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My husband and I are still as much in love as ever.  In fact we are getting along the best we have in years.  We just had our seventh anniversary and no one is itchy yet.

Unfortunately I am about to bankrupt us.

I am off to the emergency room to be a drain on society.  Please still post any helpful comments for the next person.

Please excuse this diary if there are grammatical errors, I am a little uncomfortable at the moment.

You see the only time I can pee is when I am throwing up.  I have a very mild case of spina bifida and it sometimes causes me to retain urine.  When I had healthcare it was under control.  There was an expensive medication I took to help with the retention and of course whenever I got an infection they gave me antibiotics.

The antibiotics I need are actually free at Publix but I have to pay a doctor to prescribe them.  I have actually been doing well for the 14 months I haven't had insurance, as I have been meticulously careful to avoid infections and I have found Saw Palmetto works almost as the prescription medication (or at least I pretend it does).

Unfortunately the last few months have been especially challenging.  I wont go into it, but it has involved me spending alot of time at the hospital and ICU with insured family members, and I wasn't able to take the care of myself I should have.

Last week I knew I had a urinary infection, since I caught it early I tried to flush it with over the counter pills and cranberry juice.  This actually worked a month or so ago (Or I thought it did).

I experienced the pain I am having now once before, and by the time I got to treatment the next morning it was literally the worst pain I had ever experienced.  They used a catheter to drain the urine and the pain actually went away instantly. I carried a bag for a week and went on the medicine that kept it from happening again.

I do have a wonderful doctor.  He continued prescribing my flomax even after I lost insurance.  But I imagine for his own protection he would order expensive lab tests in order to treat me.  We may be able to afford this but it would kill us financially.

I have been such a  burden on my family.  Right before the recession was officially declared I left my job for a better opportunity.  Unfortunately I was laid off from the job, and the one that came after, I was denied unemployment because I hadn't been on the new job long enough to qualify and I had "willingly" left my old job.

If I was not married I would qualify for medical and prescription help.  However, even with my husbands pay cuts we do not qualify as a family.    

So since I cannot get a divorce in the next few hours, can anyone recommend any kind of free clinic in the west palm/ lake worth area?  Do you think planned parenthood would treat me?

If I go to the hospital, knowing I cannot ever afford to pay the bills, will they go after my husband? (Since we are in Florida the house is safe)    

 

Originally posted to Istillhope on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 01:08 AM PST.

Poll

What should I do?

51%23 votes
15%7 votes
24%11 votes
8%4 votes

| 45 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Call your congress 'critters & a good newspaper (17+ / 0-)

      reporter to begin with.  And keep us informed.

      Oh, & especially the spina bifida association.  Stay in touch here.

      It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Be fearless & show humility. (h/t)Aung San Suu Kyi

      by sturunner on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 01:25:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't like any of your poll options. (4+ / 0-)

      But unfortunately, those are pretty much what the insurance industry would have you choose from.  Others have given much more pragmatic advice than I could offer.  All I can say is to please take care of your health.  I'll bet your husband would certainly want you to.

      I'm truly sorry for you that you have to face this choice.

      "And God separated the light from the dark, and did two loads of laundry"

      by Fiddlegirl on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:06:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Specific info on cranberries, pros and cons (0+ / 0-)

        The Latin name for cranberry is Vaccinium macrocarpon

        Note the language, doctors and scientists are careful to not recommend things that may be of benefit, but are not as effective as antibiotics for them. They are of course, assuming that everyone can afford to go to THEM.

        Information from PubMed tends to be far more useful than information from web sites, etc, but its also far denser for people without scientific backgrounds.. Look up terms you dont understand on a medical dictionary site.

        I should do a diary about this.

        The following are some excerpts from a bunch of different papers. Note that I'm including a bunch of the negative stuff.. because its just as important to see that as the positive. (the drug interaction issue is an important one, if its true.)

        Really, sigh this is something people should discuss with their doctor!

        Read that last, linked paper.. Use the terms you find here to search for other stuff..

        ...RESULTS: Urinary tract infections are very common in women, cause discomfort, and may aggravate other genitourinary conditions. The available scientific information supports a clinical benefit of Vaccinium macrocarpon in the prevention of recurrent UTI in women. There is a non-significant reduction of UTI associated with Vaccinium macrocarpon treatment during pregnancy. A group of proanthocyanidins (PAC) with A-type linkages have been isolated from Vaccinium macrocarpon which inhibit P-fimbriae synthesis and induce a bacterial deformation, on both antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant uropathogenic Escherichia coli. It is plausible that cranberry PAC prevent bacteria from adhering to the uroepithelium of the bladder, thereby blocking the ability of E. coli to infect the urinary mucosa. CONCLUSION: Cranberry treatment is a safe, well-tolerated supplement that does not have significant drug interactions. Although investigations are in the early stages, experimental and preclinical studies suggest that cranberry components may have other potential benefits, including anti-infective, anticancer and antioxidant effects, which may be considered as positive for different age-related conditions. In addition, cranberry components may induce positive cardiovascular and metabolic changes, and may improve neuropsychological activity. These effects warrant further clinical research to better place the role of cranberry products for women....

        .....PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Urinary tract infection (UTI) in children is common (5-10%) and recurs in 10-30%. UTI causes an unpleasant, usually febrile illness in children. This review focuses on studies evaluating interventions to prevent UTI in children and published between January 2007 and June 2008. RECENT FINDINGS: Three relevant updated Cochrane reviews, six randomized trials and an evidence-based guideline were published in the study period. Five of the six trials and one of the three Cochrane updates included data on the effects of relevant interventions in children. Three of the six trials investigated the efficacy of long-term, low-dose antibiotics as prophylaxis, and the other trials and both Cochrane updates evaluated complementary therapies such as vitamin A, probiotics and herbal supplements. SUMMARY: The benefit of prophylactic antibiotics for the prevention of recurrent UTI in children remains unclear because of underpowered and suboptimally designed trials, but these studies suggest that any benefit is likely to be small, and clinical significance may be limited. The trials of complementary interventions (vitamin A, probiotics, cranberry, nasturtium and horseradish) generally gave favourable results but were not conclusive. Children and families who use these products should be aware that further infections are possible despite their use.....

        .....Urinary tract infection (UTI) refers to the presence of clinical signs and symptoms arising from the genitourinary tract plus the presence of one or more micro-organisms in the urine exceeding a threshold value for significance (ranges from 102 to 103 colony-forming units/mL). Infections are localized to the bladder (cystitis), renal parenchyma (pyelonephritis) or prostate (acute or chronic bacterial prostatitis). Single UTI episodes are very common, especially in adult women where there is a 50-fold predominance compared with adult men. In addition, recurrent UTIs are also common, occurring in up to one-third of women after first-episode UTIs. Recurrences requiring intervention are usually defined as two or more episodes over 6 months or three or more episodes over 1 year (this definition applies only to young women with acute uncomplicated UTIs). A cornerstone of prevention of UTI recurrence has been the use of low-dose once-daily or post-coital antimicrobials; however, much interest has surrounded non-antimicrobial-based approaches undergoing investigation such as use of probiotics, vaccines, oligosaccharide inhibitors of bacterial adherence and colonization, and bacterial interference with immunoreactive extracts of Escherichia coli. Local (intravaginal) estrogen therapy has had mixed results to date. Cranberry products in a variety of formulations have also undergone extensive evaluation over several decades in the management of UTIs. At present, there is no evidence that cranberry can be used to treat UTIs. Hence, the focus has been on its use as a preventative strategy. Cranberry has been effective in vitro and in vivo in animals for the prevention of UTI. Cranberry appears to work by inhibiting the adhesion of type I and P-fimbriated uropathogens (e.g. uropathogenic E. coli) to the uroepithelium, thus impairing colonization and subsequent infection. The isolation of the component(s) of cranberry with this activity has been a daunting task, considering the hundreds of compounds found in the fruit and its juice derivatives. Reasonable evidence suggests that the anthocyanidin/proanthocyanidin moieties are potent antiadhesion compounds. However, problems still exist with standardization of cranberry products, which makes it extremely difficult to compare products or extrapolate results. Unfortunately, most clinical trials have had design deficiencies and none have evaluated specific key cranberry-derived compounds considered likely to be active moieties (e.g. proanthocyanidins). In general, the preventive efficacy of cranberry has been variable and modest at best. Meta-analyses have established that recurrence rates over 1 year are reduced approximately 35% in young to middle-aged women. The efficacy of cranberry in other groups (i.e. elderly, paediatric patients, those with neurogenic bladder, those with chronic indwelling urinary catheters) is questionable. Withdrawal rates have been quite high (up to 55%), suggesting that these products may not be acceptable over long periods. Adverse events include gastrointestinal intolerance, weight gain (due to the excessive calorie load) and drug-cranberry interactions (due to the inhibitory effect of flavonoids on cytochrome P450-mediated drug metabolism). The findings of the Cochrane Collaboration support the potential use of cranberry products in the prophylaxis of recurrent UTIs in young and middle-aged women. However, in light of the heterogeneity of clinical study designs and the lack of consensus regarding the dosage regimen and formulation to use, cranberry products cannot be recommended for the prophylaxis of recurrent UTIs at this time.....

        There are lots more..  This one seems most credible + specific.  It is quitepositive, BUT Note that there they are talking about a powdered extract, not juice.

        $4500 is taken out of your taxes to pay for wars, only $260 to $150 to make healthcare affordable for the nation. That's not right

        by Andiamo on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 08:10:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Andiamo, quit prescribing and learn to read. (0+ / 0-)

          In you cut and past job you overlook the conclusions:

          these studies suggest that any benefit is likely to be small, and clinical significance may be limited.
          ...
          At present, there is no evidence that cranberry can be used to treat UTIs
          ...
          In general, the preventive efficacy of cranberry has been variable and modest at best
          ...
          The efficacy of cranberry in other groups ... is questionable. Withdrawal rates have been quite high (up to 55%), suggesting that these products may not be acceptable over long periods. Adverse events include gastrointestinal intolerance, weight gain (due to the excessive calorie load) and drug-cranberry interactions (due to the inhibitory effect of flavonoids on cytochrome P450-mediated drug metabolism).

          You are a jerk, a stupid one, and you need to stop prescribing.

          We are in a time where it is risky NOT to change. Barack Obama 7-30-08

          by samddobermann on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 01:43:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Search out medical clinics that serve (11+ / 0-)

    "the poor". On a sliding scale.

    Planned Parenthood might indeed know where such clinics are in your area.

    Best of success with this.

    Of course, you should just have treatment, period.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 01:37:29 AM PST

  •  Try to find clinic that treats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuestionAuthority

    "poor people". Sliding scale.

    Good idea, Planned Parenthood may indeed be a good lead, they may know where such clinics are in your area.

    Of course, this shouldn't be an issue, you should have treatment.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 01:39:15 AM PST

  •  Here's a web site (13+ / 0-)

    You don't say where in Florida you live, but here is a web site that will give you a list of free clinics in your state.

    Good luck.  I can't believe with the country full of people suffering through no fault of their own, as you are, we don't have even minimal health reform yet.

    •  Believe it. (13+ / 0-)

      The "lucky duckies" who undergo major organ failure - kidney failure, to be specific - get Medicare once they start dialysis, depending on if it's home or in-center dialysis. If you start home dialysis training (which you can't start until you actually have to start dialysis), you get Medicare eligibility from the first day of the first month you're in training. If you start in-center dialysis, you get Medicare eligibility from the first day of the fourth month that you're on dialysis. How anyone is supposed to pay for the first three months is beyond me.

      But at least we "lucky duckies" do get Medicare sooner or later. Too bad the same's not available to everyone of any age, healthy or not; it ought to be.

      Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

      by Kitsap River on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 02:10:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is one reason my parents chose in-home (5+ / 0-)

        dialysis for my father, who is to start in February.  Because it is less costly and you get care starting sooner than you do if you do it in a center.

        •  Good for your father! (4+ / 0-)

          I'm on PD; if he's starting PD, I'll be happy to answer any questions, and I do mean any, even very personal ones, if it will help another PD patient. I've been on PD a bit over 2 years.

          I am hoping my fistula develops so I can start home hemo at some point, unless I can get a transplant this year (which is to be hoped).

          Not everyone feels like they can handle home dialysis. For one thing, it's having a lot of medical stuff come into your home. For another, it's your responsibility if anything goes wrong and you will know it. But for those who can deal with it, the rewards are many: the ability to set your own schedule, a much more relaxed diet, relaxed or even no fluid restrictions, the ability to travel more easily, and the satisfaction that comes from taking care of yourself.

          Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

          by Kitsap River on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 10:53:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  People should read the new Trudy Lieberman column (0+ / 0-)

            stuff thats very specific to the disabled in the new health bill, kind of scary.

            Basically, they are going to keep the two year wait for Medicare after approval. Even though it kills people, it saves money.

            There's also some stuff on the risk pool and high risk pool eligibility and funding situations, which again have not changed.

            In my experience with this kind of people, people need to embarrass them very strongly or they never will change. If they think they can get away with it, they have absolutely no compassion.

  •  Your doctor should be able to (8+ / 0-)

    tell you where to go for treatment on a sliding scale.  It may even be the County Health Dept., a charity sponsored clinic, or even a teaching hospital.

    Lots of people are getting divorced these days due to medical expenses and insurance issues.  I don't know about Florida, but most states have a 90 day "cooling off" period before any divorce may be granted.  As a practical matter, the divorce courts are so overloaded that it will probably take longer than that to move the paperwork through the process.  Contact the court clerk - they probably have a self-help packet that will guide you through an uncontested divorce filing.

    Community property states may be different, but generally, medical bills are personal debt, not marital debt.  There is a legal doctrine that can be applied to modify that.  To the extent that debt is incurred for a "family purpose," creditors may try to collect from your spouse.  Whether, and how that applies, is a matter of state law.  

    "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

    by jlynne on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 02:09:35 AM PST

  •  People used to get married to get insurance. (10+ / 0-)
    The social fabric is past stretching and has reached tearing when people now are getting divorced so only one drowns in hospital bills.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 02:14:13 AM PST

  •  Get the health care you need (10+ / 0-)

    the bills are a pain in the butt, true, and they may substantially affect your quality of life in coming years . . . but it's just money.

    Be together with your husband and live as good a life as you can.  The hospitals and doctors and debt collectors can all go eat shit.  With medical bills you only have to make good faith payments -- you don't have to follow their rules.

    I know this is tough and it's corrupt and it is wrong.  But what the hell -- get the care, skip on the bills.

    I know several people who have done it.  It's how the working class lives now.

    "With all the wit of a stunned trout, prodigal stumbled clumsily into the midst of a discussion . . . " -- droogie6655321

    by prodigal on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 02:50:58 AM PST

    •  Within three or forur years, everybody will be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River

      so buried in debt, most often medical, that they will have to deport everybody to some desert island or something, OR deal with it SENSIBLY.

      The problem with these debts is that the interest often far exceeds what people are able to pay, so they keep growing even if people are making payments.


      That's why the insurance companies are so desperate for their bailout NOW. People are starting to figure out how impossible it is and that they are NOT alone in their pain.

      $4500 is taken out of your taxes to pay for wars, only $260 to $150 to make healthcare affordable for the nation. That's not right

      by Andiamo on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 08:18:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This may not be applicable (11+ / 0-)

    but it might be worth investigating.

    My ex brother-in-law, who has since died, had a hospital bill years ago and he paid it off at twenty dollars a month for years. I scoffed when he told me but he showed me the canceled checks. Point being, if you ask, you might be able to make payments that you can afford.

    I would suggest that if you do try, don't leave yourself penniless at the end of the month. Be realistic and negotiate for the lowest payment that they'll accept.

    You really have nothing to lose by trying. Legal aid might have some better advice, btw.

    Found this article at Boston.com that offers advice.

    Good luck. Being sick is bad enough without this kind of of additional stress.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 02:53:06 AM PST

  •  My roommate Larry, (9+ / 0-)

    who has dealt with these issues for years, told me to write this:

    Your doctor can write off any visits.  Now most of your pharmaceutical companies have what is called patient assistance programs where they base prescriptions off of your income level.  Flomax has a free patient assistance program.  You will enroll and get your Flomax in 90 day increments and not have to pay anything.  Any doctor worth their salt will treat and write off as charitable loss.  The tests can also be written off.  Please respond if you have any questions.  If you are Native American, and have a Certified Degree of Indian Blood card, that can help.  If there is a Catholic hospital in your area, they can write everything off.

    Larry has severe health challenges himself, and he has been treated over the last several years, treatment that would cost big bucks, but he demands treatment, even with no insurance, and he gets treated.

  •  There are far, far, far, worse things (5+ / 0-)

    than living with debt.  Get whatever help you need using whatever means are at your disposal first.  ERs are always an option and Florida has county Health Departments that handle folks on a sliding scale tied to earnings or lack thereof and though you'll have to endure lines, the paperwork is minimal.

    I carry enough debt to make most folks cringe and have for many years, none of which has been paid for years.  The letters eventually subside, as do the calls.  A $50 deposit to a bankruptcy attorney years ago allowed me to deflect calls for about a year, and most of the creditors seemed to have either written it off without recourse or sold it for pennies on the dollar and those guys gave up. I pulled my own credit last year and it shows almost none of the divorce-related hundreds of thousands of dollars owed. I still manage to live life despite it, and you can too. Divorce is simply not a better solution.

    Good Luck

    Woooohoooo Alan Grayson IS my Congressman Life on two wheels is life in balance

    by YaNevaNo on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 03:15:42 AM PST

  •  You might try going to an Urgent Care Clinic (3+ / 0-)

    I did this once for a very painful, yet non-emergency, medical issue and the treatment was excellent.  They even had a small pharmacy on site that carried the more common medications (antbiotics, pain killers, etc.).

    "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." - Albert Schweitzer

    by Apost8 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 04:08:08 AM PST

  •  Community Health Centers. Sliding scale to 0. (5+ / 0-)

    There is a finder:http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

    Just type in your address. They will take good care of you and you can have a continuing relationship. I am sure they can run the tests.

    Federally-funded health centers care for you, even if you have no health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. Health centers provide

      1. checkups when you're well
      2. treatment when you're sick
      3. complete care when you're pregnant
      4. immunizations and checkups for your children
      5. dental care and prescription drugs for your family
      6. mental health and substance abuse care if you need it

    Health centers are in most cities and many rural areas. Type in your address and click the 'Find Health Centers' button to find health centers near you.

    There are 1200 around the country. 1500 more on tap once we pass the fucking bill.

    PASS IT NOW!

    Good luck
    Sam

    We are in a time where it is risky NOT to change. Barack Obama 7-30-08

    by samddobermann on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 04:42:53 AM PST

  •  The fact that this is even happening (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samddobermann, Kitsap River

    The fact that this is even happening daily to thousands in our country is shaming. We need to publicise this kind of situation widely and loudly.

    I refuse to accept that this country cannot take care of its ill citizens without the means to pay.

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

    by QuestionAuthority on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:52:25 AM PST

    •  The people who are being hurt are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River, QuestionAuthority

      those who do have some means. People who make tiny amounts of money, often barely enough to stay housed, are considered to be too rich for help.

      We need single payer, which pays for healthcare out of taxes.

      $4500 is taken out of your taxes to pay for wars, only $260 to $150 to make healthcare affordable for the nation. Is that right?

      End Corporate Personhood! SCOTUS1886 Santa Clara County v.Southern Pacific Railroad was fraudulent!

      by Andiamo on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 07:38:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Medical divorce is a 'sick' solution. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitsap River

    But it is forced upon us. Thousands are having to go through divorce to get care.  Many of them are in terminal situations when the support of loved ones and the community is so important.  Find an attorney who will help you for a reduced rate, paid out over time.  Maybe you could find someone who will do it for free.

    Wish you well.  No one should be living this way in 2010.  Our economy (and therefore, our national character) only supports the rich.

  •  Have you ever tried polyphenols like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AllisonInSeattle

    quercetin and resveratrol? They are both incredibly helpful in a wide range of illnesses. I have no idea if either would help you but its worth trying. Resveratrol is used by grapes to fight infections. When I say incredibly helpful, I mean it.

    They used to be present in the human diet in much higher amounts than they are now so they are clearly not just safe, they also improve health. I don't know offhand what polyphenol is in cranberries but I know that PubMed would probably have that info, it would probably be findable at

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...

    (or whatever term you want to search on, experiment!)

    PubMed is your friend if you have some illness that you want to read up on.

    End Corporate Personhood! SCOTUS1886 Santa Clara County v.Southern Pacific Railroad was fraudulent!

    by Andiamo on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 07:31:11 AM PST

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