The geezer medical insurance rule applies to me as well as every other mature adult in the country. The geezer rule is: Your health is indirectly related to how much insurance money is available. Having less insurance money available means you’re healthier. More insurance means you need tests and intervention. I have lots of insurance, so I need a lot of medical care. It’s the rules. I went to my doctor and ended up scheduled for an MRI because they can.
An MRI is a super xray with a lot of whirrs and clicks from a big pipe thingy. It’s no big deal, but would cost a bunch if you had to pay out of pocket for it. I’ve had several over the eons of my life, but they’ve resulted in no meds or treatment. I’m pretty sure the only viable result of the MRIs was to make payments on luxury items for doctors. I’m confident there’s a huge yacht out there with the name “Charlie’s MRI.”
Back to the point: I reported to the hospital for my umpteenth MRI. It was all fun and games until I was slid into the tube. Either engineers downsized the MRI to save money or I’ve upsized from too much pie. Whichever is the culprit, the MRI was really, really tight. Somehow the air was pumped out of the room, because I couldn’t breathe at all. My brother calls it being “a cork in a bottle.”
I was able to get enough air to gently ask to be let out. I was real nice when I said “Get me out of this thing NOW.” I got no response in the next second, so I escalated. Somehow, I was able to give the machine a few good kicks as I let out my most threatening growl. Those things got a response.
I went without air until the tech ejected me from the tube. He accompanied me to where my dearest waited and violated patient confidentiality with his non-communication. His expression said I’d flunked the test. That, and the fact I had only been gone about 2 minutes. Funny, it had felt like hours. Days, even. I did the drive of shame to our house. The wife appeared supportive, but my ego was not. Maybe she just pitied me. Maybe I pitied me. I’d felt powerless, which we control freaks despise. I voiced a lot of excuses about the temperature in the room and the lighting and the color of the tube causing me to be unable to finish the test. I’m convinced that if I’m immobilized, people will definitely do horrible things to me. They could even immobilize me. It makes sense. Really.
The next day I received a call from the doctor’s office. They wanted to know what happened. I found it funny that they never want to talk to me as long as I’m enabling them to get paid. They acted truly concerned and immediately offered me pills to relax me and enable them to bill my health insurance. I agreed because I want the economy to keep growing. I dutifully reported to the pharmacy and paid for two generic Valium. The pill literature guaranteed I’d be nice and pliable during any sort of agony.
I saved the probably addictive magic pills until my rescheduled torture…I mean test. The girl at the desk signed me in and commented, “Don’t freak out.” I guess that’s the new greeting with these crazy kids. I sincerely doubt if any professionals would have violated the law by gossiping about my terror. That just wouldn’t be proper. When she said, “Don’t freak out,” I responded, “Back at ya’, baby cakes.” In short order, my executioner came out and escorted me to the chamber of horrors. I didn’t feel particularly relaxed or pliable. Pills must not work on whatever condition I have. I played along right up to the “slide into the machine” part. As I sensed he was about to press the slide button, I asked if he valued his machine. He said he did, so I suggested he let me out or it could be permanently disabled. He complied. I held my head as high as I could as I slithered to where my compassionate mate waited. She didn’t look surprised I’d finished early.
I’ve read up on phobias since then. Some experts say that you aren’t really scared of the thing, you’re scared of panicking. I say bull. For whatever reason, I have a phobia about being trapped. Maybe it’s a phobia about not being in control. Maybe it’s a fear of being overcharged for a medical procedure. Maybe it’s a fear of MRI techs laughing at me. Whichever it is, I probably need therapy. I bet my insurance pays for it. After all, I have to keep the economy growing.