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Catch-22

Another entry in the seemingly never-ending saga of my medical recovery.

My current status: I'm getting better, but with all the speed of a glacier that doesn't believe in global warming. I've been able to work from home, and they're being incredibly generous about that at my workplace. However, my (inexpert) estimate is that if I don't get some form of additional treatment it will take a couple of months to recover.

Maybe I should be more patient. But I would like to be able to drive, if not be free of pain, sooner than that. I spend most of the day lying on my sofa. That may be good for healing my coccyx, but it's not good for other aspects of my physical or mental health.

I visited an orthopedist and spine expert two weeks ago. He took some X-rays, and didn't see anything obvious. He ordered a couple of MRIs: one for the lumbar region, for the sacrum/coccyx. My insurance company approved the lumbar MRI, and I had that done a week ago.

However, the company did not automatically approve the sacrum/coccyx MRI. They put it in the "peer-to-peer" category, which means the insurance company wants one of their doctors to speak to my doctor before they approve it. And so we enter the Catch-22: the MRI facility got the peer-to-peer status from the insurance company; the facility called the doctor's office to notify them of the peer-to-peer request; it's been two weeks since the doctor ordered the MRI and there's been no change in status.

Without the MRI, the doctor is not going to be able to make an informed recommendation for a course of treatment (if indeed there is any treatment other than his original prescription: bed rest). Without the insurance company's approval, the MRI facility won't do the MRI. Without the doctor's office scheduling the peer-to-peer discussion, the insurance company won't issue the approval.

I have not been inert during this time. I've called the MRI facility, who said they called the doctor's office more than once. I called the doctor's office: the first time I spoke with someone who was puzzled and said they didn't even know the correct phone number to call at the insurance company; the second time was today, when I was told that the person who handles peer-to-peer scheduling has gone home for the day. That's a shame, because I had called the insurance company and got the number to call.

Meanwhile, I'm stuck. I lie on the sofa. I take a hot bath once a day in the hope that it will help my lower back pain. I try to walk around the block once a day to keep from being completely moribund; twice that seemed to reduce the pain, other times it didn't help. I'm Netflixing my way through "How I Met Your Mother", which apart from the usual flaws of television comedy is making me feel lonely, since I'm not likely to meet anyone while lying on my sofa (nor when I'm not lying on my sofa, but that's another story).

I'll admit I'm not in good state right now. I'm doing my best to count my blessings: Although I'm going to miss a Halloween party I really wanted to go to, I'll be able to be at a Samhain ritual. My insurance is covering all the costs of the MRI. I know I'll recover eventually, no matter what.

But it can be tedious to watch the clock ticking in the meantime.

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