The Pricetag on Torture: $81

Two months ago, I endured the most agonizing diagnostic test ever devised – by a descendent of the Marquis de Sade, perhaps?? Seriously, it was more suited to Gitmo than a Manhattan doctor’s office. It’s called an EMG (ElectroMyoGraphy), and it tests that your nerves are firing on all cylinders. How does it do this, you ask. Well, the first phase involved a technician using a miniature TASER to make you twitch. Bzzt!!! The second part is administered by the neurologist, and is even worse – he sticks a needle into various points along your major nerves and zaps them with electricity. He saved the best for last: a deep jab in the back of my neck, the source of all my pain. When he zapped, I instantly burst into unstoppable tears. Yes, I have a low threshold for pain, which means I’m hyperticklish and, I suspect, particularly well-suited to my profession (extreme sensitivity can’t be a bad thing in a massage therapist, right?)…but I really think he stabbed the needle in some mysterious “cry button”. The doctor felt so bad he gave me a 30% discount on my co-pay, which made me laugh through the embarrassing tears – it’s like he was apologizing by treating me to coffee and a donut. The poor guy waiting his turn right outside the treatment room – he was more nervous about the test than I was, and when I came out he was visibly trembling. I felt the pain from that needle for several hours afterward.

So I just got my Statement of Benefits. The official charges amounted to $1600, the insurance-approved rates totalled $405, of which my share is $81. Normally I don’t mind coughing up my 20% responsibility, but just this once it annoys me to pay for pain – especially since the diagnostic test didn’t find anything helpful.

Oh wait, I paid $140 for pain on Sunday – my rolfing session. The effects are still settling in and will continue to do so over the next few weeks, but so far so good! Seriously, I didn’t expect to feel such an impact so quickly. I got a bit bruised in the process, but that’s nothing new. It was quite an experience strolling topless through a gay man’s apartment so he could assess my posture and gait. He concluded that I was quite structurally sound and my shoulders were not as bad as he expected from a massage therapist. Yeah, surrre he was looking at my shoulders. I suspect maybe he’s only 90% gay.


3 Responses

  1. I can’t stop laughing, you’re turning the gay men straight! As for the EMG, I’ve had it done and remember it wasn’t fun but it wasn’t torture. That’s what diagnosed me with the carpal and cubital tunnel on both sides. I’m sorry the test didn’t help you, but isn’t amazing how little you pay compared to the billed cost. I think my torture session was $700 and I paid $20 or so. So did you rolf after the rolfing session?

  2. Miss M, you must have a more normal threshold for pain. I know it’s probably not as bad for other people…though the side that had borderline carpal tunnel syndrome hurt way more than the other.

    No ralphing after rolfing, I just felt like lying down for a few hours afterwards. I picked a great day to have it done – it was Superbowl Sunday, which means no one wants me. And I got an energy surge at dusk to go out and CVS my butt off for two hours. Poor CVS.

  3. I am sorry about the paying for pain. Unless you’re into that kind of thing, it sucks, and I don’t know anyone who is.

    I too found myself laughing at the thought of the gay man checking you out. I can’t help but to wonder… Maybe he’s a drag queen as was studying for performance purposes. =) Then again I have heard stories about guys saying their gay so they can get close to girls… Ick!

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