Chinu Khandker
2 min readMay 12, 2022

Pulse

[Disclaimer — This is a true story written with a little flare exercising literary license.]

It was a very nice May afternoon. I was having a chat with a neighbor, Mrs. O. As usual we talked about some this and that before exchanging notes about our aches, pains, doctors and therapy. Mrs. O. had a very interesting doctor visit this week. After hearing her account, I was not sure what to think or how to react. I was not sure I heard it right and thought my ears needed cleaning. I got a q-tip. After a couple of swipes, I asked again for the third time, “What did the doctor say?”. She said it again, “He said I had a pulse and I will have to pay $48. My insurance will not cover it”. I could not get out of my initial confusion. “Your insurance will not cover the doctor visit because you have a pulse?”, I exclaimed. “Yes.” What does this whole thing mean? I almost lost my pulse. Mrs. O.realized her whole story was not sinking in my head. She then painstakingly explained the details. However, I am still stuck in the ‘pulse’ part.

Every six months or so Mrs. O.visits a podiatrist otherwise known as a foot doctor. Besides checking the feet, the podiatrist also clips her toe nails and it was all covered by her insurance. However, she was surprised when the doctor’s office told her she would have to pay for the clipping this time. “Why”, she asked. They explained, because they had identified a pulse in her toes the service would no longer be covered by the insurance. “Bummer!” Anyway, Mrs. O was happy that she got pulse in her toes. After all, in general, not having a pulse is a scary thought.

I am still confused and trying to figure out the logic behind the non-coverage for getting a “pulse” back. Many questions swirling in my head. All this time is Mrs. O. walking around without a pulse in her toes? No one told her that if she got her pulse back she would have to pay ? What would be a person’s choice if he/she is unable to pay? Will they wish that the pulse would go away? Is all this time the great insurance company doing Mrs. O. a favor paying her $48 for a foot service with a condition that she could not have a pulse? So confusing! And here all my life I have been thinking it is good to have a pulse - anywhere. I guess for a toe it is a different story. Good to know. Just wondering if there are other ‘pulse’ that costs like a toe pulse. Anyway, all this reminded me what Hamlet had said to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” True. So little I know or understand about the great mysterious world of insurance coverage!

[In this story Mrs O is a term of endearment. It is short for Mrs Onion. Incidentally, Mrs. O told me, onion in Italian is, ‘Cipolla’. Like my friend’s beautiful name, Gia Cipolla.]