Financing Depression

 Yesterday was weird.  I had applied for medical insurance several months ago, and was declined because of my "obesity, anxiety and depression."  I was honest on my application, I told them exactly what I weighed at my last weigh in (which occurred in the comfort of an entirely full room of patients in a very shady clinic) where the number was ingrained into my psyche for months to come.  I wasn't shocked by the number, but actually proud of how well I wore it.  So there.

I also was one-hundred percent honest when filling out their survey.  I told them I had a history of anxiety and depression, and that I take such and such for it and so on.  It was awesome to be told that these are "pre-existing conditions" and therefore, I could not be insured.  I could not believe it.  Here I was, willing to pay out of pocket for insurance, and I could not even qualify for it?  I appealed.

During the chaos of all this moving, I completely forgot about this process, and was tuned into full freak out moving mode.  Yesterday I realized I was running extremely low and the clinic that I use is miles away, in Corona.  I had finally been accepted for the health insurance apparently weeks before, but at this point I needed the money more than I needed the insurance.  I figured, I'll just stop by the clinic on a visit home.  Yeah, I'm not going home anytime soon.

If you have anxiety you will understand that no matter how hard you try to avoid a "trigger" it comes full-force at you, and how you deal with it is basically dependent on how well-equipped you are either emotionally or pharmaceutical wise.  With being alone all the time, knowing absolutely NO ONE and  the fear of starting an entirely new job, I am a wreck.  I only turned into a further wreck when I realized I was going to be without meds in a matter of days.  I was triggered, and about to lose it.

I called my clinic.  They were about as helpful as a monkey on speed.  They could not recommend any clinics, they were willing to fax my records over, but not to call a prescription into a local pharmacy for me.  They could not have gotten me off the phone quickly enough, probably realizing I am no longer another one of their cash cows, so why should they help me?  I'm so glad I signed up for the "Anxiety Program" with them, which now seems like a total joke.

I started looking around locally, but realizing that I have no idea where I am, and the fact that this is an actual CITY with a POPULOUS, there are probably nine million people in line for low-cost mental health care, and it would take week and tons of paperwork in order to even be seen.  Now I am REALLY freaking out.  I make a few random appointments with odd places off the internet, but basically I knew explaining to John how I need lots of money for a doctor's visit would not go over well at this point.

I became so frustrated and angry, I had no idea what to do.  All I am trying to do is take my medicine so I do not kill myself or anyone else.  All I want is to not have to pay eighty dollars just to be seen, and then one hundred on top of that for medicine that I need.  I'm not trying to score Oxy-contin, or steal someone's welfare check, I just need some damn medical care.

Then, a random number from Pennsylvania called me.  I was like, uh...because I have family in PA I thought I should answer it in case it was some sort of Polish emergency.  Nope.  It was the private health insurance company calling to remind me about blah blah blah...then I had another panic attack.  Wait a second, I never paid for this coverage, so why do they keep calling me?  Did they take money out of my account???  I started to further freak out.  I had to speak to a person.

Whoever you are, Cindy, thank you.  When I told her I needed to cancel the coverage because I could not afford it, she started to actually talk to me like a person.  She asked me why.  I told her I needed my meds and would probably end up in an ER somewhere, like a degenerate, beginning for pills.  She talked to me about the insurance available with my company, which I told her was pretty awful, but maybe just easier than all this.  Then she started talking some more.  Cindy was a person.  A person who talks in an awesome, life-saving code.  She said, "Are you sure you want to cancel it NOW?  You are covered until the end of the month, so you could go to the doctor and get those meds you need and if you decide to change companies then, you can just call us and cancel, because if you cancel it now..."  Oh Cindy, I never even thought of that.

So yesterday I bucked the system.  I went to the doctor, paid a forty dollar co-pay and twenty dollars for my medications.  That would have been the cost of one of my meds alone through the clinic.  I felt like a criminal, because everyone was so kind to me, and I was just there to use them as a means to an ends.  I do not like doing that kind of thing.  

When I started to think about it however,  I could not decide if what I was doing was really wrong.  Of course I do not intend on paying for the insurance, shit---I would if I could, especially after the kind way I was treated yesterday.  People were asking me questions, my doctor was kind, and my nurse was sweet as sugar.  I felt like an asshole, just sitting there, when this nice woman was genuinely interested in the fact that I get my period twice a month.  Yeah, I'd like to get that looked at.

However, what choices do I have?  Insurance companies do not recognize domestic partnerships so John cannot put me on his insurance.  I don't make enough money right now to pay for privatized insurance, but I will in a few months.  Then, I will have to re-apply.  In the mean time, I'm stuck going to shady clinics who basically sell prescriptions and don't care about my needs psychologically.  Now, I live in a metropolis filled with people in the same predicament, and will have to either wait ten hours to be seen in some sort of back alley scenario, or end up owing MORE money by going to the emergency room.  

Not to mention the way you are treated at these places.  Most of these "doctors" basically provide drug-seekers with what they need, but are very careful about admitting that is what they do.  They have meds on hand for sale, and they are CHEAP.  However, I needed REAL help and more than just a pacifying Xanax now and then.  I was prescribed Wellbutrin.  I think that was because I could remember taking it in college, not because that's what this guy recommended.  He asked me what I wanted to take.  Well honestly Mister, I'd love to take...nevermind.  

I was specifically told not to try to pick up my prescriptions from CVS or Walgreens, as they will no longer service anyone who goes to the clinic.  I found that odd.  Instead, I was told to go to Wal-Mart or a larger pharmacy.  Hmmmmm, okay.  It's just Wellbutrin, not Methadone for god's sake.

So now I feel like a loser, not only because I took advantage of the system (I feel kind of bad, okay?) but because I felt like I had no other option.  Every "clinic" I called cost a mint and required an appointment, various forms of proof of income and residency, as well as my waiting months to be seen.  If I had all the money and time in the world I would just call up Dr. Johnny McFancypants and have him make a house call.

I graduated with my degree in Political Science from Pepperdine.  I stopped caring about politics as a whole, as soon as I walked across that stage.  All I could think of is how much I hated everyone there, and how Tia and Tamera Mowry were in my graduating class, and they literally brought paparazzi with them.  

I cannot explain to you what Obamacare is, what is going to happen with health care, or how we are all going to deal with it in the future.  All I know is, why isn't there a safe place for people like myself, who need health care but are not in a position to afford it, but are not considered "low-income" enough for assistance?  Must we be reduced to these shady clinics, or paying out the nose, just to be well?  

I'm going to start my own health plan where the members have ID cards with pictures of Morrissey on them, you can eat donuts while you wait, and watch Golden Girls in the lobby, all day, no repeat episodes.  I'll even play the one with Mario Lopez because it has been known to cure cancer.



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