Two-hundred-fifty-dollar-an-hour conversations and questionable cancer bills

I had breast cancer last year. It was pretty shocking, but not nearly as shocking as the bills that came with it. Honestly, if cancer doesn’t kill me, the anxiety of wondering what exactly the crunchy fuck they did to me in radiation that cost $18K for 15 minutes of general discomfort will certainly shorten my life span.

I survived with more than $100k owed beyond what my “good” insurance paid and a divot out of my left boob over which I keep threatening to have an eyeball tattooed. And bitch, I might if I can ever get past my incredibly expensive cure without living in a van, down by the river.

I also had a radiation doc who would say, “Well, that’s strange,” when I would tell him about side effects. Hey guy, here’s a little tip – women who have a newly carved-on boob don’t really want to hear how strange it is for them to be shitting their guts out because I can assure you with ever fiber of my being they already feel like Quasimodo with their gorgeous new scar and flaming-hot radiation burns.

Don’t take my grousing as disregard for the care I received. I appreciate it, but damn y’all, why does someone have to go completely broke because they had the audacity to actually get (gasp) sick? I already got a weird boob and nerve pain forever, is that not enough?

I digress. And if I continue whining, I may have to drag the wood for my own cross, so I’ll stop.

But I will mention expensive conversations that don’t involve a 900 number. (Again, let me stress, I’m old. I remember when you had to pay real money to get porn and dirty-talk.)

Here’s a trick for when you’re paying $250/hr to talk to an attorney. Talk fast. Make your point make sure he gets the basics. Get it done in 15 minutes. Then just start talking randomly about your childhood terrors and the reason you don’t like peanut butter loofa soap. Seriously. It works.

Here’s an example:

Me: “So that’s it. Anything else you need?”

Attorney: “No, you’ve been very thorough.”

Me: “I had notes. At these hourly rates I make sure to have my shit together.”

Attorney: “Ha ha. Good plan.”

Me: “See? It just cost me a dollar seventy-five to make you laugh uncomfortably. It was worth it.”

Attorney: “Uh, is there anything else?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know if it matters, but I have a fear of spider monkeys. Probably because one ripped a handful of my hair out. Hey – if that monkey is still alive, can I sue the owner for my lifelong terror?”

Attorney: “Mrs. Parker, I don’t practice personal injury law.”

Me: “That’s cool. Can you represent me in a book deal? I wrote some stories about how to keep your vagina clean, only I called it a ‘Mimsy,’ because vagina makes people nervous.”

Attorney: “Mrs. Parker is there anything else you have pertaining to our first fifteen minutes of discussion?”

Me: “Besides the fact that I’m scared of monkeys?”

Attorney: “Yes, besides your fear of monkeys.”

Me: “Nope, but we only talked for 27 minutes. I bought an hour, didn’t I?”

Attorney: “We’ll bill you a half hour. Thank you for the information. I’ll get back to you.”

Me: “Hey, what size pants do you wear? I found a pair of crocheted swim trunks at the thrift store the other day; I’ll send em’ to you.”

Attorney: “OK, we’ll call it fifty bucks and you let me go.”

Me: “Deal. And you’ll take my case?”

Attorney: “Unfortunately, yes. You’ll hear back from one of my associates.”

Follow me for more tips on making expensive conversations end quickly and how to’s on finding new lawyers frequently. Remember, I’m here for you, and it’s free.

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As a former transportation industry writer, I learned that a regular paycheck is nice, but writing about something you're no longer interested in is miserable. Apparently, I like writing more than money - so I'm back to freelancing at 52. It's not as altruistic as it sounds, I'm also cranky and difficult and refuse to fit in anymore, making steady employment pesky and potentially dangerous to my psyche.

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