I read this story from Vox this evening and it just devastated me.
Last year around this time I was in and out of the ER more times than I care to admit. By the end of January, I had all but stopped eating, was in pain constantly with burning and tingling nerve sensations, my face had gone numb, and I could no longer balance when standing up. I was checked for appendicitis, TIA/strokes, MS, and a slew of other conditions. The fear that something was really wrong but wasn’t being found led to awful, middle-of-the-night panic attacks, sobbing fests, and ultimately, l quit my job to figure out my health.
Doctors found a benign mass on my liver, which I’m supposed to get checked every couple of months to make sure it hasn’t grown. They gave me medications to help with the burning and panic, and after a few tries, I found some that helped. I got more MRIs in the last year than in the past 10. They said they might have seen a lesion in one of my scans, but I also could have moved in the machine. They were unconcerned. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and they’d check me again next year. Maybe MS. Maybe Lupus. Definitely anxious. Definitely depressed.
My hospital bills amounted to well over $30,000. Some of it was written off, some of it we got help. Even now, one year later we’re still paying those bills, which fucking blows.
Paul said to me recently that he doesn’t really trust insurance. Our deductible is fairly high, so any tests that are run essentially come out of our pocket. What’s the point, he asked.
I read stories like this and I don’t know the point. The joke in our household is that I’m a hypochondriac (and while it’s true that I can work myself up a fair amount, I wouldn’t wish the hell I went through last year on anyone). I’m supposed to get that mass checked out, but I won’t for now. The cost is too expensive. The medications help, but as soon as I try to decrease them my body burns with a vengeance. I’m often tired and sore, feeling like I’ve been run over repeatedly, and my headaches are not a welcome friend. Such is the life of someone with an autoimmune disorder, I guess, but it’s sad to know that this is what the state of medical affairs and the insurance industry has come to. I feel especially bad for people who don’t have insurance at all or have worse conditions than I. It’s not a good time to be anything but well.
Sigh. Have a good night, friends. Take care of yourselves, okay?