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August 01, 2022

Oort Cloud Oddities: Health Care

By Alexandra Queen

Insipid little business form
Asking where my mother's born
Asking who my father is
Asking where I take a whizz

Asking if I have VDs!
Asking if I've ever sneezed!
Asking bust size, height and weight!
Asking when I menstruate!

Do I need this service so,
That I'll answer all it wants to know?
Just to acquire a new HMO?
I'll answer, that to doctor I might go.

Insipid little business form.
Die and go somewhere unpleasantly warm.

***

I used to be a relatively young woman. But that was before I spent the best years of my life filling out an application for health care.

Form: Do you have any currently unresolved medical conditions?

Me: No.

Form: Do you have any medical conditions diagnosed in the last twelve months that you have declined to receive treatment for.

Me: Um... no.

Form: Have you seen a doctor in the last twelve months?

Me: Well, yeah.

Form: WHY?

Me: Well, because I got a sinus infection because I'm allergic to almond blossoms.

Form: So you have chronic sinus/bladder/lung/brain/vital organ infections!!

Me: Well, I wouldn't say...

Form: Err on the side of caution or we'll prosecute.

Me: Please don't hurt me.

Form: Have you been hospitalized in the past twelve months?

Me: No.

Form: How about the past twelve hundred years?

Me: Well, once to have the baby and once to be delivered myself.

Form: I knew it!! What meals were you served and how much of them did you eat? Be specific, or we'll haul you into court.

Me: Um, which visit?

Form: Both. Also, list the exact dates and locations of every pimple you've ever had.

"Do we really even need an HMO?" I looked up from the questionnaire to see my daughter come running into the room, seventy pound dog in hot pursuit, launch herself onto the couch, pitch a tennis ball with all her two-year-old might down the hallway, and then fling herself head first off the couch to go chasing down the hall after the dog. "Never mind," I sighed and went back to the form as my husband just shook his head at me.

Form: Have you ever fainted, felt nauseous, had a hangnail or seen Jimmy Buffet in concert?

Me: Well, I've had...

Form: *shining light in my eyes and slamming a riding crop against a desk* Yes or no! Answer the question!

Me: *frightened* Yes!

Form: Bring us his autograph, or suffer an exceptionally high deductible.

I sighed and looked away from it again. "John, do we really...?"

"Sweet heart," he cut me off, "She eats lotion. We need the insurance."

"Right." I looked back at the paperwork.

Form: Does your two-year-old daughter eat lotion?

Growling, I flipped ahead a few pages.

Form: What color was the last bowl movement you had?

"That's it!" I shouted and put the application down. Maybe if I walked away from the medical history questionnaire for a few minutes, I'd feel better about all the questions. I skipped ahead to the plan selection part.

Option One: All medical expenses are covered and there's a buck-fifty lifetime deductible, but your monthly premium is so enormous that it cannot support its own weight on dry land.

Option Two: We'll go halfsies with you on your medical expenses. In exchange, we want you to buy us two new cars. You can make payments on the one every month as your premium, and the other one you can buy us outright for your deductible in case you end up actually needing medical attention.

Option Three: Tell you what, cheapskate. Send us a monthly payment the size that would feed your family for a week. In return, if you ever require hospitalization, we will allow the doctors to bill us. By the time they get word back from our billing department that we're only going to pay for the cheap plastic bedpan that you never used but that they billed you for anyway, you can have scotch taped your sutures shut and crawled out of the country. Good luck, amigo.

"John," I sighed, "If any of us get cancer, can't we just move to Canada?"

"Sure, if you want to wait eleven months for a facility with tools that were state of the art when Neanderthal shamans designed em to tell you they're just going to let you die."

I looked at the health care application and then back at my husband. "You got a deal, eh?"

Comments and exact dates of my doctor visits in fourth grade to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.

This column first appeared in the December 11, 2004 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.

Article © Alexandra Queen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-02-20
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