Saturday, May 11, 2013

Round Two

So... apparently, Wonder Woman wasn't as buoyant as I thought.

I went to bed Thursday night with every intention of going to school on Friday. I even texted with a few Key Clubbers to arrange to borrow Wii games and a popcorn machine for the event after school Friday. During the many times I woke up during Thursday night/Friday morning though, the more apparent it became that plan was not going to work. My throat pain only grew worse and sleep was elusive.

I should have followed my own instinct Thursday and went to the doctor to be checked for strep. However, upon the nurse's recommendation to give it a day's rest first, it was easy to romance myself into following that notion and avoiding the deep-throat assault of a strep test. I did make a doctor's appointment Friday morning though... and, alas, it was strep (making me one of the 5-10% cases that are adult.)

After a day of regularly scheduled Keflex/Tylenol/Sucrets cocktails, the pain has subsided to a mild discomfort. That is an extreme improvement from just laying on my side and drooling onto a towel because the instinctual swallowing we do with the saliva our mouths produce felt like glass shards raking down my throat. (TMI?)

Looking back over the last twenty-four hours, at how easy it was to get into to see the doctor and how easy it was to confirm a diagnosis, and how quick it was to get the prescription filled and how quickly the antibiotic took effect, it has left me pondering on the "luxury" of health insurance.

Some parts of my childhood were spent uninsured, others I had Medicaid. The Emergency Room was my doctor's office, because you didn't have to pay when you went. I would venture to guess many of those bills were left unpaid altogether. It took a while for me to mature into the adult role of being insured, or seeing the importance of having medical insurance. It was during an appointment at the free clinic for birth control when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son (I always was a bit of a procrastinator.) I had sat in the waiting room of that free clinic often through my childhood waiting for my mother during her appointments.

Working for the hospital was probably my first "real" job, certainly the first time I ever remember being offered health insurance. It was a much higher monthly charge during the first 3 or 6 months of employment, so I chose to hold off until the rate dropped to enroll. Doing so, gave me the very unique experience of enduring the exact same medical issue twice, once as an uninsured patient and once as insured.

I had a peri-rectal cyst that was extremely painful. When I was uninsured, the doctor sent me back home and told me to try Aleve for a couple of weeks to see if it helped. It didn't. I remember laying on the couch, in agony, trying to lie perfectly still as my mother cared for Justin. When I went back two weeks later and the cyst had only become more aggravated, and the surgeons scheduled an outpatient surgery to drain it.

Fast-forward a year or two, following the physical stress of Cameron's birth, when the cyst returned. At this point, I had insurance. Upon my first doctor's appointment, for which the cyst was less painful than my previous experience, I was admitted directly into the hospital, given a private room in the case there should be drainage issues, given narcotic meds for pain, and stayed overnight following the drainage for follow-up care, then sent home with more meds for any discomfort.

Quite the different experience. It was eye-opening.

There are many things for which I am made thankful from Jason's military career. His paid college education and the retirement check that pays a big chunk of our mortgage are indeed high priority on that Thankful List. Also, equally high (if not higher) is the medical insurance we will have for the rest of our lives... at no cost. A couple of years ago, something with the insurance or military medical ticked me off. It was so nominal I can't even remember the circumstances now. But as a knee-jerk reaction at the time, I said I would just get insurance through the school and not worry with it any more... then I found out for the first time how much my co-workers pay for health insurance... like $800/month for a family. I cannot fathom that! I cannot fathom paying HALF of that monthly! We would have to make a financial sacrifice or change a significant part of our living style, such as our house/mortgage to be able to afford that!

I know that Healthcare and Healthcare Reform are political hot topics. I am not informed on the issues and have no real opinions on such. It's just hard to believe that SOME kind of reform somewhere is not in order. In the mean time, I am just so very thankful for that "luxury" of being able to go to the doctor and being able to get medicine that I or my children need. My heart aches for those mothers who cannot afford that same "luxury."

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