Jenni Gregory's Comics, Art and Stuff

The digital home of cartoonist Jenni Gregory

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A brief adventure

Recently we had a brief stay in the hospital. The day started with a regular OB/GYN office visit. The appointment was supposed to be at 9:40. We got taken back at 11:30. So try sitting in the office nervous, and watching 2 wirey kids and trying not to stress over all the things I had to stress about.
So the nurse takes us back to “the room”…the one where they measure your weight and take your blood pressure. The weight went ok…if I was a steer going to auction. Then came the blood pressure. The nurse takes my BP, blanches, then promptly trots out to get another nurse. She takes it and tries to make a lame joke. I ask what it was. She tells me 160/100. Not good at all. The family is whisked off to an examination room where once again we wait, but this time it was only few moments. The doctor comes in and doesn’t look too happy. We were kinda excited to see him as it was the doctor that delivered both Chloe and Fox. I lamely try to explain that I have a lot, A LOT of pressure right now…work, freelance stuff, a big trip for a job, pressures with kids, but all that is brushed aside and he hands us a nice ticket for some observation time at our local hospital.

Registration was a bitch. Totally. We had forms and sheets and papers to fill out. And just TRY to explain to a hospital that you have no insurance, that you were planning on this being a stressfree, no problem pregancy. They glance at the no insurance part of the forms and then we talk money. Which only stresses me out way more!

After all that, and money is transfered hands, we go up to the OB floor of the hospital to begin our wonderful observation. Once up there, again we had to wait this time for a bed in the triage area. It would seem that triage only had 2 rooms, and all the doctors in the area decide that their patience have to go on that day. Eventually I am taken back and poor Barry has to stay in this loby area to watch the kids…since they weren’t allowed back with me.

In time between waiting, I was trying to get Barry to go and get some printing done, take the kids and go to lunch anything where I wouldn’t have to worry about them sitting in the lobby worring about me. But wait they did. Kinda wish in a big way they could have come back with me. I really needed a hand or two to hold.
Observation went fine. Blood was taken (ouch… and I’m still sporting a somewhat pretty bruise), and I had to do another 24 hour test that was to be returned on Sat morning.

I go to another room to change and by the time I get back to the room I was in, there is already another woman in there. I only glanced at her for a second, but it was an image that stays with me. She was farther along then me…the nurse and she were in conversation and I overheard she was 34 weeks along. But the baby had heart problems.

She looked hammered. And very, very frightened. As I walked past, the room was very dark, but she stood out because she was so pale. Her eyes were wide with worry and fear. In her hand she had a rosary and was frantically rubbing it thru her fingers. I understood. But I saw her and realized I was in a much better position. Don’t know how things turned out, but I hope she and her baby were alright.

So I find out this stupid test that I have to take home requires that I have to get re-admitted into the hospital to drop it off.

Saturday arrives and I trot back to the hospital before work to drop off my test. The registration lady was nice enough…in an evil you-have-no-insurance-so-I-want all-your-money-now-kind of way.

She sniffs as she glances down my registration forms to note I don’t have health insurance. She explains to me that I would have 3 days to pay the total bill (which was $1950) or I could pay half of the bill and be done with it. Kinda turns out that the hospital would rather have some money then risk having no money. No payment plans offered, simply a pointed “We take VISA, and MASTERCARD.” Yeah, well if we had any type of National Health Care like most other industrialized Nations, that would help even more.

So tremulously I call Barry on the phone and ask if it’s ok I fork over $900+ bucks. Like we had nothing else that we could blow it on, like bills, food, other doctor visits…

It’s amazing how well you are treated just on looks, yet when anyone…doctors offices, hospital, or it comes up in polite conversation, if anyone finds out you have no insurance, suddenly you are parriah. Doesn’t matter how much money you have, how much education you have, if you have no health insurance, you’re suddenly the scurge of society.

Any way the money was paid, test dropped off, and I went to work. So I’m at work stressing about the tests, stressing about this pregnancy, got a huge bruise on my arm, totally stressing about the money, and all the while I’m drawing damn tourists who just want their kid drawn, don’t give a fart about you, no concern, no “how you doing’s” which usually doesn’t bother me, but that day it did. I’m thinking I just got out of the hospital, no one cares, it’s all about them…And it seemed like everyone was just couldn’t get their kid in line fast enough or had to have some smug comment about catching their bus to go home and their kid was the most beautiful, smartest, and the most important thing ever. Every once in a while you just want to chime up with “hey, here’s a life lesson…don’t wait until the freakin’ end of your vacaction to make me draw your ugly kid! Oh yeah, and try to be nice every once in a while.”

So I told Barry, if I had any money, could play the suck-up game better and lacked a soul I’d love to run for office on no other platform then a National Health Insurance. Ok, and stem cell research, and gay marriage, and probably a few other issues that need some serious addressing…

Yes, things could be done. Disney could offer insurance to all it’s third parties. People who employ contractors could offer a group insurance. Folks who are in the Health Insurance business COULD offer reduced rates to everyone rather than jacking up prices for coverage because they lost money on the stock market. Lobbiests could actually leave politico’s alone rather than keep forking over money or offering hidden perks to keep them from passing any kind of health care plan. But nothing will ever change.

posted by admin at 7:08 pm  

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