Last week I had to delay my blog post because I was still recovering from surgery. This was not a planned surgery, as just a couple of days prior I had woken up to extreme abdominal pain and found out through radiology and some testing that my gall bladder was issuing a revolt. It wanted out. Shortly thereafter I was under the knife.
It has all been a bit of whirlwind since the first day I experienced pain, and there are many things I could write about today. But I want to write about a letter I got last Friday. It was a letter from my insurance company stating my request for coverage was DENIED for services rendered. For the first 5 minutes while I looked at the letter all I could read was “denied.” As I continued to read through the letter it became apparent my insurance company perhaps didn’t have all the info. But all I could see was the word “denied.”
As I contemplated how I was going to file for bankruptcy or fake my own death, my head starting swirling with the apparent hopelessness of it all. And for a solid 2 hours, I went there. Until finally my boyfriend woke me up and temporarily forced me out of my dark place, by reminding me that I would be able to fight this, as I had a lot to back me up.
Throughout the weekend, every time I’d feel worry take over I would force myself to focus on gratitude. I was reminded of my privilege and how fortunate I was to even have access to good medical care. About how relieved I was that this gall bladder infection had happened now, when I had insurance and the means to support myself. That I no longer had an infected gall bladder wreaking havoc on my insides. That my recovery had gone so well. That my job had been incredibly supportive throughout the process. That I was so fortunate to have a loving and caring boyfriend through this whole ordeal. And that my family and friends had consistently checked in and reached out throughout it all.
I also kept thinking about this quote:
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which have never happened.” -Mark Twain
This quote forced me to redirect my thoughts. And sometimes being present and focussing on gratitude would win. And other times, taking a 3 hour nap was the obvious choice. But it was a lesson in focussing on gratitude instead of what “could” happen. Because here’s the thing, in the long history of worrying has it ever really helped? It takes our focus away from the beauty that is happening all around us right now. We are genuinely missing out when we choose to freak out over stuff that may or may not happen.
To put it simply, ” Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s trouble, it takes away today’s peace.” – Unknown
Well today I gave my insurance company a call, and was told that the hospital had used the wrong billing code and once that was changed everything would be most likely be covered. As relief started to seep back into my body, I asked why I was sent the alarmist letter stating I had been denied. I could hear the exhaustion in the lady’s voice as she said (probably for the 50th time today) that they often jump the gun on sending letters before all the info is back. Now personally I think that’s ridiculous but I know it’s not her fault. I then said, “You really have just about the worst job don’t you?” She proceeded to laugh and laugh (somewhat maniacally if you ask me) and I was reminded that behind these scary life-changing letters, are people. I was also reminded that those letters aren’t as scary when instead of hiding them in a pile, you acknowledge them and start the process of dealing.
I am well aware that this process is probably not over. However, today I will choose my thoughts with loving care, because being deliberate about my thoughts is truly an act of self care.
Take care of YOU.
P.S. I am very aware that my situation is nothing compared to what so many have to deal with, who are completely without insurance or access to medical care. And who are dealing with illnesses that require more than just a quick surgery. Access to medical care and insurance should NOT be a privilege but a RIGHT.