The phone call at 6:00 am startled me awake until I remembered it was already 9:00 in New York. My daughter and I were in San Francisco visiting my sister, and celebrating the end of my breast cancer treatment.
A very nice lady on the telephone confirmed who I was and then told me that although she didn’t actually know my income level, she was certain that I qualified for her organization’s genetic testing reimbursement program. I don’t remember if she ever even told me the name of this mystery organization; if she did I promptly forgot. She told me my bills would be paid in full, and to have a “real nice day.” Which I definitely did!
I had participated in a full series of genetic testing, searching for the BRCA gene, and dozens like it. My doctor thought it was a good idea since we had no medical histories for the women on my father’s side, but the insurance company didn’t agree. (Stop me if you’ve heard that one before…) Anyway, I figured the information would outweigh the cost — for me, my daughter, and my nieces. The relief when it turned out I had none of the bad genes sure felt worthwhile.
The bills came soon after, and I put them in the “maybe I can negotiate this” pile. I remember the amount was something like $998 (like they didn’t want to break some magic thousand bucks barrier). It would not have bankrupted us, but it was another in a series of financial blows.
If my daughter hadn’t been a witness, I might have thought the whole thing was just a dream.
After that phone call, I never saw another bill for genetic testing. I never saw a receipt either. It was like it never happened. I still have no idea who that kind of woman on the phone was, or where she was calling from.
I don’t believe in the God presented by organized religions, but I am certain the universe contains divine elements. And that the divine works in mysterious and surprising ways. Sometimes it even uses the telephone.