Monday, February 27, 2017


With the help of the blogger peanut gallery, I got my mother to buy a fire alarm to keep her from dying.  I've got another one for you.

My mother is a retired 70 year old woman.  She lives in a large apartment building, and her upstairs neighbor is doing renovations to her apartment for three months.  From 9 to 5 every single weekday, there is constant drilling, hammering, etc.

Obviously, these hours were chosen because most people are at work.  But my mother is retired.  And she has trouble sleeping at night, so she often sleeps during the day, except now she can't.  It got so bad that she stayed at a hotel for a few days which costs a million dollars a day in Manhattan.  She ended up coming down with a bad cold due to the stress of it.

And there are still two months left.

Is there anything she can do about this?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You are being recorded

A few years ago, I had the following conversation with a patient:

Patient's mother: "My daughter told me you told her X and Y."

Me: "Hmm.  Well, I'm not sure I said that to her.  Maybe she misunderstood."

Patient's mother: "You did! And I know you did, because she recorded you talking to her and played it for me!"

Me: "..."

So that was horrifying.  I don't know how many patients are actually secretly recording me, but it's not something I had ever considered before.  I'm pretty sure it's illegal without my consent, a fact that I decided it was best not to bring up in this conversation.

Later, the patient apologized to me for recording me and was very embarrassed.  She said she can't remember conversations unless she records them, so she records all doctors' conversations.  Which is fine, but shouldn't she ask permission first???

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mystery package

I live in an apartment complex... one of those places that's made up of dozens of little two-story buildings that have about 3-4 apartments each.  I live on the first floor and we have a little enclosed patio that opens through glass doors off our living room.  I haven't been out there recently due to cold/snow.

Yesterday, my daughter was looking through the glass doors and said, "Hey, there's a package on our patio!"

Me: "No, there isn't."

Her: "There is."

Me: "It's just an empty box."

Her: "No, it's a package."

So I looked, and sure enough, there was what appeared to be an unopened package on our patio.  We retrieved it, and discovered that it was an Amazon box, and that it was addressed to our neighbors.  It was postmarked about a week earlier.

I have to say, I am 100% baffled as to how our neighbor's package got on our patio, which is nowhere near our front door or ANYONE's front door (it's in the back).  There is also no apartment number on the patio, so nobody would know which patio belonged to which apartment.  The delivery people from Amazon may not always be stellar and sometimes packages get delivered to the wrong door, but I have to believe that Amazon wouldn't just throw a package onto a random patio.  

Has this ever happened to anyone here?  Any thoughts?

Monday, February 13, 2017

HIPAA violations

I don't understand HIPAA.  I mean, I do understand it, but I don't always understand why one thing violates it while and other doesn't. For example, when I go to the doctors office and they call out my entire name in the waiting room, isn't that a violation?

I was in the middle of a phone call yesterday that somebody at work claimed was a violation, but I'm sure that it was not. I was calling the daughter of a patient of mine per her request, and even though there was no voicemail message, I left the following message:

"Hi, this is Dr. Fizzy.  I'm calling about your mother. She's doing great, but I just wanted to touch base with you about her care. Please call me back at 555-5555."

I can't for the life of me figure out how this violates HIPAA, but feel free to educate me.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Flexible spending update

So I made a post recently about how the payroll place gave me such a hard time about getting back the $5,000 I set aside for childcare.  I wanted to give you an update:

I was sent a check in the mail.  For $4,999.80.

I don't understand this.  What happened to that extra 20 cents?  I clearly spent over $5,000.  Why did they deduct that 20 cents?  I went to the website and it just said the 20 cents were "pending."

Obviously, I don't care about 20 cents.  But I find it perplexing.  Why didn't they give me that 20 cents.  Is this some sort of scam where they take 20 cents from every client and it ends up somehow adding up to millions and skip off to another country?

Monday, February 6, 2017

An expensive trip

Recently, I went with my family to the aquarium. I did the best I could to save money on the excursion.

Since tickets to the aquarium cost nearly $30, I got the discount passes from the library for ONLY $10 each.  So I congratulated myself on spending only $40 instead of $120 on the tickets.  But then the parking cost $40.  And even though I made sandwiches for myself and one of my daughters, lunch in the cafeteria for my husband and other daughter (a cafeteria-grade burger and pizza) cost $25.  So in spite of some efforts, we still spent over a hundred dollars on the trip.

We don't really need to save money--it's just instinctual for me after growing up with a single mom.  But the thing is, we have more money than most people.  Yet I could see that most people were paying full price for the tickets.  And the cafeteria was so packed with people buying food, you couldn't even get a table.  And the parking garage was nearly completely full of people willing to pay $40 for parking.

Granted some of these people could have been tourists taking a yearly trip.  But it's hard to believe that the aquarium was packed to the brim (there was a line to enter after the line for buying the tickets) with people who were so excited to go to a not that great aquarium in the dead of winter.  It seriously wasn't that special. It's just fish. We all agreed after two hours that we were totally bored.

Why are there so many people willing to spend close to $200 for a day at the aquarium?  Who are these people?

Thursday, February 2, 2017


As some of you know, I've got a few books for sale on Amazon. At the end of the year, I get a tax statement telling me how much income I earned from these books. I'm awaiting my UK statement, but I got the US statement last night and was personally happy with the number I saw.  So I decided to share with my older daughter, who wants to be an author herself.

Me: "Guess how much money your mom earned selling the books I wrote on Amazon?"

Daughter: "Ummmm..... 700?"

Me: "700 dollars?"

Daughter: "No, um.... 700 THOUSAND dollars."

Me: "700 THOUSAND dollars!!!!"

Daughter: "No, I mean... one... thousand.  One thousand dollars."

Me: "I earned $24,000."

Daughter: [disappointed] "Oh."

Fine.  I didn't earn $700,000 last year.  But hey, $24,000 isn't bad. (I did donate a chunk of that money to charity, but that's my choice.) A lot of people rag on me about how self-publishing isn't legit and I should submit my book to a real publisher, but all in all, self-publishing has been good to me.  I've probably made maybe $60K total since I started in 2013.  And I've given away hundreds of thousands of free copies of my books, which makes me feel like I would never get this kind of visibility if I'd used a traditional publisher.

With all that in mind, I've written a sequel to The Devil Wears Scrubs.  Await publication in the spring.