I have good news. Yesterday, I got to see a doctor! Yeah! The State of Illinois has a fairly simple plan of medical insurance for poor people. I signed up online. I randomly chose a primary doctor from a list of candidates. I made an appointment for 3 weeks out, so I would receive my confirmation before my appointment. I got a confirmation card in the mail. I went to my new doctor.
A lot was riding on this doctor’s appointment.
You see, every time I get panicky and take my medication to calm myself, then I have just put myself out of work for another 30 days. One anti-anxiety pill eaten equals one pre-employment drug test failed. If I can’t pass the drug test, I can’t get hired. Since I couldn’t give up my medication (think insulin or blood-thinners or lithium), I needed an American prescription, written by a local doctor, which would make me legal to have the drugs in my possession and to have the drugs in my bloodstream. I needed a script.
Naturally I think this whole situation is bullshit. It is none of my employer’s fucking business what I do when I am not working. After all, I am not a slave.
However, I can tell you the employer’s point-of-view:
Funeral Home: Our hearses (vehicles) cost between $50,000 to $80,000 each and we do not want anyone drunk or under the influence of drugs to be behind the wheel. Also, our employees deal with sensitive information, like social security numbers and death certificates. We do not want drug addicts or criminals to sell people’s identities for drug money. We believe that the use of controlled substances (drugs) makes an employee vulnerable to criminal influence.
Okay, I concede that it is possibly a valid argument for a funeral home – but for retail? Hell no! Who gives a shit if I am high on marijuana when I am selling t-shirts? So what if I blow my paycheck on… you know what? I don’t actually know anything about drugs or drug culture or what people do for drugs. I only know that sometimes I like to unwind at night with one cocktail and one Tylenol-3. Should I be ostracized from the job market because of that? I don’t think so. I want to work. I’m safe to work. Why is it my employer’s business to get access to my blood for laboratory testing? I see that as a total invasion of privacy.
In any case, I’m not even talking about codeine. I’m talking about Xanax. I have panic attacks. If left untreated, then I have migraines. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. Those are the facts. Should that make me unable to work? It certainly doesn’t qualify me for government disability payments, besides, I am not disabled.
So I went to the new doctor, completely freaking out about this I-need versus The-government-says crisis. In retrospect, it’s kinda funny – because the doctor could totally tell that I have anxiety and that it requires medical treatment! She wrote me a prescription to make me legal… and I cried. It was such a relief to have that obstacle removed from my life. Baruch Hashem. Next, we chatted about an anti-depressant. I did not tell the woman that I recently slit my wrists. (She didn’t ask.) She only asked me if I were suicidal and I replied, “I have been in the past, but I am not suicidal now.” And we moved on. We talked about counselling for me, but it seems to be that the culture in America does not consider counselling to be necessary. It is unlikely that any insurance plan will pay benefits for more than a few sessions per calendar year, and probably zero sessions for me. The answer seems to be that I need to make enough salary that I can afford to pay for my own therapy. Of course, most people would be unable to earn the salary without first having the therapy. It’s a cruel situation.
As for taking medication for depression, the doctor chose Effexor because she said it does not cause weight gain (and I am obese). The way this works in America is also pretty crappy. The doctor suggests a drug, based on a 40-minute consultation with me. I try it for 2 weeks. If I have a bad reaction, then I am supposed to call her. If it doesn’t help me, then we will try a different drug next month. And maybe, it will help me to feel better and to be more productive. How’s that for hitting a cloud with an arrow?
Still, I got to see a doctor and she was nice to me. That’s a big win. Next, I went to fill my prescriptions at the pharmacy. I was planning to pay for my medications with a credit card. That’s how bad my financial situation is. A $25 item would end up costing me $45 by the time I pay it off in 2023. However, with my health insurance for poor people, the State of Illinois gave me my prescriptions for free! I realize that the money must come from other people paying taxes, but I will also be paying one day soon. I am seriously thinking about writing a thank-you note to the governor. I realize he’s not directly responsible, but I am honestly appreciative of what just happened to me: a doctor visit, a legal prescription, filling the prescription, and returning me to the job market. I got all that in just one day.
“Anxiety, Drug Tests, and a New Anti-Depressant for Me.” is copyright © 2015 by Poorkitteh. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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