Monday, June 14, 2010

On health and on wealth

Last week, I was afflicted with the most serious sense of sickness that I have personally experienced.

(Before I go further, let me just say that I am fine. Better than fine. I am solidly on the road to recovery with no lasting detriment).

I woke up Saturday morning with what I self-diagnosed as two pimples on my jaw. They just looked like small bumps. Not ideal for the day that my parents were in town to celebrate my brother's 21st, but fine. Whatever. I covered them with makeup and moved on with my day, slightly annoyed, but again, whatever.

By Saturday night, I also was in the throes of a bad cold. A knock-me-on-my-ass, need-to-be-in-bed, hydrating-like-the-dickens, cold. Hurt badly to swallow, sneezing, runny nose, cough. Left the 21st birthday miserably early. The whole sha-bang.

Sunday morning. More bumps, more cough. Brutal. Spent most of Sunday in bed (or, more accurately, on the couch watching Law and Order and feeling sorry for myself while eating popsicles). On Sunday night, Scott came over to watch the Blackhawks playoff game, and I was finally convinced (in part by the look on his face) that they were not pimples on my face, but a rash.

(Disgusting, right? I hesitated to even blog about this because really? A rash? Not exactly the way that I want to be visualized. But this is real life. It happens. Over it).

Monday morning I called my Primary Care Physician, and she was able to fit me in that afternoon. She diagnosed me with "probably shingles" in my neck, and a common cold. She wasn't confident in her diagnosis, and that alarmed me. Armed with a prescription for some pills, and an over-the-counter cream, I went home and decided to let the meds do their thing.

Tuesday morning? More cold, more rash, more frustration. My cold seemed to be running it's normal course, but the neck was not good, not better. In fact, it was obviously worse. I called a dermatologist, and they squeezed me in. (I may or may not have started crying over the phone when I was told they could not see me for a few days. Mysteriously, an appointment availed itself).

Two hours later, I walked out of the dermatologists office with a second and a third prescription, and a diagnosis of "a bacterial or viral infection". The cause? Undetermined.

It's been a week, and the meds are doing their thing. I'm better. Much, much better. The lab results came back, and everything is normal, I am fine.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because for the first time in my life, I realize the importance of health insurance. In under 24 hours- a trip to my normal doctor and a specialist. Three prescriptions. Roughly $100 spent in a blink to try to figure out what was wrong with me.

I realize one of the fortunate ones. $100 stood between me and my health. (Frankly, I would have spent 10x that in the shape that I was in). I wanted to go to the doctor, and I went. Bing, bang, easy-breezy. I know that many American's do not have that luxury, and tonight this is really bothering me.

Health insurance is, dare I say it, critical to my well being, and I don't mean physically. The peace of mind that comes with being insured are nearly tangible. I know that the state of health care in this country is laughable, but I believe that better days are ahead.

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