Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Guessing Game

Today’s visit to the medical center turned into a guessing game.
Upon checking in, I was given a questionnaire asking questions only a female would be asked, the answers to which would require a phenomenal memory. I’m 73 years old, so the year and age I was when things started and ended was too far back for me to remember. Consequently, there was a lot of guessing and “I don’t recall” entered on the questionnaire, but I did flash back and remember precisely when I’d last had a boobie exam – 1998.
I clearly remember being sent from one building at the Los Angeles facility, to another building across the street. The building didn’t feel right. It wasn’t bright and cheery like the other, and the Radiology Department was an elevator ride down to the basement.
I didn’t like the rickety old elevator and, when I arrived at the basement, I found it dark, gloomy, deserted. No one at the front desk, no other patients. Feeling uncomfortable, I decided not to wait around for someone to assist me. I turned, walked out and that was the last time I subjected myself to that preventative.
Things have changed a lot in twenty years. I’m still with the same medical provider, but the machine is a lot gentler than I recall – not to mention, Radiology is out of the basement and up on a bright cheery 3rd floor, and was fast and efficient.
Doctor will be pleased I finally did at least one of the preventatives she’s been bugging me about.
I’m pretty sure I know what she’s going to want me to do next, and I’m not at all sure I’ll rise to that level of cooperation, even though I learned it’s not about money, not about meeting a dollar quota. In fact, today’s visit was zero dollars. There wasn’t even a co-pay.
In chatting with the technician, as she slung the girls this way and that way, I learned it’s something to do with government regulations because of tax credits for being a “preventative” facility.
Compliance is involved and, when the government sees patients not having preventatives, the medical center is asked, “Why so many patients who haven’t had this that the other preventative?”
“The patients don’t want it. They won’t do it”, says the medical center.
“Well, you have to figure it out and find a way”, says the government.
So now I get why the phone calls, letters, post cards, appointment set up for me without my consent. It’s because the government puts pressure on the medical center, the medical center puts pressure on the doctor, the doctor puts pressure on the patient.
Relying more on holistic rather than conventional, medical coverage is something I have in my back pocket for emergencies (sorta like the renters’ insurance I finally purchased), for things I can’t resolve on my own through eating right and acupuncture – like breaks and the sprained wrist I gave myself a few years back from playing too much candy crush. I’m just not a run-to-the doctor type person for preventatives, especially since, should a preventative fall upon me, I’d just accept it and be out.
But that’s just me and my dharmic fatalistic view – which is not necessarily as depressing as the words “dharmic” and “fatalistic” make my philosophy seem to be. I just believe my purpose is to go with the flow of what the Universe throws my way. However, respecting those who choose to “not go gently into that good night”, those who choose to “rage against the dying of the light”, when I saw the Tree with names of those who struggled and lost the struggle and messages to “survive this … never give up” for those who are struggling now, I added a note to “Have Faith”.


  1. Yeah, I'm not big on those preventatives either. I get a mammogram about every 5 years. I don't care what kind of machinery they come up with, it still hurts like the dickens. I hate the colonoscopy, the prep, not the actual procedure. I'd go for the procedure every year if it didn't require that horrible day before, living in the bathroom. Blood tests and bone density are no big deal. I also get my flu shot every year.