Thursday, January 1, 2009

dealing with diabetes in healthcare system

Submitted to these people who never emailed me back. Sorry i don't have cancer. But hey i do prolong death as much as possible.
My dealings with money and healthcare

I have been diagnosed with diabetes for one year. I knew something was wrong with me for a while but since I had no insurance, I didn't go to the doctor. The formula: hospital + doctor equaled to much for me to contemplate. Instead I went to Urgent Care, paid 25 bucks, the nurse tested my sugar, and my sugar was too high (damn you mountain dew!). Instead of recommending a doctor she prescribed me some pills. I came home and forgot about the little pills. Couple days later I had trouble sleeping, was thirsty, and couldn't walk around too much. The Hospital didn't register in my mind because I had no insurance or money. Fortunately I did go, they fixed me up, gave me the basics, I met the hospitals sliding scale papers and my 20,000 dollars bill was covered. (For some reason they kept me in ICU the whole time, which is why the bills is so high).

It's been a year and I have experienced things I never wanted or thought I’d worry about. I originally had help through the Diabetes Educator at my hospital, who said that the American Diabetes As. would help me but through her. I would regularly call her up to have her clear my medicine. There was numerous times when I would go to the pharmacy and she wouldn't have called it in it yet. I would be on the edge of tears when they would tell me the price of my medicine, then I would ask them to check to see if she cleared it, they would shake there heads and wait for me to make the next move. Feeling pitiful and stupid, I walked away. I had bigger bills to pay to be able to keep my standard of living; I couldn't afford my most basic need.

Obviously diabetes is last on the list for bills for me. I stopped going to my diabetes educator when she started telling me she had too many people wanting free medicine. (and when she started being cold towards me) I felt ashamed. As if I was some drugy hanging around his suppliers house just to see if they would give me a fix. There are many times I wanted to tell them: doctors, hospitals, billing, and pharmacy or people in general, that the only time they would care is if I was dying. It's as if I'm being punished, money wise, for wanting to take care of myself so that I don't end up in the hospital again.

My diabetes educator/supplier urged me to find a job with insurance, but being young and wanting to find a job I liked, got in the way. I don't attend or look forward to college anymore for the mere fact that I'm afraid of not being able to be financially "diabetic" But the worse feeling of all is worrying about the cost of diabetes. Worrying about the right insurance while you worry about even making it through your day at work. Looking for the cheapest brands in strips, meters, and even doctors. It seems like when you want to do right for herself you have cut corners to survive financially. I can’t afford to be broke in this economy, dammit I’m diabetic.

I recently went to the doctor and was stunned to find out I had to pay half up front or I wouldn't be able to see her. I already owed money before and assumed they would add it to my total, so I felt rejected. After the appointment I felt like I wasted my money, because the women told me 3 things that helped, equally out to 75 bucks, and she showed no interest in my sugar logs and complaints. I guess you have to spend some money on bad doctors before you get the right one. But how long will my diabetes suffer from having to wait for somebody to listen to me?

Why don't I have insurance? The same reason nobody else does: either the job won't give you enough hours to cover it or your diabetes won't be covered because you have been labeled "pre-existing." I'm to the point where I might actually consider denying insurance based on the fact that Lilly and Sanofo Aventis will cut my free medicine if I have insurance. So if I'm getting insurance, it better me damn good and right away. (update: should have go the damn insurance through my company, now I might get laid off. Fuck cobra)

In conclusion I feel that in able to be financially diabetic, you need to be able to cut corners. It's equivalent to the snake eating it's self. Meaning, I depend on medicine and food but what's the point in buying medicine if you can't buy food? Or having food but no medicine. This snake seems to reflect the rest of my life and it’s choices, from being a regular joe that works and pays his bills to being diabetic jane who has no energy to work as she stresses over bills, juggles being healthy, as she cuts corners in the diabetic department (doctors, meters, needles, meds). With all this weighing on our minds you can’t help but think you’re being punished for being diabetic.

Who really wins in the end, them? Or Us? Or can we outwit them in the end?

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