Last weekend, I was told that I might have cervical cancer.
My first thought was, "Oh shit. I have no insurance."
My subsequent thoughts were something like, "This is going to be MORE than expensive, and now that I have 'abnormal cervical growths' in my medical file, the chances of getting into a private plan is slim and the chance that a plan will cover any related charges is none."
Sometime after that, I got around to thinking, "Holy shit. I could die."
Then, of course, I spent some time mentally kicking myself around for not getting a pap spear done since my pregnancy with KayTar.
It was Sunday when I was told all of this, so first thing Monday morning I twittered nervously about it and then put a call into my OB's office. They were booked solid, so I found another OB who was able to see me on Wednesday. From Monday to Wednesday, I tricked myself into thinking I was coping better than I actually was, which as it turns out is a valid coping skill after all.
When I finally saw the doctor (after two days that somehow stretched into years), she said that everything looked good and the ER doctor had just seen some benign cysts. I could have kissed her. I didn't, but totally could have. Sweet, sweet relief. It suddenly felt like I had been holding my breath for a decade! When I paid my fee of $287, it felt amazing. "Only $287!" I thought, "What a steal! No biopsy, no surgery, no chemo. Just $287 and my good health." I think they could have charged me just about anything and I would have happily handed it over, big dumb smile plastered on my face, so lucky did I feel about knowing my life had magically gone back to normal. I know not everyone is so fortunate in that respect.
The first moral of this little story is that NO ONE should have bankruptcy or health coverage be their initial thought when their health and life are threatened. If you suddenly have an unexpected medical need, health care shouldn't suddenly be unavailable to you because you--GASP!--need it. As a nation, we've got to fix that.
The second moral is please make sure you get your pap smears and yearly exams, even if you don't have health insurance (if you can somehow manage it). Saving $287 today can cost you a whole lot more tomorrow. I surely won't be skipping one again.