You Can't Do That With People

One Crossdresser's Journey Through Life

Stockings…..or not?

I was inspired to write this by someone I've never met, but with whom I clearly have a great deal of affinity. Christine Ashbeck, who writes about all things vintage (including myself!) at her excellent blog Rations2 Rock 'n' Roll, is currently running a poll on her Twitter asking whether hold-ups (sometimes referred to as thigh-highs or self-supporting stockings) are actually stockings. I indicated that I was on the fence on this one, and would post on the matter.

My regular reader will recall that a few months ago, I wrote about a lovely range of intimates by Elila, and how I particularly liked that the bra had both a matching brief and longleg pantie available. Unfortunately, they don't offer a girdle or suspender belt in this range, so when I changed to the briefs for wear under a skirt, what's a lady who never goes out bare-legged to do? Find a pair of hold-ups in her collection, that's what. They're not something I wear all that often, so I was relieved to find a pair (I've invested in a few more now). So, are they stockings or not? Well, let's set out the case for:

  • They're made of the same materials as stockings
  • They don't have an integral pantie section, so they aren't tights/pantyhose
  • They stop on the thighs

Now, the case against:

  • They don't need suspenders

My conclusion is that they're stockings, albeit a non-traditional form of them. My vote is cast!

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The $55,001 Man

Not quite Lee Majors, but worth reading about nonetheless…..

Yesterday, I wrote about medical billing, and I mentioned an example of how someone got a bill that didn't even show who the service provider was. Today, I'm going to tell you about another of her experiences. For the purposes of this, we'll call her Diane.

Late in 2016, Diane was having some health issues. Very uncharacteristic for her. She ended up at her primary physician's office – his reckoning was that she had some sort of intestinal blockage and he urged her to get an abdominal scan, using the words "I wouldn't wait until tomorrow". Diane went straight to the hospital along the street. Her doctor had called them, and within an hour she had been admitted with gallstones. 

Diane had her gallbladder removed the next day. It's a very straightforward procedure these days, done by what's known as laparoscopic surgery. Basically, the surgeon makes three or four small incisions, does what he has to. For a gallbladder removal, it takes about an hour. In Diane's case, he also repaired a small hernia in the area while he was at it, so we'll give him 90 minutes total.

The next day, the surgeon stopped by to see Diane in her hospital room. Her husband happened to be there, and tells me the surgeon checked the incisions, offered Diane the option of being discharged that day or staying another night (she chose the extra night). He was there 10 minutes. So, we're now at 100 minutes. Tell you what: I'm feeling generous, so lest say he spent two hours total on Diane. No, actually, I'm feeling REALLY generous, so let's say THREE hours. 

Diane was discharged the following day with instructions to see the surgeon in 4-6 weeks for a follow-up appointment. She never made that appointment: more on the reasons for that in the coming weeks. However, in late May, she received a letter from a medical billing agency. It wasn't a bill, but a letter from the surgeon. Apparently, he'd been having trouble getting paid by Diane's insurer, and wanted her to sign a form so he could appeal this. Diane's husband responded on her behalf (again, more on the reasons for that coming in due course), stating that they were taking advice on how to respond and would be in touch in the next 10 days. 

On researching this, it transpired that the surgeon had billed the insurer for: $55,001. I repeat: $55,001. For what I've generously estimated as three hours of work. Now, of course, there will be a certain "overhead" cost associated with this, say, 100%. Even allowing for that, he's pocketing upwards of nine grand an hour. To put this in context, I refer you to this USA Today article from 2015 on CEOs' hourly pay. 

Disclaimer: the $9000/hour assumes he actually gets paid, of course. Apparently, the insurer paid him just under $2000 back in late April, and they're regarding his having cashed the cheque as having accepted this and the matter being closed. 
Oh, and as for Diane? She hasn't walked unaided since the surgery, and nobody can explain why. Let that sink in. If you ask her what day of the week it is, chances are she'll get it wrong. What year it is? She's a little better at that. That is, when she's not crying and apologising to her husband for what a burden she's become, even though she's done nothing wrong. She wasn't like that before the surgery. 

Now, of course, it is not for me to suggest or imply that the unfortunate events detailed in the preceding paragraph are in any way, shape or form related to the surgery Diane underwent: they are merely statements of fact, with plenty of evidence and witnesses to support them, I place those facts here in this public forum and invite readers to formulate their own opinions. 
More will be published re this sorry tale at appropriate times. Stay tuned 😊

Joanne’s handy guide to medical billing

First of all: this is NOT about the rights and wrongs of the “Affordable Care Act”, or whatever may (or may not) supersede it. Any comments attempting to politicise this post will end up in the round file. Having said that…..

Staying in hospital or any other inpatient facility is stressful enough. Unfortunately, dear reader, your problems are only just beginning. Just wait until it gets into the whole insurance/billing minefield. Here, I’ll try to provide some info on what you can expect, and how to navigate the muddy waters.

Firstly, while in hospital, you will encounter many people. Doctors, specialists like cardiologists and neurologists, even someone who takes your blood for tests. Many of these people are not in the direct employment of the hospital: they are, in fact, “independent contractors” and as such, they will bill your insurer independently from the hospital and bill you independently from the hospital for your “portion”. Confusing enough? “But Wait! There’s More!”, as they say in the infomercials (side note: why is it ALWAYS $19.99?). But, I digress. Let me illustrate with an example:

A friend spent some time in an inpatient facility. While there, she was seen by their “attending physician”. He billed her insurance, after which she owed about $300. So, he billed her. Only, HE didn’t actually bill her. The bill came from (not the actual name) “XYZ Medical Group”. No mention of the doctor’s name anywhere on the bill. It’s like ordering from Pizza Hut and getting a bill from Domino’s. 

So now, you’ve got a bill from an entity you’ve never heard from and/or don’t understand. What to do? Here are my suggestions.

  1. First of all, CHALLENGE IT. You’re perfectly entitled to do so.  
  2. Your bill may say something like “For Billing Questions, Call (xxx)-xxx-xxxx”. DO NO SUCH THING. Challenge the bill by writing to them. If there isn’t a specific address for correspondence, use either the address for payments or the “return address” on the envelope it came in. In those circumstances, include text in your letter along the lines of “This letter is sent to your address in the absence of a specific address for correspondence”. Consider Certified Mail for proof of delivery in these circumstances. Create your own “paper trail”.
  3. When you write, make it clear that you will only deal with this matter in writing. What this does is send the message that YOU control and set the agenda. A well-written letter will catch them off-guard and send a message that they’re dealing with someone who’s not going to play their game. Also, don’t include a phone number or e-mail address on your letterhead. Force them to respond in writing. 
  4. A couple of useful phrases are “I do not acknowledge any debt to you at this time” and “This matter is, at the time of writing, IN DISPUTE”. Again, this makes your position clear.

So, what if the bill is clear and indisputable? Many bills may say something like “A payment of less than $50 will not defer any collections activity”. Translation: “So long as you pay us $50/month, we’re happy”. But, they’re not going to say that directly. The prime objective of the medical billing industry is, in my opinion, to obfuscate and confuse the end user. Notwithstanding that, if someone wants to offer me interest-free credit on something I need, I’m not going to turn it down.

One final thought: the politicians are talking about healthcare. They always seem to be talking about healthcare. How about some legislation that compels hospitals and other outpatient facilities to provide, as part of the discharge notes (or weekly for longer stays) a listing of the “independent contractors” who have provided services, including the name(s) they may bill under? Oh wait…..that would actually be useful

I’ll be writing more on healthcare in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned 😊

Transfer (or abdication) of Responsibility

  • Warning: this isn’t my usual review of underthings-type blog post. No, Dear Reader, it’s on a serious topic. It’s about how a big bank and a State agency are presently failing some of society’s more vulnerable souls. Disclaimer: I don’t directly have a horse in this particular race, so to speak.

Firstly, a couple of explanatory notes re the “players”:

Bank of America (BofA) – as the name suggests, a large national bank in the US. I have no idea if they’re the largest or, indeed, quite how you define “largest” in this context: in any event, they’re big.

State of California Economic Development Department (CA EDD) – again, as the name suggests, it’s a State Government agency of the US’ most populous state. Among its responsibilities, and the one I’ll be writing about here, is payment of benefits such as unemployment and disability.

These two entities come together to get benefit payments to their recipients. Here’s how it works: CA EDD contracts with BofA to make the payments by means of a debit card. Recipients get the card, it looks like a “regular” debit card and can be used just like one. You can order things online, buy groceries, fill your car with petrol, all that stuff. You can go to a BofA ATM and get cash. There’s even an online banking portal where you can check your balance, get a statement, or indeed, transfer money to your “conventional” bank account. At least, you could transfer money to your “conventional” bank account up until a couple of weeks ago. That bit stopped working, and hasn’t been fixed at the time of writing. Here’s what you get when you log in:

BofA don’t know when it will be fixed, either Here’s what they told one Tweeter:

Don’t just take their word for it. Here’s an answer right from BofA earlier today:

Now, some of you are no doubt thinking “OK, so what if I can’t transfer money to my “conventional” account? I can just use the card, right?”. Well, that’s true, up to a point. For one thing, some bills (e.g. utilities like electricity) can’t be paid online with a card. They need an account number and routing number. The CA EDD debit card doesn’t have that – at least if it does, nobody’s sharing that info. Also, what if you pay by cheque?

Some people may also be thinking “Well, it’s inconvenient, but you can just pull the money out at a bank or ATM and deposit it in your other account, right?”. Remember who this is for: the unemployed and the disabled. Some may not have access to a car, others may be physically unable to drive. Even if they can do that, it incurs the expense, which they can ill-afford, of going to two banks/ATMs.

I mentioned earlier that CA EDD contracts with BofA for this service. I don’t know exactly what the financial arrangements are: I think I, as a taxpayer, should. BofA is, presumably, not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, nor should they be expected to: they’re a business and as such, they have a profit motive. Also, I don’t have an issue with a State agency turning this over to a bank to run it: it makes a lot of sense to have debit cards issued and managed by an entity who, you know, issues and manages debit cards. However, that entity needs to be held accountable, and their customer is, ultimately, the taxpayer. I now have a local State Senator, Henry Stern, engaged on this. Let’s see what he can do.

Joanne Reviews….Caboost!

Many ladies like me have a disproportionately small rear end, and are never going to win “Rear of the Year“. I happened to stumble across this interesting item at Bubbles Bodywear and decided to give it a try (two pairs for $40).

 

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The idea is simple: basically, what we have here is a pantie with foam sewn into the rear end (some options offer silicone as an alternative). I wore this under my Elila Leopard Lace bottoms (both the brief and the long leg) and found it not only effective, but very comfortable. There is a range of different styles and colours available, including some products for the gentleman who needs a little help in the rear or indeed, up front! I’d certainly recommend anyone in need of a little more “booty” to give these a try!

Joanne Reviews….The Elila Leopard Lace Full-Figure Range

My regular reader will be aware that when it comes to my intimates, colour-coordination is sacrosanct. She (or is it he?) also knows that I’m on record that it’ll take a lot to get me out of my Rago undergarments, so to speak. I’d heard a lot of good things about Elila from my good friend Elisabeth Dale, so when I stumbled across these, I decided to give them a try.

The first thing that impressed me was that they offer both a brief and long leg option to coordinate with the bra. So, I bought all three! I’ll go over the bra first.

This is Style 2211 – the pictures show the “nude” shade, I went with the mocha. It’s functional and supportive for the larger bust (I’m a 44C), yet it’s very pretty for a bra of its size (they do offer up to a 46K). The horizontal stitching on the cups give them a slightly “conical” look like some of the “retro” styles out there. I personally found it very comfortable for all-day wear, and was particularly impressed with the wider straps which stayed exactly where they were supposed to.

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Now, you don’t see this in many other reviews! This is mine, viewed from inside. A short “bone” either side keeps the band from rolling, and I liked the extra “liner” around the cups – I didn’t find myself “glistening” at the end of the day.

This is the Style 8205 long leg pantie or “thigh slimmer” as they call it – it’s described as “high waist”, and certainly lives up to the name! I wore this under trousers for most of the day and found it to be very comfortable while giving firm control all round with a little bit of lift in the rear area. I didn’t experience any tendency to “roll” around the waist area, no doubt helped by the two “bones” either side of the tummy panel. It certainly isn’t a “traditional” long leg pantie girdle, but I felt it served its purpose admirably.

I changed into a blouse and skirt for the evening, so I swapped the long leg for the Style 8203 “shaping brief”. I found it to have the same attributes as the long leg in terms of shaping and comfort. Interestingly, the brief reverses the plain and print sections from where they are on the long leg.

Overall, my first experience of Elila was very positive, and I’m finding this collection to be a very worthy addition to my undies selection!

Myths and Facts of Crossdressing

The public perception of the crossdresser male is often mistaken.  Most of these perceptions are deeply rooted in the “norms” of a society which have evolved through generations of Jude…

Source: Myths and Facts of Crossdressing

What is the difference between a Crossdresser, a Transvestite and a Sissy?

Good question, complicated answer. Now pay attention because this gets involved. All transvestites and sissies are crossdressers by definition because they dress up in clothes of the opposite sex, but not all crossdressers are transvestites or sissies. A crossdresser may be a transvestite or sissy, or even both depending on the day, weather conditions and […]

https://teresabowers.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/what-is-the-difference-between-a-crossdresser-a-transvestite-and-a-sissy/

The Lingerie Addict Does Not Hire Models from Craigslist.

I’m reposting this to make my reader aware of a horrible situation currently going on with Cora Harrington’s “The Lingerie Addict” site. It’s a lovely site run by a lovely person, and this is, frankly, disgusting. Cora’s announcement is linked to below. Please spread the word.

Lately, I’ve been made aware of something very disturbing, and, to be perfectly honest, downright sickening. Someone who goes by the name Tom Slew (Skype Name: tom.slew1), is pretending to be affiliated with The Lingerie Addict in order to get women to send him nude, topless, and lingerie-clad photos. This person is posting multiple ads…

https://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2015/08/the-lingerie-addict-does-not-hire-models-from-craigslist.html

Fifty Shades……

Just a quick question to my reader: do you plan to see Fifty Shades Of Grey? Please share why you do…..or why you don’t. I intend to. I think it’s one of those things that you know it’s going to be dire, but you have to watch 😉 Just like this….

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