I was one of those people who was thrilled that the president was actually going to take on health care. I didn't think Obamacare went far enough, but I was really pleased that something, anything, would start to change a very broken system.
So, Obamacare passed by a hair and the first provisions started to come through. I'm self employed and for the first time EVER, my premium went down this year and I have better coverage. Yippee skippee for me. I win. Gotta love that Obamacare.
Little did I know that this would all hit home in a big way. Here's my story:
My 23-year-old nephew is a shining light in my life. I adore him and have since he was born. He's unique, thoughtful, creative and bright. He's talented with all kinds of things but is an exceptional dog handler and trainer. He LOVES his work. And though he works at a great place, it was a good long while before he would be eligible for benefits. The moment the Obamacare provision came into play that allowed kids up to age 26 to be on their parent's insurance, my sister added him to her policy and breathed a sigh of relief.
Now, here we are a year later. Last week my nephew was battling a headache. He'd recently gone off caffeine. Seems logical that a headache would follow, you know? We kept in touch with him each day and checked to see if he wanted to go see a doctor. He kept saying no. Not because of the expense, of course, but because he thought it would get better with more Advil and some sleep. Sunday he called his mom and said he really needed to go to Urgent Care. The headache was unbearable.
At Urgent Care he was diagnosed with a migraine. They gave him some medication for pain. Then the doc ordered a CT just to make sure. (In the words of a doctor friend, that wasn't usual medicine, but it was good medicine.) An hour later, the CT was done and it showed some abnormalities. So, they admitted him to the hospital for observation and an MRI. Then they moved him to ICU. Then they did an MRV. Then a full body scan. Yes, it's everyone's worst nightmare. He has a couple of growths in his brain that are causing major problems.
As he's endured monumental pain, the most amazing diagnostic team has been trying to figure out what's going on. It is mysterious. Nothing is showing up with flags or bells and whistles as "the" answer. But right now, as I write, they're figuring it out even more. He's in surgery to have the first tumor removed. It will ease the pressure and give them something to biopsy.
I don't need to tell anyone how scary all of this is. It's just as bad as you'd imagine it could be. But, I'll tell you what has made it bearable: he's getting great care. It started when that first CT was ordered by the Urgent Care doc and continued all through both nights in ICU, batteries of tests, multiple exams by specialists, blood work and more. We've worried about him, but not about his care. And we have never given a moment's thought to the costs of any of it. They are doing what they need to do to save his life. And that is exactly how it should be when the worst thing strikes.
Long ago my dad told me the family became hardcore Democrats during FDR's first hundred days. FDR (literally) saved their family from starving to death. Today, Obamacare is just as important to my nephew's survival as FDR's work was for my fathers survival 80 years ago. I am grateful beyond measure.