They’re real, and they’re annoying

So yesterday Otto and I went out to run some errands and go to our first appointment with the specialist Monkey will be seeing, because for the first appointment just the parents get to go. We spent a lot of time sitting in the waiting room, and then a lot of time telling the nice doctor our entire medical history (well, mine and Monkey’s, anyway), until somewhere around the “Has your cousin’s step-sister’s uncle’s father ever had bursitis?” question I became sorely tempted to tell him that I had JUST REMEMBERED that actually, Monkey is adopted and we have no medical history on him whatsoever!

I didn’t do that, by the way. Even though I REALLY REALLY wanted to. I’m such a rule follower.

Anyway, while we were out and about, it was approximately 100 degrees and Otto offered to buy me an ice cream. Because he’s swell that way.

(We have a family rule, one that we started back in New England, before we knew we’d be moving south. If the thermometer breaks 100 degrees, we go for ice cream. Up north that wasn’t a hard indulgence to justify, though down here we are all going to end up morbidly obese.)

We were at a strip mall type place, and Otto insisted that there was an ice cream place down at the end. So we walked down there, and—no ice cream. The place he was thinking of has since become a restaurant. Hmph.

BUT! Once we’d done that I saw a store in the neighboring strip mall that I wanted to pop into, and so I very sweetly asked Otto if he would mind if we just skipped over there, briefly, please honey (“You promised me ice cream and I didn’t get any and now you’re going in here with me!”), so off we went. The store we entered had a lot of VERY SMELLY lotions and loud music and so I knew I’d have to make it quick before Otto passed out.

I commenced with the sniffing of various products and making my selections. Otto commenced with the cracking of jokes about what types of people want to smell like pomegranates.

And then my phone rang. I answered, but couldn’t hear very well, so I walked outside—leaving Otto with my shopping bag—to take the call.

It turns out that my ladybits doctor feels that the breast MRI I had last year was, indeed, “not normal” and requires a follow-up MRI. But GUESS WHAT ELSE!

My insurance doesn’t want to pay for it. SHOCKING!

Now, I wouldn’t call that last MRI the MOST unpleasant thing I’ve ever done. I mean, I’ve given birth and ripped ligaments and seen W through two presidencies, so no, not the WORST thing ever… but still, not high on my list of favorite activities. So honestly? When she told me the insurance wouldn’t cover it, I wasn’t too heartbroken.

“Oh well!” I said to my doctor. “I’m fine! It’s okay!”

“Mir, you are NOT FINE,” she said, and then my heart stopped and I died. “I mean,” she rushed on, “You are PROBABLY fine, but we really need to follow this up. It’s important.”

But, you know, the insurance company disagrees. Because they are concerned about my health. AHAHAHAHAHAHA! I am funny.

So it turns out that instead of an MRI, I have to go for YET ANOTHER breast ultrasound, instead. Whereas the MRI machine is loud and uncomfortable and having contrast injected into your body makes you feel like you’ve wet your pants, having an ultrasound is a piece of cake! If you, you know, enjoy eating cake while someone SMASHES A PROBE INTO YOUR NIPPLE REPEATEDLY.

And after the ultrasound, if they see anything they shouldn’t, then maybe I can have that MRI. Or maybe I can have (another) biopsy! Who knows! It’s breast roulette, and the insurance company is calling the numbers!

I finished up my phone call with the doctor and went back into the store, where Otto was asphyxiating from the scent of coconut-ginger-melon-fantasia spritzer. I filled him in, finished making my selections, paid for my stuff, and we left.

And then Otto bought me a milkshake, because he’s swell that way.

My boobs enjoyed it immensely.


  1. Kristin (aka Krisco)

    Mir, I’m so sorry. I hope they find NOTHING. Actually, I hope they find a very normal-but requires the further MRI thing – and then they find NOTHING. And that way we know for sure.
    Thinking of you, K.

  2. laurie

    will be sending good boob vibes your way….

  3. Megan

    You mean your doctor totally didn’t buy the insurance company’s diagnosis? She must not have paid attention in American Doctor School 101: HMO’S RULE THE WORLD NEENER NEENER NEENER.

  4. RuthWells

    Time to call the HMO and yell at them.

  5. Vane

    Oh my … Best of luck with that, hope you are given the “All Clear” very soon :)

  6. Shalee

    I was thinking that your world was entirely too calm. It’s good to see that God is keeping you in training with the insurance company. They need those wonderful customer service training exercises.

    I bet that shake never tasted so good.

    And it could be worse… you could have to do all that and have an O in the White House. Just looking for the silver linings, Mir. :)

  7. elizabeth

    if doctors aren’t in charge of treatment…if accountants are reading MRIs…grrr. “health care” is SO broken.

    here’s to everything being fine and the accountant being right about the one with the actual med degree just bilking the hmo for an un-called-for mri.

    at least you got ice cream. =)

  8. Tranny Head

    I was adopted and always tell them when htey ask me those questions that I was adopted. Then they look sheepish and feel stupid. And I feel gratified for my bitchiness.

    I hope everything works out with Boob Inspection Aught Eight.

  9. Daisy

    Let’s hope the ultrasound shows that all is well, the first MRI was just blurry. It could happen, right? Blankety blank HMO anti-health policies….

  10. Jamie AZ

    Ugh, more boob quishage. I hope all of it comes out ‘negative’ for the bad stuff. I’m sure your insurance hopes so, too – though they certainly don’t act like it!

  11. All Adither

    Well, milkshakes can’t fix the health system, but they can take your mind off it for a few blissful minutes. Hope your ultrasound is completely clear.

  12. Mother of Two

    Because there is nothing really clever that can be said at a time like this…. I will just tell you…
    You are in my prayers.

  13. Katie in MA

    Maybe if you throw in a Boobpusalooza tshirt, the HMO will change its mind and cover whatever the heck you need. Including the ice cream (hey, mental health is important, too).

  14. Deb

    When they ask info for my son, it’s easy to end the questions about hubby’s side since he is adopted. That leaves me the next hour to explain all of the problems in my side of the family, it could fill a novel! Lovely…..

    Best of luck with that ultrasound, hope everything is fine.

  15. Sheila

    Take some deep breaths and get your “can you talk to me as if I am a real person who needs real help?” speech ready again for the “customer service” agent at your insurance company.

    Fingers crossed for good news all around.

  16. Heather

    Hope all is well!

  17. Barbara

    good lord girlie……it’s time you sent otto to starbucks for a 2nd job and better insurance! oh, and yummy comped drinks of course. it’s a win-win, well except for otto. but buy him a smoker and you’ll be square.

    helpful, i’m not. but crossing everything i have and sending the vibes to your boobies, i am. hope it’s nothing more than more blog fodder.

  18. BOSSY

    The breast ultrasound is a good thing — many doctors think the results are better and they don’t understand why the torturous mammogram machines are still used, but Bossy thinks it may have a little something to do with the fact that all the hospitals in the country have already purchased those machines.

  19. BOSSY

    The breast ultrasound is a good thing — many doctors think the results are better and they don’t understand why the torturous mammogram machines are still used, but Bossy thinks it may have a little something to do with the fact that all the hospitals in the country have already purchased those machines.

  20. BOSSY

    Bossy’s comment is so good she had to say it twice?

  21. Katherine

    You could always revise your 100 degree ice cream rule to say “only once a week” or “no two days in a row” or you could just decide that you’ll sweat off all those extra calories in the 100 degree heat…

  22. Sara

    I hope it was a large milkshake. I also hope the boobs get an all clear. I thirdly hope (What? It is too grammatically correct. Or at least it should be…)that your HMO goes “tits up” (to quote Mike Meyers).

  23. Sue

    Sending very healthy boob thoughts your way. (And explosive diarrhea thoughts to your HMO.)

  24. Flea

    So … I’m at a loss with the HMO. I mean … I’m sure you’ve thought of everything. Like the doctor telling the HMO that it IS medically necessary. I can’t even begin to think of … what the heck? Ugh. Sorry, Mir.

  25. Stephanie

    I HATE insurance companies. I would vote to elect ANY candidate who would SWEAR TO GOD to do away with them, once and for all.

    Sending my good boob vibes your way, as well.

  26. Corina

    I hope that everything turns out ok with the ultrasound. I will be thinking of you.

  27. cristen

    i liked that part about W, and agree whole-heartedly…hope you’re okay.

  28. sophie

    I’m not quite sure how anyone tolerates an MRI without sedation. I used to send patients all the time, and I thought it was the claustrophobia that bugged them. Not a single one EVER complained about the noise.

    The first time I had one, they gave me a little rubber emergency button. I tolerate pap smears, mammograms, and the dentist generally well, so I wasn’t worried.

    I lay there for what seemed like hours telling myself, “I will not push this button, I will not push this button.”

    And I know the US isn’t any more fun. Hope everything turns out peachy. (now that you live in my old state, of course)

  29. Astrogirl426

    Oh, Mir-Mir,

    This is just the day for boob-ical shenanigans, ain’t it? I got my first mammogram last week (i’m 36 – I KNOW!). Yeh, my ladybits doc thought I should start getting them this year (because they are SO MUCH FUN) so I could have a baseline established. So I went last week, and they warned me that the doctor might want some more images done, so they might call me for followup mammos. But don’t worry, cause it’s probably nothing. Because everyone knows, THAT’S what they’re taking pics of in there. Nothing. Meh. So they called me back today (“But its nothing! Really!”), and I had another mammo and an ultrasound. And then after all that tortured waiting (not worried!) they said, and I quote, “Ok! You’re all set!”

    What – and I repeat – What the effin f*ck?

    So I assumed everything was ok…right? Ok? – and called me ladybits doc and asked her to call me when the report comes in and translate “You’re all set” into non-tech lingo.

    So it was a boobtastic day all round! Milkshakes for everyone (milk…boobs…hey, that works!)!

  30. erma

    I hope all will turn out okay…worrisome. Sending many positive thoughts your way.

    Because you seem to have history with biopsy(or am I remembering this incorrectly?) or such, it seems to me that you have seen a surgeon?(although, I guess that was not in the state where you now live..)can you see a surgeon in your area and have them give a second opinion whenever you have a mammogram? Or another radiologist’s opinion after each annual mammogram? I see my surgeon now after I have had my mammograms…another pair of eyes looking over the film…it just makes me feel better after having had two biopsies….there must be SOMETHING you can do about the insurance. Or can you drive further to see another doctor in perhaps a larger city? I just don’t know. How it can take so long for your physician to find something to be checked ou further…that is not acceptable. That would make me just scream. You wouldn’t accept mediocrity for your family…don’t accept it for yourself. Find new doctors.

  31. meghann

    I vote for a milkshake and ice cream based health care system.

  32. Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You

    Sounds like you have the same health insurance company that we have. The You Can #Suck IT insurance plan wherein, even though you spend $4,000 a year just for the courtesy of holding that cute little card in your wallet, you will STILL receive bills from the hospital for the procedures that now total about ten grand, oh yeah, and those co-pays ? yeah, $50/shot – no problem. We’re so happy you have chosen us as your health insurance plan. Can we #uck you some more?

  33. Carolyn

    Hi Mir,
    I’m sorry to hear about your MRI. You may have already had this suggestion but, have you thought about calling the state insurance commissioner’s office? They may be able to help or have a suggestion.Their # is 404-656-2070 and web site is
    Sometimes some physician offices, especially specialists(say that 10 times real fast)will accept what ever insurance will pay even if it’s out of network.
    There is a good group in Atlanta called Breast Care Specialists. They are near Northside Hospital. Let me know if you want more info about them or how I know about them.

  34. sb

    Only good karma going your way, funny, pretty Mir.

    And, finally, a W revelation. I don’t know how you write every day without mentioning him once in a while.

  35. Mishel

    So sorry to hear that. My thoughts and prayers go out your way and I hope/pray that it’s nothing.

  36. fiona

    morbidly obese? we’ve seen your tiny bottom remember.

  37. Little Bird

    I am so with you on the MRI contrast crap they inject you with. Unpleasant. I hope everything turns out ok. to put things in perspective (maybe) my father just had an MRI for some weird headache thing he’s been having and what my family thought was cancer is a twisted blood vessel. Totally fixable. Since I have not yet been subjected to boob manhandeling by doctors, all I can say is sorry. But they do say that an ultrasound is better and less painfull than a mamogram. I’mkeeping my fingers crossed that that is true! Good luck!! You seem to have pretty good luck as it is, but every little bit helps.

  38. becky

    i hate insurance companies. and i’m about ready to give up my really great insurance for questionable coverage. whee!

  39. Brigitte

    Aren’t you supposed to warn your dad before you talk about your boobies? :-)

  40. Becky

    Mir, I know this is frustrating, and MRIs aren’t the ideal way to spend an afternoon, but please consider this.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37, after having my first mammogram (6 months earlier) come back clean. Fortunately, after surgery and chemo and radiation, it seems to be gone.

    Still, it’s amazing how it blows a hole in all of your assumptions about your future. I still, 3+ years later, just hope I’m around to see my daughter grow up. I get mammograms AND MRIs every 6 months now, due to another suspicious spot they found. And it’s a great relief to me to be having them – every one that comes back clean gives me more confidence that maybe the cancer won’t come back.

    What I’m really trying to say, I guess, is please don’t discourage people from getting these tests. They aren’t exactly fun, but they’re hardly torture, and they very well may save your life.

  41. Liza

    Becky, I don’t think anyone can read this post and the other related ones and not get how important these kinds of tests are.

    But people don’t read blogs, especially not blogs like this one, looking for tra-la-la, mammograms are fun. I had my first one at 35, because of a small lump. The whole series of follow-up tests were not the worst discomfort I’ve ever felt in a medical context, but after the HSG and c-section recovery, they probably come in 3rd.

    I wish I’d been better mentally prepared for all 3 of those things. The worst thing, for me, was the unexpected severity of the pain.

  42. Amy-Go


    I think that covers it. Happy thoughts!

    P.S. Headed your way tomorrow! *happy dance*

  43. Aimee

    I’ll second what Amy-Go said. Ugh.

    Sending positive boob vibes your way. AND milkshakes! AND coconut-lime-ginger-wasabi spritzer, or whatever. :)

  44. mommytherobot

    i’ve never had boob squeezage but i heard it was really painful. you just have the best luck w insurance companies these days! it’ll turn around. hugs to monkee. and to you!

  45. Sophie

    Move. I’m probably the youngest reader your blog has, but I live in the sub-arctic that is Northern Ontario. Due to a debilitating disease I was born with, I have had at least 30 MRIS over my lifetime. I’ve also had three surgeries, 11 month long hospital stays, traction et. cetera. Never payed a penny. Was never denied.

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