Wednesday, May 28, 2008

wait, no crack?

As you know, I am one of those nutters who enjoys taking tests, filling out surveys, and generally being a "do-bee". I like to be good, and I liked to be perceived as being good. What can I say-- my parents paid me for grades when I was a kid. So when I found out I was pregnant, I called my health insurer to let them know that i'm pregnant.

Well, lucky me, they have signed me up for their fantastic "Future Moms" program, which is basically a trimesterly interrogation regarding all the sordid habits and debauches I enjoy while pregnant. This kindly nurse calls me up to "just check in with a few questions", all of which assume i'm an idiot crackhead that is not only stupid enough to do crack while pregnant, but *also* stupid enough to tell my insurance company about it. It goes like this.

Nurse: So, I know pregnancy can be stressful. Would you say your stress level is none, mild, moderate, or high?

Me: Mild. I have a toddler. (Cleo screams "STAWBEWWIES!!!!!" in the background as silverware is heard to clatter off the wall.)

Nurse: Okay, so do you maybe unwind every now and then with a beer? Maybe a cigarette?

Me: No, i'm an educated woman. I read a lot. I'm aware that drinking and smoking are pretty dangerous to pregnant women and fetuses. And i've never smoked in my life.

Nurse: (cloyingly sweet, in "girlfriend" voice) C'mon, maybe just a little ciggie every now and then?

(Note: I am tragically unhip, but even I know that no one calls them "ciggies" except 65-year old strippers.)

Me: (patiently) No.

Nurse: Okay, how about prenatal vitamins?

Me: Well, I just finished nursing a toddler, so i've been on prenatals, calcium with extra D, fish oil and flax oil for the past 3 years.

Nurse: Okay, so do you take that prenatal every day, or do you skip it every now and then?

Me: I take it every day.

Nurse: Are you SURE?

Me: (sigh) Yes, I am aware that I need extra vitamins and minerals while pregnant, especially over 800 mcg folic acid to support proper brain development and to avoid spina bifida.

Nurse: Okay, so you promise you take it EVERY DAY?

And you can see how it goes. For 30 minutes. Do I eat fruits and vegetables? Do I eat lots of candy? Am I drinking 8 - 10 cups of liquid a day? Am I SURE? Do I drink more than 5 cups of caffeinated beverages a day? And I try to be patient and understand that they must actually deal with uneducated and ignorant people who see fit to have 7 cups of coffee, 2 packs of cigarettes, and a fishbowl of margaritas every day and still manage to spawn. Which is scary.

I wish I could take some sort of test to opt out of this program. If I could send them a digital image of my bedside table with its 2 foot stack of dogeared pregnancy books, or a screenshot of my Firefox window with 8 tabs of pregnancy and birth forums.

But alas. They'll call me again in September, and i'll have to put down the can of ant spray and the forkful of mackerel covered in feta, and take off my beer hat and corset, and explain that I couldn't see my doctor because I had to go to a loud rock concert and share needles with some groupies while they took turns jumping on my stomach as I lay on my back and scarfed a Subway sandwich made with 3-day old seafood salad.

That's gonna be a real downer, man.


stinestrain said...

well, if you were REALLY smart you would have learned from the last pregnancy not to tell them that.

smarty pants. ;)

delilah said...

Yeah... I don't believe in lying to my insurance company or giving them any way to contest the $30k they paid to get Cleo into the world. I can take 2 hours of annoying questions over the course of a pregnancy, so long as they foot the bill for the *real* stuff.

Besides, I said I would *put down* the beer hat and feta when they called. They'll never know!

stinestrain said...

I wasn't suggesting that you lie to them. My insurance doesn't have anything like that (that I know of, but I never called to tell them I was pregnant either). If the program isn't mandatory I'd just decline to participate.

Cassia said...

Wow. Thanks for linking to this post from ICAN. :) I can't believe how insulting that is. I had someone call and ask about smoking/drinking/prenatals, but they didn't try to trick me into saying anything or in any way insinuate that I wasn't completely honest when I answered "correctly." That is REALLY annoying!

The closest I can come is the "highly recommended" (nearly required) nursing classes I'm supposed to take every 2 months. They're aimed at convincing women that nursing is best. I'm not against that. But I am annoyed that I have to go to these hour-long classes even though I'm very dedicated to nursing anyway and have nursed all but 8-9 months of the last four years. Apparently that's not enough experience to make sure I am committed this time.

Good luck with the next phone call... :)