How I hate you. My friend says he uses his blog as a venting space, and while I have plenty of venting spaces (I already had a vicious pillow fight with my younger brother (it’s okay, we do it all the time)) I need to vent. Desperately. Loud and public.
I’ve been sick. The last four months of my life have been spent in a frustrating cycle of Google symptom checker, visits to Kaiser, nasty medications with nastier side effects, alternative medicine treatments, and depression. Round and round and round I go. My malady is a mystery, and my mood generally falls somewhere between deep hopelessness to complete denial.
But today I went to Kaiser for reasons completely unrelated to my illness. I need my third HPV shot, and I figured, as long as I was picking up some prescription-strength ibuprofen for my most recent diagnosis, I would get that done. I went upstairs to the adult injection clinic, signed in with the receptionist, took a number, and sat down to finish my library book. Half an hour later, I entered the clinic and sat down in the chair. The nurse asked me what my shot was for, and as she prepared it, I counted back the months to when I last sat in the injection clinic, preparing for what was supposed to be the biggest adventure of my life. Kaiser was there at the beginning, and had featured prominently in the premature finish of that adventure. As she approached me with the syringe, it suddenly occurred to me to ask, “Am I supposed to get this shot?” She set the needle down. Returned to her computer monitor. Clicked through my records. “No,” she said, counting on her fingers. “You’re too early. You can’t get this shot early. You need this shot after January 27th.” She looked at me, her thoughts clearly readable. She wanted me out of the chair so she could inject the next patient.
I got up. My eyes were stinging, but I was too mad to cry. It’s not that a big deal. She wasn’t about to inject me with parasites or an incurable disease. But I’m tired of leaving Kaiser feeling like shit.
The worst part is, there really is nothing I can do. I can’t afford anything “better” than Kaiser, and even if I could, I don’t have the time or energy to learn how to navigate another system, especially if their voicemail system is anywhere near as complicated. I’m venting, but I secretly hate myself for hating Kaiser. On principle, I don’t hate systems. It’s pointless. Why invest time and energy into hating a multi-million dollar company that you cannot win against, no matter how strong your convictions? I sound like my grandmother when complain about healthcare. I sound like my mother. I sound like one of those Berkeley women in drawstring pants, driving a Prius and buying organic apples.
But I hate Kaiser Permanente. I’m young, I’m smart, I’m sick, and I’m sad. I don’t want to tell the nurse she’s wrong. I don’t want to tell the doctor that after three months of bouncing in and out of his office that I don’t feel better. I don’t want to stand in any more lines for any more drugs. And I certainly don’t want that vaccination.