A Virgin Goes To The Medical Marketplace

Shopping People

At age 63, I”m going shopping for the first time.

For a sinus cat scan. To find out just how much snot is in my head. Or how blocked those sinuses are. Being sick and tired of feeling like dog doody made me do it. And to find out just what is giving me severe allergies.

Say Cheese

So here I am at a diagnostic imaging clinic. Photographs for radiologists. Say cheese. They will scan any itty, bitty part of your body. Wonder if they offer personalized picture frames for their works of art. Maybe there’s a gift shop.

Set Of Vector Medical Icons In Flat Style With Long ShadowsBut of course, the first step is to prove to them that you won’t be pulling the skedaddle on them. Your insurance card, please. And then it’s on to the phone book size paperwork. It takes less to sign your life away. This world is all new to me. I’m dumbfounded!

Not So Candid Camera

Sitting in the hallway in the flimsy in the front, open to the breeze in the back frock (why don’t they offer different styles for us shoppers?), I hear scary noises coming out of one of the many showrooms. A low-pitched whirling sound with a voice from outer space giving directions to the customer. Maybe it’s a sales pitch.

And then it was my turn. The assistant retailer technician was taken aback when I asked if photos were allowed. It was a donut-shaped vertical halo with a tongue sticking out of it. And while you are laying on this device, you can’t move at all. But the tongue does. It takes you in and out twice and then you’re done. Easy breezy.

The Shopping Mall

Finding your way back to the dressing room is another story. Where’s the store clerk when I need her? This maze is disorienting. And not just to me. Other shoppers were astray on the path. It was like being one of B.F. Skinner’s rats. If we found our way out, we might get a treat. Or at least an exit. It reminded me of my one and only shopping experience at the stadium size Ikea store. It took me three days to find the exit. And there was a dead body under a couch. Just kidding.

What A Prick!

They prick your arm all over to see what you react to allergy test is the next adventure. It’s something that I eat, breathe or touch. I think it’s my three cats. Scurf (also known as dander) and cat hair dust bunnies inhabit the house more than I do. And I always feel better after a few hours away from them. But, maybe it’s mold. Yuck! That’s worse. Cats are purry and furry. Mold is sticky and icky.

Things are not sitting so well in my brain. Haven’t I spent enough today? What should I do? Check my credit balance? Run? Cancel all appointments? Buck up? I’m a ten on the Richter earthquake/chicken magnitude scale. Aftershocks concern me. Or a tsunami of endless medical tests. And expenses.

DoctorI didn’t run. I did the prick test. It’s also called a scratch test checking reactions to 40 different substances at once. The cost for test alone: $660.00. Results: negative. There goes my theory on the cats, much to my relief. And mold. Can’t blame it on pollen, dust mites, milk, wheat, soy, peanuts, gluten and who knows what the heck else. They didn’t tell me. I had to get in their face to find out more.  Like asking for a refund on a product from the sales clerk who sold it to me, remembered me but wouldn’t do it without a receipt. No transparency in the medical world. Even the bills are mysterious. You have to know the secret code to decipher them.

What Should I Buy?

Sooooooo. Non-allergic rhino sinusitis. That’s the diagnosis. The exact cause is unknown even to the secret code gatekeepers. Should I pursue this on my own? Collect spores, molds and fungus like Spengler did on Ghostbusters? And do the skin scratches myself? A DIY project. YouTube probably has a tutorial on how to do this. Craig’s List might have a used tester.

Dust and smog can be triggers. Oh boy! Here I am in the dust bowl of the southwest with air that is pea green all too often with warnings to people like me not to go outside. We have dust storms called haboobs! That should tell you something.

The overpaid retailer (doctor) offered nasal steroids that are good for 3-4 months, prescription antihistamines or nasal cromolyn solution. And allergy blood tests that test for the same allergens as the scratch test did. I already bought that style. It’s not like having to have that cute little sundress in every available color. And on top of that, it is possible to have a normal (negative) allergy blood test result and still have an allergy. Whoa! That’s not getting my money’s worth.

My Closet Is Full

They must have an employee incentive program to sell more, when in this particular store, it should be less. They encourage you to shop like a bull: charge everything. If it was on sale, I might consider it. But nooooooo, there is never a mark down here. Not in this marketplace!

I’m done shopping. I will just live with what I have. Less is better.

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