I have been suffering from a mystery illness of late which leaves me feeling drained, nauseous and dizzy. Now I’m no expert on medicine and I’m pretty sure that I don’t have leprosy or the plague but beyond that I don’t have a clue. I have resisted self-diagnosing myself using the internet because whether I have an earache or chest pains I will be told YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!!! Which is quite clever really because everyone dies at some point but that is not particularly relevant to my current situation is it? I bloody hope not anyway!
Naturally when you are feeling sick everyone tells you to go to the doctor and I know I should but I have been putting it off because dealing with the American healthcare system gives me a lot of anxiety. In fact it gives me an unreasonable amount of anxiety and people keep telling me I should make an appointment but I can’t. I have to use a website to choose a doctor but there are so many to choose from the choice is just bewildering. Now don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of having a choice of doctors. In the UK my GP for most of my life was a dour Scotsman whose response to any medical complaint was to look at a book on his bookshelf and utter in a way that inspired no confidence “well it could be IBS”.
I like having some choice, but in the same way that I like to go into a coffee shop and ask for a coffee with milk and sugar and not choose from 16000 different combinations, too much choice is a little overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of doctors that I can choose from and the website that my healthcare provider uses has more unnecessary extra pages than a Buzzfeed article and not enough filters. A filter that can help you choose to avoid a doctor who likes to say “it could be IBS” would be really helpful for example. I would also like to choose a doctor who understands that British people like to understate everything. A Brit might finally admit that they were “feeling a little under the weather” on their deathbed. Last week at work I told a concerned coworker that I was “a little dizzy” as I clung to my office chair to stay upright.
In addition to being spoiled for choice there is nagging fear at the back of my mind that I will finally get round to choosing someone and they will either be terrible or they will no longer be covered by my insurance and I will be left with a bill bigger than the National Debt. This nearly happened to me when I chose a dentist; they were covered on my plan according to my providers website but when my wife called them to check for me they were no longer accepting my insurance. All of this worry makes me feel almost more ill than whatever ailment I actually have.
As a result of my (very reasonable in my opinion) fear I have resorted to self-medicating. As a British person if I am feeling unwell and I don’t know what will fix it there are two things which will help; chocolate biscuits and a cup of tea. Actually there is a third option which is ignoring it and hoping it will go away so I don’t have to make a fuss but I feel like I have overdosed on that option. My wife bought me some British chocolate biscuits last week and I have apparently overdosed on them too; the nutrition advice says that the serving size is one biscuit. HOW IS ONE BISCUIT A FUCKING PORTION?! Who eats one biscuit at a time?! My blood pressure is rising, I think I need to see a doctor…