and easier to move than the one from the oxygen company.

I was furious. “So you kept delivering oxygen even though it was not all being used. And kept charging.”

They said, “We delivered it when it was needed.”

Liars. They delivered more than was needed and I gave some back to them, after medicare had already paid for it.

I still have 8 tanks of oxygen. After all, it’s paid for by medicare, by my taxes and by your taxes. The oxygen is paid for. The tanks belong to the company. I’ll return them when they are empty….. I don’t think the corporation should be able to charge medicare for it twice…..

I should check to see if the company reimbursed medicare and my father for the oxygen when it was returned. If not, I can check into filing a fraud complaint with medicare against the company. But even if they reimbursed medicare and my father’s estate, I am still angry that they kept delivering it when they knew darn well that he had tanks already. Or maybe they don’t even keep track of how many tanks they’ve given out. It’s all about money.

Fight back against corporate greed and fraud. Ask questions. Do not give the oxygen back if it’s been paid for….. give it to someone who needs it instead.

Cucumber love

Cucumber love

They say they love you

And they do

Sort of

One day you find yourself
Wearing a construct
An exoskeleton
Awkward
You can move
See out

You built it slowly over years
Because that’s what you were told to do
You wanted to be loved
It made you feel safe

There is praise
Or at least pressure to keep it on
You may not have known it was there
And slowly begin to feel
Who you really are
Awaken to the shell

One day you slip out

They are still saying how much they love you
To the empty construct

You watch bemused
For a while

You say “That isn’t me.”
“Of course it is,” they say

“I’m over here,” you say

Shock and outrage
“That’s not you!
You’ve changed, you’re depressed
Confused, manic, gone out of your mind!
Off the deep end!” 

You might even go back in
the construct for a little while

But now you’ve tasted freedom
You won’t be able to stand it for long
You will be out soon

Some people will see you as you really are

Some people will tell you they still love you
But as they say it to the construct
They act as if you’re still wearing it

They still think you love cucumbers
Though you ate that dish once to be polite
They hold the construct in their minds
Even after you’ve destroyed it
And behave the same as they ever did

As you walk away
You will wonder who they loved

first published on everything2 on June 9, 2009

What would a sufi do?

I dreamed about a door all night last night.

First it was a door into a car. Over and over. I was not sure where the car was going, the driver wouldn’t listen to me, it was a race car. There weren’t any people that really had form in the dream.

The car was my friend Dave’s. A 1978 or a 1979. I don’t remember. He would care, I don’t. He has a racing harness instead of a regular seat belt in the driver’s seat. He can drive it like a race car, or close enough to fool me.

My daughter sat in the passenger seat and didn’t move when he drove. I sat in the back and went “eeeeeeee” and my right foot braked the whole time.

The last time I dreamed it there was just the door. A car door still. Lying in space, in the stars.

I woke up and thought about my say yes poems. And I thought, ok, Beloved, I don’t know where it’s going or what it will bring or who is driving but yes, I will go through that door.

And coming down the stairs I was thinking that I’ve been trying to communicate something to Dave but he doesn’t want to hear it. So I am not being a sufi. The sufis only taught the student who wanted to learn and who was ready. WWaSD? What would a sufi do? Stop butting my head against a wall.

I think that was the door.

I think of my consciousness at times as a table, and different parts of myself come to the table. There is the very small injured child, who gets healthier and healthier. She is healing. Somehow Dave has called up a sullen teenager who glares at everyone. The adult woman is annoyed and mutters “boys, toys and race cars.” The trickster sits and laughs. The doctor/psychiatrist is very interested in the whole thing and is mostly sitting back and watching.

Now perhaps a Sufi will come to the table. Or someone else. A fence is being built around my house. I envisioned a picnic table in the fence, on both sides, but it kept looking like Lucy’s psychiatric booth from Peanuts. I wanted to put up a sign: lemonade or the doctor is in, depending on my mood.

The fence is being built because someone stole our picnic table from the front yard while we were on vacation. I had bought it second hand and it was made of two by sixes. It was brutally heavy. I hope the theft weighs on them. Over 14 years we’ve also had a blue gazing ball stolen and two plastic pink flamingos. A bike was stolen from the back yard.

So now a fence. The picnic table/lemonade stand/psychiatric booth has morphed into a bench that goes through the fence, so that someone can sit on each side. And beside it in the fence is one of the little library boxes, for me to leave books and for others to trade or take them. It will have glass doors. We will have a pool on how soon they will be smashed. We are not cynical, are we?

Fences and doors. I think that I should put a sign in the yard, but perhaps I don’t need to. The new person at the table is the crone. I have gone through the door and I will think about doors all day. The crone introduces herself to the others at the table. The table gets more interesting every single day.