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I haven’t had health insurance in three years, which is a fact that netted me extensive media coverage.  What better way to prove to the Republicans that we need national health care than to trot out my over-educated, do-gooder self.  The problem with that is, and always has been, that even when I have access to western medicine, I rarely seek it out.  I don’t like the doctor, I don’t like explaining myself and I never really feel like I’m sick enough to need to bother a clearly busy person with my tales of (minor) woe.

But I’m determined to turn that around.  I am determined to be proactive with my new health care and get regular check ups.  I am going to develop a rapport with a doctor who will establish a file on me with a detailed medical history.  Together, we will document my health adventures so that when I eventually get cancer, we will have seen it coming.

My insurance officially kicked in February 1st, and I’ve been shockingly organized about the whole thing.

  1. I went to a meeting with the lady from the health insurance company and learned all kinds of things
  2. I asked around for personal recommendations for primary care doctors
  3. I filled out the paperwork and gave it to the HR lady in a timely manner
  4. I got an health insurance card

Except, apparently the soonest available appointment my doctor has, is not until April.  This leads me to wonder: why the hell is she accepting new patients if she can’t see those patients for four months?  I was prepared to get everything arranged, and then make an appointment for early February.  I called in early January, so I thought that would be plenty of time, but apparently that’s not the case at all.

Now I’m resentful of the fact that I’m paying for insurance I’m not using, which is why I never elected to pay for insurance when I was underemployed (also, I couldn’t afford it).  I could try to get in with another doctor, but then I’d have to change my primary care physician with my insurance company in order for them to cover it, which would take a while, and it seems like more trouble than its worth.  Also, what if this is how it is with all doctors?  A friend who has lived in several different states told me that Rhode Island is the only place she’s ever sought medical care where it takes forever to see a doctor.  She said if you need to see a doctor right away, her physician always just says “go to an urgent care center.”

I also had to frantically try to find a solution to the issue of needing to have birth control, which my doctor’s receptionist was not helpful about at all.  “The doctor won’t give you a prescription if you haven’t met with her.” she told me, and the doctor has not a moment of spare time until April, so I had to figure something else out.

People talk about health insurance like it’s the greatest thing in the world, and I’m sure, if you’re really sick, it is, but I am decidedly underwhelmed right now.  I’m trying not to let me it get me down, but I’m sure by the time my appointment rolls around my stress level will be markedly higher than before I had insurance.

I’ve also been having some back trouble recently, for which I think I might like to see a chiropractor (maybe), but despite the facts that my insurance covers 20 visits, I cannot go to a chiropractor without a referral from my super-busy doctor.  Considering the fact that I’ve been gimping around like an old lady, and have only run nine miles in the month of February (because of the pain), I’d like to get this looked at/adjusted as soon as I can.

In order to see a new doctor, I have to change my primary health physician.  I have to find a doctor that accepts my HMO, notify my HMO of the change, make an appointment and then wait for a card to arrive in the mail.  The whole situation seems remarkably ham-fisted.

Also, I got my dental insurance card in the mail yesterday, and they spelled my last name wrong. *sigh*

I have another cold.  I just had a debilitating cold that knocked me on my ass for a week, then I got over that, then Jewish Friend came over to study with me for our comprehensive exam.  She walked in the door, sniffled, and said “I took an Alavert two hours ago, but it hasn’t helped at all.  I think it’s a cold.”  By the end of our study session, my throat was scratchy, and now I’m a dizzy mucasy mess who spend the past two days either in my chair or on the couch feeling sorry for myself.

I forced myself to go to work this morning, mostly because I’m sick of being trapped in my house, and I think the distraction will help me.  I’ve missed a lot of work this year because I keep having colds, and my boss doesn’t have health insurance, so he demands that I come nowhere near him when I’m under the weather.  This makes me feel like I’m not pulling my weight, and makes the whole “I’m sick all the time and am useless” feeling that much worse.

So I went to work and conferred with my boss about the tasks of the day while he looked increasingly uncomfortable with my pile of kleenex and my near constant coughing.

“Did you ever think that maybe you’re just one of those people who can’t live in Rhode Island?” he asked me.

I gave him a curious look and he proceeded to tell me that with the damp weather and old houses, Rhode Island is one of the moldiest states there is.  People are constantly breathing in black mold spores, and most get used to it, but some never will.

“What’s your house like?” he demanded.

“Old.” I admitted.

“And you have to go to South County how often?”

“Not very.”

That answer disappointed him, but the fact that I had ever spent a significant amount of time in South County (a hotbed of mold activity!), was reason enough to believe I was doomed.

So what now?  I move out to the desert and take up residence in a lime green adobe hut where my lungs can dry out along with my hair and skin?  I like Rhode Island– I have a lovely little life here, and I don’t think instances of mold in South County should be reason enough to flee.  Still I do feel like I’m sick far more than I should be and when I am sick, I’m far more debilitated than other people.  What I should have been doing all along was keeping track of how often I get sick so I can actually see if I’ve been sicker in Rhode Island.

I haven’t been doing that, so that’s moot.  I guess I’ll just have to take more vacations.