On February 5 2009, World Cancer Day and the day I started chemo for breast cancer, I also bought a wig - before I went to chemo, in fact.
I liked it in the shop but by the time I left, I started to dislike it. I have never worn it. Instead, it is a permanent fixture on my dining room table, hidden on the side, between the marula seed bowl, the Anne Frank memorial ceramic and other bric a brac.
But damnit, I want the medical aid to pay for it, a sum of about R1400 if I remember correctly and that's excluding the brush, the special shampoo and who know's what else I bought, the only useful thing being the little black cotton cap recommended for "at home" and "when sleeping". I am wearing it even now. So that was well worth the R180 I think it cost, which seemed outrageous at the time. In fact, such a little cap is a must if having chemo for breast cancer as you can even wear it under those attractive, but itchy, 'fur' hats.
Anyway I have submitted the bill for the wig to the medical aid about five times. At first they did not respond at all. Then I complained, emailed instead of faxing it, got an automatic response saying they would look into it, but nothing happened.
I had arguments with the damn medical aid. "I have cancer and your oncology benefit you sent me the details of states that you pay for a wig if you lose your hair with treatment." "Rubbish," they responded, "the wig is not from the oncology programme but comes out of your savings plan." But they still did not pay. "No practice number" I was told. "But they are not a medical practice; they supply wigs," I protested. "You must get a letter of motivation from your oncologist," was their response.
So off I trotted to the oncology centre only to be told the dame who does these letters was on leave. And back today. And what does she tell me today? To re-submit it, using the oncologist's practice number, which she gave me.
What a to-do, and only because it was not explained clearly by the oncology centre in the first place. And then by the medical aid in the second place.