I'd love to write a letter to the editor about health care reform to our local newspaper, even though it will be lonely in that section, what with all the hysterical conservative screamers that write in. I'd love to do that, except I'm all booked up fretting about my own health and lack of health care.
When I look back on that sentence, I realize people could be led to believe that I don't have health insurance. But I do! I have good health insurance! I pay small co-pays, and get cheap medications--all that stuff. Here's the problem--it's very difficult for me to get actual health care, even with my elite membership.
Conservative screamers, I have a hard time believing that socialized medicine could be any worse than what I'm dealing with now. Cliff Notes:
4/30: Growth in uterus found via ultrasound which was presumably causing my severe anemia which made me extremely ill and fragile over Christmas. I know! Me? Fragile? Insanity.
7/14: Simple surgery to remove the growth and hopefully end this story.
8/31: Surgical follow-up appointment to make sure I'm not having any problems.
Did you get that? It took them 2 1/2 months to remove the damned thing. Then 6 weeks to make sure that the surgery was a success. When I think of all that waiting, I think of the pictures of the Soviet Union and China that the educational system placed in my head back in the Reagan years. When I go into the clinic at the end of the month, I'll put a potato in my apron pocket to eat for lunch.
So the problem is that I have been having these weird abdominal pains. You'd never believe it, but I actually will ignore a lot of pain and discomfort to avoid going to the doctor. Appointments of any kind interrupt my flow. They are inefficient, with all that waiting. And half the time it seems like the appointment was not necessary. So I'd rather wait out the problem and continue with my business. So when I tell you that I stopped what I was doing today to call the harsh mistress in charge of appointments at the surgical clinic, you know my concern was real.
I feel as if a pencil is trying to poke its way out of my abdomen. About an inch away from my belly button. And then there's the hip pain. It disappeared after the surgery, presumably because the polyp was pushing against it. Now it's back. How fast does this shit grow? Is there a zucchini plant in my abdomen?
The bitch on the other end of the line tells me there's no way to get me in sooner. She'll have a nurse call me back with advice. I assume the advice she'll give me is to move to fucking Cuba. I do like a Mojito.
So MoveOn, I'd love to write that letter, because I feel very strongly about this issue. Not for me (although it would be really nice for me), but for the people I see all the time in this impoverished foothill county. There's that guy at the soup kitchen with the stinky infected wound on his chest. He treats it with this strange ointment he orders from Australia or somewhere and walks around in a white undershirt torn down the center so that nothing touches his wound. Let's just say when I get to the soup kitchen, my nose can tell me whether he's been there yet. That guy is in the VA system, but the VA hospital is about 90 minutes away, and he's not flush with gas money.
But because the screamers don't want to think about guys like this--to them poverty is a personal failing, or if not that, the problem of family members--here's some food for thought. I am a middle-class, college educated person. I work. My husband works. We make decent money. We have IRAs and CDs and college funds. We have no car payment, no silly luxuries, and we are not upside down on our mortgage. We have all the advantages of our very fortunate upbringing keeping us in the same group as you: people who do not need government-sponsored health insurance.
But here's where the storm clouds gather. I have a medical issue. It is an expensive one! It is recurrent! And no matter how responsible I am, and no matter how upstanding a citizen, if my husband loses his job, we will be 100% FUCKED. My husband does local government work, so a layoff is a very likely possibility. The third round of layoffs is coming up. It could be him this time. Then we will lose our health insurance.
Sure, we'll have an insanely expensive Cobra option for a while, but eventually, we'll have to switch. And guess who is not going to be covered because of her pre-existing conditions? And guess who will invariably have more problems to pay out of pocket? I make too much to get Medicaid, and my employer isn't offering me insurance because I'm part-time.
I can kiss my savings, the college fund, the house, my credit score goodbye. It's all going to go right into the toilet, perhaps leaving me no choice but to suck the collective wallet of the U.S. absolutely dry.
So screamer, it might be me, but it could also be you. It would take less than a week for you to land in my shoes. Get into a debilitating car wreck and get laid off in the same week? It could happen.
My biggest problem with the screamers? They are stupid.
A. They believe that poverty only happens to people with some personal or moral failing.
They believe this because they have no imagination, no empathy, or perhaps they've never travelled outside their own bubble? I'm not sure, but I'm tired of talking to them.
B. They believe that they are an island, and that their money should not be used for the collective good.
Too stupid to realize that they are benefitted in a thousand ways daily from the things that were bought with taxpayer money, these people soldier on, smugly comfortable that the uninsured will die like dogs, yet chitchatting with them in a very friendly manner as they check out at Walmart.
Screw you, screamers. I know I won't change your mind, because your minds don't want to be changed. When you truly need help it won't be there, and you'll only have yourself to blame.