Insurance PTSD

Everytime somebody calls me and says the word, “Insurance,” over the phone, my heart races, I get sick to my stomach, and I pull out a pad and paper. I also get that hardline note to my voice, the one that everybody always thinks is me being “angry.” In fact, it’s not me being angry, it’s me going stone cold because I know that if I don’t, I’m going to burst into tears. My “angry” voice helps me get through a potentially brutal emotionally frought conversation with cold logic and reason.

When I hang up the phone, then I’m allowed to feel something other than cold.

I’ve also developed a nasty allergy to medical adhesive. Yes, the kind that affixes an insulin pump to the skin. Apparently, this is a pretty common occurence, to show no allergy and then just develop it after a few months of affixing medical hardware to your skin. Thing is, you know, why the fuck haven’t they made hypoallergenic medical adhesive if this is so fucking common? WTF?

My skin burns, itches, and eventually flakes and peels and turns a violent crimson color around the site of the Omnipod. I had to pull one off a day early because my arm burned like it was on fire. I still have red welts from two weeks ago on my stomach, and I have an actual peeling burn on my arm where I put two pods near the same site for 5 days.

First things first, I did some research in the t1 forums and found some possible solutions to the allergy problem (skin prep treatments first, barriers next if those don’t work), ordered them (this is why I budget $30 a month in meds), and *then* went home and felt sorry for myself. I try very hard not to think too hard or feel too much about anything in the middle of a problem. I leave all that stuff for when the crisis has passed.

I’m getting weird about medical stuff and insurance the same way I was weird after I got out of the hospital. You just get a little extra jumpy. You have these massively over-the-top reactions to “little” things like allergies to medical adhesive and inquiries from your medical supplies company.

The thing is, after going through some kind of massive trauma experience – like I did in the hospital, or the terrible three days thinking I was going to go without care – well, your fight-or-flight response gets broken. So you overreact to everything. It reminds me of the stuff I’ll hear about war veterans, or survivors of abuse. Little things like getting on the bus or somebody touching your arm can just totally set you off.

Now every time somebody associated with the medical industry calls me, I’m afraid they’re going to tell me there’s something wrong with me or they’re going to take something away from me. I get this hair-trigger fighting response. I buckle down, dig in my heels, and get ready for the worst.

Mmmmmmm healthcare in America.

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