TMI because fuck patriarchy…
I just got off the phone with a debt collector, calling on behalf of Northwestern, and my anger is swelling in my throat and I don’t know if I will be able to swallow it in a timely manner. So hello, here is another TMI update on the health and money woes in my life. Yes yes, for people who have been following this blog for years (um, why?), I still have issues walking, sitting, eating. While that is more than enough reasons for me to angry — all the time, actually, so that my normal includes trying not to glare at the ease at which my co-workers walk around the office– this anger is quite different. Also, I cheat with my food now more often — for example, last night I ate some pizza and my raging heartburn, choking on my phlegm bullshit went away around 3am, so hey, not as bad as last year.
But wait, why would I do this? I needed some comfort, and it’s motherfucking PIZZA okay, it is even more delicious now that it is forbidden. Also, sometimes I can eat it no problem. I digress.
I currently owe roughly $600 for a 30 minute doctor’s visit with a specialist who did absolutely nothing except humiliate me. It’s been more than six months now and I can still see the look of disgust in her face — I am tearing up right now as I type this, calling forth the memory. If I had insurance at the time, perhaps the price wouldn’t sting as much. (Last year BCBS canceled my insurance because they didn’t believe I was an American citizen, this year, because they stopped offering that plan through ObamaCare. Thanks for nothing, assholes!)
But on to the horrible healthcare professional part…Earlier this summer I went to visit a specialist downtown, as recommended by my doctor. The one I was originally referred to, the receptionist on the phone told me, only dealt with upper GI so she recommended I see a different doctor who also dealt with lower GI issues, which fit with my symptoms. What a mistake. I had to wait more than a month, and when the day arrived, waited again in her office for some more time.
The visit started normal enough. I told her of my symptoms, and mentioned sometimes it really hurts during sex, and to sit, and how the pain that sometimes goes down my right leg becomes numbness and weakness, coinciding with the pain in my ass/hip/lower back. I also told her how a year ago, when I took prednisone for a week, it was one of the best weeks of my life — I still think of that week and how little pain I had. She felt around on my stomach and uh huh-ed a bunch as if she was listening. When I finished, she said I probably have some mild IBS (I wish!), advised I continue taking PPI pills, and then, “And you should probably go see a gynecologist about…. that.” Her forehead wrinkled up in disgust when she said this, her “that” all flat as if she was judging me for something I did. “Make sure everything is okay down there.”
It’s hard enough to talk about some of my symptoms because they are already embarrassing enough, but that look of hers? Totally unnecessary. I remember getting immediately ashamed but still nodded affirmative. The problem is my ass not my vagina, I screamed in my head.
So off to the gynecologist I went, to Planned Parenthood, of course, the only affordable outfit out there that won’t charge me exorbitant fees for basic services. It took me a few weeks to get an appointment. The gynecologist there was a kind old lady that chatted with me while prodding deep into my pussy like it was no big deal. She found nothing to be alarmed about up there — it was all “perfect” and working and “many women would kill to have that pH.”
My urine sample, however, revealed I could be very dehydrated, as I had a large amount of ketones and blood in my urine. (I sometimes have blood in my poop, so hey, why not in my urine too amiright?) She prescribed some antibiotics and UTI meds which relieved some of my symptoms days later, and I donated a small amount to Planned Parenthood on the way out. Everyone there was professional and kind and took my concerns seriously and didn’t make me feel like I was gross subhuman.
But $600 for that horrible experience at Northwestern? I will never forget it. Further, I will be reminded of it for months to come now that I set up a payment plan to finally pay it all off. I am also never going back to Northwestern, as long as I can help it.
Epilogue of sorts:
I am hoping the next entry in this TMI series will be a definitive diagnosis. Before my insurance was canceled my primary healthcare physician referred me to a neurologist to investigate whether I have nerve damage in my leg related to that time I was hit by a car while on my bike many years ago.
I have insurance through work, now so come January 1st I will finally go to a neurologist NOT at Northwestern, as well as demand my doctor schedule me for an MRI or EMG. I still haven’t gotten one all this time. (X-rays years ago revealed sclerosis on my hips, both sides.) I really doubt I have nerve damage in my leg + depression + serious case of GERD + asthma at this point. I’ve been taking the Wellbutrin for more than a year now and I love it, but the extent of my tiredness doesn’t fit into depression. The constantly feeling like I am in a fog bit, ok that fits, but others, no. I get out of breath way too easily, am constantly dizzy or nauseous, pass out on the couch immediately after any vaguely vigorous exercise that gets my heart rate up, have muscle spasms that are no longer just confined to my right leg, etc. I have mentally prepared myself for all sorts of possibilities like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, some bullshit cancer or tumor, and even diabetes… sometimes I get into moods where I feel like I am running out of time, but maybe, oh please maybe, this is all in my head somehow.
Despite all this, I’ve been working on my moonwalk…and it’s not half bad.