I’m going to see my chiropractor this morning, so I’m going to mention the pain I’ve been experiencing in my knuckles. It’s been going on for a couple of months and I’m hoping it’s just that I’m getting older and am more sensitive to the weather. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to know, however. For a number of reasons, my immune system started attacking different systems in my body and this lead to not just the problems with my thyroid, but other issues as well. Because I’ve been ill for so long and so many different things have happened, I dread getting my joints checked out. I don’t know about others, but with my being chronically ill, every time I get some ache or pain, there’s a part of me that assumes some new illness or problem has started: I’m always paranoid that something else is going wrong.
I don’t want to get into a whole discussion about health care and politics. There’s just too much contentiousness and conflict out there and, quite frankly, I have plenty of issues in my own life to deal with without getting into arguments with other people. What I can say speaks to my own experience, not vague scenarios. Originally, I had a good job. The insurance I had with the company was the best in the state and my wife and I bought into the highest level of coverage available (because we were anticipating our son’s birth). Since then, my son got sick, I continue to be sick, I haven’t been able to work in many years and all the retirement, savings and credit we once had was wiped out more than 10 years ago. I never minded paying my fair share. I don’t even mind paying more than my fair share if that would help others in more dire circumstances. The problem is that I’ve become nothing more than an income stream.
When my son and I both started getting sick, we were both misdiagnosed. Fortunately, we kept going to different doctors and hospitals until we found out what was going on and what we could do about it. For me, it took longer. I started getting ill in 1998 and it wasn’t until 2011 that I finally found someone who accurately diagnosed what was going on and knew what to do about it.
After I had lost my tech job, I tried to work somewhere, at something. The only work I could get, even as I continued to be misdiagnosed and my health increasingly declined, was part time work at a minimum wage job. I took it just to continue working and contribute. I made $ 200 a week, before taxes. The insurance from that job didn’t even cover the $ 300 of medications I was being prescribed at the time. Years later I came to find that not only were the medications not helpful, but they contributed to my health problems getting worse. Even today, the helpful supplementation which my chiropractor prescribes – and which actually work – aren’t covered, so they remain out of pocket costs. I can’t even get a renewal of my synthroid medication without having to go in to an medical doctors office and pay for a visit. I don’t take any controlled substances. The dosage rarely changes (and not by much). I don’t even have to get blood-work done. The doctor comes in a and says “you need a refill.” I say “yes.” The doctor goes to her lap top and clicks a button. Then says “okay, it’s waiting for you at the pharmacy.”
The frustrating thing is that I’ve never asked for something for nothing. Before I got sick I worked hard and played by the rules. I did all the things I was supposed too and didn’t expect hand outs or freebee’s. I actually could have gotten my college tuition from my grandparents, but felt at the time that it wasn’t their place to do what my parents were supposed to do in the first place. So I worked and paid my own way without asking for anything from anyone.
The frustrating thing is that I have nothing to show for any of it.
The frustrating thing is that when I did get sick, no one believed it. I was told I was just lazy or misdiagnosed with depression. (depression certainly is valid, but it’s just not something I struggle with personally).
The frustrating thing is that the only thing I’m valued for at this point is a continued income stream.
The frustrating thing is that now that I am sick, no one want’s what I can offer and I’m only viewed as a “preexisting condition.”
As I said before, I hope my joints hurt because I’m just getting older and the weather effects them. I don’t need another illness to contend with.
Sorry for the bummer entry. I’ll be okay, it just is what it is.
Be Well, My Friends