The hardest part of recovery is convincing your anxiety that you're actually going to be okay now. Since heart disease struck so swiftly and stealthily before, a neurotic mind considers it highly likely that it could spring another surprise attack at anytime. Heart disease becomes the cleaver-wielding maniac lurking in the bushes; the lone sniper in the book depository; the deadly poison floating in the goblet of Borgia wine; the viper clasped to the bosom, literally. It's rather like being an unpopular world leader with a constant fear of sudden assassination. No wonder that Colonel Gaddafi employs his own full-time medical staff in a secret clinic equipped with a state-of-the-art operating theater, turbo-charged wheelchairs and twenty-four-hour helipad.
For regular people, however, health paranoia is most acute when insurance companies refuse to cover the cost of medications ordered by their doctor. For instance, I was prescribed 40mgs Lipitor but my insurance would only pay for 40mgs of inferior Crestor. Does the forbidden drug cost more than the drug I'm allowed to have, the neurotic mind worries, because it causes excessive gas, stomach cramps, and all those other horrible side-effects that deceptively soothing voices recite at high speed in the last five seconds of TV commercials? Or is it so much cheaper simply because it is downright less effective?
My health insurance furnished me with five pages of justifications for rejecting the Lipitor prescription. I read through them twice but was none the wiser. It was like receiving a quarterly 401K report prepared by Tweedledum and Tweedledee with pie-charts and graphs drawn by M. C Escher.
According to my calculations, this Lipitor and Crestor cost differential could easily be made-up if the insurance company reduced the amount of printed health bulletins and new laminated membership cards they mailed to me each month. In fact, I am certain that such cost-saving measures would lower the ruinous price of health care premiums by vast amounts. But that, of course, is someone else's battle. I'm too preoccupied with my anxiety to fight it.