I Will Sell This House Today!

Clock is ticking, people. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to buy a walk-in closet in the heart of San Francisco for half a million dollars. I mean, seriously, who in their right mind would pass on my humble abode?

All joking aside, we are holding a final open house this weekend Saturday and Sunday from 2-4pm, and taking offers by Monday at 4pm.

My place only went on the market a week ago so I’m totally floored at the expedited timing.

There’s no way a suburban dweller can fathom the benefits of my $499k 1-bedroom condo, but let me quickly list them here:

I live across from the Kaiser Emergency Room and Labor & Delivery so if ever you find yourself suffering from symptoms of preeclampsia (that’s a nod to Downton Abbey), you can stumble across Geary Blvd for some medical assistance.

Free washer & dryer. Yes free! Not that coin-operated bullshit that’s reminiscent of our dorm days.

A backyard. Sure it’s a shared backyard, but there are a total of 3 units in the building, with only 3 current occupants. You’re guaranteed to have it all to yourself. If Dean and I lived there, I could totally see Dean working on the backyard on the weekends, tending to his flowers and an avocado tree.

A garage parking space. Need I say more?

I find homeowner association dues for condos in the city mind-boggling. These are fees used to pay for common area items, property insurance, and to fund an ever-growing reserve that never gets used. These HOAs are paid every month for the duration of the time that you live in your property. Like an STD, they never go away, not even after you’ve fully paid your mortgage. So when condos are marketed as having low HOAs and the HOAs are $300-400 a month, I’m like that is CRAY-CRAY! Mortgage payment + HOAs + property taxes = Is this property even worth it?

All that said, my HOAs are $200. I am not a fan of HOA fees (as I think they’re stupid), but if you’re going to buy a condo, my place is it.

I’ve Gone Viral!

I have the flu! I am so miserable. I felt it coming on Friday night, then Saturday morning I was feverish and achy. I have every flu symptom imaginable. My head is throbbing. I am horribly congested. My cough sound like the devil is stuck in my chest. When I cough, I have to clutch my head tightly because it hurts so bad. I’m either hot and sweaty or suffering from the chills. I have spent the past 3 days in bed: Saturday, Sunday watching the Superbowl, and skipping work this Monday.

This is the worst timing.

My cousin gets married in Carmel on Friday.

My tenants move out on Monday which means I have to get my condo prepped for sale.

And I am losing weight. Not necessarily because of the flu, but this damn gluten-free, super-healthy diet is completely counter-productive when it comes to gaining weight. I am never going to gain weight if I can’t eat cookies and ice-cream! I am not going to gain weight eating nuts, fresh fruit and veggies, organic meat, and avocados. Not going to happen. Something has got to give. Not sure how much longer I can stick to this stupid diet.

I spoke to the advice nurse at Kaiser who was beyond helpful. She listened to each of my symptoms, then gave me a remedy for each. Advil – check. Pseudophedrine – check. Cough suppressant with codeine sent to the pharmacy for me to pickup. She told me to go to the drug store and get Afrin and saline and water spray if I didn’t want the jittery feeling caused by Pseudophedrine. So I headed down to Walgreen’s a few blocks away and I’m thinking I could potentially be infecting people right now at this very moment while I shop in the Cold and Flu section. But what’s a sick girl to do? I need relief!

Nutrition 101

Finally, I have 1 nice thing to say about Kaiser. Well actually I have 2. First, they treat their employees really well: pension, generous 401k match, excellent vacation time, you name it.

It’s great to work for Kaiser, but sucks to be a patient. Thank God for my blog and for social media. If you have a grievance, it’s no use screaming your head off to someone on the phone who isn’t paying attention to begin with. Tell the world the issue and someone who’s tasked with trolling the interweb for the company’s name will contact you and try to play peacemaker. Can’t say that’s solved any of my issues, but at least complaints have been filed and are “being discussed.” Yeah, whatever that means. Keep counting your money, Kaiser, and distribute the wealth among your employees while patients suffer from your gross incompetence!

The main nice thing I wanted to say about Kaiser is that I finally got some quality health care! Granted, I had to be proactive and make the appointment myself, nevertheless the Registered Dietitian I saw was so helpful, giving me one full hour of good counsel. She confirmed my nutritional death sentence, but advised me to take it one step at a time as it looks like I am already overwhelmed. “How about for 2 weeks, you pick one thing out of the list you’re going to give up. Then something else after 2 weeks and we’ll just take it slow.”

She continued, “A glass of wine isn’t going to derail your plan. But make it count. If you’re going to have wine or sugar, make sure it’s something you’re going to savor. Make it your favorite glass of wine or your favorite dessert. Then stop because you should be satisfied.”

So here is the nutritional death sentence.

I need a BMI of 19-20 which means I have to get to 91-95 pounds.

No dairy.

No soy.

No sugar.

No caffeine.

No alcohol.

No aspartame which can be found in gum.

No wheat.

No gluten.

—–

The limited things I can eat:

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Oatmeal

Quinoa

Sweet potatoes or yams

Avocado

Nuts

Nutbutter

Flaxseed

Rice cake

Eggs

Cinnamon

Organic Tomato Bisque soup from the SF Soup Co. (but limit soup to 1 cup a day or no more than 2500 mg of sodium a day)

I keep telling myself this isn’t forever. I can do this! The dietitian also has the same disorder I have, PCOS, so she had expert advice and resources for me to research. This is crazy time-consuming. I spend about an hour of every day researching vitamins, herbs, supplements, food products, books, resources, healers, and going to acupuncture. I need another vacation!

Are You Lacking Brain Cells? Kaiser is Hiring Retards

Are you ready for another KAISER IS SHIT post?

Before I get into yet another tirade, let me delve into a little background. I am a life-long Kaiser patient. During my teenage years, I was at Kaiser every month seeing a dermatologist for severe acne. For God’s sake, I was a candy striper at the Kaiser Oakland hospital in high school and as a result, was given a nice little scholarship for college. Cool beans. I loved Kaiser. I felt like it was a well-run organization.

But now, as a patient with even bigger problems than acne, I am starting to see how deplorably they run the business. It’s like they decided to cut costs by hiring a bunch of dumbnuts who could care less about doing adequate work. Hmm, let me just sit here at my desk and collect a paycheck. What a fucking amazing job! Don’t answer phone calls. Don’t fill out paper work. Do absolutely nothing.

I think that’s the criteria Kaiser uses. Are you good at nothing? Do you like to do nothing? Work at Kaiser!

Considering how much I detest Kaiser, I should clearly explain why I chose to stick with Kaiser for 2013 instead of switching to a PPO. Bottom line, Kaiser is cheap. In total for 2012, I have spent less than $3,500 on all my health care expenses: paycheck deductions, 2 ultrasounds, 1 hysterosalpingogram, a multitude of lab work, 4 intrauterine inseminations, fertility meds, a year supply of contact lenses, 15+ acupuncture treatments, herbs, and various prescriptions. That total also includes my dental and vision expenses, but obviously the bulk of the expense has been Kaiser costs. I can only imagine how much all of the above would have cost me if I’d had a PPO.

I guess, in the end, you get what you pay for so I need to temper the bad patient experience with the cost.

I’ve wanted to go to specific recommended acupuncturists (not covered by Kaiser) in the past, but am now thinking of going the cheapy route and trying the acupuncturists who are covered within my plan. Might as well give it a try. I called Member Services to ask what my options are. Mind you, I called Member Services not some Hyderabad-based customer service rep.

Member Services: No, acupuncture isn’t covered.

Me: What? That’s not possible.

Member Services: Kaiser does not cover acupuncture. Acupuncture is not covered with any medical plan. You have to pay for it out of pocket.

Me: But my employer-based Kaiser plan has it in writing. I quote, ‘Acupuncture Services – Covered.’

Member Services: Hmmm, let me do some research.

[2 minutes pass]

Member Services: Yes, acupuncture is covered for you.

Me: Excuse me? Can you explain to me your process? You initially told me acupuncture was not covered. Now you tell me it is covered only after I press you. How did you suddenly change your mind?

Member Services: I had to read the notes for your plan and it shows that you’re covered.

Me: Why didn’t you read the notes for my plan before telling me I wasn’t covered? Are you dumb? Seriously, are you dumb?

Unfortune 500

You know how they have the Fortune 500? They should have a list that they call the Unfortune 500 for the top worst companies in the nation. At the top of the list? Kaiser Permaneglecte

I know I continue to bash Kaiser, but honestly they cannot get anything right. I’ve been requesting that they fill out Family Medical Leave Act forms that I can submit to my employer so I don’t feel guilty taking blocks of time off work to scientifically conceive a baby. They neglected to fill the forms out, leaving whole pages of the forms completely blank. I brought this to their attention and they assured me they would take care of it.

I have to add that they also never notify me. I have to be proactive and call, “Are my FMLA forms complete? Can I pickup my forms yet?”

I find out that they’re ready. I go to Kaiser in the middle of the work day (imagine riding the 38 Geary for at least an hour) and head directly to the medical records office. I swear to God the guy who works in medical records sees me so often, I don’t even need to sign the clip board anymore. They hand me my forms sealed in an envelope. Very sneaky, Kaiser! I open them up to make sure I have what I need and again, THERE ARE PAGES OF THE FORMS STILL NOT FILLED OUT. All they did was take the forms that I screamed were incomplete and friggin resealed them in an envelope. Can you understand my frustration? Do you see the idiocy?

I ERUPTED. “THESE FORMS ARE STILL NOT COMPLETE. DOES ANYONE DO THEIR JOB AROUND HERE?”

The man tried to soothe me, “Ma’am, I don’t fill out the forms.”

“WELL WHO DOES? WHAT IS YOUR JOB IF YOU CAN’T HELP ME GET WHAT I NEED. WHAT DO YOU DO? SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS YOUR JOB?”

He braced himself, “You should contact the person who fills out the forms if they aren’t right.”

“DO YOU THINK THEY’VE ATTACHED THEIR BUSINESS CARD TO THIS FORM? HUH? DO YOU THINK I CAN JUST PICKUP THE PHONE AND CALL THIS PERSON? HOW WOULD I CONTACT THIS PERSON?!”

He gets on the phone and places a call, speaking nervously, “Hey, can you pull up medical record number 4134248? Look, you have to answer all the questions. It seems that the form’s incomplete.”

When he got off the phone, he looked at the floor, “They should be done in a day or so.”

Simmering, I ordered him to give me the medical correspondent’s phone number. I walked out of Kaiser, called, got her voicemail, and ranted like a madwoman.

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