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Pain in the Neck Healthcare

January 21, 2014

Pain in the NeckWhat began as a mild stiff neck Wednesday morning, gradually worsened to a mostly frozen neck, limiting it to about a 10% turning radius in either direction. It seems I may have strained it doing ab exercises, but that’s not certain. My ever-supportive (Play)Joyce theorized that perhaps my neck was injured “lugging that giant head around.” (Work)Joyce joined the fun with, “There’s a reason you don’t see Mr. Potato Head in Cirque du Soleil.” Nice. I will admit, I never realized how heavy the orb was until the neck carrying it was compromised.

At a giant chain pharmacy around 1:30PM on Friday, I learned that my script had been called in, but not yet “keyed in” to the chains system. “Can’t that be automated?” I thought. I sat in one of the 5 waiting chairs off to the side, within sight of the gossip rags, but not right next to the self-service blood pressure gizmo. “This place has really gone downhill,” said a woman waiting to my left. I looked back to the furious activity of the employees behind the counter, some of them serving the 7 cars that I earlier saw waiting for the drive-thru. “There’s a lot going on back there,” was my non-engaging reply. I wondered if the chain used a scheduling solution like ours to account for their typical busy times and other factors impacting business volume. While waiting, I witnessed:

  • A woman couldn’t pay $261 out of pocket for some loved ones prescription because “the system” indicated they were “no longer covered.”
  • A man couldn’t afford the 90 day script the doctor ordered… He asked if he could buy just 30 days worth instead.

It saddened me to watch these people struggle with their predicaments. I live in Massachusetts where health insurance is required. “Why aren’t these people covered by MassHealth or through the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” I wondered. Even though businesses don’t have to comply until January 1, 2015, individuals are supposed to now. Still, it’s a hard system to navigate. Our healthcare system is broken. Too many needy people still can’t afford healthcare. I wish I had the answer.

The waiting distracted me from my own pain, and with the help of (Nurse)Joyce not allowing me to do or lift (She didn’t even let me pick up a check!) anything over the long weekend, my neck is much better.

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