And This Is How I Re-Entered the US Healthcare System

When I think of the 50's, I think of sock-bops and sunny skies. I think of homemade apple pies cooling in the window. I think of women who always wore dresses and looked fabulous in them. I think of men who called their wives Mrs and how endearing I find that concept. I think of slow moonlit drives, of breathing deep under apple trees, of living slowly and deliberately. What I don't think of is letting strange men shove metal duck bills up my chocha.

It's taken us over 10 months to brave the rough seas of the US healthcare system. We've had insurance, we've just been too scared to use it. The beauty of the Canadian health care system is how simple it is. You never, ever have to worry that you'll walk in to the doctor with a cold and walk out with a diagnosis that will bankrupt you for generations to come. It's easy to get used to that. It's hard to leave it.

But we left it and the kids need physicals for school sports and I need a bi-centennial check-up so we found doctors, booked appointments and went. The kids went first because I am too chicken to go first. They're my litmus test. If it goes well at their appointments, if I can remember how to fill out a tree's worth of paperwork for them, if I don't leave the office a blubbering mess of tears, then I can do it for myself, right?

And it went well at their appointment. Very well, actually. They found a doctor they like, they're in good health and I didn't have a heart attack at the check out desk. So I went for my checkup the next day.

I can't remember the last time I had an annual. I think it may have coincided with the last time someone decided to shove their shoulders out of my delicates. I also think that was the last time anyone saw me undressed in the light of day, and yet I marched into that OBGYN's office prepared to wear a robe that doesn't close, climb up on a table and let some strange man fumble around with me under florescent lights. I was brave, I was determined, and I was completely unprepared to be greeted by the cast of Grease.

Every single member of the staff was dressed in 1950's poodle-bop. I am not a person who is afflicted with too many phobias, but it turns out that having Sandy and Rizzo and Frenchie stick tiny scrub brushes up my coochie is one of them. I sat in the waiting room and realized that you could make a pretty good horror movie with some 1950's costumes and a set up stirrups. Think of how much more terrifying that scene from Se7en would have been if Kenickie had been sitting there under flickering, dirty lights, sobbing, brandishing a razory speculum.


Thank god in heaven that my doctor was dressed up as a doctor. I asked him what the deal was with the horned rimmed glasses and pick jackets everywhere, and he said that every Friday had a costumed theme to add some levity to the office. I told him it wasn't working. He told me he usually didn't work on Fridays, mostly because he completely agreed with me. We scheduled my follow-up appointment for a Tuesday.

I'm praying to god that Tuesdays are Rocky Horror day. Because that at least makes sense.