Tuesday, July 28

Healthcare - I Will Be Okay Even If I Get Wronged This Time

I got really stressed out today because I couldn't get a letter I wrote yesterday morning to my doctor through to her office, and because when I finally get it there tomorrow, probably no one will read it (since she's out for months). I was very stressed, thinking, "How will I get the results I want from my upcoming appointment with the bad doctor w/o a primary care doctor's advice/intervention?"

Then I drove by a house where the scene of kids playing didn't look like the scenes where I grew up. That knocked me out of my own tied-up thoughts for a second. Next, in that state of mind, I passed a house w/ a family that just didn't seem at all happy sitting out in their yard. Very similar house, but instead of playing, they seemed to be being sad.

Based on the demographic averages of the neighborhood I was driving through, there's a damn good chance they wouldn't have even had the experience I've had so far w/ healthcare. Mine isn't perfect, but my stress over that imperfection evaporated. It evaporated because I realized that although they could've looked so sad for no big deal at all, maybe they were sad because they had something really really big and painful to be sad about--and I didn't have any such thing to be so sad about.

It's amazing how much "space" I expect to "take up" as a minimum standard for my life. It's probably unusually high at the doctor's office, having heard a lot of "good doctor; bad doctor stories" in my life as a kid (from the insider's point of view, giving me a sense that, price being equal, one's healthcare quality is something one can control w/ the right tricks). But whatever caused it--I realized that there are a lot of people who would accept a lot less than I was expecting.

I calmed down. I feel a lot calmer now. If I don't get everything I hope for out of this appointment, the cost of a superfluous appointment or two will be felt (just the minimal appointments already are), but it won't make any collectors come calling. I have wiggle room to make this work. Getting stressed that I'm failing to take up as much space as I want to as quickly as I want to...is a kind of stress I'm privileged to be able to have, and because it's a privilege, one I can let fall away and still be okay in the world no matter what happens.

I feel good about this, too. I feel a release and joy that's kind of the opposite of the tenseness and sadness I felt when I withheld help from a woman who asked for it last night (but I was too wrapped up in my own fun night out to take 5-10 minutes for her). I think that's a good sign.

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