Zeke is a mid-50 year old male originally from Africa. He has an older daughter and son that are married with children in Ethiopia. Zeke previously lived in Canada almost 20 years ago. He has been living in the United States for almost 15 years. Zeke is married. He has a 12 year old daughter that he loves more than life itself, and only wants for her to be safe, and to have the privilege of opportunities provided in U.S. that she may not have in Africa.
Zeke drives a cab in Washington D.C. Due to the technology advances such as Uber, Zeke now has to go from driving a cab for 12 hours a day to driving 15 hours a day. He sends money to his son and daughter in Ethiopia on a monthly basis. He does this because he feels it is his responsibility as a father, and because he knows what his life was like in Africa.
Zeke told me when he first moved to the U.S. he had gone in to see the doctor and when they asked him for $20, he was surprised. (remember Zeke had lived in Canada) He took out his insurance card and told the receptionist that he has insurance. She explained to him that he still needed to pay. So he handed her the $20.
Fast forward 15 years to a month ago. Zeke was not feeling well. He had a bad headache. He decided to go see the doctor. Based on his presentation, age, and other factors the physician ordered an MRI of the head.
Zeke told me that he received a call 10 days later from the doctors office to tell him that he was okay.
The next day, he went to his mailbox and began to feel faint. He had received the bill for his MRI. It said that his insurance paid $3750.00 It said his responsibility as a patient was $2500.00
Zeke also told me that when he arrived he had to give the office $100 before they performed his scan. He said he threw the bill in the drawer so he could forget about it. He said he has no idea how he can afford to pay $2500. He told me that if he has to pay that, even over time, it would not allow him to send money to his daughter or son in Africa.
I then asked….
“What is your version of #MyIdealPtExp”
This is what he said to me:
“I want my doctor to spend time with me. I feel like every time I go to the doctor, he walks, doesn’t shake my hand or say hello, asks me what is my problem, then hands me a prescription for medicine, and walks out the door. All I want is the doctor to listen to me. To spend some time where he just focuses on me. Maybe he would realize that I do not like taking medicine.”
We arrived at my hotel. I thanked Zeke for such an amazing conversation and for sharing his story with me.
I handed Zeke my business card with my personal cell phone number. I told Zeke to go home, get his bill out of the drawer, and call me. I told him I would help him find the right people to talk to and help him with his bill. I told him we would make it more manageable.
We shook hands. He said all he could do for me was to pray to God. I said that was more than enough thanks. God bless.
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