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The Dreaded Words

I frequently tell myself I have crocodile skin and everything needs to wash off without emotional impact. That did me no good when five words brought me to tears last week: "We don’t take your insurance."

Let me take you to the beginning of this saga.

Last July, on my annual gyn visit I causally told my new doc about a searing pain in my chest. After a brief examination she told it was likely a broken rib. Given that ribs heal on their own and Delta was raging at the time, I avoided an x-ray. The doc also referred me to a rheumatologist for a shot to improve bone density.

That’s where the trouble begins.

Our company’s acquisition and Mina’s arrival delayed contact with the rheumatologist until December. My messages to his office went unanswered until February at which point I got an appointment for the end of April. In the meantime, I called several doctors to finagle an appointment to no joy.

Last month we rearranged an 1800-mile multi-city trip so I could show up for this much anticipated appointment without glitches. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I arrived at 730am and was promptly informed they don’t take my insurance and my gyn had not sent in a referral.

My first response was, “WTF?!?! You knew this and didn’t tell me?!” The office manager told me not to raise my voice, which hastened my meltdown and send my decibel level through the roof. I was told to hand carry my records and referral and come back in two weeks.

HAND CARRY?! In the time of a pandemic, remote working, no humans at the end of phone lines, social media, email, and zoom?! Like what the hell planet are we living on?

I got back to the car and called Tarun in tears.

In full protective mode and like a true academic, Tarun took on the research for the shot I was told to get and gave me this news - Mayo Clinic advises that once I start this shot, I may have to take it every six months for the rest of my life!

My doc hadn’t bothered to discuss this minor detail with me, nor offer alternatives! Clearly, the insurance mishap was the universe’s way of rescuing me.

After every encounter with the medical system, I wonder how much more difficult can they make it for the patient, and the next time it is even worse. I will now restart my journey with our PCP. This time my avatar will be the angry croc who has learned a few tricks from our wily neighborhood fox.

Together we will make this healthcare system pay attention to my bones.

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