My Summer of Ulcers: Amerikan Medicine In Action

I’ve grown afraid of turning into an armchair reporter. A search engine, a bag of English-class composition tricks, and a backlog of polysyllabic words I picked up from listening to too much Bad Religion as a kid; I’m only 3 articles into my stint with BNV and this formula’s getting old already. Maybe being a research monkey isn’t my thing after all. Besides, just because I (or anybody else) read(s) a bunch of stuff about something doesn’t mean I (or they) have anything new to say about it.

I’ll write what I know.

One thing I know is that debt collectors have been hounding me with a vengeance ever since a little trip I made to the emergency room last summer. I’d begun to experience a constant burning, throbbing, stabbing pain in my abdomen that came out of nowhere. Unfortunately, willing  it to go away didn’t work like I hoped it would, and after 2 straight weeks of this I started wondering if it was a vital organ about to rupture or something. I reluctantly dragged my broke, uninsured ass over to the ER.

My 4-hour stay consisted of lying in bed watching TV, only briefly interrupted to provide blood and urine samples and swallow some icky syrup. A doctor read my intake form, said “sounds like an ulcer,” handed me some prescriptions and sent me back onto the streets nearly psychotic from hunger, exhaustion, and excruciating pain.

Of course, I got slapped with a bill for over a month’s worth of income. Like the ulcer itself, ignoring the fees didn’t make them go away, and the threatening reminders via mail and phone are going strong.

For what?! I could’ve Googled “burning, throbbing, stabbing pain in my abdomen” and ordered those medicines from some sketchy overseas pharmaceutical company for next to nothing. I’d rather give my money to them than the glorified pushers in the States who obstruct the creation of cures for major diseases so that they can cash in on pills designed to introduce a side effect for every symptom they mask…

Oops, I digress. I’ll get back to that strictly conjecture-based rant later.

When the calls come in warning me that my credit is in jeopardy, there’s only one sensible thing to do: blow them off. I’m tempted to offer a piece of my mind, but I realize the poor operators are just doing their jobs, with a 50/50 chance they’re drowning in debt too. So I spare them.

But if I got their superiors on the line, I might say:

“The amount you’re spending hunting down people like me is far more than we owe you. The fact that I could figure that out off the top of my head and you couldn’t just proves that you’re too stupid to deserve one red cent from me or anybody else. I hope you wind up poor and uninsured and lose all hope of financial security over something you had no control over. Go #&$% yourselves.”

The end.



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