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.

Pretty Sure This Means My Period Is About To Start

I haven't talked too much about the actual move; like, the process behind it. I haven't because, honestly, I was busy pretending it wasn't happening. I didn't want to leave Canada, I wasn't planning on leaving Canada. I was happy in Canada. I was getting things in order to apply for citizenship in Canada. And now, I'm as far from Canada as I think I could be, geographically.

We say, or at least think, that the internet bridges all spans of time and distance, but it isn't really true. Right now, the internet is making what is a massive span of miles seem unfathomably far away. Right now, I feel two thousand light years away.

When I moved to Canada from Denver, I let myself die, repeatedly, inside. Every goodbye sucked a little bit of life out of me. I caved in on myself for a while and felt it. I didn't let myself meet new people for a long time. I didn't see new faces, I didn't hear new stories, I didn't hold new babies. I suspended myself in some weird loss-ridden vortex for a long time and ached for home.

Of course, Canada ended up being just as much home in 3 years as Denver had become in 15.

And now I'm back in that vortex. I'm in a neighborhood that doesn't have a Lauren outside chasing kids and a Sajeeda outside drinking tea and a Meera outside holding someone's kid and a Luke outside tweeting fabulously obscene 140 character sentences and an Andrew outside fixing everyone's bike and feeding the kids mint and a Brent washing his car and a Shawn and an Austin and a Dez watching really inappropriately frightening movies in my living room. I haven't seen so much as ONE neighbor yet, and I quite frankly don't want to.

I don't want to love these people. I don't want to have a favorite Texan, and I don't want her to fly halfway across the state to come stay for a weekend with me before I get kicked out of this place like my Canadian bella did. I don't want to have hundreds of pictures of their kids who will forever be suspended in the animation of FlickR, I don't want to hold on to four pasta bowls that don't match a god damn thing in my kitchen because someone used to make me Indian food in them. I don't want to have a size 5 hand-me-down toddler track suit in a ziploc baggy because it's the last thing that smells like a Texan's house.

I don't want anymore new. And so I've been ignoring this, this upheaval. I've drown myself in the Tasks At Hand that involve writing corporate web copy, unpacking boxes, washing laundry for 6 days, non-stop, and figuring out where to hang this damn Auspicious Animal. I've swooned in the space I am afforded in This Texas Life, because it's true; everything is bigger here. And so much fucking cheaper, I can't even believe it.

That big red home? 1/3 of the price of the Canadian blue home that was half the size. Not kidding.

I've been doing a great job of this. I haven't set up my office, on purpose, because setting up my office means turning on the Mac and that means 24" of everyone in Canada's life moving right on without me. It's 24 HD inches of faces I'm not going to see, of people across borders I won't see again for I-don't-know-how-long. It's reality, and reality is for pussies.

And then the first runny nose set in. And then I noticed the first flaw in the new house. And then I lost my momentum and let the dishes pile up. And then, this morning, I opened the packet for my health care policy enrollment forms.

And then it all hit me Square. In. The. Face.

I left. I left all of those things that I loved behind. AGAIN. I know what happens when you do that; I did it before, and I lost so much. And I'm tired of losing. I'm tired of giving up these relationships that form me and mold me and make me and my family better and stronger and safer and happier.

But here I am, thousands of miles from what I love in several different directions, with happy children and a professionally fulfilled spouse and a gorgeous kitchen and I think, if I'm going to live here, I'm going to have to let myself die a little first.

Or Midol. Maybe I just need to take some damn Midol.