When health care gets personal

Two things have happened in the last week that make me wonder how we got here.  I’m sitting here, typing away, and retyping every few keystrokes as my persistent, hacking cough overwhelms me and causes me to type on the wrong keys while I quickly try and cover my mouth.  Sounds attractive, right? Yet I can’t go to the doctor.  I am unemployed, and while I have health insurance it’s not the greatest plan in the world.  I only get to go to the doctor three times a year before I start paying out the wazoo for my visits.  I’ve already been to the dentist, have to have an annual checkup later in the year, which leaves me exactly one doctor’s visit to use at my discretion–in the next 48 weeks.

So is my hacking cough bad enough to go to the doctor now?  What if I get appendicitis? What if I break my wrist?  Then I’m up a creek later in the year because I don’t have the finances to cover a visit.  Sure, I could go to someplace like the Fan Free Clinic, which is a cause I support financially when I am able.  Or I could go to a Doc-in-a-Box where they are required to give you a prescription regardless of condition when you walk in, thereby incurring additional costs that I can’t cover.  It’s a vicious circle.

How did we get here?  Continue reading

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Who knew that John’s Hopkins was in the Ghetto?

Two weeks ago today at this time I was in the backseat of a car, trying desperately not to get carsick, on my way to John’s Hopkins Hospital with my mother and younger brother.  My mom had finally gotten word that a skilled pediatric oncologist who specializes in tumor development was available to see her.  This is the only guy that we know of who has seen multiple cases of her disease, and he is a forerunner in the race to find a way to shrink or eliminate the microphages/tumors growing throughout the body of ECD sufferers.

This is a good thing.  We had waited for this appointment since around the first of the year, and I had been trying to convince  my mother to go for it seems like ages.  While I totally appreciate her perspective of not wanting to be a guinea pig or on display for a classroom, this guy merely wanted a consultation.  He got copies of her tests for the last ten years and then just gave a cursory physical (listen to the chest wall, the heart, look at eyes and ears, etc.).  When word had come a scant week before that he was available we made the arrangements to go quickly, my brother took some time off work, I found a dogsitter, and on a train we rode the day before.

It’s interesting, traveling with your parents as an adult. Continue reading