Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Real Face of Our Health Care Crises

People who know me know that I am sick. I don't talk about it often here because it is not exactly a part of my life that I embrace with open arms. But my reality is this: I am twenty-five years old and I have Crohn's Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, I am epileptic, I have poly-cystic ovarian disease, and endometriosis. As of today I have not left my house for twenty-two days. Who knows how long it will be before something so important I can't avoid it comes up and I have to go through the hell of leaving my house, fearing my stomach will start and I won't be able to get to a bathroom, that I will be in a public place and I will have a seizure embarrassing me and whoever is with me, that I'll walk out on concrete, seize, and crack my skull open...anything could happen. I also have no insurance. So I get none of the treatment that could possibly improve and maybe save my life. 
I have no job but I am not lazy. I work my ass of every single day to keep up this house, take care of the family I live with including sick, elderly family members and my 16 year old sister, to get my degrees so one day I might have a future that does not involve poverty, and of course I work on my writing so I can one day do better than just existing. I get up everyday after being up all night most nights in severe pain making multiple trips to the bathroom and for five minutes after I wake up I have no pain. And then it slams into me and I am reminded of my body that long ago turned against me. I have to force myself to eat because I haven't really had an appetite in about two years, since this bullshit became a daily thing. Everything I eat, EVERYTHNG, makes the pain worse. Some things more than others. On days when the dehydration gets too bad (because I am dehydrated every day but it can get absolutely debilitating sometimes) I can do nothing but lay chugging my damned poweraids and hoping I will not have to go to the hospital where I am treated like a fucking junkie because I can't go any place else for the fluids and I can't get help.
Speaking of getting help...I had a job when this all first got bad. I lost it, of course, because when I came to work I would have to leave a line of customers to make multiple bathroom trips and because Wal-Mart does not see a doctor's excuse as an excuse saying you were unable to work. On multiple occasions I went in and as soon as I left I headed straight to the hospital to get pumped full of fluids, potassium, and nutrients via an IV. But going to work in that shape wasn't enough to save my job. I went to my local welfare office to try to get not a check but simply a medical card. I was told by three different case workers that my best bet was to get pregnant because then I could get it. Think about that. I cannot support myself and I was told by STATE workers to bring a child I cannot support into the world to get a medical card. Interesting, huh? I was also, at one point, told to marry someone with insurance. When I got a paper from an ER saying I am epileptic, I took that into the welfare office and was told to go through the process they have to get a medical card. I went to see their doctors, had my last appointment last July, and I could have another year to wait for a decision. 
So why am I telling you guys all of this? It isn't for pity. Pity isn't necessary. It is because people need to open their fucking eyes. Health care is not a joke, it's not some abstract thing that affects faceless people. And it is not something to play with for political reasons. I am all for Obama's wanting to do away with pre-existing conditions with insurance and with his wanting to lower insurance cost. That makes sense. But hey, Mr. President, guy I voted for because I thought that when it came to the struggles of the poor you might get it, if I could afford health insurance I would have damned sure had it by now! I doubt that I'm the only one. I need insurance so I can get well enough (because I will never be well and I know that) to go out and make a living, maybe have my life back before I'm too old to live it and then I could get insurance through my job and I would not be where I am right now. It is kind of hard to tell someone like me to buy insurance when we don't have the cash to buy a damned candy bar. And for the woman who wanted to talk about how much human lives are costing you at ER visits, maybe you should look at the hospitals and the free clinics that get loads of money in grants and donations to help the uninsured and refuse to do a damned thing to actually help beyond the absolute basics. And that they only did so if low lives like me go home and die they can say they did something when we were there the night before and hopefully they can avoid a law suit.
Instead of trying to fix all of this bullshit with an equal amount of bullshit like what we see going on in Washington right now, fix the system we have. Yep, there are many people who play the system. Here is the problem. Our system caters to people like that. It is people who might actually go on and be productive members of society that are overlooked. Just because a woman has a kid or a man fathered a child does not mean that person needs a medical card. The child? Absolutely. But once the child is born, why does a perfectly healthy grown person need 18 years of free medical care? You don't know either huh.... Go into your local welfare office and see how many healthy people are in there getting medical from the state despite having no health problems simply because they have kids. Then look around at all of the people who came here from another country that are getting free medical from our government because they WERE NOT born here. Think about that for a minute. Americans are dying while immigrants are getting health care because they are not American on American soil. I'm not talking about the children. I'm not even talking about immigrants who get help until they get on their feet. I am talking about the ones I have met who come here, get on assistance, and live on it for years. And I am mocking the completely stupidity of the concept of overlooking sick Americans in America because they were not born in a foreign country. 

I am tired of people thinking that the sick and uninsured in America are just lazy bums trying to get out of working. News flash. The people who don't want to work are typically not uninsured. They found a way to work the system and the system returned the favor by working for them. No, that is not in any way shape or form a statement about all people on assistance. Not at all. And I am not saying to do away with assistance. What I am saying is that there are millions who need it that cannot get it and millions who use their kids as meal tickets that are on it. Rethink your damned criteria for eligibility. Stop giving people medical simply because they had one kid fourteen years ago. Give adults, all adults (except for those already on SSI and Social Security because they proved eligibility by being approved for these things), medical based on medical conditions. That would be a great first step and maybe it would help give back some dignity to the reputations of people who did not ask to be sick and poor but simply must live with the hand they were dealt. If Obama can get rid of his bullshit tax and part with making people buy insurance even if there is no way they can and simply do something about lowering the cost of insurance and doing away with pre-existing condition clauses that might help as well. But do not blame the sick for being sick. Because one day you could be where I am at and it is one hell of a life to live. 

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