In the past couple of months around these parts you might have noticed I can go a few days here or there without posting anything, much to my chagrin. It’s usually been because of either overwork or sickness, and unfortunately lately sickness has taken the throne.
I lost all of last weekend and am now about to miss my fourth day of work, after what started as just a possible head cold and developed into quite easily the worst sinus infection I’ve had in my adult life! This thing had me by the balls!
There was a point sometime Saturday evening when suddenly I lost all capacity to do anything. I went from no real symptoms to suddenly being more-or-less incapacitated. I failed to go to an opening that night because I couldn’t even imagine walking those six blocks in my condition. Sunday was a blur, mostly watching TV thinking if I just zoned out I’d recover, but the worst was still ahead. At least at this point at least I could still swallow with ease!
Monday was when it really hit. I hadn’t had breakfast and was drinking some tea to get me settled when suddenly the contents of my stomach went flying! I never really had a fever but rather cold sweats and hot flashes on and off for the next two days. This was the starting point of over 40 hours without solid food, actually without anything but juice and water. Like fasting but without the choice. I couldn’t stay awake for more than an hour at a time and kept collapsing either on my bed or even passing out in my desk chair (it leans back quite nicely, quite comfy actually).
By the second day I was really starting to feel the pressure because I’m missing everything happening at work. I tell myself I’m going to try and make it in, but my body is weak from lack of food and by Tuesday morning my face was so swollen that a friend of mine told me I looked 45 years old; the normally-slightly angular cuts of my face were replaced by bulbous puffs of who-knows-what, my eyes had no physical articulation but were rather flat shapes set inside a bloated sack of skin, my upper-throat area was so swollen that my neck actually looked shorter. I mean this flu bug, or whatever it was, was fucking king!
Usually sleep, rest and plenty of fluids work for me in these scenarios, but like I say this time was different. I could feel it.
Yesterday I finally went looking for a doctor. Since I work full-time right now I have health coverage, but I’m terribly versed at how health coverage works in this country, even though I live here. It’s all just so confusing, and defeating. Health shouldn’t be an industry.
First I looked towards work, but around my job I had too many options, over 70! Too many to choose from, actually. I looked back towards home and eventually settled on two (of only three available!) options. I set forth at 8am to find these clinics, and just walk-in and demand an appointment. The first one developed into a fiasco, as the address was the address not of a clinic but of the MetLife building at Queens Plaza! And the phone number was some sort of ‘routing number’ for an ‘office’ of clinics, or something like that. I couldn’t make out much at 8am once I finally, after over 20 minutes, got someone on the phone. While they did have a clinic elsewhere in the city, then it turned out they didn’t actually accept my insurance! Whhaaaa!? But you’re LISTED on my insurer’s website? Again, they said they were simply a ‘routing number’ for an ‘office’. Again, confusing, defeating.
I call up my second and last option, I have no where else to go. Please, please pick up, please take me in! They say they don’t have any more appointments available but after hearing me and hearing my situation, they ask how soon could I be there? I say 15 minutes. I book it over to the clinic and low-and-behold it’s located inside the Queensbridge Housing complex! Good doctor, crazy staff, wild patients! I’m the only white guy in the joint.
As I’m a completely new patient, I have more paperwork than most. I spend over 2 hours waiting and am in-and-out with the doc in less than 20. Appointments aren’t available as he explains at Queensbridge that logic doesn’t function! He recommends to show up early to get in early. Yeah, okay. Hah!
The meds he prescribes it turns out aren’t covered under my insurance – or maybe I need to give a call to get some reimbursement the pharmacist says – and one prescription cost over $10/pill! 10 pills, 10 days, $105!
I lost my weekend time, I didn’t get to develop a costume I was working on, I’ve lost four days wages now, and spent nearly $300 on doctor’s fees and prescriptions, not to mention the parking ticket ($60) I got illegally parking to get to the doctor! All in all well around $1000 lost.
Of course the financial angle is one thing. But what of the 40+ million other United States citizens without health insurance? 40+ million! What of artists and freelancers and everybody who doesn’t want a full-time job just in order to have health insurance provided, and can’t afford to buy good packages on their own? How are people attempting to make a career out of their work, who are supposed to be in the studio as much as possible, also supposed to provide their own health care? I cringe everytime I hear or read the term health insurance industry.
So I sit at home on this sixth day sick, finally recovery may be possible. In my adult life I can’t remember a time when I was sick for six full days. Sure, a couple of days here and a couple of days there with extreme sickness, but not six, not like this. I told one person upon reflection that there was a good 3 days there where I didn’t laugh, because all I was doing was sleeping and drinking, nothing more. That made me realize how much of an impact this thing had on my daily life, because I always laugh – it’s healthy! I didn’t take any photos for over five days and hadn’t posted anything here for going on six.
Now I’ll try and slowly put back in order my studio, which looks like a couple… dozen… tornadoes hit it. When you’re as sick as I was you really could care less about where anything goes!
I’ll catch up on past events and hopefully some future events will re-inspire this blog. I know I need to make some adjustments in my own standards of living and cycles now, but in the meantime keep yourself well.