I know I promised in my first blog post of the new year that I would be focusing on self-care theory and how I felt I have progressed in the last five years. I have not forgotten about that. I was literally just staring at the bookmark in my browser history a moment ago. However, I wanted to use this week’s post as an opportunity to discuss a perfect example of a decision regarding my well-being.
This is partially a follow-up to a post from around Christmastime. (If you wanted to check it out, feel free: https://caringcounselor.blog/2021/12/28/a-test-of-patience/) Long story short, my digestive system has been giving me issues dating back to October of last year. Nausea keeled me over in pain. Blood poured out of orifices it should not be. It ultimately led to an emergency room visit followed up by a GI doctor visit in mid-December. Then, finding out that the doctor’s office wanted $1,800 upfront for the procedure and only a few days until the procedure put me between a rock and a hard place. I canceled the procedure.
Fast forward to 2022 (which is literally like a week later), I conducted some research. I called around to the doctor’s billing department to get a straight answer. After playing phone tag and the “please hold while I transfer you” game, I finally spoke to the business administrator who reviewed my payment options with me. It turned out the I could pay the $1,800 upfront or over the course of three months ($600/month) with no other alternatives really. At the very least, I asked for them to put me back on the schedule, and their next available appointment was about a month out in early February.
As soon as I hung up with the doctor’s office, naturally, like any grown man, I called my mom. I explained the payment situation to her and then my feelings around it. I divulged that I was still unsure if I wanted to pay that much money for diagnostic testing. Up until that point, my doctors ran a few tests already to rule out anything major. So far, everything came up empty. Did I really want to dish out nearly two grand for them to tell me that they find nothing? Also, my symptoms subsided slightly since my ER visit. I told my mom that I might call back and cancel. She stopped me right there and said to wait a week or two. The appointment was there and could be canceled the day before even.
As the date nears, I feel the anxiety of the decision approaching. Do I keep the appointment or cancel? Two weeks go by, and nothing BIG happens with my stomach. I have the occasional nausea that seems to be curbed easily with medication from the GI doctor. I finally felt like I might have this under control. However, it was still there, which worried me. I brought this underlying anxiety up to my therapist this past week. Through discussion, I figured that it might not hurt to talk to my primary care provider and my rheumatologist to see if there were alternative options (i.e. diagnostic tests or explanations for the GI issues).
First, I met with my rheumatologist validated my thoughts around this possibly being associated with my fibromyalgia symptoms. She made a strong counterpoint though saying that the only way to rule out something more serious like ulcers would be to have the endoscopy/colonoscopy. The next day, my stomach decided to erupt once more. Diarrhea, nausea, bleeding, the whole nine. It was at that moment that I was glad that I did not cancel my procedure again.
While sitting on the toilet contemplating the meaning of life, I metaphorically bitch slapped myself. If something this chronic is still happening and there is still a possibility of something serious occurring, why on earth would I put finances above my own well-being? Yeah, it will be stressful to pay it off, but I can deal with that stress. Shit, I have credit cards for this exact reason. I felt stupid for not putting myself first. I prioritized my wallet before my body. I can always replace the money in my bank account. I cannot necessarily replace my physical well-being.
-The Caring Counselor