Running in Place

(Don’t worry, if you’re getting tired of hearing about my boobs, I actually have some movie reviews in the pipeline.  Hang in there one more post.)

Since I last wrote, it’s been a whole lot of waiting for nothing to happen — which is a unique torture that I would only wish on animal abusers and people who think abortion AND birth control should be outlawed.

I had my second consult scheduled with Dr. Steinwald, and the health fair for preop labs, but beyond that I was waiting for Tery to finish paying her car off so I could use it for a loan.

I saw Dr. Steinwald again in the vague hope of lowering the bill if at all possible.  Another area where Google is maddeningly unhelpful, “Can I negotiate with my plastic surgeon?” The consensus seems to be “It doesn’t hurt to try.”

I’m a big fan of “The worst they can do is say no” philosophy, and have had success more often than not.  And in this particular case, it absolutely paid to ask. With nothing beyond just suggesting it, he knocked $2000 off (though there seemed to be confusion, blaming it on the scheduler wrongly including that in the original estimate or something.  I wasn’t going to split hairs and practically fled with that new estimate clutched firmly in my hand before they changed their minds.)

This put me below $10,000 and suddenly much closer in reach. I was over the moon, walking on air the rest of the day, and any other tired cliché you want to stick in here, I was that.

(A tiny quibble here. Granted, I know nothing about the plastic surgery industry. It’s got to be tricky as hell running a business model for a service that doesn’t have repeat customers necessarily (aside from the Botox crowd). But if it were me, especially in this economy, I would err on the side of being slightly more affordable than less, to attract more business. But I don’t own a business, so don’t listen to me.)

So, mission accomplished.  Next were my labs.

A reminder, Dr. Steinwald doesn’t require preop labs.  I’ve read online this isn’t unusual if the patient is under 30 and clearly healthy. I only fit one of those criteria (the healthy part).  His nonrequirement raised big red flags with Tery and my sister. (For what it’s worth, we had a seemingly healthy ferret die from cardiac arrest while having dental work under anesthesia, which might have been prevented with labs, so there is merit to this fear.) To appease them, I decided to get them on my own.

But it’s not like I have a preferred lab where I always go, like my hairdresser and my auto mechanic. My sister suggested I see a primary medical doctor (I had to find one first) and claim to have very heavy periods and that I was nervous about anemia (false and false).

I went so far as to make an appointment, but let me tell you something about my ability to lie: I have none. Less than none. We took the train downtown once and I used a one-way pass both ways; and sat in a cold sweat waiting to be found out (I wasn’t).  Master criminal I am not, and this lab plan had so many ways to go wrong. With my luck I’d get a very thorough doctor who wanted to follow me for months for my fictional anemia. Or, worst case scenario, I’d be committing insurance fraud (as much as I think insurance companies rob us blind, I’m sure a judge wouldn’t see it that way).

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This is also why I’d rather spend five years in semi-crippling debt than try to dodge and weave through the insurance system. Subterfuge simply isn’t my bag, baby.

So I cancelled that appointment when I realized the 9 News Health Fair was in town, an event I always meant to attend with my friend D but this year it was a necessity.

(Here I’m taking off on a big tangent, but it’s my blog and I do what I want!)

We were going to have to squeeze the fair in on a Sunday morning before my 1:00 work shift. Worse, I had to work a full shift overnight Saturday, so I was going to be dragging.

I had preregistered online to facilitate things, and gently suggested to D that she do the same. A word about D: she’s weirdly neurotic. She won’t go to a strange restaurant without picking out her meal online beforehand, when possible.  We joke that she circles the parking lot a week before, choosing her space. The point is, she likes to be prepared, so I didn’t think pre-registering would be a hardship.

Saturday night I called from the hospital with the news I was stuck there all night and I would be grabbing only a couple hours’ sleep before the fair. First she said, “I thought we could hit the chalk art festival if we got done early, but it will probably rain,” followed by “If we take the train, it’s about a 15-block walk from there.” To both statements, I referred her to the previous part where I said I would be running on no sleep, and had to work again when we got back from the fair. But in my experience, for all that she jealously safeguards her own sleep routine, she has precious little concern for anyone else’s. (She did agree we should drive there, thank Zeus.)

We agreed that we would try to get there as close to 8:00 as my ability to wake up would allow (it was the last day of the fair and I was worried about a mob scene).  So I was puzzled when an hour after our conversation she emailed asking when we were going.  I sent back the same answer.

And I was really, really surprised when I called her immediately after I woke up at 7:30 (no alarm set; body clocks are an amazing thing) and said, “I’m up, let’s go” and she answered with a long, drawled, passive aggressive “Okaaaaaaaaay…” sounding like this was news to her and a huge imposition on her plans. Tery asked “Do you want to throat punch her?” Why yes.  Yes I did.

She made me wait while she finished her leisurely breakfast. Then she had to stop for cash (which meant she didn’t pre-register, because they let you pay online).  It took 15 minutes to find parking,  then about a 6-block hike.  After waiting for her to fill out all the paperwork (that could’ve been done online) and waiting in line to pay, the end of the very long line to get into the fair proper was finally in sight. But just then she spotted the restrooms and needed to stop.

I had enough.  I got in line without her, saying she could catch up with me. Because Jesus Christ on a cracker. She’s always been like this: the more you rush her, the more she digs her heels in. I don’t think she even knows she’s doing it. It’s just a tiny power trip, the only kind she can pull off.
She didn’t catch up with me. I saw her way back in the line and invited her to join me. “No, I’m fine,” she said. I couldn’t tell if she was irritated and I didn’t much care. Besides, the guy in front of me was very eager to talk, so I had more than enough entertainment.

It turned out the nurse had so much trouble finding my veins (just like at the MRI) she needed to call in the “vein whisperer,” and I ended up finishing almost the same time as D after all. Which I’m sure thwarted her plan to make me wait a little more.

All I’m saying is, I’m her best, if not only, friend. You’d think she’d be a little nicer to me (everyone has a frenemy, and she’s mine).

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Anyway, mission accomplished (practically no thanks to D).

Next step: Pray I don’t have a hidden debilitating disease, pay off Tery’s car, and hope OneMain Financial is still falling over themselves to give me money!

Beep beep beep beep beep!  Breaking news:  Lab results just came online.  Everything normal except slightly elevated liver function (due to lack of a gallbladder).  I’m not dying!

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