Go Ahead, Prompt Me
Two plus two equals four, no?
This is the writing prompt that has been assigned for Day 16 of the Zero to Hero Challenge. This is going to be an (uncharacteristically) short entry for me today.
The point of such an open prompt is for us to be able to reflect ourselves on the idea. I am going to do just that.
It is 4 AM right now. In three hours I will be waking up, gathering my stuff, and heading to the hospital in Boston. As I explained here, I have been dealing with an eating disorder for quite some time.
A couple months ago, I attempted to be sent to a rehab facility for this problem. My mom got to go to rehab five times, but the insurance wouldn’t cover me, so I had to think outside the box.
Where does one go for free medical treatment? Why, Craigslist of course. Don’t laugh, because I got entered into one of the best research studies around, for my needs.
Playing the Guinea Pig
I go to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston seven times total over the course of around 9 months. Each time I visit, I get $175. For three of those I make an additional $125 for being in a sub-study. I get an MRI for those, so I also get a free hotel room in downtown the night before.
What’s more is all of my travel expenses are reimbursed as I travel over a hundred miles just to get to the hospital. I get complimentary scans and imagining, that others pay thousands of dollars for. Only in America, that is. Oh, and yeah, the free treatment.
Although I may only be taking a placebo, either the medication or it does happen to be working. The theory is that women like me, who are anorexic, depressed, and anxious, benefit from a low dose of testosterone for a period. This is a well-funded study. Many of the other ones do not pay or don’t pay well and usually do not reimburse any expenses. This is my first trial and I hit the jackpot of clinical research already.
Just Where Am I Going With This?
This reminded me of the writing prompt, because on Friday after my MRI, other assorted scans, and testing, I will complete a two-hour long computer program. The program is really just to test my brain functioning and how it has changed since taking the testosterone.
It is conducted on a blank screen, save for the white numbers, shapes, and letters that appear. I answer these simple, yet challenging, questions to various tasks for a couple hours. Yes, it is boring. No, I’m not sitting in some underground room with sensors taped all over me. It’s a nicer place.
It is strange to me, however, that while I am there I am largely a guest of the hospital. They even pay for food during these long visits. Yet, others are there racking up enormous amounts of debt for life or death treatment. And just read the comments on that link. I mean, come on. Don’t tease me like that.
I always found it odd that doctors would try to save somebody who attempted suicide. I don’t want to be callous at all – I think suicide is hard to do and hard to pull off, and very sad when it is attempted. But I always wondered about doctors that would save the life of someone who did not want to live. That person is going to wake up in recovery in a couple hours, still faced with life, plus an additional couple thousand dollar bill. How’s that for going to hell? (Some religions believe it is a sin to kill yourself.)
Healthcare in this country is out of control. So is education, veterinary care, the legal system, so much that this country is based on. Everything is an industry.
What About My Dog?
I don’t find it right that things are this way. For example, my mom bought a puppy for $800. This was a puppy mill dog, not taken from the shelter, which would have been about $165. That money, if obtained from the shelter, could have ensured a companion with all of its shots, previously neutered, even treated for heart worm and other problems already.
But for $800, my mom came home with a brand new, never before used puppy. A sick puppy. From the moment she came home. After taking her to the vet for initial shots and whatnot, this poor thing ends up getting kennel cough. But not just kennel cough, it turns into pneumonia. We’ve had this dog for less than a month now.
My mother tries to set up a payment plan with our local vet office, explains the situation and is brave enough to ask for help. What does she get for this honest effort? Absolutely nothing.
I don’t know how Emma got better. All I can remember is her little body being curled up in my lap, shaking and coughing, coughing and crying. It was heart-breaking. Remember that dog from the shelter? He too is crying, because no one loves him, and he’s going to be put down now.
Isn’t it just the most fucked up thing?
I think about this stuff all the time. If I didn’t write it down I might go crazy.
Well, I better get along to packing. I have a long day at the hospital ahead of myself.