Friday, November 25, 2011

Someone's Gettin Scoped! A Farce

Icicles shot down Lisa's back and into her left calf. Standing out in the cold, waiting in line, wasn't the best place for someone with severe sciatica. But this is how Black Friday had become. At least she could stand.

The police had just carted away a belligerent man and his wheel chair bound daughter. There had been a kerfuffle with a young couple standing in front of them. It had been whispered among the crowd that the girl had some sort of brain tumor.

The gold slips for the brain MRI's were going fast. Lisa was lucky. Her spine films were not in such great demand. Although she was easily the hundredth person in line, she would likely limp away with the coveted referral form.


Everything had changed since the great healthcare reform. No one had dreamed that hospitals would profit so handsomely. But the provision that allowed billing for uncovered services had unintended consequences.

Fettered by poor reimbursements from medicare and private insurance, the market took over. Every other commercial on the TV was hocking some uncovered medical procedure.

Mercy Hospital is going out of business. Everything must go! MRI's half off, CT-thirty percent discount, elective choleys starting at $5000.

Black Friday was the biggest day of all. The people would crawl out of their beds early Thanksgiving morning and push, wheel, or be carried to the nearest medical outlet to stand in line and hope for a bargain. Sure insurance covered many essential procedures, but like Lisa, the panel often denied basic requests. She knew her back surgery would never be payed for unless she obtained the MRI on her own. Once the results came back, it would be a gamble to see if the panel would OK her procedure. If not, the neurosurgeons down the street were having a buy one get one free sale for Christmas. Of course, Lisa would have to hire a lawyer to make the legal arrangements to find and share costs with a complete stranger (anyone no someone trustworthy looking for back surgery?).

Lisa sighed as she crept toward the front entrance. Her chances were good. She wondered if poor John was having as much luck.


John couldn't help but salivate as he watched Lisa and the kids slurp down turkey and stuffing for breakfast. Unlike his wife who would receive a referral to have her MRI at a later date, if John was successful he would be whisked off immediately for the procedure. And, of course, you couldn't eat the morning of an endoscopy.

After breakfast, Lisa's parents arrived to watch the kids and it was off to the races. Lisa dropped John at the GI suites, and then rushed to the radiology center. Luckily the parking lot was not yet full when she arrived.

Twelve hours later Lisa left the facility with her hand greedily clutching the thick gold referral form. She sent a quick text to John, but no answer. She hadn't heard from him in hours.

She clicked the Facebook Application on her smart phone. Amidst the pictures of Thanksgiving feasts and newly purchased flat screen TVs was a mobile upload from John.

He was siting on a gurney dressed in a skimpy gown with his black socks covering his dangling feet. He had a large smile on his face and was holding his thumbs up in mock triumph.

Lisa couldn't help but laugh out loud and exclaim to no one in particular.

Someone's gettin scoped!

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