Diagnosis: Female

Cover Image

Jo, a worried-looking woman sits in a Doctor's office opposite a stern, sixty-something male Doctor.

Doctor: There's really no easy way to say this...

Jo: Please, just give it to me straight. What's wrong with me?

Doctor: I got your results back from the lab this morning, and, I'm so sorry, Jo, but it seems that you're a woman.

Jo gasps in horror.

Jo: No, that's impossible. There must be some kind of mistake!

Doctor: I wish that was the case, but I'm afraid the tests are conclusive.

Jo: I just can't believe this... why me? I'm a good person... I pay my taxes...

Doctor: It's a lot to take in, I understand.

The Doctor pours Jo a plastic cup of water from the jug on his desk.

Jo: Is there anything you can do? There has to be something!

Doctor: The condition manifests itself at a genetic level, it's a flaw embedded deep in your DNA... There is gender reassignment of course but...

Jo: Yes! I want that! When's the soonest you can do it?

Doctor: ...but unfortunately, your insurance won't cover it.

Jo: I don't understand?

Doctor: Womanhood is a pre-existing condition. Most likely, you've had it since birth.

Jo: Well, how much would it cost, if I paid out of pocket?

Jo takes a gulp of water.

Doctor: One hundred million dollars.

Flabbergasted, Jo sprays water all over the desk. The Doctor looks deeply unimpressed, dabs his cheek with a handkerchief.

Jo: You're kidding! How am I supposed to afford that? How is anyone...

Doctor: Well, maybe if you'd tried harder at school...

Jo: I got straight As! I have two degrees!

Doctor: Perhaps a little more entrepreneurial spirit?

Jo: I run my own business!

Doctor: Etsy?

Jo: Wall Street!

The Doctor shrugs.

Doctor: These emotional outbursts are par for the course with your condition, unfortunately. I would prescribe something but...

Jo: I'm not covered.

The Doctor feigns empathy.

Jo: How long have I got? 

Doctor: Sixty, maybe seventy years...

Jo holds back tears.

Jo: Oh, God...

The Doctor checks his watch.

Doctor: I'm sure it must be quite overwhelming.

Jo: So, what do I do? What can I do?

Doctor: The condition can't be cured, but it can be managed with some lifestyle changes. (Jo listens eagerly) Quitting your job should be your first step, then, find yourself a husband...maybe a banker or an oil man, settle down, have a couple of kids... keep a low profile and you might just get through this. Some women even manage to lead almost normal lives.

Jo: You said it's genetic... that means I could pass it on to my kids, right?

Doctor: There's a fifty-fifty chance, yes.

Jo takes this bombshell in...

The Doctor is getting impatient.

Doctor: I'm afraid I have other patients waiting. Male patients.

Jo: Of course, I'm sorry to have taken up so much of your time.

She gets up to leave. The Doctor watches her ass as she walks towards the door. She opens the door, turns to look at him.

Jo: One hundred million dollars?

Doctor: Afraid so.

Jo walks out the door, a broken woman.

Created: May 07, 2017

Tags: healthcare, woman, female, sexist, insurance

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