Where Does It Hurt?

August 21, 2006

I don’t know how it happened. I just woke up on Wednesday morning with a sore neck. And it got worse over the course of the day. Then on Thursday it was really bad. I couldn’t turn my head or parallel park. Friday morning I resolved to get some help.

Problem. I’m still without an insurance card. When my divorce became final a month ago I lost the health insurance I’d had through my ex’s employer. No big deal, though. I already gone to my own employer and filled out some forms. As soon as I also provided them with copies of the final divorce papers I’d be covered retroactively. Don’t worry, they said. It takes a couple of weeks for you to get the final papers in the mail. Then just bring them in, we’ll make copies, then we’ll file these policy forms, then you’ll get an insurance card. No problem.

So I waited to receive something in the mail like they said. Nothing came. Then I got a toothache and had to get it looked at. Enter the endodontist. Bring on the prescription drugs. (Note: extra strength Vicodin is some serious shit, jack. Whoa.) Still no insurance card.

So I finally take the stack of official-looking paperwork I’d gotten the day of my actual divorce and schlepped it into HR. This is what they gave me, I say; nothing ever came in the mail. Maybe what you want is in here (like I originally suggested)? Sure enough! Copies were made. Fresh promises of new insurance cards were made.

Then I wake up with a neck that won’t move. With me? Okay. So where do I go for help? The dental thing was easy: my employer has their own dental school and their own clinic. But there’s no school of chiropractic at Marquette. I went to the HR web site and followed some links to a database of covered providers. I searched with my zip code and found a clinic a mile from my house. So I go.

Electrical measurements of my back are made. X-rays of my spine are taken. There’s poking. There’s prodding. They pronounce me “messed up bad” (duh) and set out to make things right. The one guy, he hooks me up to some electrodes and puts ice down my back. The other guy, he twists my arms up and jumps on my chest, making a noise like a pack of firecrackers in my spine. Then he takes my head and cranks it swiftly, cracking my neck. I’m told to go home and use ice. And to come back on Monday.

Which I did. This time it was heat, not ice, but the cracking procedure was the same. Still no insurance card. They don’t seem worried about it, but I am. I mean I know I’m covered. (Right? RIGHT???) But they want me in there three times a week for a while*. That shit adds up when you pay out of pocket. And who thinks any insurance company is going to reimburse me for anything hassle-free and timely?

PS. For those of you used to seeing me in the dojang on Friday evenings: rest assured I didn’t find something more exciting to do with my Friday nights. I was having those x-rays taken during class. See you next time, though!

* The x-ray of my neck didn’t look too good. Your spine is supposed to curve; mine doesn’t. Furtheremore, one of my topmost vertebrae is lurching forward in a most unlovely manner quite independent of its neighbors. The doctor says he’ll try to make everything right. He admits, however, that if improvement can’t be made in a few weeks it’s probably something I’ll just have to live with and know that it’ll be a recurrent problem. Oh, and he assured me I’d have osteoarthritis in short order, either way. Bye! Have a nice day.

No comments yet

  1. Brings back terrible memories of being pregnant and having lost my insurance…..

    Incidentally, I hurt my neck yesterday too. What’s up with that! You little voodoo priest…

  2. Ouch. I’ve been there. Still get there sometimes. You have my sympathies and prayers…

  3. 1. If you signed the application for insurance and you ok’d that agreement thingy that takes the payment out of your paycheck – you ARE covered. Keep calling HR until you get your cards.

    2. Anyone who had a normal childhood of tumbles and falls; a normal adolecence of sports and jerky friends who (when they got their licenses) thought it was cool to stomp on the car breaks all the time … will most likely be seeing signs of osteoarthritis in their 50’s – 60’s. That’s just a cya comment from the doc. Once you’re feeling better, ask about exercises to build up the muscles in your back and neck. They (exercises) aren’t the cure-all but they help.
    3. Did you ever get help about your parking problem? : )

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