I feel I must add an extra post for today because I am in complete disbelief after having read the following comment to someone’s Facebook status regarding the Utah political process: “When the government tries to overstep their bounds, people suddenly become very interested in the political process!”
Now I’m not going to pretend to know much about the healthcare reform bill that was recently passed, but I do know the realities of the current health system and know it doesn’t work and even if it does not all of us are blessed enough to be covered by it.
Up until last October, I had health insurance from the time I was about 18. For a lot of that time, I had great coverage at a very low cost. During that time I broke quite a few bones and even had diskectomy due to two herniated disks. I had no idea of the reality of the world of healthcare for so many Americans.
That was until several things happened in the last few months. I quit my job and moved to Puerto Rico to help care for my Dad. and I started reading my friend Janis’s blog where she often writes about her struggles with the healthcare system as it relates to her son Austin, who is not just the cutest little boy but also a special needs child.
I will allow you to read Janis’s blog to acquaint yourself with her day to day issues but will share with you my recent experiences and can judge if I am overreacting to the comment…
A few months ago my Dad felt a pain in his chest near his heart. We believed it was a sore muscle from sitting and/or lying in the same position most of the day, but since he had heart surgery about a year ago, we didn’t want to take any chances. We headed to the emergency room a little after 9:00 p.m. and it was after 3:00 a.m. when we finally got home. His treatment? I believe the attending doctor took his pulse, his blood pressure and temperature but I’m not sure.
What I am sure of is that nothing, absolutely nothing, else was done to him. In the meantime I was left with the task of helping an elderly patient go from waiting room to bathroom trying to give the requested urine sample. I was left with this task because her brother and sister-in-law were also elderly they couldn’t wait with her and the hospital staff handed her the cup and left her to her own devices. I’ve had long emergency room waits, but that was just beyond comprehension to me. (Sidenote: I do have to say that my dad, who doesn’t get out much, enjoyed having new people to converse with in the waiting room)
I was in California visiting with some friends earlier this month. Midway through my visit I tripped on the sand and twisted my ankle. I stayed in bed with my foot elevated the next day but when by the third day, with only 1 ½ day left before my 12 hour trip home, the pain and swelling had not subsided, a battle between my the pain in foot and the worry about a medical bill I can’t afford began to rage in my mind. Ultimately, the foot pain won and I asked my friend to drop me off at the ER before she headed to LAX to drop off our other friend.
Thankfully, I was only one of two people in the ER and was seen quickly but as I was taken for x-rays my mind couldn’t help but continue to worry about the future bill. I thought to myself: why didn’t I just find the nearest medical supply store to buy some crutches, but having a 12-hour trip home via two different airports just a little over 24 hours away, I knew I couldn’t take any chances. In the end, I was diagnosed with a severe sprained ankle and sent home with a prescription for vicodin, my foot wrapped and those very crutches I considered buying on my own. I haven’t received my bill yet but I will confess that I am afraid. I’m still unemployed and still caring for my Dad and don’t know how or when I will be able to pay it.
Now I ask, if the person whom I quoted above had a special needs child, or poor medical care or as in my case no insurance and having to decide on the feasibility of medical care….would she be complaining about the government overstepping their bounds? Or would she be looking at those who represent her needs in Washington to take a step towards improving the system that no longer works for her?