Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Got Your Crazy

Once about a hundred years ago, I was watching Law and Order, CI, because I have a thing for men in long coats, and Vincent D'Onofrio had a great line about how schizophrenics make very good witnesses.  I always remembered that line, for some reason, and today, when speaking to my very, very first actual schizophrenic, I remembered it again.

What I do for a living is talk to doctors, and I don't hear much from patients.  Because I work for an insurance company, you can imagine that the doctors are stressful enough--adding patients to that would be like playing sad songs for a depressed person.  It would ultimately just push me right over.

Today I was working on some new technique for talking doctors hands off my throat when out of the blue, my phone rang and on the other end was a lucid, confident sounding person who said he needed to speak to someone regarding insurance fraud.  I perked right up, as anyone in an insurance company would, upon hearing the words "insurance fraud", asked him is name, and begged him to tell me what happened.

He replied that while he had been in custody that cameras and probes had been implanted in his head, and that's not appropriate treatment for schizophrenia.

Huh...wasn't expecting that.

I didn't want to go into the "why" part of the "in custody" revelation, and simply asked, "So...what makes that insurance fraud?"

"Well, you people paid for it, that's why!"  He answered.

I paused for a moment.  I mean, what else could I say but "Hmmm..."?  

Just ask any of the physicians I speak to on any given day--they'll all tell you the same:  "You SUCK because your company doesn't pay ANYTHING!"  Going by that logic, the idea that we would put up the funds to pay for experimental brain spyware seems, well....ever-so-slightly improbable.

I asked when the surgery occurred, and he said that it had happened within the last several years but that he wasn't sure of the date.

"Tell you what," I rallied.  "I know how you can see a list of every single thing we have ever paid to have done to you.  Would that be helpful to you?

He agreed that it would be very helpful.

I then rather mercilessly gave instruction on how to rend such a list out of someone in customer service, providing my new friend with the precise terminology to guarantee results.  He dutifully repeated my instructions back to me.  I gave him the phone number and transferred him directly to some unsuspecting sap who likely worked in the same office as the thug who had transferred him to me.  I figured with the right keywords, he'd sound no more crazy than the multi-degree'd physician who, after I implied that doctors across the country have just about the same remedy for a runny nose, said to me, "You know, here in Texas, we're not like you Minnesotans.  This is TEXAS GOD-DAMN-IT!" 

Really, there is nothing smarter-sounding than a person saying "This is TEXAS GOD-DAMN-IT!"  Am I right?  Or am I right?


That's my wacky work story for today.  As I mentioned, it is rare that I ever speak to a patient, but after this, I may switch.  Sure, this one was crazy, but, at least he wasn't stupid, and some days that's a step up.


  1. Dude. Totally a step up.

    Though I feel obliged to point out that this is probably Not the First schizophrenic you've talked to......

    Just sayin'.

  2. Sounds to me like you provided some excellent customer service too! I bet you win an award...maybe not from your employer but a schizophrenic group of some sort.


Comments are loosely monitored by lazy blog owner.