The $300 Pin Prick

Am I allowed to whine that the same system that kept me from dying now seems set upon bleeding me dry one pin prick at a time?

Perhaps I should elaborate.

Back when I was a lad of 50, during a routine physical examination, it was discovered that I had a heart murmur. That led to a cardiologist who informed me I had a bad heart valve, which led to the unappetizing specter of open heart surgery. Even more unappetizing was the specter of death if I didn’t have the surgery. So I did.


Apparently, my wife wanted me to stick around.

For those of you who are open heart affectionados, when you’re a lad in his 50’s, the options available in a new heart valve are pig or plastic. I went with plastic, mainly because, as fun as open heart surgery was, I had absolutely no interest in going through that again. Because I opted for plastic, it meant a lifetime regimen of blood thinners.

Taking blood thinners then necessitates the need for regular testing soas to maintain the proper INR, which are 3 non-descript letters to delineate one’s thinness of blood, ostensibly to minimize the formation of blood clots. Consequently, every 6 weeks or so I would troop over to the anticoagulation clinic for a pin prick and a reading consuming almost 15 minutes.

Until recently, the cost was, as one might expect, fairly minimal.

This year however it went up. A lot. Like 10 times as much. Whether this has to do with coverage changes, we don’t know; insurance companies do not, as a rule, divulge whatever agreements they come to with the various healthcare organizations. They simple pass along the changes, and as we have, as is becoming more popular, a high deductible healthcare plan, the first couple of grand come out of our pockets.

I think this is for the best. Mainly because it prepares us for the inevitable as we age into oblivion. There a cost to growing old and less firm, but that’s the American way. The idea that our health should come at the expense of shareholder profits is anathema to all we hold dear.

So, if I must bleed away slowly, one pin prick at a time, then I shall do my patriotic duty. Hopefully, I won’t become to faint or broke in the end.

©2019 David William Pearce

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