"Maybe what doesn't kill me might make me stronger, or insolvent, one of those."

I'd find it difficult to converse with my tax accountant if she wore a face mask. Maybe an early exposure to Beagle Boys comics left me with an unnatural fear of anyone wearing a mask, but I find health care professionals inherently terrifying. I understand that they're trying to limit my exposure to their germs and their exposure to mine, but the affect leaves me more wary that wide open. Our exchanges, otherworldly. My defenses immediately stand up taller. I'm on-guard. I might suffer from White Coat Syndrome, a tension encouraging higher than normal blood pressure readings when I'm in the presence of anyone who might be able to reasonably interpret those readings. It's a double bind.

I have no clue how our health care system works. The Muse seems to have at least the patter down. She can spout 'out of network' and 'copay' as if she understands the theory and the practice. I fumble for the insurance card, clear that I understand nothing printed on the face of it.
She found a doctor for me, since the process by which one locates and secures a doctor's care seems to be a closely-held secret. One must find not only a physician who's accepting new patients (unlikely), but one who offers their services 'in-netword.' Innumerable invisible middlemen lurk in the background, waiting for their moment to jump out of the shadows and scream, "Gotcha!" They seem to take inordinate joy in doing this.

Once inside, the physician will introduce the new patient to a cast of supporting characters, not the least of whom will be their website, which was lovingly designed to encumber every attempt at engaging with anyone. I understand that these are busy professionals, too busy, really, to actually provide health care given all the middlemen requiring simultaneous satisfaction. I suspect that nobody imbedded within the system understands the system as a whole, a perfectly clueless context. The results seem endlessly emergent, often surprising, bordering on randomness. My health scare philosophy has been to maintain a healthy distance from the health care system.

I applaud the attempts to make this system less scary, though I know the middlemen have been fighting any suggested improvement. Insurance companies, of course, are first in the business of managing their bottom lines, so while they do provide a useful service by spreading around the costs of care, they inevitably seem heartless when they judge some necessary procedure as 'out of network' and shunt the cost back onto the supposedly insured. I understand that the Treaty of Ghent couldn't delineate every contingency, but cripes, kids, could we not have a heart? The cost of care scares me most. My Do Not Resuscitate order says, "In the event of an impending out of network ruling, do not perform the procedure."

I suppose that my fear of health care might be related to my fear of flying, for both health care and flying seem to violate some fundamental physical principles. I know that they do not—or do not try to— violate anything, but they sure seem to. Nobody likes to be told to buckle their seat belt or get more exercise, and we'd all feel better in the short run if everyone would just leave us alone. The long run's the rub. I feel as though, at my advancing age, I really should suspend my moratorium on interactions with the HealthScare system. Maybe what doesn't kill me might make me stronger, or insolvent, one of those. Nobody takes good health or even a modest fortune with them when they leave this mortal plane.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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