Instant messages are too new to be considered an art form, but the time is near when we should begin to see additions to our culture using IMs as a model. In the interest of being first to contribute to this new art form, I present the following:
Father [1:48 P.M.]: Hi
Son [1:48 P.M.]: Hello
Son [1:55 P.M.]: Oh, the hospital sent another paper. Apparently they didn't get my last one and are threatening to send collection agencies and such.
Father [1:56 P.M.]: ??
Son [1:57 P.M.]: Remember the hospital I went to sent a bill for the ambulance?
Son [1:57 P.M.]: And I sent back the insurance info?
Son [1:57 P.M.]: I doesn't seem as if they got it.
Son [1:57 P.M.]: Or if they did that they registered it.
Father [1:57 P.M.]: The insurance info is your Insurance ID number?
Son [1:57 P.M.]: Yeah
Father [1:58 P.M.]: You should call them up about it and get them to straighten it out before the collection agency sends someone over to break both your thumbs.
Son [2:04 P.M.]: I can't really call them up. I tried earlier and get an automated message system with no way of reaching a human.
Son [2:05 P.M.]: I'm thinking maybe I could change my name, and then they'd never find me.
Son [2:05 P.M.]: It seems easier than dealing with the bureaucracy.
Son [2:05 P.M.]: How about this "Johannasburg Smith"
Father [2:06 P.M.]: How about Jimmy Hoffa?
Son [2:06 P.M.]: They're actually still using my college address from last year.
Father [2:06 P.M.]: The bill is from the hospital?
Son [2:06 P.M.]: Yep.
Son [2:06 P.M.]: $623 just for the ambulance ride.
Son [2:07 P.M.]: The ride was actually less than a mile.
Son [2:07 P.M.]: Which they charged $16 for.
Son [2:07 P.M.]: Just the mileage was $16.
Son [2:07 P.M.]: Then the rest was $623
Father [2:08 P.M.]: I would suggest not using them the next time.
Son [2:09 P.M.]: Is that what hospitals normally charge?
Father [2:09 P.M.]: Hospitals are very expensive places to go
Son [2:09 P.M.]: I suggest not giving our home address or number
Son [2:09 P.M.]: Or they might send collection agencies there.
Father [2:10 P.M.]: No. I'll give your address and phone number.
Son [2:10 P.M.]: Um, please don't give my cell number.
Son [2:10 P.M.]: And quite honestly I don't mind them having my address from last year.
Father [2:10 P.M.]: If you get sick again do you know how to contact the University Health Center?
Son [2:10 P.M.]: Yes.
Son [2:10 P.M.]: I think I'd rather perform surgery on myself than go back to that hospital.
Father [2:10 P.M.]: That's free for you.
Father [2:11 P.M.]: The Health Center I mean.
Son [2:11 P.M.]: But really, $600+ dollars for a ride that's about 8 blocks?
Father [2:11 P.M.]: I'll give them a call and see what I can come up with.
Son [2:11 P.M.]: Do you think there's a case with the Better Business Bureau on this one?
Son [2:11 P.M.]: Because $600 seems more than excessive.
Father [2:11 P.M.]: Did they have the sirens going?
Son [2:11 P.M.]: No.
Father [2:12 P.M.]: Then I agree with you. If they had the sirens, well then...
Son [2:12 P.M.]: Well, then it would have been an ambulance. Without sirens its just an SUV.
Father [2:12 P.M.]: Yeah, but with bright flashy lights on the top.
Son [2:13 P.M.]: Which weren't going on.
Father [2:13 P.M.]: Did they hook you up to an IV in the ambulance?
Son [2:13 P.M.]: No.
Father [2:13 P.M.]: Did they do anything at all?
Son [2:14 P.M.]: No.
Son [2:14 P.M.]: I didn't even lie down.
Son [2:14 P.M.]: I just sat in the ambulance.
Son [2:14 P.M.]: And it drove for 2 minutes.
Son [2:14 P.M.]: It took me about 8 minutes to walk back to the dorm from the hospital when they were done.
Father [2:14 P.M.]: Next time you do that insist on the IV, the flashy lights and the siren. And tell them to take the route via the GW Bridge. At least then you'll get something for your money.
Son [2:15 P.M.]: Yeah. I wouldn't have taken it either except the paramedics wouldn't tell me I didn't need an ambulance.
Son [2:15 P.M.]: I said to them "I still don't feel very well. Do you think I should go?"
Son [2:15 P.M.]: "I can't tell you"
Father [2:15 P.M.]: Have you gotten the bill yet from the paramedics?
Son [2:15 P.M.]: I assume this is it.
Son [2:15 P.M.]: This is separate from the hospital bill itself, which was already paid.
Son [2:16 P.M.]: And I think was cheaper.
Father [2:16 P.M.]: Was it a hospital's ambulance or private?
Son [2:17 P.M.]: The bill says Hosp EMS
Son [2:18 P.M.]: So it must be theirs.
Father [2:18 P.M.]: OK. I'll give them a call and get tough. Believe me, it won't be pretty.
Son [2:18 P.M.]: Which means between a $600 ambulance ride and a $400 medical checkup they're charging $1000 for stopping in a hospital.
Son [2:18 P.M.]: I can tell you what they did in the hospital too.
Son [2:19 P.M.]: I got an EKG, which had the little sticky thingies. That I could understand being a few good hundred considering there were little sticky pads and they connected wires to them.
Son [2:19 P.M.]: Heck, they didn't even take off the sticky pads. I got to keep them, and I'm sure each little piece of glue with a bit of metal in it was worth around fifty bucks.
Father [2:20 P.M.]: That's only in ambulance money.
Son [2:20 P.M.]: So I'm not complaining about that.
Son [2:20 P.M.]: And then I got a throat culture.
Son [2:20 P.M.]: So that's $400 bucks there.
Father [2:21 P.M.]: Sounds good. Did you stay overnight?
Son [2:21 P.M.]: No.
Son [2:21 P.M.]: I got a brief check-up and EKG which took about ten minutes, then I sat in a chair in the hallway next to a sick ten-year old for about 4 hours.
Son [2:22 P.M.]: Then they told me I could go.
Father [2:22 P.M.]: Did you eat anything?
Son [2:22 P.M.]: No.
Father [2:22 P.M.]: Did they give you any medication?
Son [2:22 P.M.]: No, but the doctor told me I had strep throat and gave me a prescription.
Father [2:27 P.M.]: I got a much better deal when I had my procedure for my atrial fibrillation. During the course of an overnight stay which began with an 8AM check-in I received a catheter, an 8 hour "non-invasive" surgical procedure which included full anesthesia, a bed in intensive care and three full meals. When I experienced post-surgical discomfort they provided me with Percoset. I had a wireless heart monitor and an IV drip. The total amount not covered by insurance came to $50. Of course, I didn't have an ambulance ride.
Son [2:27 P.M.]: I'm sure an ambulance ride that actually goes from one borough to the next would be exponentially expensive.
Son [2:27 P.M.]: You'd have to put the bill before Congress and they'd divert money from NASA.
Father [2:28 P.M.]: OK. Let me go. I'll give them a call.
Son [2:31 P.M.]: ok, talk to you later
Son is away at 2:31 P.M.