Tag Archives: healthcare

Looks like You Need an Adjustment…

nobody got timeSometimes I like to think I’m invincible. My definition of invincible basically being the song “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer. My fiance often likes to joke that he gets nervous when I have a random ache because I have such a high tolerance for pain that I let a lot of stuff slide. I like to share this with a lot of people because it makes me sound like a totally bitchin’ badass, which, let’s face it, I am. I once called a healthcare hotline while nannying when I didn’t have health insurance. The conversation went as follows:

“How can I help you, today?” Super nice (and I imagine super cute) nurse lady who helps people without health insurance.

“I have some pretty severe pain in my stomach. I’m pretty sure my colon has been inflamed for about a week now but I wasn’t sure if it was that serious.”

“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to go the emergency room… like yesterday.”

“But do you think I’ll have to wait long? I need to be at my other job at 1:45.”

So, when last week, my back was all like, “oh hell, noooooo” to the whole walking thing, I decided I should probs see someone. The problem is, I keep asking myself, “it is worth it?” as in “is it worth paying money to feel healthy?”

Ahh, and then I understood (clouds parted and healthcare angels began to sing in hushed, angelic whispers). It could just be me but as a member of the (hashtag)millennial generation, I’m going to say it: we suck at taking care of ourselves. But it’s not completely our fault. Amidst the whole growing-up-and-living-on-your-own-and-being-responsible thing, we all kind of thought: hey, we’re young, we created Youtube and Twitter, we can handle a little chronic back pain, a little Strep throat, a little [insert sickness here]. Couple this with the whole skewed health insurance system in our country and it’s a recipe for a generation that is not taking care of themselves. I mean, we’re the first generation who thought searching symptoms on WebMD constituted a physical check-up. Self-diagnosing your vertigo via the interwebs is not helping anyone, people.

So when I found a chiropractor, who I’m pretty sure moonlights as the soothing voice in every late night telemarketing ad for a neck or body massager, or “being your whole self,” I knew I struck medical gold. She gets me, in the way that she wrote a note to my boss saying I can no longer lift the heavy boxes of sodas that Staples delivers every week. I’m also an advocate of healing yourself without using medication — could be the whole substance abuse thing that runs in my family but hey, to each their own. (But seriously, everyone, stop relying so much on prescription drugs).

So back to my question: is it worth it? Well, when your doctor tells you your neck is in the shape of an “S” and no, that’s not how it should look and oh, see this pinched nerve, that’s probably the reason you’ve been losing feeling in your hands, then I would go with a solid yes, it’s worth it. I’ve been twice so far and I felt very proud when she said my “back was adjusting really well” — my spine high-fived itself for being so responsive to treatment. keep calm I’m not saying everyone should go to a chiropractor — I still feel weird about it myself to be honest. But let’s at least make a promise to ourselves to take care of our bodies. And no, I don’t mean finally getting that adderall you’ve been trying to trick your doctor into writing you a script for. I mean like, putting down the In and Out burger fries and The Call of Duty controller and going for a walk or some shit. Ugggh, did I just sound like my grandmother talking about Call of Duty like that?

How often do you go to the doctor? Have you ever been to a chiropractor? Is your neck also shaped like an “S”?

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Balking Heads: Why Being on Television Does Not Make You an Expert

john stosselIt could be residual shame from repeatedly forcing my mom to call me out sick at Stop and Shop when I was fifteen until I eventually stopped showing up, but I can no longer miss work without a swelling wave of guilt and unrealized goals washing over me like a scene from The Endless Summer. Except this wave is called anxiety and i’m not hanging ten, man. I just can’t do it. It’s something about my self-deprecating self-obsession that sweetly allows me to believe I don’t deserve to take a sick day when I’m sick while maintaining the assumption that things will fall apart if I’m gone. However, if I am sick then you are not sick. It’s just that simple, have some empathy people.

With this in mind, you can imagine my infuriation when John Stossel’s mustache recently spoke out about health insurance on Fox & Friends, claiming that women use the service more because they are hypochondriacs. Wrong again, you mustachioed blockhead. Sure, maybe women are more responsible and more proactive about their health but since when did that become a bad thing? Oh, right, when our communist President took office and passed a comprehensive health care bill is when.

First off, preventative health care is less expensive then reactive and there’s also that thing, what’s it called, oh yeah! Childbirth! To which host Steve Doocy replies, “And as a number of Republicans have made the argument, why should I pay for — I’m in my 60s, why should I pay for your maternity coverage?”

Click is you can't see --Their expertise is astounding.

Their expertise is astounding.

I’m sorry, Mr. Doocy and sixty-year-old or over republicans who don’t want to pay for my maternity coverage, has your penis stopped producing semen? Is there a rule I’m unaware of that disallows men over 60 to screw young women and get them pregnant? Hugh Hefner, anyone? Did the women you’re speaking of get pregnant on their own? Did all those man-hating liberal feelings just knock them right up? Am I also allowed to stop paying for your Medicare and Social Security because I’m 24, in debt from student loans you told me to take, working full time and can barely afford my rent?

The fact that a woman’s insurance shoulders the financial burden of childbirth is in of itself offensive and telling of the unequal nature of our society as a whole. Stossel, who would’ve been better as a professional Freddie Mercury lookalike claims, “if it’s insurance, you ought to be able to charge people who use the services more, more.” Or, how about if you’re a douchey Libertarian who thinks he has any authority over women’s healthcare costs, you should have to spend one day as a pregnant or menstruating women to determine whether you’re man enough to be a woman. Then we’ll talk about who has to pick up the bill.

Stossell-Organs

Because what could go wrong with selling your own organs?

After reading that article and many like it, a rage of pent up aggression from a lifetime of “are you on your period?” jokes came over me like that time an old man corrected my skating at Roller World — those “men” that stick their fingers in their ears and sprint away at the hint of the word period like I’m about to open an envelope of Anthrax only transmittable through the ear canal. And then I realized a main reason I’m resentful toward those men that react with such ignorance is because they’ll never have to deal with curses of the female body, never have to suffer through a horrible bout of irritable bowels just as their period is starting — when this situation occurs angels look down and weep at the poor helpless female souls who are on on toilets wondering how in the world anyone will ever find them attractive after such an atrocious act.

Sure, it’s the miracle of life, sort of. It’s the poisonous snake. It’s why I will ALWAYS keep talking about my period even when your penis-holding self tries to embarrass me in front of everyone on our sophomore dorm floor by saying, “Ewwwww, no one wants to hear that,” or “go watch The Notebook or call your mom or something.” Because yes, the douchebag in this story is not only sexist and immature but also really bad at comebacks and no, I don’t feel one ounce of sympathy for you having to pay part of my health costs or having to hear about the evil miracle happening inside of me because that’s ALL you have to do is HEAR about it. And I’m SO SURE that you’ve never sent disgusting pictures of your shit to your roommate in a bragging way. My shit’s probably so much bigger than yours, bro. (And I can say this because an upright and successful young man has already formulated a proper marriage proposal, the dowry is all lined up, etc.)

*I’ve been away a while and the rambling nature of this post may speak volumes to that but to those who have stayed to read my insanity unfold, I am very grateful and as a reward, I’ll wait a couple of days before mentioning my period again. Stay tuned for my next post, where I realize I’m turning a quarter-century old and get nostalgic about nostalgia and Gilmore Girls.

A thought about health care and Tom Petty

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time in health care facilities and speaking to health care people. It’s really quite annoying. The other day I was advised by a nurse over the phone to “get to the emergency room yesterday” for my stomach issues (A family history of colitis, you say?). So I went. Going to the emergency room as a young white woman feels wrong. Everyone looks at you like you’re playing a joke on them. I don’t blame them. For some of them, the ability to walk comfortably would be a luxury. That’s not a joke. But I have found myself in this position. The information attendant at the emergency room wears cushion platform heels and all I can think of is where do you buy shoes like that? I eventually get seen for three seconds after the eight stages of waiting one must go through and I have a follow up appointment at a speciality clinic. My bill is $315.

At the speciality clinic — The Paul Bass Clinic at Brackenridge Hospital — the clientele is a bit different but not by much. Again, there is the dreaded stages of waiting. Sit down and wait to be signed it, get signed in and wait to be weighed, get weighed then wait to be seen by nurse, get seen by nurse then wait in room for doctor, get seen by doctor for four minutes then go to waiting room to wait to be discharged.  I meet a nice woman at this clinic, a bit older, a bit hippyish.

“How long have you been here for?” She asks.

“Since nine. How about you?”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” She’s hoping I’m kidding with her. “Have you been seen by anyone yet?”

“Oh yeah, I’m just waiting to leave.”

“Fucking, right,” she says, “we’re all waiting to leave.”

I loved this woman in many ways. One, because we were watching MSNBC in the waiting room and when John Boehner came on we both looked at each other and winced. Two, because I don’t have a mother figure in Austin and I’m constantly and unconsciously searching for one. Three, because she didn’t get up in your space if you didn’t want her too —  she had made her way around the waiting room, sitting next to random people to spark up convo. But she took a hint — if the conversation was going nowhere she would let it. We also bonded over our inability to have healthy bowel movements, so, there was that.

Eventually my name is called as me and the woman are in the middle of a conversation about our upcoming colonoscopies.

“See you May 30th!” She says, and I get a little shy thinking about the tubes they use during the procedure and whether they reuse them and if there was any chance that the very tube that was to be going up my butt was previously up hers. Sometimes the mind wanders.

The woman behind the desk sends me to the lab where I wait to be given a bunch of empty containers that I am told I will have to defecate in and return. (Cut to my boyfriend texting me, asking, “Is your poop like hanging out somewhere in the house? Do I need to avoid a poop surprise somewhere?”)

As I wait or a lab technician to put stickers on empty bottles that will be filled with poop in the future, my new mom walks in.

“No FUCKING way. You’re STILL HERE.” Fucking way, I was still there. And she sits and we talk about the pitfalls of the healthcare industry but how lucky for us poor people that we can come in and get discounted care. I didn’t feel very lucky being late to work due to waiting for empty stool containers but hey, I got her point.

After 30 more minutes I received my poop containers and was off to the pharmacy where I would run into that cute southern guy who said “Morning” to me in the hallway when I had to run to my car to get my wallet three hours earlier. I am to hand over a prescription for a liquid you must take before a colonoscopy which is used to “clear you out.” So yes, my day is still going smoothly.

I ended up having to cancel my colonoscopy, leaving me with a sense of failure and sadness to not see my new mom again. The reason being my new unemployed status. However, I felt hope: Now that I am unemployed, I can’t be turned down by all those public assistance programs that said I made too much money before. WRONG!

Today, when speaking to a woman over the phone about my appointment later that day to see if I qualify for their health care plan she informed me I no longer qualified because I’m unemployed. Which was really funny after having the people at MAP tell me that I have too much money in savings to be qualified. The woman on the phone then referred me to “211” for more help on the matter. I figured she was joking.

So I find myself in this weird stage where I haven’t had health insurance for ten years but I’ve been too rich to get any public assistance the whole time. That translated into me not going to the doctor EVER until recently when I began to fear I was slowly dying of an unknown disease.

I will be honest and forthright here: The reason I was denied by MAP was due to a large sum of cash money I may or may not have in my savings account. Wanna know how I got this mula? My loving and hip-with-the-times mother wanted to see Tom Petty for her birthday (she has a tendency of singing “I need to know” completely out of tune so much so that my father would beg/scream at her to stop singing as he audibly masticated his butter smothered lobster). I’m the best daughter EVER and I took her, volunteering to be the DD. Also because at the time I had been listening to Tom Petty’s greatest hits like it was the last album left on earth. Mary Jane’s Last Dance was my anthem.

As I swayed to the music of this old man — clearly out of his prime but still rocking it — I watched my mom and my friend, Blair get drunk together as they listened too. Then I felt a thud and fell to the ground. Well, I more of leaned on Blair and slowly melted to the ground. Either way some douchebag threw an empty handle of Jagermeister into the crowd and it landed smack dab on the right side of my head, too close to my temple for comfort.

Some people have remarkable, meaningful moments that change their lives for the better and nothing is the same after that. I got hit in the head with a Jager bottle, got rushed out on a stretcher as Tom Petty began to sing American Girl — which to this day, I’m sure was a sign — as I sang along. By this point I had already been reasonably convinced I wasn’t going to die. After demanding Blair tell me how much time I had left she called my boyfriend to tell him what happened. He still is pissed about the whole thing — “She called and blurted out ‘Aly’s on a stretcher! She’s going to the hospital’ It was the literal worst way she could have told me.”

I just felt like such a celebrity (of course, it’s super easy to say that now). Everyone crowded around me like I was royalty — like I couldn’t be left to die in such a place. In reality, they were all rubberneckers trying to get a glimpse at the girl with the blood soaked headband — I loved that headband.

Ten stitches, five staples, a new history of vertigo and tens of thousands dollars later I would like to thank the asshat that threw that bottle in the air. You were not thinking of the damage you would cause, sir, but there’s no way you could’ve foretold the fortune either. I’m not gonna bullshit here and say if I could give back the money and have my life go back to before the accident I would. I definitely would not. That money paid off my car, allowed me to get current with two defaulted student loans, and pay for the ten other student loans I still owe on. It also has disallowed me from public assistance health programs which I sort of get but at the same time, screw you.

I’ve lived a long time now having to make choices between my health and the other category, whether it be school, transportation, work, money, MONEY, or more MONEY!

I have a big chunk of money in the bank but I owe more than double that in student loans. I feel like Oprah sometimes giving out cars when I’m paying my student loans. Sallie Mae, Discover, ECSI, Nelnet, Wells Fargo, Capital Management Services are among my “people.” By “people” I mean I talk to them more then my family and my friends and only SLIGHTLY less than my dog. If I don’t keep up with these loans my credit score stays in the negative. (I mean like, I-didn’t-know-they-made-scores-that-low negative).

My solution for now is to ALWAYS check public toilets for fear of dying from poisonous spiders like the people that went to an Olive Garden in Florida. I also became vegan. But that’s only helped me think of myself as cooler. I guess things could be worse.