Hi BFN family,
I know… it’s been a while.
Hi! Hello! Hi!
Some of you have been hanging out with the muses at 3musesmerge where Cal, Tal, Nia, and Typist show up with their almost daily banter. Two newsletters is more than I can keep up with!
I’m really glad that I have not discarded Born Free Newsletter in one of my cleaning frenzies! There’s something I’m called to write and share today that doesn’t fit the mood I imagine and create on 3mm.
My observation is not light and airy… It’s kind of dark and kind of scary. 😧
A few days ago I came across a quote by Mary Oliver that resonated:
To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.
I do pay attention to many things outside of myself, but have a sense that paying attention to my thoughts and what’s inside of myself is where my real power lies.
Have you ever thought about that?
Anyhow… yesterday’s experience relates to BIG C, Little c, no c. As the music is fading for my dance with cancer, I plucked up the courage to login to our medical insurance site. Since February I’ve been in and out of the cancer clinic, imaging machines, and the hospital. I’m well aware that my treatment comes with a monetary cost and yet, my mailbox has been almost devoid of bills. 🤷🏻♀️
For seven months, I’ve managed to completely ignore the missing fees-for-service...
Until yesterday’s curiosity got the better of me.
When I looked at the claims and payment pages documenting transactions between caregivers and our insurance company, I first felt small and humbled. What rolled in next surprised me…
I felt shame.
I had the thought… You are not worth that much money!
Hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Spent to save me?
I don’t think I’d think such things about somebody else.
Those of you who’ve read my posts over the years are aware that I’ve long been a work-in-progress with my thoughts around money and spending. Even though I’ve learned that money and value are not the same thing (money being a story humans made up to represent value) I’m still wrestling with a belief that money is king? 🤦🏻♀️
Or, am I wrestling with belief in my own value?
What is a human life worth?
To other humans?
To God/Universe/Higher Power?
I have received many, many #cancergifts since my diagnosis on 2/11/22.
I count the experience I just shared, and my self-directed questions, among them.
I recently searched and found an answer for What does it mean to be holy?
Today (World Gratitude Day), I’m grateful for the imperfect systems of healthcare and insurance that have preserved my life.
I’m grateful for my husband and his employer who make it possible for us to have insurance.
I am grateful that I can continue to unite my internal and external ways of thinking, being, and doing.
I am grateful that you listen.
Thank you. 🤗
It's a big question, Gail--"What am I worth in dollars and cents?" Sadly, our insurance system determines that those with coverage are worth much more than those without. I think it's a good thing we aren't asked the unanswerable question--we'd make ourselves sick trying to come up with a number.
First I had to rub my eyes! Is this THE Bornfree Newsletter I grew to love ever so long ago? Then you OPENED my eyes. Not just so I could read today’s new BFN post. Not just around Gratitude Day.
You shared your experience seeing the cost of your care. Know what? That’s strikingly similar to my reaction when I read the final summary of costs for my back surgery! My Medicare insurance plan is big on “in network providers,” which the accessible Mayo Clinic was not.
I chose that route after finding no local providers that had a clue. I was desperate to find someone who could even explain my problem (diagnosis) much less present a treatment option. When both were presented in a 45 minute encounter I signed on for their care. My wife and I were confident we could afford their care. Faith?
With the final bill I learned that because
Mayo had agreed to provide treatment, they had also agreed to measly amounts that Medicare paid for that care. Which was less than one one hundredth of the tabulated cost of care.
Taking a victory lap was never a feeling I entertained. As with you, I felt ashamed. Like if I had known my cost outcome, I would have been too embarrassed to receive treatment. I felt embarrassed to return for follow up care. I felt unworthy. At some level well above my pay grade that must all “come out in the wash.”
Your sharing today of your experience serves as an invitation to revisit my reactions. To reframe through the lens of gratitude.
As always, ever grateful. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.