Friday, August 24, 2007

A pound of flesh, in dollars

When I was young, hip and single, I danced through the freedom of my life. Pretend.

I used to love completing the quizzes in Cosmopolitan Magazine in my idle moments.

If I had be wiser, I should have studied psychiatric medicine, been less idle and kept firm control on the dancing.

I clean my bifocals, just to be on the safe side. When I’m quite sure that I’m feeling very brave, I take another peek.


I’m right. It still says $360 per hour. Not per month, nor annual. Is that really possible? I detect heart palpitations so I put the receipt down again. Who in the world is paid $360 an hour? I ban all thoughts of the current exchange rate, as I know that such a calculation would make my pulse quicken.

Instead I concentrate on smaller mathematical problems, such as our current state of bankruptcy, or very near future bankruptcy, if we continue to spend in this outrageous manner. Who is paid $6 for every minute that they work? Every minute? Why doesn’t somebody pay me $6 a minute? I decide that I will stop whining and push the paper to the back of the kitchen counter, the counter that I am clutching so that I may remain vertical.

What could I do that would earn me $6 a minute, assuming I had a minute spare in which I could work? Who earns that kind of money? Movie stars? People in the celebrity industry? How could I become famous so that I could coincidentally become rich? Do famous people have a night shift? I could offer my services to cover the night shift? Maybe I could become a lady of the night? Is classical ballet an asset or an automatic disqualification? I blink. I remember that I bear a closer resemblance to the pole rather than the dancer.

I try to change my thought processes. How much does the average psychiatrist cost? If you then specialize in children, narrow down the discipline, study and practice extra qualifications, then maybe this would account for such an inflated sum? $360 per hour means that he really must be the best child psychiatrist in the area?

I remember our discussion, ‘nothing but the best for my son!’

My spouse appears to ask casually, “so, how did it go?”
“Ooo very well. A success I think.”
“Well they did say he’s the best!”
“Actually, we didn’t see him.”
“Who did you see?”
“His associate.”
“Younger then! Maybe more up to date? Cheaper?”
“Hmm, sort of.”
“What did you think of him?’
“The psychiatrist?”
“That’s the man. Was he still a man?”
“Well, he was….very…um…nice. Yes, he was definitely nice.”
He looks at me, dubiously. Broadly speaking I have a strict ban on the word 'nice.'
“Really? What kind of nice was he?”
“Oh, approachable, affable, easy to talk to……that kind of nice.”
“Good. So you’ll be happy to visit again?”
“Hmm, maybe. We’ll have to see.”
“See what?”
“Well……I don’t know. We’ll just have to see.”
“What’s that I see?”
“That paper?”
“That! Oh that’s nothing, nothing to bother about, really, it’s of no concern, let me file it away before it becomes bothersome.” My hands scrabble, but he scrabbles more quickly. I’m tempted to whip off his glasses, but he knows when to speed read.
“Good grief woman. Per hour?”
I nod weakly as I feel the blood drain from my body as the money ebbs from the bank account.
“You were there for two hours?” I slump against the counter, as my word bank is empty, fortunately.
"What about these other hours? Review documents? Develop plan? Structured play observation? All those hours!" his voice has dwindled to a breathy whisper. He already works more hours than anyone else I know. We'll be out on the streets at this rate.
“Easy to talk to huh!” I nod my ‘indeed.’
“Even I’d be approachable and affable at that price.”

Wouldn’t we all?

The effect of the magic pills and the huge "bill."


kristen said...

Um. Insurance?

Guess you thought of that already.

liv said...

Ouch. double ouch.

farmwifetwo said...


I think I'll live in the North with my waitlists a little longer... and just hand over my health card.


flutter said...

better be affable. Better wash your dishes, too.

dgibbs said...

We have a similair reciept to a certified psychologist.

It's sickening isn't it?

meno said...

Somehow that just seems wrong, to charge that much money for something people need. Nice work if you can get it though.

The Anti-Wife said...

I'm in shock just reading it! Ouch indeed!

Hammer said...

When medicaid, medicare and insurance foots the bill out goes any realism in the billing.

Jeni said...

Incredible - also, outrageous!

mumkeepingsane said...

Wow, just wow.