Doing battle with daily dragons

Monday, January 30, 2006

Adventures in Medicine: Part Three

Yet another chapter in the continuing saga of one woman’s close encounters with Health Care.

I know that January is a largely soul destroying month. Credit card bills from Christmas land in your letter box, the weather is trying it’s damnest to sap your energy, strength and will to live and your gut is slowly encroaching on your belt line. But if anyone has a little good will to spare to direct my way on Thursday, it would be much appreciated.

I’m a little apprehensive regarding the particular procedure I’ve got to undergo as it’s the first one I’ve ever had that will involve actual honest-to-god cutting. It seems like a terrible contradiction: In college, I let a girl called Serena stick a needle though my nose, using nothing but an ice cube for anesthetic, but the idea of a qualified professional poking a hole in my belly while being blissfully unconscious fills me with un-nameable dread.

NOTICE: FOR ANYONE WHO IS EASILY PUT OFF BY TMI ABOUT PEOPLE THAT YOU ONLY VAGUELY KNOW FROM THE INTERNET, PERHAPS YOU WOULD LIKE TO CLICK ON ANOTHER BOOKMARK NOW AND ENJOY THE NEWS, GOSSIP OR PORNOGRAPHY SITE OF YOUR CHOICE.

The procedure is called a laparoscopy/hysteroscopy. The laparoscopy involves a very tiny incision being made under your bellybutton (Just for the record, this does NOT make your butt fall off. I’ve been made aware of a certain childhood myth perpetuated by sadistic adults that leads one to believe if your bellybutton ever comes undone, it will result in the loss of your posterior. THIS IS NOT TRUE) so that the surgeon can insert a tiny camera and have a good old nose around your lower abdomen. The hysteroscopy is pretty much the same but involves another camera being inserted into another notorious female orifice to get a view of the womb. (or a womb with a view, to quote another tired joke.)

The NHS, being terrifically over stretched, simply can’t investigate all fertility problems. A lot of you know (although some of you don’t) that we’ve had to deal with 2 miscarriages in the past year and a half. The lack of support that we experienced from the NHS was breathtaking; both during and after. I was fobbed off twice by GP’s who curtly said, “Oh, it’s very common,” as if I had a cold, and we were offered no aftercare or even sympathy. Of COURSE it’s common. Medical science believes it occurs in up to ¼ of ALL pregnancies, but this fact doesn’t make up for the crushing disappointment. Not being willing to suffer through a 3rd before qualifying for NHS investigation, I’ve been blessed enough to have been thrown a lifeline by AXA-PPP.

I didn’t deal much with insurance companies in the States. I was covered fully under my parent’s phenomenal insurance until I graduated from college and after that, I had only catastrophic coverage while living in Minneapolis, before I moved to the UK. My dad was always the one who spent hours on the phone with the people determined to screw you out of cover despite the fact that you paid for it monthly.

But for some reason, AXA-PPP doesn’t seem to operate this way.

Me: Oh great and merciful insurer, I’ve got to have an unpleasant procedure involving my nether regions. In the name of all that is holy and just, I beseech you to pay for it seeing as how, you know, I give you money every month for just this eventuality.

AXA Rep: Erm, yeah, that’s fine. You’re covered.

Me: .....................................

AXA Rep: Ma’am? Are you still there?

Me: I HAVE called an insurance company right? This isn’t the Samaritan’s hotline or something?

AXA Rep: Do you need anything else?

Me: Will you marry me?

I HAVE AN INSURANCE COMPANY THAT ACTUALLY DOES WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO. No fighting, no disputes. In the depths of despair, all I must do is remember them and feel that my faith in mankind is restored.

So on Thursday, spare a thought for me and my bellybutton. We’re both hoping for smooth sailing.