What started off as a simple cold evolved into an extremely sore throat and then tonsillitis. Yeah, that illness little kids get and it ends with the infected body part being removed. I chose not to have them removed when I was younger because I actually thought I could save the post-operation ice-cream-based diet for a later time.
In the beginning, I had no idea it was tonsillitis, it just felt like a sore throat that wouldn’t quit with swelling I couldn’t stop. Steam didn’t help. Soup couldn’t be swallowed. Sleep was impossible as breathing ceased being an involuntary action. After the jerks at Time Warner were done messing with my cable hook up (no idea why, the apartment complex paid for it), I decided to call the only friend I had remaining in Austin, Sonia. As soon as she was home from something more pressing she drove my car to the nearby hospital because it was now late evening.
Matters didn’t improve much in the emergency room. The staff wasn’t completely sure it was tonsillitis until the specialist arrived. This doctor had his theories but it required the Baron Harkonnen method on the insides of my mouth and throat to confirm it (the part involving needles). I thought I was going to tear the arm rests off the chair. Sonia was a trooper, she stuck around until the doctor made his final recommendation. I think I embarrassed her with a little outburst of emotion to let her know how much I appreciate her friendship. Hey, as I said about her on her birthday, she’s like my little sister.
The doctor said I had to spend the night due to dehydration, the painkillers he pumped into me and to see if the medication would bring down the blockage in my throat. Sonia took my car home and I gave her instructions to call PowerComputing to let them know where I was (speaking remained difficult). It was the most relaxing evening of my life after that. A comfy hospital bed, soothing painkillers to make me sleep, semi-liquid food like pudding since I regained the ability to swallow in an hour and I always remember David Alan Grier’s talk show being on. They released me the next afternoon so I walked home. There was follow-up medication which led to the discovery of my penicillin allergy. This stuff itched worse than fire-ant bites and freaked out José during my vacation 10 days later.
However, the distressing tale didn’t end then. The crappy insurance company PowerComputing used weaseled out the claim by stating I had a “preexisting condition.” Their twisted logic went along these lines: Since I came down with tonsillitis over 20 years ago, the insurance crooks classified it as preexisting, as if it were equal to diabetes, cancer or HIV. The specialist who treated me thought it was bullshit too. In the end, I was left holding the bag of a $1900 bill that I did finally pay off and clear in 2000. I’m going to keep the politics of insurance reform and healthcare out of this but I was fortunate with the bill only being under two grand in 1996. However, it seems the doctor applied needles to where it hurt and Big Insurance put a knife to my throat. The aftermath is another reason why I would never work for a slime-bag company like State Farm in my former hometown. As I told my grandmother, I would rather work for the Mafia before State Farm because the Outfit admits to rackerteering and extortion, they’re just not protected by the Republican Party.