23 February 2015

Healthcare is Hard Work

...well at least getting healthcare is hard work.  It certainly is in my life.  Long story short, I had some uterine fibroids, a situation that is pretty much exactly as awesome as you are thinking.  After several months of crazy periods and seemingly endless tests, when I tried to have an IUD placed to treat "a tentative PCOS diagnosis" surprise!!!! There is a mass in the way!  Yiippeeeee! In trying to fix your problem, we discover, like, a gbillion more problems! Isn't going to the doctor just the greatest?

Needless to say it was a veritable roller coaster of misdiagnosis, diagnosis FAT and diagnosis BREEDER. Honestly though, the borderline medical negligence in the face of my horrid fatness pales in comparison to how hard it is to just get to the doctor's office.  When all was said and done, this will have taken 10 medical visits (not counting trips to the lab for blood work because I honestly can't even remember how often I did that...a lot?) that include trips to three separate sites, a half day spent getting surgery and another half day getting ultrasounds done. In total I have spent a full work week and roughly $300 to get this problem addressed.  Monetarily, it is a steal*, we have great insurance, but time-wise? Total nightmare.

I do not know how people do this when they are also expected to be at a place of work for at least 40 hours a week.  I have literally nowhere to be except for two sets of bus-stop duty and preschool drop-off/pick-up.  I am otherwise a free-agent and it was still nearly impossible to get this stuff done.

Of course, the universe really put the screws to me.  Not a single one of these 10 appointments happened without some kind of last minute crisis that endangered my ability to get out the door. Have a physical booked so Chris can be home to watch kids? Nope! Unexpected travel!  Getting an IUD placed? Nope! Have a sick-kid so you can play "Sophie's Choice" about who will be getting medical care today.  Have a pre-op appointment that HAS to happen ASAP? Nope! Giant fucking snowstorm. Have parents coming in to babysit while you have surgery and recover? Nope! Have another giant fucking snowstorm.

Basically, if it is this hard for me, a woman of relative privilege and means, to get healthcare, what chance do most Americans really stand.  I just don't know how anyone who is working to keep a family afloat can possibly be expected to remain well-cared for health-wise in this system.  I can barely manage and I have (theoretically) nothing else to do!**

Bad news for the health-care providers: we do not live in magical fairy lands of live-in nannies, housekeepers, chauffeurs and personal chefs.  Therefore, I am making the choice that most American wind up making: I am no longer going to pursue healthcare for myself.  It is just requires too much of my physical, emotional and mental resources.  New health plan: stay healthy by sheer force of will.  Who's in?

*Though that is a good chunk of change, and could be really crippling for many families in this country.

**Of course we do need to discuss that being a woman, or fat, or *gasp* a fat woman, increases the opportunity cost of basic health care substantially.  My issue could probably have been diagnosed in half as many visits with a mere tenth of the blood work, but I had to overcome a lot of fat stigma and reproductive assumptions first.  That, however, is a discussion for another day.