I want to write about the last two months, as it will explain my delay in my regular blogs and in my animations, as well as the sharp increase in my temper.
Is this an excuse? No. Absolutely not. I don’t believe in excuses. In fact I rather look down upon those who use them. I’m woman enough to own up to the fact that plenty of my comments over the last two months have been less than “Care Bear” worthy. So I apologize if I offend you. This may still explain a few things though.
So back in October, my father lost his job. My parents are separated, but due to the economy, my father lives in my basement. He has not found work yet.
Mama’s school was supposed to provide her with job assistance. She recently learned that that’s a fairy tale.
My brother and I still can’t find work. Keep in mind that my area was one of the three hardest hit by the recession, so it’s not like McDonald’s is crapping jobs up here. (I tried.)
The bills are piling up, my parents won’t stop kvetching about one thing or another, and the mortgage people we used to have, SOLD the mortgage to a company called “Nation-star”, which I believe is Swedish for “we have ZERO concept of how a clock works” and apparently is also Mexican for “Screaming computer followed by terse asshole” as they have been calling every other hour, regardless of the US rule on when and how often a collector can harass you, so I have had NO sleep and NO mental break in ages.
That’s not even the biggest story.
So a few weeks ago, Mama is complaining like crazy about a bunch of health problems. Now I’ve been asked not to reveal Mama’s biggest problem, but I have trusted about 4 friends with it, so since she’s ok with them, that will do.
So since she’s uninsured, I went looking for the Hammond Free Clinic online. I obtained the address and a photo of the clinic, and Mama and I take a trip out to find it.
Upon arrival, I find that the clinic… is actually a cramped hole in the wall, and nobody is behind the counter. The only other people there are a lady and her son, and from what little broken Spanish I can muster, they’ve been there for hours.
15 minutes later, we finally see another human. Mama goes to sign in for a check up.
“Oh no. You should have applied weeks ago, Ma’am.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Well apparently if you want to be looked at by a doctor at the Hammond Free Clinic, you need to put yourself on a waiting list. Then in 2-3 weeks they send you a postcard, letting you know if you are deemed “worthy” for their care… at a free clinic… for the poor… in a hole in the wall… that smells.
“We don’t accept walk-ins. We are VERY busy here.”
“But… this place is empty, except for the lady behind me.”
“*BIG sigh* Can’t you see we’re BUSY? We just can’t have EVERYONE walking in here you know.”
The child seated behind me yells “BOOOOOOO!!”
So Mama and I go to the Hammond Clinic. Yes, that’s the name of it. It’s also known as the Munster Med-Inn. Charming name, isn’t it?
So Mama fills out her information. The desk is run by nurses. The first nurse asks Mama why the insurance section is left blank on her paper.
“Oh, I don’t have insurance.”
“YOU….. YOU DON’T have INSURANCE??” The woman whispers to the other nurses. All three of them start chuckling. “Hehehehehehehee that will be $125 up front. That will cover the luxury you have of seeing a doctor.”
A swipe of the card, more chuckling, and then we are directed to the waiting room. “You’ll be the 6th one we call”
… Is what we would be told for the next 7 and a half HOURS.
All the while, the nurse had Food Network on, during their pre-Thanksgiving Paula Dean and Rachel Ray marathon. And every hour, the bitch would crank up the volume. Which aggravated the babies that were seated 6 rows from me, causing them to scream in disgust. Which prompted the lady across from me to tell the slack jawed, mullet toting rednecks beside her, all about each family member that has either died mysteriously from a rare disorder, or has developed diabetes from the drinking water.
Let me stop for a minute. Do you see how this just spiraled out of control? How the slight click of the remote caused the masses before me to react so? That’s because for 7 and a half hours, we all had to endure the sounds of a Food Network “holiday”.
One hour is plenty. Two hours is a mild annoyance. Three hours is pushing it. But 7 and a half HOURS?? And guess where my head was? Right under the TV set. Why? Because all the other seats were taken, or otherwise dirty. (Yeah, this facility does not believe in paper towel and Lysol. Let me repeat myself, I’m in a CLINIC!!) Now Mama at least took a nap, so she was spared half of the agony. But please, let me tell you what I was listening to:
Paula Dean: HOO WEE now we’re gonna take this her stick o’ butter, and we’re gonna FRY her up in some bacon fat! Next were gonna soak some chitterlings in some butter and lard, for our rum an’ chitterling pie!
1 year old 6 seats down from me: WAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAH
2 year old beside him: MAAAAAM MAAAAM HE WON’T SHADDAP MAAAAM
Babies’ mother: SHH Kayley-Hannah-Ann be QUIET!! I’m trying to listen.
Paula Dean: HOOOOO WEEE now for some rum on this here fried butter, and now we’re gonna fry us up some mayonnaise battered pork in LARD!! MM MMM ain’t that scrumptious? Now when the family wants some butter on their biscuits they can have some of this MMM MMM GOOOD fried butter!
Lady across from me: Oh lard! That reminds me of the time my younger daughter got diabetes from the drinking water.
Slack Jawed yokel: Do whut?
Lady: Oh yeah. It was almost as bad as the time my aunt was killed by Zimbabwe Measles. She was even featured on television in my old area, because she got it from the cat.
Yokel: Well my ol’ Paw Paw fought in th’ after war whut came after World War two. He didn’t see no action but he fought with a gun ah tells ya.
Paula Dean: Now we’re gonna make some fish stew. First we’re gonna put some butter in a pot, and next were gonna bring out our tender, fried fish and dump that on in…
Yokel’s fat ass Mullet toting daughter: Well ain’t that a hoot! You know I love this here Paula Dean. Like a member of my own family. HEY NURSE! Since you ain’t calling us up, how about you turn up the volume?
Paula Dean: HOOOO WEEE!! Now that there’s one gorgeous, scrumptious chitterling and rum pie out from the oven. Now let’s just top that off with bacon, and how about you all visit Rachel Ray?
Rachel Ray: Now to start, we’re gonna make our Thanksgiving salad. First we’re gonna start with some bacon, then mix in our YUM-O lettuce, then add in a pinch of salt (Four handfuls go into the bowl) and top it with our E-V-O-O
Lady: Olive oil is one of the things that I’m allergic to. Last time I had some, my heart stopped, and I was in such PAIN! At least it wasn’t like the time my daughter here was diagnosed as being bi-polar. She’s a bit of a whore too.
Lady across from me ‘s daughter: Mooooooom..
Lady: Well it’s true!
Nurse: Oh what a charming program, let me turn it up!
Rachel Ray: E-V-O-O is SO YUM-O!!!
1 year old: WAAAAAAAAAAH!!
2 year old: MAAAM MAAAM MAAAM CAN I HAVE MY HANNAH MONTANNA COLORING BOOK BAAAAAACK?
Babies’ Mother: NURSE! I can’t hear. Can you turn it up?
Rachel Ray: Now we’re gonna add a light vinaigrette made up of apple vinegar, old frozen bacon bits, a pinch of salt (Four handfuls) and some E-V-O-O. *Eats a spoonful* WOOOW OH MMMMMM IT’S YUM-O.
Now at hour 5, I had 2 minute reprieve with Giada:
Giada: *Teeth clenched, breathing as though she was trying to pop a vein on purpose* EEEEEEE-HUUUUUUH EEEEEEEE-HUUUUUH Now then. Let’s add some Italian flavor by making a vinaigrette using gorgonzola, feta, thinly sliced pork and some olive oil. EEEEEEEE-HUUUUUUH EEEEEE-HUUUUUUUUH
Which was followed by 3 minutes of Alton “cut your hair” Brown:
Alton: We’re going to take a Cornish hen. The younger the better. Now slice him up the side. And you want to use a 2.2 gage knife, or you WILL ruin the flavor. Then you put it into a Panini press, and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Cut thussley.
But my break was short lived, as soon Paula Dean poked her big ass into Alton’s segment:
Paula: HOO WEE don’t you wanna add some bacon fat to that dry old hen??
Now Paula brings out her twin cousin, who looks just like her, but slightly shorter. After 30 more minutes of “HOO WEE” Paula brings out Rachel Ray, and the rest of the Dean clan. The sound that came out of the TV set above me, for the next 2 and a half hours, with higher and higher decibels every 5th commercial break, brought to me by the hearing and mentally impaired nurse, sound like some bizarre pig breeding ceremony:
HOO WEE HOO WEE YUM-O PIG FAT SLAP SOME BACON ON THAT E-V-O-O RUM SOAKED CHITTERLINGS HOO WEE YUM-O HOO WEE YUM-O HEY RACHEL SAY HOO WEE HOO WEE HEY PAULA SAY YUM-O YUUUUUM-OOOOOOOO YUM-O!! (add kosher salt… thussley) MORE SALT FRIED BUTTER TASTE SO MMM MMM GOOOD! WOOOW OH MMMMMM IT IS HOO WEE YUM-O!! IT IS MMM MMM GOOOOOOD!!!
It’s nightfall. And about 21 people have been called before Mama. Some of them came in AFTER us. So much for being the 6th called!
I’ve now gotten up 4 times to ask the nurse why the delay, and I’m quite certain I’m spurting blood from both of my ears. Calmly, thoughtfully, I venture to the desk for the 5th time, to sweetly and politely speak to the nurse.
“Woman! If I catch you pointed-finger laughing at my broke Mama one more time, I will rip yo’ spine out from your left nostril and wear it as a NECKLACE!!”
And after 7 and a half hours, Mama is called. But here again it’s an issue. My mom’s name is “Manuela” which is pronounced “MAH-NUU-AYE-LAH”. But how is she called?
MENOOLEEAH?? MIN-YOO-ALAH?? MAN-WHALE??
By the screeching overhead speakers.
But we don’t care. So it’s off to see a doctor.
A nurse walks in. “Where’s the patient?”
Mama: I am.
The nurse flips through her papers. “Um… I’ll be right back.” I hear her having an argument with two other nurses. She returns a moment later.
Nurse: Um ah… there’s been a TERRIBLE mistake.
Nurse: You are MINYOUALALAH IKEA right?
Mama: Close enough.
Nurse: Ah well ah… there’s been a mix up. For some reason they put you down as a 10 month old.
Mama: I beg your pardon?
Nurse: Yes, your chart says you’re only 10 months old. We had you put down for a pediatrician. So um… can you just go back to the waiting room then?
Now I can taste my own blood pressure. YUM-O indeed!
So after voicing our displeasures, Mama and I are sent to the waiting room…. For another hour. The Waiting room is now standing room only. And the nurse keeps asking us to move so she can see Rachel Ray. So Mama and I are moved out of her way… into the doorway, which automatically opens every three seconds. The nurse says it’s “voice automated” and a new feature to the Hammond Clinic. It responds to a specific pitch. So everytime Rachel Ray says “YUM-O” or the babies that are now RIGHT next to me cry, WOOOOOOOSH!! Ice cold air on my behind.
I’m glaring at the nurses, who are not laughing anymore, but they are damn sure nosey. “Why don’t you have any insurance? Can’t you just get another job?”
Now another doctor is called. Mama and I move to a silent room for 10 minutes. A nurse comes in to do the usual, then the doctor comes in.
Now since I can’t remember his name, and I never saw him again, I’m going to call him Dr. Garfield. Why? Because like the cartoon cat, he seems to hate Mondays and is orange striped.
Dr. Garfield walks in as slowly as possible. He has no neck and two lead feet. He also sounds like Darth Vader.
Dr. Garfield: *KKKKKK-KUUUUUUH KKKKKKKK-KUUUUUUH* Hello. What seems to be the trouble. Ok. Let me have a look.
Mama sends me out of the room. The umpteenth nurse I’ve seen so far sends me to a family waiting room.
…. Which is a chair facing a wall. And one dim, fluorescent light. And the wall is close to the chair, so I have about 4 inches of leg room. But considering the last several hours, I’m willing to let it go, and just sit quietly.
A little old lady sits beside me, having appeared out of the shadows. Kind old woman, she takes pity on me.
Lady: I saw you and your mother come in! They just called my father in an hour ago.
We talk for a bit about shoes and sales, and then she tells me about how she had been there for 5 hours waiting for her father to just get a check up. Upon hearing my tale, she pats me on the head and tries to assure me that everything will be okay. Just then, her parents are ejected, and the three drive home.
….. There’s no clock in the now silent hallway. So I have no idea how long I’m here. But I do hear Dr. Garfield.
“Hmm. Oh no. Hmm. No wait, that’s okay. Hmm. OH NOO!! Hmm. Oh wait, that’s okay, given the patient’s age. And this is MINIWALAH’s file, right?”
O_o;; Oh no?? Did I just hear the phrase “Oh No” twice?? I scootch over to see what’s going on. The doctor is on a laptop, he then stares at me. Not in the “What are you looking at” way but in the “SHE’S SEEN TOO MUCH GET HER!!” way that I’m so used to seeing. He soon vanishes.
It’s almost 8. Mama finally retrieves me. She tells me that Dr. Garfield says she has more fibroids than he anticipated, and that she needs an ultrasound. Some of the fibroids are a bit tougher than they should be.
“Great, ultrasound. Which floor is that on? I’ll walk you up.”
“He said I can have my ultrasound tomorrow.”
“To….. MORROW?? WHY??”
“The clinic is closing now.”
Now upon exiting, I can’t help but wonder about all the people still waiting in the waiting room. The area was FULL, and some of these people had been here longer than us. I’m not so pissed that I can’t pray that they got the help they needed.
Was almost hit by a dude chugging whiskey in a pick-up truck on the way home. I didn’t even see my house until midway through Raw.
I sat by the computer, made the unfortunate mistake of watching 10 minutes of Raw, and the weight of the day just came crashing down on me. I tweeted my disgust at the show, turned off my TV, and just cried. I haven’t felt so weak, vulnerable or alone in ages.
If you’ve known me since 2008 or before that, then you probably can guess why I’ve been coming apart at the seams. If not… well let’s move on.
So the next day, I take Mama back to the clinic. I’m really flying by on fumes at this point. I just want some good news.
Back to the nurses’ desk, the ladies sent us up a few flights to the ultrasound/radiation room. But before Mama can have her ultrasound, we have to re-register with the upstairs nurse. Terse little shrew.
“What insurance do you have?”
“Um… don’t you have my file?”
“Yes, I’m looking at it. But you need to tell me what insurance you have.”
“NONE??? You DON’T have insurance?”
“Right well that will be $800. Cash or credit?”
“What? I’m sorry… how much did you say?”
“*SIGH* $800!! Cash or credit? GOD!!”
I let my inner Jesse Ventura take over. Nuno. Not the “wrestler” Jesse or “Governor” Jesse. “Conspiracy Theory” Jesse.
“Okay, if the equipment is already here, and the clinic has already been paid $125 for my mom’s use of it, what exactly is this $800 going towards?”
The nurse starts getting flustered. “Well um, it covers the test itself!”
“$800 for a piece of paper and some petroleum jelly? I don’t buy it.”
There was some more bantering. Then this bitch has the nerve to say “Well if you mother had BOTHERED to get insurance, this wouldn’t happen. Now I can cut it, so you pay $425 right now, and the rest later, but that’s the best I can do, because she didn’t BOTHER getting insured.”
I am damn right postal at this point. My mom looks like she’s going to keel over, and I can hear ANOTHER nurse snickering. So I threatened the terse nurse with bodily harm. Another nurse is called over. “Well just… go downstairs and explain to the head nurse.”
Back down the elevator. The head nurse tells my mom she can have the Medicaid rate, because that is clinic policy for those who don’t have insurance.
Back upstairs. The terse nurse just huffs. Mama has her ultrasound. Then we’re sent back downstairs.
“OKAY!” Says a nurse. “Go back in line for the waiting room, then we will call you, and tell you which doctor you’re seeing next. Dr. Garfield knows what to expect, so he wants you to see a “lady parts” doctor.”
Not 2 minutes later, this SAME woman says “Go home. We don’t need you here. We will call you with your doctor.”
3 days go by. NO calls.
Mama starts calling the clinic back. THEY HANG THE FUCK UP!!!
Finally, Mama gets through. She’s told to see a doctor out in Illinois. Since I don’t remember his name either, from now on, he’s Dr. Hadji. Why? Because there’s about 13 Dr. Hadji’s, 14 Dr. Singhs and 18 Dr. Rajids up here. You should see my phonebook!
So we’re told she needs to see this man on the 10th.
The day of the appointment, we’re in traffic and Mama’s cell phone is ringing off the hook. She finally answers “Toll Free” call #15.
“Hello? Is this MANIWALAH IKEA?”
“This is Dr. Hadji’s receptionist. Um you were scheduled for today at 3:15, right?”
“Well he cancelled. Just now. He’s going on an important golf thing, but he said it’s important for him to see you. So can you like come back on the 22nd? Thankies!”
So since then, I’ve been in Hell. Holistic medicine helps my mom a little, but now her arthritis is flaring up, due to the stress, so she’s had little use of her gnarled hands. I have no freaking clue what’s wrong with her, and the clinic is already sending notices to the house.
So is any of this an excuse for how I act? Again, no.
I apologize if my lashing out has offended you. It’s a defense mechanism I’ve been trying to get rid of for years. But this is where I’ve been mentally over the last few weeks. I’ve been agitated, aggravated, and all I really want is for everything to be OK.
Right now? Hardly anything is. So today I’m going with Mama to Dr. Hadji. Wish her good luck/health please!
So today was Mama’s appointment with Dr. Hadji. Now his place of business (and I stress this word) is behind the SECOND Hammond Clinic. For the record, both “Hammond” clinics are located in Munster. Yeah. Figure that one out.
So the lady at the desk asks for yet another $125 for the privilege of seeing a doctor. At least this branch was sans-attitude. We’re shown to the waiting area, directly in front of the desk. And then…
*ZZZZZT ZZZZT POO!!*
We have a blackout. Three times. All around me I can hear *BEEP BEEP EEEEEEEE BEEP!!* and groaning. The Christmas tree is the first thing back on. For real.
Mama is the third person called. As she goes to be weighed, a nurse looks at my head… and pokes me.
For the record, I have a Sailor Moon hat that I wear when it’s arctic outside. The nurse was like “EEhhhuuuuooooohhh. Sailormoon. I guess that’s an anime. Haha. My son watches all kinds of those WEIRD cartoons. He’s into like Bleach and Blood +, is it anything like Bleach or Digimon?”
For the record, she actually said “EA-NEE-MAY” when it should be “AH-NEE-MAY” and “DIGIMAN” which implies a singular hero, rather than multiple digital monsters. This annoys me as much as people who refer to Batman and Robin as the “Doo-namic- Dino” instead of “Dynamic Duo” so I can just feel my inner comic book geek gnashing her teeth. But I smile and nod.
Mama is then led to a tiny, airless office with very nice wood. What? It’s Cherry wood. It’s good wood I tells ya!!
Dr. Hadji comes in, looking like your typical Indian doctor……… but with a Scottish accent. Not even a normal Scottish accent. Picture Drew McIntyre after a full day of surfing in California.
“So what seems to be the problum? Sure-in ah’ve seen yer results and I neigh can understand why the dude called fer yer ultrasound.”
If ever you are in public with me, and it looks like my eyes are darting around, it’s always because I’m looking for the hidden camera.
He explains that Dr. Garfield is a raving lunatic, and that Mama’s fibroids are plentiful, but not a real concern. There’s one tumor hanging behind her uterus, pushing down on everything, but it’s more of an annoyance than an issue. So what is his diagnosis?
“Right! Well we can teke the whole uterus out, you’ll have surgery and sure-in it’ll go eh-way. Cash or credit?”
WOAH TIME OUT THERE LADDIE!!
So I explain that Mama can’t afford surgery, stressing the word “uninsured”.
“Right! Well it’s not like there’s a magic bullet or anything for serious. The only other thing I can think of, is we can charge ye for an MRI, and if ya qualify, we can put you through a procedure where we shove a catheter up ye thigh, and then we’ll dry out yer fibroids one at a time. It may or may not work, but it’s worth a shot if ye won’t do the surgery.”
“I don’t know. That sounds like an awful lot for a 50/50 chance.” Mama starts, but Dr. Hadji cuts her off.
“Well now yer making up numbers that neigh make any sense there lass. There’s no telling how well or even if it’ll work. If ye let me take out yer silly old uterus, it’ll make the discomfort go eh-way, dudette.”
Mama actually let this clown examine her, before we were sent on our “wey”. 10 minutes.
10 minutes?? Wait that’s it?!?!
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that this wasn’t serious *touch wood* and that Mama IS going to be okay, but my household was turned upside down for over a month, for a 10 minute interview with the Highlander from Bollywood, who offers her NO help and charges her $125 just to be told he wants to take her uterus?? WTF??
This would be the state of our healthcare system it seems. >_<;;