My co-pay for my eye surgery last February was $8300*. I pay $570.17 a month for my Kaiser medical plan and assume that the $.17 goes toward the postage for all the pages of translated premium due and consumer rights they send me in the mail despite my having requested paperless option, and I recently received notice that my premium would be going up to $602.38, an increase of approximately 6% which, apparently, is because of increased medical expenses but, naturellement, they are committed to ensuring my health and well-being ongoing and forever. I spoke to a nice woman named Marge the other day or was it month and set up a payment plan for the approximately $7,453 I still owed from the maximum allowed $8300, and after dividing up the amounts for hospital and physician/other, I am paying $80 a month and $157 a month toward the total in two separate payments because I’m unable to have you make one payment together, Nice Marge said, and you might be getting a survey in the mail, my name’s Marge and it’s been a pleasure to help you is there anything else I can do. I said no. I was just grateful that she didn’t tell me that I was due for a flu shot. Every time I interface with the Kaiser Deli, I am asked whether I’d like a flu shot, and they ask in the same tone as the real deli asks would you like pickles and olives on the side? I have not (ever) and will not and do not take a flu shot on the side but I am partial to pickles, lots of them.
So, that’s my eye.
Moving on to the knee. I got a steroid shot at the Kaiser Deli back in April, and it relieved the pain for approximately 5 days before it returned to a new and exquisitely painful baseline. The shot cost nothing (see above, i.e. deductible met, out-of-pocket maximum met). I could swear it (the pain) was worse and was told no, that’s unlikely, but you know me I’ve heard that line before in as many iterations so I high-tailed it to Dr. Jin, got some regular acupuncture, started taking CBDA tincture, lost about fifty pounds, went on an anti-inflammatory diet and exercised regularly. Ha. Just kidding, but I’ll let you guess what worked and what didn’t because that’s part of the fun in the medical house of mirrors funhouse carnival deli, non? I couldn’t reach the deli to schedule another free steroid shot that didn’t work, so I went to a private orthopedist that has treated all three of my children over their entire lifetimes, and for $275 paid in cash got a shot in the knee that has taken away the pain, at least for now. The Private Orthopedist advised stem cell injections which are, apparently, the wave of the future. He showed me an x-ray of a patient in his sixties, some before and afters of an arthritic knee. He basically wanted to go back to playing tennis, I was told, and he’s sixty-four. It’s definitely something to consider before knee replacement, he said, but it costs $8,000 a shot and insurance still doesn’t cover it. The tennis part reminded me of a little brouhaha I had with an old friend about the Canadian health care system. She said, It blows in response to my calling for universal coverage and healthcare is a right and all those things I’ve been yammering on about for the last twenty-six years when I began honing my high-wire act in the Big Circus of American Healthcare. She claimed her Canadian friends had to wait three months for MRIs for their knees, and I thought hmmmmm, I wonder if they want their knees to feel better so they can play tennis, and then I reminded her that if it weren’t for a billionaire friend of mine in NYC hooking us up, I had a three month wait to see a pediatric neurologist for my two-month old baby having what appeared to be but probably wasn’t seizures. Access to healthcare is a human right, I keep saying, and that means everyone is entitled. Give me that unicycle and put a dog on my head.
Hoo-whee. That’s my knee.
In other news, I’m finishing Love and Fury by Samantha Silva, historical fiction about the life of Mary Wollstonecraft and will be digging into Lauren Groff’s Matrix next, also historical fiction but medieval something something. I’m watching the re-make of Scenes From a Marriage somewhat obsessively and maintain from hard-won experience that marriage is - well — let’s say, outdated. Which brings me full circle to the approximate $4,345,678,234 I am paying my attorney for the post post post divorce Carnival my ex-husband dragged me to this past year. I will be paying $300 a month for the remainder of my years.
So, let it be
*All numbers quoted are approximations except this one.