Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Paging Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Kafka
I shouldn't write today because I'm sick, and I'm tired. In every sense of the words. And ranting isn't really going to help anybody, you included. But I got a glimpse, as I do from time to time, of the world gone mad that the average person inhabits, and I don't like it.
I spent the night in the hospital. You can't have a fever for 30 days with a few precious breaks in it and not go. My son was still in school the last time I felt well. So I went.
Everybody yelled at me. They talked endlessly about Health Insurance. The laws of supply, demand, arithmetic, physics, chemistry, and several other disciplines have been not only suspended, but have entered a sort of Bizarro Universe where no one cares about anything except we all sit there clutching a scrap of paper with mystical healing powers. It must be the insurance card that does it. There's not a lot of medicine going on.
The doctor, who I recognize from a trip to the ER with my wife, is younger than I. And yet he feels comfortable berating me about how foolish I was not to immediately go to a doctor if I was ill. I drank water and took aspirin. That's it. He assumed that since I wouldn't go to a doctor, it must be because it wasn't paid for by others. In his bizarre universe you go to the doctor whether he can help you or not, or never go if you have to pay for it yourself. Doctor, most people used to be like me. You've all flown off into the ether.
I am a criminal in the hospital now. The former governor made Health Insurance mandatory, and then the legislature made catastrophic insurance illegal in this state five minutes later. It's over a thousand dollars a month if I got it, and it covers nothing, so I'd pay, the same as I'm doing anyway. I will have to pay a fine on my state taxes of $1000 dollars for being uninsured. That should make it easier to afford taking my children to the pediatricians, starting a G spot in the hole. And I cannot seem to make these people understand that the problem is that I'm sick and cannot work properly and there is no magic bag of money. If I don't work, my children starve. Help me you bastards.
He ordered tests for dozens of maladies I assured him I could not have. He ordered a chest x-ray I manifestly did not need. I entered feverish and exhausted, and I was made as uncomfortable as Torquemada could devise for the convenience of the staff. I cannot grok how imperious they will become when they all work for the government.
The hospital seems to think I wish to watch disturbing loud things on television while freezing externally and boiling internally in a waiting room wearing a dwarf's nightdress, backwards. I don't watch TV, so I see it with fresh eyes. I watched an immensely obese person of indeterminate sex, waiting also for an x-ray, watch some sort of show that consisted of hiring dullards for menial jobs, setting up a camera, and pretending to horribly maim their co-workers. The idea was that this was somehow "spooky" or amusing or something. The dirigible person watched it like it was Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men. Sick or not, I could have killed the host and everyone involved with my hands, but they were not handy. Perhaps tomorrow they'll strap a hunchback down and have Paris Hilton throw vegetables at him for sport. It's all that's left.
The doctor would ask me questions, over and over, trying to determine some great secret I was hiding. He could not ken the existence of a person that generally cares for themselves, or is cared for by their family, has no medical problems, eats properly, does not smoke at all or drink more than one beer at a time. He kept asking me if I was a junkie or I had sat next to an A-hole lawyer that coughed a lot on a plane and so forth. The truth wasn't good enough for him. If I was normal, I'd have the precious card; I saw the wheels turning in his head. He didn't want to find anything mundane, and help me; he wanted me to be exotically sick, to amuse him.
And after six hours of this misery, the doctor turned into a jailhouse lawyer for the bugs that manifestly are hiding in my body, but he couldn't prove it with his off-topic tests, so there would be no course of treatment offered. He who had literally raised his voice to me to berate me for not visiting him sooner, told me to go home and drink water and take Advil.
I was too tired to strike him.