On Health Care

I debated about whether to post this because it’s a sore subject for me, and I will have to get personal before you understand how deep my anger runs. So if you have no taste to learn some disquieting facts about my life, then perhaps you should click away.

Now then. I read this and I nearly went blind with rage. (Link courtesy of Carolyn Jewel) For the love of all that’s holy, people who are sick should NOT have to fight the insurance battle while they are also fighting for their very lives. It’s all kinds of wrong. An astronomical number of people cannot even afford health insurance. Some qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. But even more do not for various reasons. They fall through the cracks. So in this festering mess, there used to be the bright spot of, well, if you’re covered at least you’re set. NOT ANYMORE. Now insurance companies will take your money happily… unless you need to file claims. And then they will dump your asses faster than a dirty diaper.

I have no words for how wrong this is. It lights me up like the 4th of July. I’m so mad I can’t sleep right now, which is why I’m about to rant. And share.

When I was pregnant with my first child, it all went pretty well. Right up until the delivery. I was in labor for 25 hours. They eventually had to perform a C-section. My doctor was not available so they tapped a random resident who had NEVER PERFORMED THE SURGERY BEFORE. She butchered me. I have nerve damage; there are places on my stomach where I can only feel pressure, not pain. After the surgery, I asked them not to give me narcotics. I typically cannot take them well. They told me I must take them, and forced Vicodin on me. I did not react well to it. Before I left the hospital, I weighed more than I did before the baby was born. I told the nurse this was wrong. She said, no, a certain amount of weight gain from fluid is normal.

Only it was NOT. They sent me home. I kept gaining more and more fluid at an astronomical rate. By the time I was rushed back to the hospital, I had gained a hundred pounds in water, and my lungs filled. My heart stopped. My oxygen levels were down to nothing. I woke up in the cardiac unit. I had suffered complete cardiovascular failure; at that time I discovered I have a congenital heart defect, WPW, which had gone undiagnosed until the drug taxed my system with a horrendous allergic reaction. (The defect has always been asymptomatic and still is to this day, apart from my body’s response to Vicodin.)

They denied all wrongdoing. But here’s a fact. I had to choose that hospital because it was in my network. I had NO CHOICE but to take that resident to butcher me because she was in my network. I had NO CHOICE but to listen to that nurse, who forced Vicodin on me and who did not listen when I told her before I went home that there was a problem and I didn’t feel right. The insurance system nearly killed me.

Later, when I had my second child, due to insurance, they forced me to labor to deliver vaginally even though I had suffered nerve damage in the C-section, DUE TO INSURANCE. Later, the doctor told me I’d had less than a 33% chance of delivering that way, due to my past medical history and the permanent harm inflicted on me. But my daughter and me? We beat the odds. I did it. I suffered injury (not an episiotomy) that required stitches, but I did it! Fucking bastards. And I am still proud of that success to this day. But with better insurance? They most likely would have just induced and taken her. I would not have labored for 17 hours, due to health risks. But the company I had at the time cared more about minimizing cost than safeguarding my life.

My experience is not unique. Carolyn Jewel nearly died too. Due to insurance. The system is broken. And I am fiercely furious right now about the women who have breast cancer, who are fighting the toughest battle of their lives, and who have been betrayed by the “most civilized country in the world.” As I said on Twitter, running health care for money is beyond immoral. If it’s for profit, it’s not for people.