As some of you may have known, I had the flu recently. Well, lucky me, whenever I get the stomach flu, it is accompanied by unbearable, excruciating abdominal pain, requiring a trip to the ER just so I can get pain relief. I'm talking pain so bad, I can't help but scream in agony and conversation is nigh impossible.
But first, let me explain my situation. My medical "insurance" (more like medical treatment paywall) requires that I just pay out-of-pocket for $1500 of my medical bills in the year before they even start to cover anything. That's on top of the twice-monthly fee to simply have the plan. So, I had finally just reached that, and not a moment too soon as it is now December.
So now, on select services only, they'll cover 80%. However, some things like x-rays they only cover 50%. Because America.
Anyways, here I am, in excruciating pain. I order a lyft, because that's the only economical means (and still quite expensive) of travel in this country if you can't drive or don't have a car. My roommate left me his car while on vacation, but I was in way too much pain to drive, plus I was in the tail end of my vomiting bout. I had just returned from driving my roommate to the airport an hour away, pretending like I wasn't in pain on the way there, then throwing up every 10 minutes on the way back (luckily I was smart enough to bring bags for this very possibility). What was an hour drive took me 3 and a half as I had to constantly pull over to puke and bear the pain. But I digress.
So they take me to the local emergency clinic right down the road. I try to relay my situation to the front desk, but I immediately burst into tears and cannot quite form sentences. The pain was just too much.
She tells me they won't actually open for another hour and a half, and asks if I want to have an ambulance called. Anybody who's not rich in the US knows: don't take an ambulance unless you're going to die. The costs are out-fucking-rageous. So I mutter a "no" and go and sit in the corner.
At this point the pain had escalated so much that I could not help but bellow screams of pain. Once again, the front desk lady comes and asks me if I want the ambulance. I again refuse. When she asks why, I try to piece together the phrase "too expensive". She then urges that I take one, and with the pain still escalating, I reluctantly agreed.
So, I'm in the ambulance, and one of the 2 emt's keeps asking me a million questions, then when I can't answer or he didn't hear me or I scream out in pain, he scolds me like a fucking child. "Screaming's not going to do anything for you." Bull-fucking-shit. I don't know if you've ever been in so much pain you want to literally die, but I tell you screaming is the only thing that helps in the moment. Try telling someone who just got their arm cut off to "stop screaming, it's not going to do anything for you."
Yada yada eventually they finally give me pain meds. Fentanyl. A super strong, super addictive pain killer. Now, I tell you the pain was so bad that they pumped a fuck ton in me, then had to wait before they could pump a fuck ton more.
Finally the pain subsides to bearable, and with the second batch it is nothing more than a cramp. Relief at last, after 7 straight hours of gut wrenching pain.
Fast forward, after CT scans, urine sample, etc. the doctor comes in.
"Not sure what the problem is but you're fine now. Could have just been a bug." I would have been furious were it not the xth time I've had to go to the ER for the same condition and given the same evaluation with the same "lol I unno, but good luck paying the bill" treatment.
So I get the bill. Mind you, I've met my stupid $1500 deductible to finally have my insurance be, well, insurance. $80 to have the doctor go "I unno, see ya" , not too bad I guess. The gross bill was $400, but since the insurance now covered 80%, finish the math.
Well, I sure got a neat surprise when checking my medical statements right now. That $40? That was literally just for the doctor to say "I don't know". The ACTUAL bill for all the"treatment" (legal monitored opium injection, and people wonder why there's an opium epidemic) was a whopping $900. AFTER deductible. AFTER insurance.
The gross bill before any coverage? OVER TEN THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS. To have an asshole drive me in a fancy van to a location to have 50x strength opium injected into my veins for a couple hours before kicking me out (and having me order a lyft back home, which is now far away so that wasn't cheap either).
Bag of water for your IV? $400
CT Scan? $5000
Butt-Fucking the American Dream? Priceless.
God I love the US.
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