by Cosmic Voice
Eliminte the middleman and go straight to the HMO!
| Thelma Henderson was sixty-eight years old and on a mission. She was a small woman with long gray hair that she wore in a bun at the back of her head. Her pale blue dress was covered with violets and her sensible black shoes matched her handbag that she clutched tightly to her side. She was walking surprisingly fast, but then she had a purpose.
As she drew closer to the door of the tall building her pace slowed as she looked up at the structure. She shuddered. Her destination was on the ninth floor and she detested elevators. But there was no turning back now. So she entered the building and headed straight for the bank of elevators to her right.
She pushed the UP button then stood back to wait. James would be proud of me, she thought with a sad smile. By the time the elevator arrived a young woman had come to stand by her side. She stood back to let Thelma enter first. Thelma smiled and received one in return. Her grandmother had always told her it was good to make at least one person smile every day.
As the doors closed, Thelma wished that her grandmother were there with her now. She glanced at the young woman and said a little prayer of thanks that at least she had someone in this little cage with her. She hoped her companion was going to her floor or higher so she wouldn’t be alone. And her prayer was answered. When Thelma stepped out onto the ninth floor, the young girl remained on the elevator.
Thelma started down the hall looking for the office and soon found it. Ranger Medical Insurance Company. She adjusted her handbag more firmly on her arm before proceeding inside. The room was not large but had seating for maybe a dozen people. There was a middle-aged woman sitting at a desk behind a sliding glass window straight ahead.
“May I help you,” she asked when Thelma stepped forward.
“You may indeed. I wish to speak to someone about my health.”
“What is it regarding?”
“Are you in a position to make decisions in this company?” Thelma asked pointedly. “Decisions regarding procedures, that is?”
“Well, no. But I need to know what the problem is before I can direct you to the proper person.”
“I must see someone in management who is authorized to make decisions,” Thelma persisted.
The woman behind the desk all but rolled her eyes. It must be full moon, she muttered to herself.
If Thelma heard she gave no indication.
“I’ll see if Mrs. Thorp is available. Your name?”
“It’s Mrs. Thelma Henderson. Thank you,” Thelma said retreating to one of the rust-colored chairs by the wall. This had been her decision to come here. She hadn’t even mentioned it to either of her children. They would probably think she’d gone bonkers. Maybe they would be right. But she had a point to prove. And there was no time like the present.
After about a ten-minute wait the inner office door opened. A young stylish woman in a tailored suit stepped forward. “Mrs. Henderson. I’m Carolyn Thorp. We can talk in my office,” she said indicating that Thelma should follow her.
Once they were seated, Carolyn addressed Thelma. “Now what can I do for you?”
“Well you see, I’ve had this pain in my right shoulder for about two weeks now. I don’t know if it’s my arthritis or something else.”
Carolyn Thorp looked totally confused. “Mrs. Henderson, I can’t help you with a physical problem. This is a medical insurance company, not a doctor’s office.”
“Oh, my dear, it’s all one and the same now,” Thelma said softly. “If you can’t help me, there must be someone here who can. My doctor consults them all of the time.”
“I don’t follow,” Carolyn said shaking her head.
“The way my friends and I see it, it’s all quite simple really. You see, my late husband James, he passed away nine months ago, had a couple of serious health problems. Our doctor would prescribe a medication and your person would say he couldn’t have it or had to have something else. Then his doctor wanted him to have surgery but, again, your person said it wasn’t necessary. Did I tell you that my James died?”
“Yes, I believe you mentioned that,” Carolyn said beginning to squirm.
“Well since then my doctor had prescribed a certain medication for my arthritis because it was getting worse. But your person decided that I couldn’t have it. So I’ve had to continue with the same one,” Thelma said opening her purse to take out a medicine container.
“Mrs. Henderson, I don’t think we can help you here. You need to see your personal physician,” Carolyn said quickly. This woman was a crackpot and she wanted to get her out of her office as quickly as possible.
“Oh, but you have to. Don’t you see, I’m just eliminating the middleman. I’ll give you the co-payment instead of my doctor. And your person can give me the medication that I need. My arthritis has really been acting up lately. It’s getting more and more difficult to get moving in the mornings now.
“I’m sorry but we’re not licensed to practice medicine here. You will have to see your physician,” Carolyn persisted.
“Not licensed? But you make medical decisions all the time. You did with my James. And Mildred Parker was told she didn’t need her gall bladder removed even though her doctor had ordered the surgery,” Thelma said sitting up a little straighter in her chair.
“We make recommendations, not decisions, Mrs. Henderson.”
“Well then the person making these recommendations must have a medical degree. That’s the person I’d like to see,” Thelma said smiling innocently.
Carolyn Thorp sighed as she licked her lips. Picking up the phone she dialed three numbers. “Bob, I have someone in my office that wishes to speak with you if you have the time.” When she replaced the receiver she turned to face Thelma. “Mr. Packer will see you immediately. If you’ll follow me,” she said standing.
Thelma rose slowly to her feet. Her arthritis made her joints sore if she sat for too long. “Thank you, my dear. You’ve been very kind, if not helpful.”
Carolyn led her down a hall into a spacious office. A heavy-set man in his forties sat with the phone to his ear. He motioned for Thelma to sit as he completed his call. Then he turned to Carolyn. “What seems to be the problem?”
“Arthritis,” Carolyn said before turning to leave.
“Arthritis?” Mr. Packer asked somewhat taken aback.
“You see, I’ve got this new pain in my right shoulders,” was the last thing Carolyn Thorp heard before she closed the door. She made a mental note to change her coverage to her husbands medical insurance company.