Thursday, September 25, 2008


Over the summer I tore the radial collateral ligament in my thumb. My brand new health insurance had just kicked in, so I called the 24-hour nurse line to ask about protocol.
The auto-answer had an interesting sequence: "If you are a doctor, please press X. If you are a member experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and dial 911."

I pressed neither X nor called 911, but instead opted for a live nurse with whom I could have a real conversation!
Nurse: How may I help you?

Me: I think I broke my thumb. I'm new to this insurance company and I want to know if I need authorization to go to the emergency room.

Nurse: Is this a life threatening emergency?

Me: I think I'll pull through.

Nurse: OK, let me get some information.

She asked me the standard questions - name, ID#, allergies. OK, all reasonable.

Nurse: On a scale of 1-10, how yould you rate the pain?

Remember, I practice karate. I've broken all kindsa body parts. When I was 17 I had a compound fracture of my 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae from a roller skating accident with David Shapiro. I've had kidney stones! I know #10 on the scale!

Me: If I don't move it, a 2. If I move it, a 4.

Nurse: Do you have any concerns about your weight?

Me: What?

Nurse: Do you have any concerns about your weight?

Me: Yeah, I'm concerned that I'm about to be a few ounces lighter if my thumb falls off.

I am so curious to know if they ask men this question. I called asking for a answer to a legit and concrete question and I had to talk about my weight? So I refused and told her that all I really wanted was to get my thumb sewn back on. She was nice about it but didn't actually know the answer so she looked it up on the company website. Any ideas about the weight question?
The pic above is the thumb monkey - the temporary housing in which thumb lived before Dr. orthapaedist got involved. Then it lived in a soft cast for 8 weeks.


heidi said...

No idea on that one... next time ask her if she's concerned about hair loss, or halitosis.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Ellen, this is too funny! It is EXACTLY why I have procrastinated on certain appointments I need! LOL...sometimes I feel like walking in and just saying, YES, I am OBESE...Now, can we move on to why I am here?!? Some things have NOTHING to do with weight, but so many drs. have to make everything about that. Annoying!