Al-Avalathi's Life (Al-Avalathi is the last Mallu to go to the Gelf)
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Close shave with insurance

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I always knew insurance was a subject matter of solicitation, but never knew it meant an invitation to a rigmarole.Sanity prevailed till I signed up for this.I am sure, it was part of a bigger conspiracy that brought Tata AIG to me.
The herculean task was not filling a small form, but the medical tests.It had almost everything from the tests that one goes through before joining the army(give me some points for exaggeration)

When the whole of the nation was celebrating Independence day, I was at one of the best labs in Trivandrum.I was there for a 5 minute long blood test mandatory for anyone signing up for Tata AIG;fair enough, five minutes and some drops for blood.

I was told that, I just need to show the request letter from Tata AIG and I would be treated like a king, no waiting, 5 minutes of tests and I am out.What an idea Sirjee, I thought.They indeed treated me like a king.Asked me to sit in one of the imported sofa sets and the wait had just begun then.The letter that I gave them had almost all tests that can be done on a human being, on all possible organs;seemed like a straight lift from wikipedia.

Why was I made to wait? The list of tests had 56 tests, 43 of them three letter acronyms,the people at the lab knew only 26 of them!After calling up all doctors connected to the lab, they figured 5 more and commented that the rest of the tests are not at all important.Lucky me!

So the five minute test started with a 2 hour wait.Remember, I was asked to appear for the tests, fasting.So,starved till 10am,they showed the green flag to my blood test.I was made to sit and this blood sucker lady came,discovered a vein on my left hand and filled in a huge syringe with my blood. sob sob!

Like a convict(minus hand cuffs ) I was escorted to the second floor.Misery had just begun.I was taken to the X Ray room.Why? Chest Xray to check if my lungs were in place.

I entered the dimly lit room.Two women were inside.I could barely see their faces.I was asked to take my T Shirt off!! Hey! X Ray passes through the skin/body,then why not the T Shirt! If my T shirts could block X Rays, I better show my muscular body to the women.The unwillingness evident on my face,I succumbed to the women and took my shirt off.One of them then directed me to a pedestal that reminded me of something used to take mug shots.With my bare chest facing a plate, she adjusted a U shaped object to fit in my neck in.
Lights off, lights on!X Ray done.A gush of relief flowed through me.One more task completed.

Next stop,Ultra Sonograph test.From my Pune experience,I knew that one had to drink water before the test.And the test is conducted only when you are bladder full.After drinking almost a litre of water, I reached the counter.
An elderly man, sitting next to me asks,”Oh! you have stones?”.
Me:Stone… no…Insurance…

The attender came out to check if there were newer patients and gave me a form to fill which had Patient instead of Name.Anyone who waits this long for an insurance needs tons of it,patience.
He asked me if I drank enough water and that they would let me in only when I feel like taking a leak.In 5 minutes,I called him out to let me in or I will have to clear by bladder.
Entered the posh room.Well lit unlike the earlier X Ray room, this too had two women.The almost-peed-me made an entry.”Take your T Shirt off!” There you go again!This time I held the T close to me but one of the ladies politely asked me to keep it aside.I was asked to lie down.The doc came in and asked to take my belt off!Now what?
“Take your button off”.The almost molested me,was left with no other option but to do an act of unbuttoning.A yucky jelly was applied on my tummy and a green cloth used to cover the only clothed portions of me.Something like a bar code scanner was moved all around my tummy. Voila! There I go! Kidney1, Kidney2, Liver…oh! I have all of them inside.(touchwood).

Like a mice who escaped a cat,I ran out…buttoning myself back in order. With almost all possible organs discovered, the heart was yet to be found.I was asked to go to a nearby private hospital with which the lab had some connection, to get a Tread Mill Test done.
After relieving myself,I filled in a form that called me a patient,again!
Me:Doctor,this is for Tata AIG insurance
Doc:You don’t have a problem withyour heart,right?
Me:Some have called me,heartless, would that count.
Doc:(murmur)..Bad joke
Doc:TMT, you have to keep running at an increasing pace, for about 12 minutes
Me:I haven’t had anything since morning.I will fall down half way through the test.
Doc:Go have breakfast and come.

To free myself from having breakfast in the hospital canteen, I got back to him after having 2 glasses of water.

Doc:We have to prepare your chest
Doc:Ya,shave off!!
Oh god!!No!!I do not want to get rid of any trace of masculinity in me.
Me:Doc,I will have some more water and be right back.

Scoot! No, I don’t want this insurance and I was home soon.
Last heard.Inspite of my cheap stunt, Tata AIG has approved my insurance.They surely, have very few customers.

Update: This post was picked up by Reuters India and was featured on their homepage on 17th September 2008

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September 10, 2008   41 Comments