This was a special week at Sofi Labs, a magical time henceforth to be known as Meet Your Deductible Week. In addition to going to a Very Fancy Specialist Doctor who doesn’t take insurance,* I awoke on Wednesday with a painful twinge in my lower right side.
Now, since the lower right side has a bunch of stuff in it, including the incredible exploding appendix,** I went over to the local walk-in clinic. “It’s not appendicitis,” said the nurse practitioner dude. “But you really need to get a CT scan.”
I was all, “Hey, can I not get a CT scan and just, you know, save it for later?” and he was all, “Nope.”
At the CT scan place, a nice lady at the front desk started explaining to me exactly why, even with my fancy-shmancy health insurance, I would still be paying $500 out of pocket. She spoke sentences that were probably intended to be English, like, “So we’re taking 50% of your deductible, after we deduct what you’ve already paid, and then of course that’s the agreed-upon rate, and then we take 20% above that thanks to the 80-20 calculation.”
I got in close to her and said, “Look, I’m good at math. I took Calculus. And I don’t understand a word you just said.”
She started again, from the beginning. At last, I understood how — in a parallel universe where everything is hopelessly complex — one might be able to say I owed $500 today. I was certainly not happy that it was all so baffingly complicated,*** but I was satisfied enough for now. I took my seat.
At that point, the nice technician gave me a large cup of liquid. It was a contrast dye, so that my insides would show up better on the CT scan.
It didn’t seem so bad, in the beginning. They’d mixed it with Crystal Light®, and the taste wasn’t awful. But somehow, as I drank, it got harder and harder to get it down. I felt like Dumbledore drinking that bottomless liquid in Voldemort’s cave. (Sans zombies.)
I had 2 hours to kill in the waiting room while the contrast dye worked its way into my bloodstream. In vain, I searched for a People or even a Hello!, but they only had hyperspecific medical journals, so I had to curl up with Separation of Conjoined Craniopagus Twins: A Case Study. The article showed step-by-step diagrams of the process by which 2 twins joined at the head were eventually separated. The end showed both twins happy and relatively healthy, wearing special protective helmets. One assumes their skulls will be rebuilt once they stop growing.
Even after reading this informative article, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to separate conjoined twins in a pinch, but it passed the time.
At last, my two hours of waiting were up, and I went in to get the CT scan. The technicians were very nice, and except for that moment where I felt extremely weird when they injected me with dye (More Dye), it all went fine.
* “None of the good people take insurance these days,” I was assured by the office of another fancy specialist. So, this means that if you want to get medical care, you better A) pay for insurance, then B) pay for your deductible and then C) have another Large Stack of Money to pay out of pocket for the doctors who are actually good, in case you actually want to get “better.”
** Funny story about the appendix. My friend once had emergency surgery for appendicitis, and when she awoke from surgery, her doctor said, “Congratulations! You had the Appendix of the Year!”
Turns out, her appendix had started to rupture, but then her right fallopian tube had reached over and twisted around the rupture to tie off her appendix.
This is when I realized, we really have no idea how the human body works at all.
*** I’m reminded of the following quote, by P.J. O’Rourke:
“Beyond a certain point complexity is fraud … when someone creates a system in which you can’t tell whether or not you’re being fooled, you’re being fooled.”