Saturday, July 18, 2015

I'm Gnashing My Teeth!

Sometimes, I get really mad. I mean I get so mad that I throw things, yell and/or curse.

For years, I have said that if I am sent to hell, it’ll be from hanging window blinds, curtains or drapes. I have bent curtain rods over my knee when they didn’t go up right after the fifth try, and I have said some awful words directed at mini-blinds. This week, I had a somewhat different experience with repairing a pleated blind in our RV, which is a whole new beast. The cord on the right raises the left side of the blind and vice versa, the entire cornice has to be removed to get to the blind, and the clamps that hold the blind in place are “spring-steel” which had already sprung and weren’t springing back to their original shape.

I spent the better part of a day working with that blind and it’s now hanging precariously from its sprung spring-steel clamp. I have dared anyone to touch it.

Reliving this anger made me consider what other things make me really mad. There’s not a person who makes me angry. I have tried to remove myself from toxic people who can have that control over me. I guess I’ve mellowed in my old age.

Several events in the world make me angry – the killing of innocent people in the name of religion, the abuse that women in some Middle Eastern countries endure, the senseless waste of brain and life of an addict.

What makes me angry right now is the cost of health care in this country. To me, it is unforgivable that, in the greatest country in the world, people have to pay so much in order to receive medical care. When a person is truly sick, he/she shouldn’t have to worry about how much the medicine costs or how he/she is going to pay for it. What if it’s your child who needs the medicine or specialized care?

I have always been fortunate to have health insurance, but when my son with Down syndrome was born, our family insurance wasn’t great. He had to have many doctor visits for casting his clubbed feet and eventually surgery to correct the problem. He was hospitalized several times with respiratory problems. We had to make monthly payments to the hospital which I paid off after a few years. Fortunately, he grew out of most of the health problems. However, he needed speech therapy which our insurance wouldn’t cover. I paid out-of-pocket for these sessions, and they were quite costly, but I felt I had no choice. My son needed the best shot possible in order to have intelligible speech.

Finally, a case manager for a state agency told me that if we agreed not to place Drew in state care, he could get Medicaid which would pay for all of his therapies and health care. Placing Drew in state care was never an option to us, but we thought about this a long time because his dad and I always thought Medicaid was for low-income people. We both had jobs and could support Drew; however, we examined the whole picture. What about when Drew became an adult? How would he be covered then? So we went with Medicaid, and I haven’t had to worry about his medical bills since.

Recently, my husband had to start taking numerous medications such as blood thinners, diuretics, blood pressure pills, etc. He is a retired Army veteran so he has Tricare. He is also over 65 and has Medicare. He never has to make a co-payment for a doctor or hospital visit but has a small ($8.00) co-payment for prescriptions.

When he started all of these new meds, we asked the pharmacist about the true cost of some of them. One is a pre-loaded syringe of blood thinner medication, Lovenox. The pharmacist said that one box of ten syringes costs $800. My husband’s dose calls for two shots per day which adds up to 60 syringes per month. A month of this medicine would cost $4,800, but he pays only $16.00. What happens to the person who has to come up with $4,800 each month in order to live? Does he simply not take the meds and hope that he doesn’t have a blood clot or stroke? Does he take half the dose? Does he sell his house and everything he owns in order to afford this necessary medicine?

Insane, isn’t it?

Some people think that Medicaid is only for the low-down, lazy bums, the people who won’t work but instead allow the government to take care of them. That’s not true in all situations. It covers healthcare for many people with a disability.

People either love or hate Obamacare. Honestly, I don’t know enough about it to say if it’s the best way out of this mess or not. However, it's a choice we didn't have before.

There's always the option of writing to your Congressman, to pharmaceutical companies, to someone who might listen and will work toward a solution. If you know a person or agency who can help make a difference, please let me know. 

Something needs to be done about the excessive cost of health care and medication in this country. It’s an abomination that is much greater than hanging window coverings, I know, but both make me gnash my teeth, say bad words and just get really pissed off.