By Monte Lazarus
Several weeks ago, ON A Friday, I had the great, good fortune to wander down to a nameless facility located approximately across the street from City Hall. It’s a formidable place where folks sit for long stretches awaiting their turns. Luckily I was there only to pick up a kit for a test prescribed by one of my myriad doctors.
My good luck turned sour almost immediately. When I reached the bullet proof window after lurching through about a dozen patient patients who were absorbed in last year’s magazines, I told the guardian that I was simply there to pick up my prescribed kit. “Take a number”, she barked. I did, meekly, and sat.
After about half an hour my number was called. Back to the window I went. I said bravely, “I’m just here to pick up a prescribed test kit”. “Name, address, credit card, driver’s license and insurance cards”, she ordered. I opened my wallet and emptied it. She fled to a copy machine and made copies. After that I retreated and waited. Soon I was summoned and received a very imposing package.
Over the weekend I took the test. There is no way to describe it with any sense of decency. Suffice to report it was more than mildly unpleasant. However, as an obedient patient I followed instructions and enjoyed what was left of the weekend.
Early Monday morning I returned to the designated drop off place. Same size crowd was waiting very quietly. Clutching my valuable package I approached the window where Brunnhilde was eyeing me. Taking a lesson from Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” episode, I was careful to observe all protocols. Before I got to the window she got me. “Take a number”, again. I mumbled, “But I’m only here to drop off my Test”. She glared and I retreated.
After a decent interval I was delighted to hear my Bingo number called. I carefully walked to the window. “I have my test to drop off”, I said timidly.
“Credit card, driver’s license and insurance information”, she ordered. “But, I just gave them to you on Friday”. Silence, except for a suppressed giggle from a nice looking gent seated nearby. I gave her the stuff, and offered my mother’s maiden name and the name of my beloved dog, who has been gone these many years. She was unimpressed. “What’s your address?” she queried. I gave it to her. “I need your doctor’s name, address and phone number”. I had the temerity to say boldly, “It’s all on the sheet in the plastic envelope you have.” She reluctantly took the package, and I left. The nice guy just looked, nodded and smiled.
I passed the tests, but wonder…does all this bureaucracy have anything to do with the bloated healthcare costs we have?