A few weeks ago, I got Medicare – and universal health care is pretty sexy. Lately, I’ve been seen at a private hospital. So I pay 100% up front, and then I get an immediate rebate. If I went to a bulk billing hospital, I would pay exactly $0. And I don’t have to pay $600/month either. In fact, I pay nothing apart from what I give in taxes. And I’m ok with that. And now I can get assistance with my upcoming therapy. Which is hip hip hooray because that shit is expensive.
As I was setting up my therapy appointment, I was told I would need to get a “mental health plan” from Medicare before they would pay for my sessions. It’s like the referral/in-network authorisation that I had with my insurance back in the States. So tonight I sat down with my general practitioner to get my mental health plan squared away. He called Medicare, gave them my name, a code, and in 45 seconds, I was approved for 10 sessions (admittedly I was a bit shocked at only 10 sessions – even in the States you get 20). Then, my doc had a bunch of questions for me to answer, which I’m sure I’ve answered before in a “Are you Sad” online questionnaire. Have you lost interest in activities you used to enjoy? Do you experience feelings of dread and worry? Do you think it would be easier if you were hit by a bus? And so on.
And then he filled out a background profile on me to take to my therapist. Which was about half an hour of me over-answering every question he asked while crying. As he was typing, I looked over and saw one of his notes under the “Explain Patient’s Current State” and there was one sentence. It said:
poor tolerance to minor disruptions
And I was all, “Wow.”
I felt like shit, oversharing and crying in the office of a GP who has seen me 4 times in the last 3 weeks and who scheduled my assessment but still asked me “What brings you in tonight” – but seeing that little sentence gave me a morbid chuckle. Shit seems so easy when it’s broken down into it’s medical terms. Poor tolerance to minor disruptions* sounds like a kitchen appliance that doesn’t work when connected to a low power source. Like it’s a physical condition with an easy fix. I just need a tune up. Or a connection to a stronger voltage. It doesn’t sound like racing thoughts, elevated body temperature, stomach and muscles tightening so fast and so hard you almost double over, fuzzy eyes, constricted throat, desires to run away so strong you want leap out the nearest window but you can’t because your legs are simultaneously numb and weak. It doesn’t sound like waking up every morning feeling like you were punched in the gut. It doesn’t sound like lapsed memory, slurred speech. It sure doesn’t sound like sometimes I hate myself.
I used to be well above average at taking things as they came – I used to be the person calming down those with poor tolerance to minor disruptions. I’m wondering what happened. Did I abuse my high tolerance? Did I roll with the punches so hard and fast that now I can’t roll at all? Is my tolerance gland crapped up with cirrhosis?
Time will tell – and to that end, therapy starts tomorrow. I’m crossing every crossable appendage that it’s a good match. I’ve had a much better week this time around, with a few uncomfortable moments that didn’t last long. But I still feel like I could fall off the balance beam at any second.
*side note – I finally have a title for my autobiography.