So in between the network outage fun we’ve been having today, and a whole mess of various unpleasant things happening to various friends of mine (seriously, Monday, KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF), oh hey look the threatened U.S. government shutdown has happened. Because the Republicans have their damn shorts in a twist over the specter of Americans finally getting some goddamn healthcare.
How disgusted am I that the government is even arguing over this? Let’s review my and Dara’s health care timeline, shall we?
2003: I broke my arm.
2004: I had the first half of my thyroid out.
2005: I had the second half of my thyroid out.
2006: Dara got hit by the car.
2007: I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
2007-2009: Assorted lumpectomies, biopses, radiation treatments, and eventual mastectomy and reconstruction work.
2010-2011: Actually got some breathing room for once, and then…
2012: I get smacked with the h. pylori infection. Which, for the record: NOT FUN.
Throughout all of this, I have been fortunate to have regular enough employment with insurance that doesn’t suck that we managed to flounder our way through what out of pocket costs we had to handle–and even with the insurance, the cancer costs alone that Dara and I had to put down were well into five figures.
If we’d had to do this without insurance, it would have bankrupted us a long time ago. As it stands, I’ve simply had to learn to deal with a body that aches in various places from the various medical problems it’s undergone, and Dara and I both have gotten way more familiar with Evergreen Hospital than anyone should ever get with a hospital, except the people that actually work there.
I am beyond grateful that I’ve managed to maintain employment with insurance that doesn’t suck. I’ve been in a situation where that wasn’t the case–because I came out of a childhood and adolescence with a mother who had to fight cancer, and which killed her too damn young. My mother died when she was 38, people. Because we were too damn poor to continue to get her the care she needed. She went through grand mal epileptic seizures through all that I can remember of her life, because she’d had a goddamn tumor in her brain, and she remained in poor health up until the day she died.
And the thing that disgusts me? The thing that really disgusts me? It’s that similar situations continue to happen all over this country.
Time and time again I see good people having to turn to their friends on the Internet to ask for support to get care they desperately need–for surgeries, for cancer treatment, for any host of things that could possibly save their lives or at least lessen some goddamn misery. I see good people having to make their own ailments worse because they can’t actually afford to get treated. I see people having to choose between whether they go to the doctor, or whether they go to the grocery to get food.
But apparently we’re supposed to like this because it’s a free market health care system. Because it’s not a socialist/communist/whatever-ist health care system. Because AMURKA.
I not only don’t like it, I am outright disgusted by how certain parties in our government can turn a blind eye to the suffering Americans undergo every day. But apparently it’s the Americans who don’t actually count: the poor, the women, the non-white, the queer.
(And yeah, I don’t want to think about how much more difficult the medical crap Dara and I have been through would have been if we didn’t live in a queer-friendly part of the country.)
Look, I’m not a hundred percent behind Obama. He’s done some things I have massive issues with. But in this, in trying to get some health care to the Americans that need it the most, I’m actually with him. No, I don’t expect it to be perfect. But I’d much rather see the Republicans in the government pull their heads out of their asses and try to work with him to make the system suck less, rather than holding the government itself hostage.
I’ll be remembering this, people. In memory of my mother, whose birthday would have been TODAY, in fact. And in the name of every American who’s had to suffer rather than get the treatment he or she needs. Because this inhumanity has got to stop.
ETA: I see with grim satisfaction that Margaret and Helen are in accord with me on how the Republican part of Congress needs a bunch of emergency headfromassectomies.
ETA #2: Dara points out that our costs during my cancer care went into six figures, not five. Which only drives my point home harder. It took us until well into 2011 until we finally pulled out of how hard that hit us financially.