Right before Thanksgiving, I took my son to the local MedExpress because I suspected strep throat. Long story short, it turned out to be tonsillitis and our travel plans were canceled, much to my chagrin and my family’s disappointment.
But that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing this because while I was at the walk-in facility, I discovered that my health insurance company had somehow taken my son off our policy. I was confused at first, then frustrated, then anxiety-ridden as I got passed around to no less than 3 people and eventually from the health insurance company to the government marketplace.
The health insurance rep insisted that my son had never been covered. I asked him as politely as I could why was it then that they had issued him an ID card for 2017, as well as covered past doctor visits, such as his most recent visit to the dentist a month ago. No one could answer that question. At the end of an hour, I was told that I would have to file some kind of “grievance” or “resolution” something or other but that it would take as long as 30 days for the government to get the insurance company to do anything.
I hung up and fought the urge to cry in the waiting room. I could feel my pulse in my temples and neck, my heart was hammering away in my chest. I told the lady at the front desk to go ahead and charge me the full amount because my son needed to be seen regardless. $119 later, I had a diagnosis and a GoodRX discount card, thanks to the kind folks at MedExpress.
I had to put my feelings of helplessness and anger aside while I got my son through the doctor visit. All the side effects of feeling attacked and helpless to defend myself have lasted for days. I know how this stuff happens: human error. Maybe the tech staff at the health insurance company had to run a restore on part of their database and my son was magically removed from our policy. Maybe someone fat-fingered an entry. Maybe someone ran a faulty script that mangled some accounts. Or just mine.
I’ve been paying the premium for him all year, my brain insists. I’ve crossed every T and dotted every i. I’ve jumped through every hoop the healthcare dot gov site insisted I jump through. I did the dance the insurance company demanded of me. I filled out every form, I paid on time, I did my duty.
But the insurance company did not do there’s, and yet the burden of proof lies squarely on my shoulders. I have to prove they made a mistake.
I can feel my blood pressure rising all over again as I type this.
Luckily, when I called back, I got a different customer service rep and before I even began to explain the situation I asked her if she would please be patient with me, that I had been on the phone for over an hour regarding this issue earlier and was basically told there was no remedy. I told her that if I sounded cross or irritable it wasn’t about her, but about me, that I felt helpless in this situation and would she keep in mind I held no ill will towards her. I told her I would do my absolute best not to take my frustration out on her.
Fifteen minutes later she was sending a request to whoever had the power to rectify the situation. She reviewed my file, my policy, whatever she was looking at on her end and concluded that yes indeed, there was some sort of error and that the original enrollment included my son and no, there wasn’t anywhere in the system a request to terminate his coverage. Also, the rate I was paying definitely included my son. No question.
As of this writing, I am still in limbo. The situation has not been rectified because of the holidays. I was told someone would call me next week but just in case she gave me an interaction ID number that I could reference when I call back next week.
In the meantime, I have endured wave after wave of my old anxiety. Every time the incident comes to mind my body reacts as if I am under attack, as if my son is under attack and I have no remedy. I must endure. I can only hope and pray for the best and it IS infuriating.
I feel helpless and that is a trigger for some old, subconscious patterns.
I know it stems from incidents in my childhood where I had no control over the situation and I was at the mercy of the adults in my life: a kindergarten teacher who liked to hit me on the back of the head when she didn’t like what I was doing; an adult caretaker who sat me down for lunch and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, then told me I wasn’t smart enough to do any of that (over and over again); and vague dreams I kept having into my early adult years about being scalded with hot coffee from the neck down when I was 11 months old. I actually did get burned with a large amount of coffee, but it was purely an accident. I don’t remember anything about it except what my mom told me: how they ended up taking me home earlier from the hospital than the doctors would have liked because I refused to eat.
And when I get this feeling of helpless, gnawing fear, I can’t eat.
Over Thanksgiving the fear kept surfacing. I was short-tempered, cranky, and wanted to be alone. But I didn’t want to give in to it. I’d fought the anxiety monster into submission over the years and I was damned if it was going to get a grip on me once again. And I know exactly where the bastard lives: in my subconscious. I needed to communicate with my subconscious and get this misunderstanding straightened out because I was so done with this nonsense.
My son wasn’t at risk of immediate harm and the problem IS solvable, ultimately. But as often as I repeated that to myself, my subconscious wasn’t listening. See, the subconscious doesn’t really speak in words. It uses images. So how does one have a come to Jesus moment with the subconscious?
I decided to pull a Tarot card. Strange response? Not really. The Tarot is all about universal archetypes, symbols that all humans recognize the meaning of because of culture, and Carl Jung claimed because of the collective unconscious. We all share the language of the subconscious: imagery. Whatever you may have heard about the Tarot, the fact is the Ryder Waite deck is jam-packed with these archetypes and symbols. That’s how they work. That’s how readers interpret them. And really, anyone can read the Tarot based purely on their own personal interpretations, because its all about tapping into the subconscious, not predicting the future and being guided by spirits and other such “woo woo”.
So I asked, “What do I need to do to resolve the health insurance issue and let go of this fear?”
I pulled: the reversed Three of Swords.
If you are a Tarot enthusiast, you know the 3 of Swords is one of those “bad” cards, but I’ve been working through the Biddy Tarot Certification program and one of the issues I’ve been learning about is how bad and good cards have both shades of lightness and darkness.
And so I opened myself up to the image of the 3 of Swords: three swords piercing a red heart with storm clouds in the background. My personal, intuitive response to the image is that I’ve allowed mere words, ideas, and thoughts to create unnecessary pain. My anxiety feels real but the source is not. I need to let go of this illusion.
A more traditional interpretation of the 3 of Swords reversed would be that there has been a mistake, an error that is causing me pain. The solution? An optimistic approach to fixing the problem. Be kind, its whispering to me.
That’s not voodoo or rocket science; it’s common sense. And isn’t it interesting how that card came up and how I could use the imagery to help create some calm for myself? I’m fascinated by the idea that we can somehow interact with the universal energy to draw a card that holds some meaning for us. Or maybe it is all random and we interpret whatever card we draw in the context of the situation. But either way, we’re still accessing our subconscious.
How many times have we had similar circumstance, problems that feel out of our control to resolve, and we’ve torn ourselves up worrying about it? Like a loved one being diagnosed with cancer, like a company or other organization making a mistake and you have to prove it was their error (but heaven forbid you, the customer, make a mistake), or a hurricane destroys everything you own.
Strangely, the most comforting thing I ever heard about these random acts of pain was from the stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. At the end of his first Netflix special after the loss of his wife, he said he often talked with her about the meaning of life. Like, maybe there is a God and life has a purpose, that there is a plan, but the horrible things that happened in the world made it hard to accept. His wife always asserted that it didn’t matter, that ultimately life was chaos, so what did matter was we being kind. He even joked that in typical fashion, she got the last word and proved him wrong.
Life is chaos, my friends. For no reason whatsoever that we can discern, random, painful, uncomfortable, soul-shattering, and merely irritating stuff happens no matter how many ts we’ve crossed or Is we’ve dotted.
We can’t prevent the random things, so its really important to be kind: to others, and to ourselves.
It’s important to be kind to the customer service rep who is trying or not trying to be helpful and to solve the problem. Just be kind. It doesn’t matter. Just be KIND.
It’s important to be kind to yourself and find ways to ease the fear and anger.
Another lesson I’m relearning.
Much love and light, my friends!