Current Thoughts & Perspectives

Things are moving along as expected as far as the chemo treatments go. As anticipated the effects of the current chemo treatments are cumulative and Wendy is finding herself increasingly fatigued, itchy (from reaction to the chemo) and forgetting things and getting confused a bit more. Here’s the photos I took from her last couple of treatments.



Despite feeling worse as she goes Wendy manages to impress the nurses by always having a positive attitude and a smile on her face. At least until they inject the Benadryl and then she just looks like she’s on drugs, which of course she is. Now while I am at it I want to say that the nurses at the Sutter Roseville Infusion Center are really great. They treat us well, are personable and seem really genuine, something I am not used to in today’s society.

That said the system itself, Sutter Roseville Medical Center really tests my patience. Times are really tough and especially since the cancer and chemo (see my previous post on the cost of living). The last thing a cancer/chemo patient should have to deal with is bills from the hospital getting out of hand. They charged over $60,000.00 for her to be in a hospital room for two nights and that didn’t include anything that was done to her. That was just the room itself.

You would think a system with pricing like that might be able to work with a cancer/chemo patient who can’t afford the full brunt of the bills all at once (what insurance didn’t pay) and many of you who saw my previous post assured me that as long as we paid even $10.00 a month the hospital would have to work with us and wouldn’t send us to collections. I knew that wasn’t going to be the case and while I appreciate the feedback I have to call BS on the suggestions. Not only was the hospital not happy with a monthly payment, not even $30.00, they wanted to whole thing up front. I want you to notice something on the bill they sent us a few weeks ago.


First notice that it says they want the full amount. Then it says if we can’t pay it there are payment and other options available if you meet certain financial criteria. Now this didn’t phase me since I thought in our situation surely we qualify to at least make payments. We do NOT! Not only that but calling the billing number we were told that they’re not really set up for any kind of long-term payment plan and they would have to refer us to an third-party agency to handle this. They were supposedly going to allow us a longer term payment with 0% interest. Imagine our surprise when we received the following. Also take note that we did make a $30.00 payment within the last 30 days.


What?!? So much for helping us. And the part that really pisses me off the most is that they say they’re not aware of any reason for our non-payment, even though we were doing what everyone suggested and making $30.00/month payments. So in this respect Sutter Health fails at customer service! And to top it off the day after we got the threat letter Wendy had an appointment to have her blood drawn prior to her next chemo treatment. As they had done once before instead of sending us to the normal place they sent us to the main hospital. Now we knew this the week before, however we had been through this once before where they sent us there and we found that it was a long walk to the opposite end of the hospital to get to the room they had set up. And of course they weren’t ready when we got there and weren’t sure where her charts were…but I digress.

Let’s get to the last visit. This time we asked in advance for a wheel chair to be available to take her back that far and we were told no problem. For the first time ever we arrived and there was nobody at the front desk. So I picked up the phone and asked the operator for a wheel chair for my wife. Now, instead of just transferring me to the transportation department she first proceeded to ask if, “isn’t anybody there?” to which I replied that if there had she wouldn’t be talking to me. She then proceeded to tell me that she didn’t have a wheel chair and if she did she wouldn’t be able to help me anyway because she was in another building.

Finally I got transportation and requested the wheel chair. We were 15 minutes early for the appointment when I called. 15 minutes later we didn’t have a wheel chair. I called transportation and the woman on the other end told me with a snippy tone that the guy was out collecting them and would get them here soon. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to wait and we ended up walking there…again. This wouldn’t be such an issue if Wendy didn’t have Lymphodema, but she does and had to deal with it. So the hospital fails to provide customer service when needed and then fails again when it’s billing time. Something to keep in mind if you’re reading this because you’re preparing to deal with this kind of situation.

Speaking of her leg condition I want to prepare anyone else who this may apply to that if you apply for disability expect it to be a long drawn-out process much longer and difficult than unemployment (if you’ve ever experienced that) or worker’s compensation. The Social Security Administration is in no hurry to get you approved and in fact will take any opportunity to delay things. For example, when they told Wendy she would need a physical and psychological evaluation by doctors of their choice we thought that it would happen during the week and there would be no problem.

It turns out they have access to all Wendy’s medical information and so they know she’s receiving chemo and when. But when the psychological evaluation was scheduled it was on a Friday morning at the same time as her pre-scheduled (every week) blood draw). When she called to reschedule she was told that they could not tell her when she would be rescheduled for, they could only submit the request and we would get a new date and time. There is no facility for working around existing appointments so when the letter came we were dismayed to find out the new appointment was like a month later and once again on a day and time when she already had a chemo appointment scheduled.

Knowing it would add a month if we rescheduled we had no choice but to delay the chemo that day meaning that poor Wendy had to get up first thing in the morning and go to the psych eval in the opposite direction, then turn around and head to her chemo treatment which was an hour and a half the opposite direction. She planned on the eval appointment taking no more than an hour, however she arrived 10 minutes early so she could get right in. Instead she waited for 40 minutes and it wasn’t until she explained to the front desk that she had a chemo appointment that they decided to rush her in and do the whole thing in like a 15 minute rush.

I was also a bit disappointed in the dialogue she told me she had with the woman she had to see. I won’t get into that but it hardly seemed relevant to why she was there. After all that stress Wendy had to travel an hour and a half to chemo and go through two hours of that and then an hour drive home. So she had a very long, stressful day. Anyway, we hope this information helps someone else. Thanks for reading.

About Chris Savage

Devoted Husband of Wendy Jo Savage. I am her rock, her friend and her soulmate. Rest in peace, my wife. You will be missed.
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