Life without health insurance is not easy. A person will submit to the pain for a longer duration in hopes their body will heal itself. Same thing with colds which can turn into horrible, nasty things.
I’ve moved around the country often enough to not have regular health insurance. When I’ve had it I generally haven’t gotten ill. It’s the irony of insurance.
Without insurance I’ve had to deal with a car accident where the other driver was not insured. I had to have a gland removed surgically from a delicate area. I have a partial tear in my rotator cuff that has been hanging around since 2009 and prevents me from doing most work that I’m qualified for due to repetitive motions or weight lifting restrictions which kills any chance of getting a job that provides insurance. Not to mention the pre-existing condition thing that no longer applies thanks to “ObamaCare”. During the diagnosis of the partial tear a medication was prescribed that put me in the hospital for 4 days, again, no insurance. That bill was nearly $40,000. Since then I’ve also had bulging discs in the lumbar region which was another 3 days in the hospital for a bill around $34,000. Those discs are creating problems again with the joy, I believe, of a pinched Sciatic Nerve. No physical therapy for me. No MRI for an official diagnosis which would lead to the ability to use programs that would help with the pain and physical therapy for both the back and shoulder.
Though I work for myself with essentially no income I do not qualify for Medicaid in this state as I do not have children.
I have found doctor’s offices that offer a sliding scale. I’ve been calling them for a week and have received no response as far as an appointment and basic refills on Ibuprofen and muscle relaxers even though I’ve been there and am an actual patient.
All of this can add up. If I spend a lot of time thinking about it I tend to get pretty angry and frustrated. Why are people trying to block others from getting insurance? Had I been able to fix the shoulder I may have been able to work at more than minimum wage jobs that essentially made the shoulder worse. Had this state expanded the Medicaid program I may have been able to get help for my back and not have it cost thousands of dollars.
I’m not sitting around and not being productive. I am a useful member of Society. Yet when the insurance situation is what it is in this country I don’t get to feel like one. Thanks, politicians. I’m so glad you shut the government down so that people like me can keep racking and stacking medical bills that would bankrupt someone making $200k a year.
While walking on the treadmill today (my personal physical therapy regimen to strengthen the muscles in my back) I was thinking about all of this. Let’s go all hypothetical, shall we?
Suppose I hadn’t moved all around the country. We’ll go back to when I was 20 and working for the Post Office. I was working Data Entry for them in a department that eventually was shut down and moved but we’ll pretend for the sake of argument that didn’t happen.
Now, say my shoulder went all wonky then. It wouldn’t have, due to the job; more likely it would have been carpal tunnel but I digress. I go to the doctor, I get it fixed, I go back to work. I continue merrily working for the Post Office until my retirement because hey, you can’t beat those benefits, right? So, what happens to those books I wanted to write? And, in fact, have written and published? Do you think those would still be around after working 50 hour work weeks? 70 at Christmas? I don’t think so.
My whole life, from about middle school on, there’s been nothing I wanted to do more than write. It’s changed over the years from poetry to non-fiction research books (oh hell no) to romance to mystery to being able to write whatever I want. I’m doing that now and it feels amazing.
Does it counteract the stress and fear of not having medical insurance? Not really BUT if I’m following my own theories and beliefs, I essentially threw my life out there to the Universe and then didn’t listen when It told me what to do. The Universe meant for me to concentrate on my writing and the injuries that prevented me from working may have just been the answer the Universe was giving me and I chose not to listen, at first. Instead I railed against fate and didn’t realize fate was actually offering a hand.
Sometimes it’s all about a change in perspective. Yeah, it sucks that I physically feel like 3/4 of a person sometimes but when I look at it in such a way that I now have all the time in the world to concentrate on what’s important to me, it changes everything.
However. That does not change one thing: ObamaCare/ACA/PPACA is a step in the right direction. If we care about our fellow man we need to think beyond the basic numbers (however many on Medicaid, MediCare, whatever) and instead think about the individuals who are being affected by the decisions made in Washington.
When the country is in a good place and everyone is working we’re happy to have programs that help those less advantaged than we are. When the country is in a bad place, like it has been since the recession, we tend to get angry at any- and everyone. I think it’s because We the People have no control and that’s not a feeling any human being likes. We are not in control of our destinies in this country right now and that has its own side effects.
The debate over healthcare has gotten quite heated. Let’s take a few minutes each and try to change our perspectives and see there’s more to this than one side winning or losing.