I know, this is personal and with so much substantive news going on today, it really means nothing in the big picture. However, to me, it means more than words can express.
I'm scared. My insurance company has priced me out entirely. It was awful before, but now I've lost even my 30 hours a week employment, so I have no hope of procuring health insurance.
Whatever happens with reform is not going to be in time to help me. With all my heart, I fervently desire that something gets pushed through, even if imperfect, that will help others in time.
I've struggled with several serious health issues for years now. It took a toll on my 23 year marriage, which didn't survive the stress. It ended just about the time we went into bankruptcy due to medical costs. Not being healthy enough to work, and being covered through my then-husband's insurance, my only option was to turn to COBRA.
I was very fortunate. Although my parents were not well to do, they managed to help me make the COBRA payments. When COBRA expired, I had to turn to HIPAA, and the premiums really began to skyrocket then. To add to the problem, I developed a degenerative bone disease, on top of my other health issues. Aside from HIPAA, I could not purchase coverage from anyone at any price. My parents continued to help me with the payments while I worked through rehabilitation, treatment, and therapy.
Then, my mother became ill with ALS. That devastating disease wiped out all their limited economic resources by the time she died this spring. Their entire life savings... gone.
Because I was having some improvement from the treatments, I was actually able to work about 30 hours a week, for the first time in several years. It felt good to be productive and scrape up enough to keep my treatment going. Well, recently the law firm was hit by current economics and I am once again unemployed.
Although I take numerous medications for my various conditions, the really critical one is the daily injection for my bones. A little over a year ago, I sat down hard and suffered compression fractures at L2, L3, and L4. I was told I'd be in a wheelchair within 2-3 years without proper treatment. I was breaking ribs just by bending over. Bump into a chair? Break a finger or a toe. Step down the wrong way? Broken ankle. After a year of the injections, I've only broken one toe and one finger. Pretty good progress thus far, I'd say.
Just that one prescription is $1,200 a month without insurance. With insurance, my co-pay is $300 a month. But my insurance premiums have been raised yet again. I simply cannot keep sending Blue Cross $1,400 premium checks, nor can I afford the medication on my own.
I have about three or four injections left in my pen and I won't be able to refill the prescription. I needed at least one more year of injections to get sufficient bone growth to even move to a maintainence program on a product like Fosomax. I have too little bone for it to be useful at this time.
I'm apprehensive thinking of what is to come. While I know a wheelchair is not the end of the world, the fact that it is preventable and yet still imminent strikes me as a painful irony. And it sure won't be helpful in my search for employment.
I'm fully aware there are Americans facing worse. People are dying of heart disease, cancer, a myriad of diseases because they cannot get the treatment they need. The implication of the right wing talking points that we don't deserve better because we aren't wealthy enough, haven't worked hard enough (in their opinion,) weren't born into the right family, etc., is outrageous and painful to me.
So today, I sit here scared. No, not just frightened for me, but frightened for so many of us who are watching our time running out and undergoing irreversible consequences while politics play out and Congress takes a vacation. Some of us may not still be here in the Fall, or it may be too late for intervention for some of us.
When I ponder all the implications, not just for the individuals and their families, but for the future of this nation, I am overwhelmed with sadness. All the wasted potential, the emotional pain, the loss of productivity, the diminishing quality of life; it doesn't just affect the afflicted, it affects us all as a nation. Even if we don't place empathy and compassion in the equation, it still leaves an increasing economic morass that will suck in all of us eventually, in either direct or collateral fashion.
This concern, this sadness, this fear, it suddenly feels like a sodden blanket wearing down heavily on me as I feel my hope waivering. That precious hope I still keep trying to cling to, even as the astroturfers try to suffocate it with their shouting, distractions, and disruptions, in their desperate effort to delay reform.
Yep, I could really use a hug today. If you feel so inclined as to oblige, I'd be grateful.