While I was doing my taxes, I was asked if my medical expenses were more than $2000. “If you had less than [that] in medical expenses, it won’t affect your return, so we want to make sure you’re not doing extra work.” I had wanted to do an exacting digital audit of all the money I spent on the headaches I endured, but procrastinated on it, so as a quick estimate, no, I hadn’t spent $2000 over.
It was probably around $1000 or slightly more.
That’s still a significant amount of money, but if I consider how much worse it could have been, that’s not terrible. Between the emergency room visit, all the effort I spent, and all the time I had to take off to learn that my headaches are primarily caused by a loose joint in my head that gets dislodged and causes muscle strain that triggers reactions in my brain, I could consider that money well spent. Sure, I would have preferred to spend that money on either something nice for myself or save that money, but it’s gone and there’s nothing I can do about it.
I didn’t want to waste more time figuring out the exact total.
My priority was completing my taxes, not doing accounting. That practice will be good later as I build up my publishing business, but for now, my focus is on essential maintenance. I will always have the time to count how much, exactly, I spent to learn that my neck has a tendency to lean forward and dislodge my head from its natural place atop my spine. There is no deadline for that, unlike paying my taxes. Although everyone technically has a government extension, so I could have deferred it a few more months, I had already dedicated the time and energy to completing my taxes.
It’s easy for me to get distracted over things like that.
Since I’ve completed my taxes and collected my medical bills in a single location, the exercise goes from an external evaluation for others to share in a sort of collective misery over expensive American healthcare costs to more of a personal route of discovery into the world of accounting, finances, and everything that goes into making every dollar count. The biggest reason why I would still want to do this exercise is that those bills take up prime space in my sorting shelves, so it would be nice to reclaim that space. I’ve been long overdue to shred personally-identifying paperwork, and that box has next to no value other than as receipts showing that I paid certain amounts at certain times.
I think this essay will serve as a decent conclusion to this series.
I still may write additional essays if they directly relate to mindbender essays over the next few months, well, until I complete the process of converting all of these essays into chapters of the ebook Tripping On The American Healthcare System, but for now, this is the last essay I plan on writing. Having that total amount might be a nice appendix item for the ebook, but those plans shouldn’t keep this project in an open status. When I click the Schedule button on this and a few other drafts I’ll need to edit then publish, those clicks will metaphorically say that I have the tools necessary to fix these mindbender headaches on my own.
Writing about them won’t be as interesting after that.
However, that just means that if I get any particularly noteworthy ones in the next few months, those essays will be potent, like “Pop Back In,” rather than this one that doesn’t have potency because it is serving more as a concluding exploration of the essays I’ve been writing for months. It will be interesting to go back through these essays when I begin the ebook process. I’ll probably do finer edits on the essays when I do that process since the essays currently are just me writing without editing myself not so much to fill the word count as much as fully exploring the ideas, which could be tightened with more time and concentrated effort.
I would have concluded this essay cycle the same on that note as this note.
The only difference is that instead of writing about how much money I spent and how unfortunate it is that even with decently good healthcare, the American healthcare system is still too expensive for anyone but someone like myself that spent years contracting and therefore squirreling away savings to wade out through months of unemployment, I am instead thinking about how unfortunate it is that I couldn’t have gotten a break on the other side of the coin. If I spent this much of my own money, not weighing down my fellow taxpayers, shouldn’t I at least get a bit of a break?
Or am I not a high-roller as a health-cared individual?
More than $1000 is still a hit to my bank account, as I’m sure it is for anyone, and although I’m not pouting because I want my money back, it still goes to show that we either pay for inexpensive healthcare coverage until we actually get sick or we pay for expensive healthcare coverage so that our care when we’re actually sick is cheap. It might be nice to have a middle ground where we pay in but aren’t suffocated by what we pay, but that goes into the politics of privatized healthcare and, well, even throughout all these essays and thoughts, I still don’t have a good fix. We could start by taking our healthcare industry more seriously. I worked in healthcare for four years of my career. Those experiences will stay with me forever, and my primary criticism is not at the hospitals and doctors or nurses, even Doctor-Number-One, but rather the funding that this system has been allocated from our taxpayer money.
Fancy hospital décor might make us feel better, but I would prefer simple décor and world-class medicine and doctors.
|Quotes:  From my tax preparation website of choice.|
|Sources: My personal and professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: I took a screenshot of this section to initially write about individually but I’ve been tired of having this note on my calendar to finally go through all these receipts. When I do, eventually, it will be because it will be a good time to do it, rather than an obligation to close out a project.|
|Related: Other Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Picture: I didn’t feel like editing the screenshot.|
|Written On: 2020 March 31 [10:44pm to 11:22pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 March 31 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|