One of the most common complaints from transplant patients is about the medical bills. Non-transplant people are always shocked to hear that our meds alone, even with no doctor’s appointments, can cost up to $2,000 a month without insurance. Astounding, I know! Well, I finally found a positive aspect to being a medical high-dollar woman: preferential treatment at the hospital. Case in point: on August 17, I woke with an incredible stomach ache that ended up being appendicitis. Minutes after texting, “So, what is appendicitis like?” to him, my transplant doctor called me and told me to meet him at the hospital. (Come to think of it, having the personal cell phone number of a world-renowned transplant physician is a second perk from my insurance company and me spending more than $500,000 with him over a few month period.)
I spent a few minutes struggling to decide which of the people in my life I was going to burden with chauffeuring me. Ultimately I concluded that, rather than make that call, I would prefer to drive myself to the hospital even doubled over in pain. (I would like to brag on myself for this feat of willpower, but won’t belabor the point considering I had to share the road with more conscientious motorists …)
After what seemed like a much longer trip than it should have been, I arrived at the Treatment Center. Upon hearing my name the hospital receptionist said, “Why, Ms. Tippins, we have been waiting for you. Come on back. There is no reason to wait or sign in!” Within 10 minutes I was sporting a sexy backless gown that was also missing one of the “handy” (read: pointless) drawstrings, while the nurse was prepping my needle for the good stuff: morphine. Maybe it was the drugs talking, but I thought to myself, “Wow! Now I’ve made it! I am the envy of everyone who has ever waited at a hospital.” Later, more sober, I reasoned that maybe transplant does have its privileges!