Metropolis Musings

Worst nightmare

September 28, 2009
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Everyone has different fears and it sure is easy to scoff at one’s fear you may not share.  So I want you to think of what scares you the most, got it?  Well that’s what I experienced today.  Are you shaking in your boots?  Are you on the verge of a breakdown?  Is your heart racing as you stave off the anxiety?

I went to my first doctor appointment at my student health center today.  (Come on people, if it just crossed your mind that I would have that kind of anxiety over a doctor appointment you clearly don’t know me.)  Nay, the appointment was fine.  Well, on second thought, you do have to wonder what respectable doctor works out of a student health center.  She had me pronounce and explain a handful of my disorders, inspires confidence.  This is neither here nor there, I was not going for medical advice, I was just using her.

Apparently in the great borough of Manhattan one needs referrals for specialty appointments.  Since those are essentially the only doctors I see, and see them I do, I needed to get my hands on some of those referrals!  So I meet with this doctor and she clicks away at her computer screen till she has entered in all my necessary specialists.  Since I waived the student health insurance and opted to keep my Blue Cross of CA, she directed me down to Billing & Insurance to talk with a gal regarding my referrals and who I can see.

So downstairs I go a-skipping, disturbingly excited to get back on my doctor wagon.  When I finally talk with my new friend in insurance she looks at my card which reads that my insurance is only valid for emergencies when used outside of California.  Well, I’m minorly concerned, but I know I’ve used it in Massachusetts countless times and there has never been an issue.  She amiably says, “let’s find out” and proceeds to call my insurance.

All I can say is, wow.  I hate dealing with insurance companies and medical bills and to watch someone do this as their job, well a piece of me died inside for this poor lady.  Horrible.  After she was given the run around and transferred from one unhelpful person to the next, she finally got her answer.

(Cue the utter fear and anxiety…)

I am not insured outside of California except for emergencies.

WHAT?!  How could this happen?  She said they probably just changed my policy.  Well I could not dial my father fast enough as I walked out of the office wanting to cry and yell all at once.  This of course all came to a surprise to my father as well, who had done extensive research regarding my insurance leading up to my matriculation.

Several phone calls later between insurance companies, my father and the student health center, we cleared up the confusion.  Congratulations, me.  I have health insurance.

Trivial as this may be to some, it turned my world upside down for an hour.  I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my mother for the certain panic that she would experience.  I stay out of the political health care debate, but for people like me to be uninsured, to say it’s a nightmare is an understatement.  Because once it begins, you’ll never wake up out of it.

So that was the terror that was my day.  And in the spirit of this, I would like to share some phobias with you:

Aeronausiphobia – Fear of vomiting secondary to airsickness.

Albuminurophobia – Fear of kidney disease.

Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

Bolshephobia – Fear of Bulsheviks.

Defecaloesiphobia – Fear of painful bowels movements.

Dextrophobia – Fear of objects at the right side of the body.

Lutraphobia – Fear of otters.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia – Fear of Friday the 13th. (Try to say that one!!!)

Symbolophobia – Fear of symbolism.

And I shall add my own…

Uninsuraphobia-fear of being uninsured.

I will not judge your phobia, don’t judge mine.


Posted in Health

I’ll take my meds

September 22, 2009
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A mother’s nagging is a powerful thing, but after some time, you just stop processing it.  I think this is important, for if we behoove the advice right away, then how would we ever make mistakes and be able to say “Moms are always right”?

Well, today was one of those days.  I was back in Boston this past weekend and my mother kept saying “Take your Enbrel (my arthritis injection)”.  I was sure my plan was better, for a plethora of reasons, I wanted to wait to restart it (after a summer off with the whole brain tumor) until I found a rheumatologist in NYC who would advise me of their ideal treatment plan so as not to keep starting and stopping with these powerful drugs.

I still think I may be onto something, but today’s lecture in my Physical Biomechanics class exhorted me otherwise.  Today’s lecture was on cartilage, though I won’t bore you with the complex mechanisms that govern it, as many of them still are unknown.  In my own life, I can be told my cartilage is breaking down which has deletrious effects on my joints, blah blah blah, but what is it they say?  A picture is worth a thousand words?  Then let me share a few thousand…WARNING: super cool images, but if you’re not into that thing, they’re somewhat graphic.


a) a healthy knee condyle, notice how smooth and shiny b) severe erosion of the surface, not smooth c) the beginnings of erosion, d) the entire condyle head broken down and deformed, nothing smooth about it.


just enough surface incongruity to cause a slippery slope of degeneration


rheumatoid arthritis of the hand on the left, osteoarthritis in the right


severe rheumatoid arthritis affecting the metatarsals and phalanges

Now in the first images, the breakdown of the cartilage and bone is due to osteoarthritis, but hey, you readers should be mighty concerned!  It is highly likely that that will be you someday as it affects over 27 million Americans!  Be afraid!  I fall into both categories, so be on the lookout for my glamour shots up there someday.

But really, this is common, and more common with age, but those of you who are runners (ahem-Jaime!!) or do any sort of high impact or repetitive motion, those pictures should be a slideshow through your mind as you do those activities.  Because guess what?  There’s nothing that will reverse that.  Believe me, or I’d have it done too!

My mom’s preached to me that you only get one set of eyes, so I should take care of them, but you only get one set of cartilage.  Abuse it, see what happens.  I dare ya.

So that is my public service announcement about taking care of your joints.  Do with it as you see fit.

Posted in Health


September 8, 2009
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How splendid!  The other day Matt called me and said when he was doing some deep cleaning he had found a bottle of medication I had left at his house.  How fortuitous it was, as that was the exact medication I was needing for my stomach!  The doctors/insurance co./pharmacies have been arguing over filling it for two weeks now and eating has been a challenge.  Well just this morning it was delivered to me via FedEx.  What service!  I bet drug dealers don’t even provide such courtesy.  So here I am, drugs in my system, didn’t even have to leave the house. This is proving to be an auspicious day already!

Posted in Health

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Adjusting to city life...