Thursday, July 22, 2010

The downside of "Free"

With the joy of having a self-employed spouse, comes severe budget restrictions.  I can be a whiz at using coupons and finding deals at any time, but when things are going well, I tend to forget how to do that!  One of the things that we have NEVER had is health insurance.  

When we first moved to NC I found out that our county's human services offered a program where I could get my annual for free.  Needless to say I have taken advantage of that every year since I found out about it!  When I got pregnant with Michael, we paid nothing and really, we were always able to get coverage for both the boys so except for the handful of times that I was tardy handing in our applications for them, we have had them covered.  Frank and I were the only ones that could not get covered - well, like I said, my pregnancy was covered but me in general, not so much.

Well last year while at my annual, because I am now over the age of 40, I was told that I needed to go for a mammogram.  Sure, good luck with that, I told the nurse.  She told me about a FREE program through one of the hospitals here in NC and they do a mobile mammography unit that does indeed do it for free.  Well, every time I had an appointment, the bus broke down so eventually they took pity on my and just sent me to the hospital to have it done.  It was NOT a pleasant experience but it's one that every woman should do so I sucked it up and did it.  

Several weeks ago I get a letter from said hospital reminding me that it's time for another mammogram.  Oh, joy!  The only problem with that was that NOW you are no longer required to go ANNUALLY for an exam/PAP and so I had only gotten the freebie mammogram through that appointment.  What's a girl to do?  Skip the darn thing was my first thought!  As luck would have it, a local church was going to have the mobile unit come out and needed 24 women.  So I got on the schedule and went.  Not as UN-pleasant as the last time, but still not a way that I want to spend any part of my day.  

So I get off of the bus and see that the church is have a HUGE health expo.  So I go inside and check it out.  I get my glucose checked (it was fine), I talk to a nutritionist (yeah, for Weight Watchers), I collect a lot of brochures on multiple topics and while I am waiting to speak to a cardiologist (I had open heart surgery when I was 4 and hadn't been to a cardiologist in about 15 years) I walked over to this table to get my lung capacity checked.

(Insert impending doom-ish music here)

If you've never tested your lung capacity, it's not a bad test.  You blow in to a tube for like 10 seconds (which is longer than you would think) and it gives you a reading.  The nurse tested me THREE times and it turns out that I have LOW LUNG CAPACITY!  What the WHAT??  I mean, who gets that???  And you know what?  She had NO information for me as to what I should DO with this information!

But wait, that's not all...then I go in to the cardiologist (which I thought was kind of cool that they even had one there) and we talk and I have been having some mild symptoms with palpitations and shortness of breath and so he suggests doing an Echo-cardiogram  and a cardiogram.  Okay, fine.  So the tech comes in and gets me hooked up for the Echo and we're chatting and what not and she's pointing things out to me on my heart when the machine is doing it's thing and then she changes view points and shows me the four chambers of my heart and then she STOPS TALKING and starts doing all sorts of things on the machine.  I'm like "OH NO...I'm gonna get bad news and die".  Dramatic, right?  Long story short, I have a normal abnormality in one of my chambers that sometimes makes it look like I have FIVE chambers and it's not life threatening, it won't cause a heart attack but it is a contributor to my palpitations and all that.

So to recap on my FREE medical adventure:  I got my boobies smashed, I have poor lung capacity and a normal abnormality of my heart.  I should have stayed at home, in bed with the blankets pulled over my head!!

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