This last November, Dr. BBBBB’s office said it would refer me to pain management. It has not done so. The options proffered by emergency rooms are opiates, valium, or lots of muscle relaxers and aspirin while I wait for a physical therapist’s assessment and treatment plan that considers this month’s diagnosis by one of my neurologist’s: Ehlers-Danlos. With the exception of last weekend’s intravenous morphine at the hospital, I have opted for aspirins since the car accidents happened in December 2013 and January 2014. For the six months I could afford acupuncture in 2014, it was the most effective, palliative intervention, without causing me pause for concern over my stomach, liver, and brain.
I anticipate cultivating support for my next letter by parade for Dr. BBBBB, and the managed health care plan of which he is a member (HealthNet), by September 1, 2015. This continued correspondence will not only carve an escape path for me in the receipt of effective palliative care in acupuncture, it will craft a model for all Medi-Cal beneficiaries to receive it. Sometimes doctors maintain no record of a writing to their address. Sometimes they do not recall its delivery at all. The United States’ Federal Government’s infrastructure in the form of registered mailings provides an assurance and record of the piece’s delivery, requiring a particular label, a declaration of the content’s value, and a fee. When such a letter could mean the difference between my persistence by dosages of drugs creating more of the problems they allay or my persistence by healing, its value is the very value of my life. The concomitant registered mailing fee for such a prized item is in excess of $50,000.
These letters to Dr. BBBBB are a device necessitated not only by:
(1) his failures to return my calls since November 2014 or
(2) my interest in drafting documents of independent legal significance--insofar as they constitute notice or an element of some federal civil right or
(3) even my interest in learning new things, like health care advocacy for Medi-Cal beneficiaries, but by
(4) the sort of work required to shirk the demand I slough gracious femininity in sanguinity in order to convince him, my friends, and family that I am in fact suffering from a malady that requires medical, among other sorts of, attention.
Difficult to discern diagnoses manifest chronic pain conditions and are susceptible to dismissal through broad diagnostic categories, financial dependence, and a legally 'disabled' status tantamount to a pejorative. Sometimes this diagnosis is a mental health problem like depression, a bucket into which we cast a great many ladies to be forever medicated. We hear that if we buck up, just thought, acted a bit more practically, we could get out of there. The problem is not the ladies in the bucket. It is the bucket. This performance works at the rotting hole growing in the bottom, stages the opportunity to burst the fetid wood slats, graciously appears in the public forum most frequented--lines out the door: the local post office.
The choice to advocate for myself and for others by this example in correspondence is an exercise of my mother’s manner, a traditional practice punctuated by thank you cards, shamefully seldom honored unless drafted by the hand of a lawyer. This piece refuses that shame by its consistency in declaring the value of its contents, a guess at the value of my own life to date, $354 million, a smidge over the $99,999.99 cap, upon its registered mailing. This is the price of beginning to put the world back in balance, the effect of the writing in toppling me, and others like me, out of the bucket. The letter’s leaves, creamy yellow stationary, stamped at a high price, will waft through the channels of the United States Postal Service’s tributaries, a gift to the advocates for others similarly stockpiled in the barrels of the pharmacopeia warehouses: the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation, the Federal Medicare and Medicaid Service, and numerous other legal and health care professionals with an eye for turning my phrases to their patients’ and clients’ purposes.
Maybe we can go to the post office together.