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Chapter 46

It Pays to Complain

Back in June 2004, while we were in Michigan, we had one heck of a blow. A tree that I had called TXU about, shorted a transformer which set the tree on fire and the ground cover in 3/4 of my back yard. When the fire department arrived, they had to break down my privacy fence gate and when they dragged the hose over my shed, the roof caved in! I didn't get around to calling TXU until the first of August and when I did, I spoke several times with a person who's sole purpose in life is to say, "No." I managed to speak to his supervisor, the one who had trained him to say "No" with the same results. Then one day I received a form letter from the President telling me how much they appreciated my business. He made the mistake of telling me his name and address. I composed a long letter telling him in detail the problems I was having. A few days later, I received a phone call from his troubleshooter. In minutes we had agreed upon a price that would restore my fence, the roof and pay me for my trouble. End of story, the check arrived five days later.

September, 2004, I started losing weight (35 pounds in three months.) and had a really bad pain in my back. My female lady Vet had an X-ray taken and before I left her office she arranged for a CT scan and an appointment with a doctor whose name I cannot pronounce. Arrived at his office a few minutes early, filled a book with personal data and then waited an hour in the examining room for him to show. In the meantime, his nurse had taken my vitals, i.e., weight, blood pressure, pulse and checked off some more questions. In comes the good doctor dressed in a dirty lab coat, imitation patent leather alligator shoes and speaking with an accent I didn't recognize. I think he is from Nigeria, Uganda or the Ivory Coast, can't be sure. Anyway, he starts reading the radiologist's report which I had a copy of in my hand. Glad I did because I could have never understood what he was telling me. When I tried to quiz him about his background he was very evasive and I don't like that in a person, especially a professional wearing imitation patent leather alligator shoes and a dirty lab coat. His fingernails were dirty too. The only thing I understood was he wanted me to have another CT in three months. Seem they were concerned about a mass in my left lung. I gathered he thought it might be something like scar tissue but to be sure, he wanted to see if it got any larger in three months. Well, I didn't want to wait three months to see if it got larger, went away or whatever! For all practical purposes, I was through with him and when I got the bill from my HMO for a procedure that had not been performed in his office, I called the billing office. The young lady I spoke with told me she would investigate and get back to me. Two weeks went by and I called her again. She informed the doctor's office manager assured her they had performed the procedure but just so I would not worry about it, they would absorb the cost and credit my account. I know I cannot remember my name somedays but I knew the procecdure had not been performed as Nonie my long suffering wife had been present and she agreed the test had not been given. A test she is familiar with by the way. She doesn't trust me to tell her the truth about my health, ergo she goes in the room with me.

The last week in September, the doctor with the funny name's office manager called to say I had an appointment for another CT December 1, 2004 and an appointment with the same doctor December 8, 2004, to discuss the results. I told her in no uncertain terms I didn't want anything further to do with the doctor, that I wanted to switch to one of his associates, the one who treats my baby sister, Dr. Osoro. I can pronounce his name. "No way," Mr. Worden. You have to dance with the one who brung you." That is when I told her exactly why I didn't want anything to do with the other doctor. "You still have to see Dr. Bugaabboo, then if you are not happy, see me and I will change doctors for you. I finally agreed.

I arrived for my appointment fifteen minutes early, signed in and was told to take a seat. Soon my name was called and a different nurse took my vitals only this time she performed the test that had been billed and not performed my first visit. I pointed this out and she told me, "Oh yes, here are the numbers right here on your chart. You must have had the test." Good old Nonie Bear. She can be pretty blunt, told the nurse the records had been doctored. By the way, the readings were identical. Possible but not plausible. Nurse baby left in a huff.

Fifty-five minutes later, I looked at my watch and told Nonie, "He has five more minutes and I am walking up to that office manager, demand a copy of the radiologist's report and leave." The office must be bugged because at one minute to go, in walks Dr. Bugaabboo, all smiles, friendly, honey dripping from his lips. Same shoes, clean lab coat. He didn't mention anything about my conversations with his office staff. He read the report, slowly and distinctly. Then he gave me the best news I had in days. The spot was just that, a scar from a previous infection and no change from the previous CT. He set up another CT in six months.

I don't use profanity for the shock value but I need to give the basis for finding someone in charge to obtain satisfaction. My first father in law, Bill McDavid Sr. gave me some advice when I was first married. He said, "Don't ever fool with a shiny-assed clerk, ask to see the man!" I thought that was pretty good advice but it almost backfired on him one time after he moved to Houston to take over the largest Oldsmobile dealership in the US. Needing a local bank, he and the office manager had decided on a huge bank a block from the dealership. He always walked in to a store as if he owned the place and this was no different. A well-dressed young man approached and asked if he could be of service. Bill told him he didn't want to talk to a shiny-assed clerk, he wanted to see the president. The man said, "Sir, I am the president." I wasn't there but the office manager delighted in telling the story and how red Bill's face got. Bill and the president later became very good friends but the president never let him forget the incident.

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