Update on sick bay: Viva has compounded my agony by becoming sick herself. We battled her fever for two days. I think we are on the other side of it.
In the meantime, I conscientiously searched online through my insurance company for an ear/nose/throat doctor (tip for those who might need to do same: look under "otolaryngology"), called the doctor's office, convinced them to see me during lunch hour yesterday because I was so miserably sick, went to the office, and, after the receptionist called my insurance company to confirm my eligibility and spent 20 minutes on the phone with them, was told that I would have to pay out of pocket for something I had spent 30 minutes online to ensure was in-network. WHAT THE FUCK?
"How much will that be?" I said to the receptionist.
"Well, the office visit will be one hundred and twenty dollars, and then depending on what he has to do to determine what's wrong, well, that would be more than that."
"This is nuts," I said. "I have already been to one doctor twice for this and paid three hundred dollars already and I am still not well, rant rant rant yah yah yah I have had enough of all of you people and the health care system in this country sucks, rant rant what is the point of having insurance when I have to pay out all the time rave babble foam at the mouth --"
At which point the receptionist began trying to explain something about how I had already met my in-network deductible but not my out-of-network deductible and I think she threw in something in there about the theory of relativity and some obscure point of law regarding torts and trespass to chattels. I have no fucking idea, because the point was, I did everything I was supposed to do to make sure I was going to someone in the damn network and they are still trying to collect some cheese from my broke (and sick) ass.
I was so incensed and frustrated that I actually left the office without seeing the doctor, got back in my car and went home, sobbing the whole way. I pulled it together right before I walked in the door, and Sweet William, who sweetly took the day off so he could take care of "his girls," sweetly asked me, "So how did it go? Did you get some medicine?"
And right there I lost my shit all over again. "I didn't even get to see the doctor," I bawled, and ran into the bedroom for a tissue.
"What happened? Did you crash the car?" Sweet Wills asked, completely bewildered.
"NO, I did NOT CRASH THE CAR," I said nastily, snot flying madly about. "I was there for forty minutes and they said I would have to pay a hundred and twenty dollars just to see the doctor, because they claim he is OUT OF NETWORK, and it was just so ridiculous, I'm not paying for that, what the hell do we pay insurance for, and then I had to pay for parking on top of it, and I am so sick and I am so tired and I am so mad at the stupid insurance company--"
"It's okay, Mom," Viva said, eyes wide and hair sticking straight up on top of her head like the Heat Meiser. "It's okay."
"Jesus, honey, why didn't you just pay the money? I mean, you're sick, you need medicine."
Repeat after me: it was the principle of the thing.
After I got calmed down and helped Viva get down for her nap, I called the insurance company, who had no excuse for wasting my time and guided me through their online "doctor find" system in exactly the same way I had already done. I located another ENT at Cedars-Sinai, which is where I prefer to do my medical care, called, and was told to come in immediately.
I paid a $25 co-pay. The doctor asked me all kinds of questions, examined the disgusting phlegm coming out of my previously fairly reliable body, exclaimed over what bad shape I was in, and informed me that I have not just bronchitis, not just a sinus infection, but both. Because apparently I am not half-assed when it comes to illness. In this, I have to over-achieve.
So he gave me a shot to reduce my mucous membrane swelling, wrote me prescriptions for antibiotics and Zyrtec, and told me to drink plenty of Gatorade and irrigate my nose twice per day. Netipot, here I come!
I still feel like shit, but I'm optimistic.
This morning, Sweet Wills has gone back to the widget factory, and Viva and I have been home alone. Since she watched an ungodly amount of TV yesterday -- mainly because Will was trying to keep her still to keep her fever from spiking -- today I decided we would try to do without. And so far, for the most part, it has worked, although she specifically requested A Charlie Brown Christmas and Harold and the Purple Crayon and I was loath to say no, so I gave in. We watched Charlie Brown with breakfast and Harold while I did her hair. And we washed dishes together and made the beds, and then we went to Target quickly to get construction paper and Pull-Ups, and then we came back and put on Christmas music and made Christmas cookies (Okay, we cheated. Hey, I'm still sick, what do you want from me?)and then we began making a Christmas paper chain to decorate our door with, and then she lost interest and wanted to play on the computer, and then Sweet Wills came home on his lunch hour to check on us and we all had lunch together, and now it's nap time and I'm suddenly crushingly tired.
[Flailing around wildly for a way to draw this post neatly to a close.] Ah, screw it. I'm out.