For the past couple of weeks my ribs have been aching where they attach to other bones. Roll over in bed, zang goes the upper sternum. Stretch arms forward, zang goes the back. Lay in the same sleeping position I've slept in for thirty years, ZANG goes that entire side. Ibuprofen does wonders for it. Not 100%, but it helps. Mainly it's just stiffness, and I think it's caused primarily by sitting at my desk and turning just my upper body to the work PC, instead of turning my chair, when I get a call.
Didn't want to go see random doc, because I knew what random doc would say: "Well, we've got to do an ECG and a stress test and put you on all kinds of expensive drugs and oh! If you have any more chest pain you'd better go the ER right now because CHEST PAIN!" But I couldn't get an appointment to see my regular doctor until Monday, so I went to an urgent care place.
And that turned out exactly the way I expected it to. Well, plus one: my insurance expired the day I got hired on full-time. I thought it was good until the end of the month, and that you were supposed to get the option to extend it (by paying the fee youreself for future months). Apparently not. So the visit cost $75 up front, plus whatever the ECG cost (bill later on that one) and the person that saw me spent more time telling me to go to the ER if I have chest pain than she did on explaining the results of the ECG. Though she did say that the ECG showed "nothing diagnostic", whatever the heck that means. In the context of her larger discussion, I believe that means that was why she wasn't summoning an ambulance for me immediately. Because CHEST PAIN!
Does the fact that it hurts whenever the cartilage is being flexed, and not at rest, have any bearing on what you're telling me? Somehow I doubt it.
This is why I don't like seeing "physician's assistants". They are supposed to be the next best thing to an actual doctor, but so far my experience with them has been lacking. My favorite example is the time I went to see one because I had a scratched cornea--I went into the office saying I thought I had a scratched cornea after some grass clippings blew in my eyes while I was cutting grass--and she tried to tell me it was cataracts. When I went to an actual opthamologist, he laughed at the suggestion. "You don't have cataracts. That looks like a scratch on your cornea." DUH!
Anyway, today I left the urgent care place with prescriptions for antibiotics and steroids. They'd been called in to the Walgreen's nearest the bunker. What did that cost me? Another cool $75. Steroids were $20 but the antibiotics--generic doxycyclene--were fifty-five freaking dollars. That's almost three bucks per pill, for a generic antibiotic. WTF!
Meanwhile, the student loan people--who, so far, have never sent me any proof that I still actually owe them anything--finally got around to sending me something: a handful of sheets which look like something a competent user of Microsoft Excel can gin up in an hour or two, but which otherwise contain only identifying information which is publicly available, or at least available to a scam artist who's worthy of his black hat. (My full name and the last four of my SSN. End of list.) The numbers might be real numbers or they might be made-up horseshit, but because they're just a bunch of numbers on a page, there's no way to tell.
And naturally all of this shit cropped up in 2010 after my student loans got paid off. Suddenly, six months after the payment was made, there were more loans, about which I had never heard anything, until just then. How mysterious. How convenient. How very much like the "unpaid credit card" scams.
I've had two or three of those cross my desk in the past couple of years: something that looks awful convincing, but fails the reality test. One was for a personal loan I never took out; the other was for a credit card I never had, but also included an attempt to get me to fill out a 1099 for them. "You owe this money! If you disagree, attach this form to your tax return!" ...which, of course, would end up having the IRS divert any tax refund I might get right into their pockets.
I was born in the afternoon; I was not born yesterday afternoon. In both cases, I disputed the debt and challenged them to send me proof, and never heard another word from them. Until this latest batch of student loan shit, that was what happened there, too: someone would contact me, I'd tell them I need to see some proof, and I'd never hear another word from them.
And so this is the context in which I do battle. Someone must have submitted a 1099 on the student loan debt, but I cannot find out who did it and so far the collections company has not bothered to give me any real proof that I owe the money (no collections company has). I need to see more proof than a spreadsheet; this is a serious chunk of change--and the spreadsheet only goes back to 2008. I graduated college in 1996, for fuck's sake! I haven't taken out a student loan since 1995.
It is possible that the loan was sold to another lender in 2008; that stuff happens all the time--but there should still be records they can get copies of, to show that yes, I took out this loan for such-and-such in 199x, and that loan was transferred to another guy in 199y and then the present owner in 2008. That would explain that figure--but if that's the case, there has to be a paper trail; and without me seeing that paper trail showing that I did indeed borrow that money, I am not paying them shit.
I'd like to get legal help with this nonsense since there is something clearly and obviously wrong with this whole process, but lawyers don't want to take this kind of case. There's no real money in it, and the fact that student loan debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy makes such cases difficult to resolve without a hell of a lot of work.
So what can I do? Make them show me the papers. If they show me the papers, I'll pay the debt. Otherwise I just have to keep punching, I guess.