Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Own Two Cents

I understand the fears about Universal Health Care.
I am by no means an expert, but I do have quite a few of my own experiences, as well as having family in other countries that have national health care systems in place.
My insurance company was threatening last year not to provide any coverage for the hospital that saved my husbands life. We went through months of anxiety, wondering if we were going to lose everything, because we would end up paying out of pocket for his medical expenses. Fortunately, this didn't happen. Although we have quite a bit we do have to pay for, we were greatly relieved.
The same insurance company also refused initially to pay for the nutritional feeds my husband needed via NG & Gastric tube. The expense of the liquid nutrition, plus equipment is staggering, and that doesn't include the extra protein concoctions I had to purchase, because the feeds barely sustained him nutritionally. And the worst of it was the medical company we dealt with; we were referred to them, and had the initial consult in the hospital, in fact, being ignorant of the process, they were the only one's we were referred to.

This medical company, of course assuming that most people who have health insurance are going to be covered, don't tell you the cost of everything. When I discovered that we were probably not going to be covered for the expense, I was hot on the phone to find out exactly what the costs were, as I would be now be doing some comparison shopping.

It took me over TWO MONTHS to find out the costs. They called us every week without fail, to find out what we needed, but when I started asking what it cost, suddenly, whoever you were speaking to on the phone had to have someone else get back to you, because they didn't have that information. I finally threatened to take our business elsewhere, and to seek legal counsel for unethical consumer practices.

Eventually, the insurance company agreed to pay for the feeds & equipment.

I know many people who have chronic diseases, such as Diabetes. One friend of mine, a former coworker, has to contribute a dear amount to her health premium costs, plus has substantial copays. She cannot afford the out of pocket costs for her test strips, syringes, and even the meds. She is the working poor. And as a result of this, she develops many of the associated medical problems associated with her disease. She misses work, loses wages...it's a vicious cycle.

Many people have misconceptions about national health care programs in other countries, one concern cited is the long wait to see specialists. I have news for you, even with excellent insurance coverage, I've been told that I'd have to wait upwards of 6 months for an appointment with some specialists.

There have been many months in the past, when I could not afford the medications I needed, because we have to pay out of pocket, then get reimbursed at the insurance company's leisure, I might add. It would be fine if they reimbursed in time for me to get my refills, but that's often not the case.

I've been through the experience of being denied coverage for pre existing conditions; in my case pregnancy. I went without prenatal care for a certain period of time, while I scrambled to try to find temporary assistance. I developed complications, partially because when I did finally get approval at a hospital clinic, the care was subpar. It put the life of my unborn child in jeopardy. Both during my prenatal care, and during the delivery. This country has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world; are you kidding me?

These are just my own experiences; I strongly believe that this country needs health care reform; I believe that the concept in itself threatens us to our Capitalist core that we could achieve this. I do think you have to go through your own life experiences in order to form an opinion; and based on what I've seen & experienced here, and in other countries, that we can do better.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Very Best Season

I felt it in the air when I was able to open the windows for the first time since before Winter.
Despite all the recent nasty weather, all my beautiful flowers are coming up quite nicely in my gardens. New mulch ready to be spread in preparation for new plantings.
The doldrums of being indoors for months is lifting; I feel that familiar stir inside of renewal.
I can again hang my wind chimes, which play there magical tunes all during the warm weather months.
The lovely wicker chairs on my front porch are ready for a sprucing up, newly laundered cushions placed on the seats, waiting for many evening chats that take place there, with candles lit, and mugs of coffee or cool drinks in hand.
Soon, there will be the scent of newly cut grass in the air.
This year, I have two beautiful dogs to walk; with trips to our favorite park for picnics and long walks by the water, and the geese & ducks being scattered by the excited curiosity of the rambunctious pups.
It's Spring.
Probably my favorite season of all.
This year, we have much to be joyful about; it is also a renewal of our life together.
Last year, we really had no time to pay attention to the beauty of the season.
We will also be heading down to the NC Coast, with a side trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains as a family. Leaving behind renovations & repairs, the constant reminder of every growing financial concerns. Just for a short time. But, long enough to catch our breath.
I realized all of this when I finally was able to leave the house for a bit, the sun was shining, and the air smelled so clean and fresh.
Today, life is good.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


For a few different reasons, I decided to delete all the previous posts in this blog. I think the main one was because I felt that after the trying times we'd been through in the last year & a half, I needed a fresh start. Am I sorry I did it? Yes, sort of. The entries had a lot of emotion written in them; Hubby's journey with Cancer, my own health struggles, losing my job. I had also considered going private, because of some nasty spamming & emails, and also because I hold a public position in the community (I won't go any further then that) My thinking process has not been very clear lately, I should have just deleted the whole blog, and then could have opened it again. But, what's done is done.

Our life is pretty much returning to whatever normal is for us. Or maybe not. We do our everyday things, Hubby does to work, (I don't go to work now) we worry about money, we worry about the kids, the house, etc. But now there's always that every few months of hubby going through his post treatment checkups & testing, and for a couple of weeks we hold our breath. And then breathe a sigh of relief. And then hold our breath again, because they want to do another test, because they thought they saw something on the PET scan or MRI. And then you do the rounds with the 3 or 4 Drs. involved, who all have different opinions and want different tests. So, actually, it drags out for a month. So far, everything has been positive, but all the anxiety & fear comes rushing back again, even if just for that short period of time.

Plus, my own health issues are dogging my ass. I had a dental procedure, and quickly became ill, turns out all that nasty bacteria was released into my bloodstream, and it's been like a pinball hitting a different part of my body every couple of weeks. Luckily, it hasn't affected my heart, but I'm on antibiotics yet again, because of my kidneys. A neuro consultation at the hospital was screwed up, because they scheduled me with the wrong Dr.

Yeah, I've kicked myself in the ass more then once about being grateful for the blessings we have. And I truly am. But to be honest, I feel like crap, am tired, cranky, and just don't feel like crapping rainbows right now. So I'm not.