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Can I trust you? I feel like I can trust you. I feel like we’re all friends here. Now, I want to share something personal with you guys. So, please, don’t be a dick about this; it’s really embarrassing for me.

OK, here goes.

Guys, I haven’t been to a gynecologist since I left my first job in 2011.

My poor little VJ is just down there guessing, hoping she’s OK. I am on my last pair of contact lenses, which I’m supposed to change monthly but at this point, it’s been, conservatively, I don’t know, four months? And I haven’t been to a dentist in over two years, even though I wanted just one vain indulgence in having my teeth whiter for wedding pictures.

Guys, I don’t even know who my primary care doctor is.

I guess that means I don’t have a primary care doctor? I don’t actually know. You’d have to tell me.

Am I supposed to have other doctors? Maybe. I don’t actually know. Maybe a dermatologist for my acne that finally (mostly) cleared up at age 33, and to tell me to wear more sunscreen, only so I can ignore the advice. Maybe an orthopedist who could have treated my many soccer-induced sprained ankles and broken toes.

Maybe I just need a psychiatrist who can diagnose why I’m such a fucking idiot about this.

Now, I know you guys haven’t said anything, and I appreciate your restraint. But I can see the look on your face. Your eyes widening, your lips snarling as you lean back into your chair, subconsciously sinking away from me. I can feel your disgust. It’s actually good for me to feel that from you. Shame’s a good motivator for me. Keep it coming. Please.

Quiet as you are, I know what you’re thinking. And you just haven’t asked yet because you’re such amazing listeners. I’m lucky to have such great friends like you guys who won’t just grab me by the collar with a forceful hand, pull me into your face and scream, “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

That’s the trouble. There’s actually nothing wrong with me.

I never get sick. I feel stupendous most every day I wake up and face the sun. I don’t get too tired; I don’t feel depressed; I don’t have aches or pains. And with apologies to the squeamish, I’m so regular the Swiss could schedule trains with every flush.

I know that’s no excuse. I know I should go to the doctor. To the several doctors, in fact. So, I can read your mind. What you’re thinking now is, “OK, so why don’t you just GO?”

So, here it is. You’ve tapped into it. My secret shame:

I don’t understand health insurance. Straight up.

Now, by most standards, I’m a successful human. I’m good at my job. I’ve traveled to every continent except Antarctica. I earned a Master’s degree. I’ve run more than a dozen marathons. I’m an excellent speller. I live in a bustling, growing metropolis. And thanks to you guys, I have many gratifying personal relationships.

But navigating health insurance?

(I clasp my hands above my heart, close my eyes, and prepare to meet my maker.)

Where do I even begin?

What does this card do? What do all these numbers and letters mean? What is a group number? Come to think of it, where even is my health insurance card? And do I need it to get in? Why? I thought this was America!


What is a PPO? What is an HMO? Are there other letters that I don’t know about? And which is better? Don’t give me any of that “it depends” shit. Give it to me straight. I can take it.

How do I find out what doctors are in network?

Do I have to call people? Do people call people anymore? I hope you understand; I really don’t want to have to call people. And if a doctor is out of network, what happens to me? Do they turn me away at the door? Are doctors’ offices like elitist nightclubs where I need to be on a list and wear on-trend accessories? And if so, can I borrow that necklace?

How do I know if a doctor is terrible? And if I don’t know this person, am I still supposed to let this doctor just listen to my breathing and test my pee and feel around my cervix anyway? Is that what you guys do? Do you turn your head and cough for just anyone in a lab coat?

What services are covered and what aren’t? Does my doctor even know? More importantly, does my doctor even care? Aside from you guys, does anyone care?

And I know it’s coming, but I just want to prepare myself. So just tell me—will the invoice fuck me now or later?

You guys have been awfully quiet. I didn’t mean to go on and on like that. I just got carried away. It’s been so long since I talked to anyone about this. It’s been so long since I had answers. And although I graduated with Honors, I’m also just a girl, standing in front of the internet, asking it for medical advice.

Kelaine Conochan

The editor-in-chief of this magazine, who should, in all honesty, be a gym teacher. Don’t sleep on your plucky kid sister.

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