I have a space underneath the television I wrapped up before I moved into the apartment-mansion where I collect all the healthcare paperwork I’ve received. I’ve left the television wrapped up as a sort of reward for once I complete all of this healthcare nonsense. It’s an effective area to place all my non-actionable bills, but, when I look over the piles of paperwork it’s overwhelming! What’s worse, that pile – digitally and physically – grows constantly.
My current plan is to just keep my head above water.
I was texting with my manager today about things. He’s been communicating with folks on his side, so I’ve been telling him about how the communication’s been going on my side. It’s been a frustrating experience to be on medical leave for, wow, nearly a year now and only now have healthcare insurance people that don’t treat me like garbage. I’ve had a dizzying array of communication over the past near-year. I imagine what will happen is, as my health improves, I’ll process and archive all of this paperwork.
Ideally, I’d like to digitize and shred everything physical.
I have no need for mementos of the past in almost all regards. Sure, there are exceptions, but overwhelmingly, for me, and this is my opinion, I am OK with leaving many of the physical artifacts in the past. I was recently talking with a friend of mine about a specific memory that had been sparked by the book Yellow by Frank Wu. I read this book in college in a formative class for my understandings of culture and critical analysis. As I looked at the book, I thought more about the class. But that book was a simulacrum I bought from a library bookstore and not the real thing! It wasn’t the copy I read for school! And yet, for me, that’s close enough. Certainly in matters where nostalgia needs the exact object, for photos or other objects with a storied history, sure, it is important to keep those objects.
I will hold few physical mementos of this year of spinal problems.
I imagine what the process will be like is that I’ll take care of all of the necessary medical bills, actionable items, and other things for the next few weeks as “we” – as in, my manager that is eager to see me back to work, my insurance company that has a person that has actually been humane in treating me, and myself – sort out all the major threads. Once that’s done, I’ll start photographing and recycling or shredding all of the known-done things. If there’s anything the American Healthcare System likes to do, it’s sending paperwork out needlessly, but, I also need to archive all of the notes I have scattered around various messaging programs and websites.
It’s going to take a lot of work to fully archive everything.
The eventual goal would be something like this: let’s say I were fully audited by the government, or, needed to refer to some of this documentation as evidence as part of this essay series I’ll publish as my first foray into digital and physical publication. Those are the documents I would want to keep rather than destroy. I imagine, however, that as is the same for a majority of collections, 80% of it is filler and 20% of it is the killer stuff that stands out. Why would I want to keep the 80% filler? It fills up physical space, and there is an emotional toll that these papers have on my personal being. Sure, the television is essentially blocked off from use because of all of these papers, but what that represents is a sort of priority that must be completed first.
I must finish processing this healthcare bullshit before I can move on.
It’s easy to say, “well, why don’t you do both?,” but the problem is that if I scatter my mind too much on similar topics, I don’t end up doing much of anything. I can scatter my thoughts across disparate topics, casually, without any problems. I can read one book at a time. I can talk to many people about many different things. But as soon as I start to cross the channels too much, then it gets confusing for me. What I would like to do, ideally, is condense all of this medical documentation into a single digital folder of everything that might ever be important and a single physical folder of all the essential, damning documentation. The digital folder will be 100% of everything, minus blank papers. The physical folder will be less than 20% of everything I encountered throughout my experiences both with spine pain, and I suppose the headaches I experienced months before that.
[Were those headaches caused by COVID or work stress? It’s hard to say.]
Once all of that is done, then it will be the same as putting this disabled-self version of myself away. He will always be there. I will never feel confident enough to get into wrestling, I may never hike casually again, and every moment of every day I must spend with more physical intentionality to avoid any flare-ups or issues, but, I feel like everything I want to do I still can. It will be good for me to downsize these healthcare papers as a first step toward downsizing the rest of the apartment-mansion’s dizzying array of objects. I used to feel overwhelmed and oversaturated by the sheer abundance of property I owned until probably the past few months. The difference is that now I can look at objects more objectively. When I retrieve my second copy of Yellow, one goes, whether it’s my college-read version or not. Having the confidence to be decisive with insignificant paperwork is an important step toward being decisive when it comes to the ambiguous, semi-nostalgic, and otherwise incomplete aspects of our lives that might otherwise consume us if we let them.
It’ll be a difficult process for downsizing medical documentation, but it’ll be worthwhile and good evidence.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Between my manager’s texts and opening some physical letters, this was top-of-mind.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2021 April 01 [11:17pm to 11:45pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 April 01 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|