Being a Mom Makes You Tough // more thoughts on healthcare

I’m a klutz.  Certified, tried and true — I am reliably injuring myself in some emergency room-worthy way at least once a year.  Someday, if you should hear I have tragically died, be sure to get the story because it’s bound to be something dumb like me running into a doorway or something silly like that (of course, I hope that doesn’t happen, but let’s just say if it did, I wouldn’t be surprised).

So today, in an effort to take an epic photo of the baby in a pumpkin (thank you, Pinterest, for raising the standard so high that this was my #1 priority today), I sliced my left index finger nice and deep.  [sidenote: I’m currently marveling at my ability to type with 9 fingers… outstanding!]  I realized a few things over the past few hours that seem blog-worthy:

  1. Being a mom has made me way less of a wimp than I used to be.  Having been a life-long klutz, this is not the first time I’ve sliced my finger with a knife.  Every other time something like this has happened, I have been a hysterical mess.  The reality is, it’s usually not the pain that sends me into hysterics, it’s the shock of seeing my body opened up and bleeding.  When I was 19, I got stitches for a similar cut and cried for nearly a day over the ordeal.  This time, however, I haven’t shed a tear and handled it like a pro – a big step for me.  This calm rationale has swept over me telling me, “The body heals.  You’ve been through way worse than this and have come out just fine.  It looks bad now, but this is the worst it will be.”  I guess after healing from childbirth, a cut just seems like no big deal.  Cool.
  2. I probably need stitches, but I’m not getting them.  For me to go to the ER and get stitches will mean at minimum a couple hundred bucks, and that’s with our terrible private insurance.  So, I went to the CVS on the corner and bought some butterfly closures and first aid tape, cleaned the wound and closed it up.  I chose to avoid the hospital in order to save the money.  In this case, probably not a big deal – if the wound doesn’t start looking better in a couple of days, I’ll go to the doctor… but I think decisions like this are the motivation behind healthcare reform, but on a much bigger level.  When someone like me, who could probably find the money to pay the outrageous bill for a few stitches, chooses to avoid seeking medical care because of an exorbitant expense, this is the system failing.  Why should stitches cost hundreds of dollars to get?  Why should health care ever be cost-prohibitive?  Doesn’t that seem evil and wrong?  Shouldn’t we place such a high value on human life that health care is something we just get as citizens?  If a privatized system is resulting in people choosing less-than-adequate healthcare in order to avoid financial collapse, we have a big problem.  (For more of my thoughts on this, read my post about my friend Ron).

Anyway, I hope that when the baby wakes from her nap I can ultimately get that epic pumpkin photo, but for now I feel tough and a little bit angry.

EDIT: Totally not worth it, but the photo is hilarious.

hysterical, but not worth it.
hysterical, but not worth it.
Ron Clark, Before and After

Why Ron Didn’t Have to Die

Ron Clark, Before and After

Our good friend Ron Clark died a few days ago, just a week and a half after his 30th birthday. 

His blog and his incredible wife Heather’s blog chronicled his heroic battle against cancer since 2010.

Ron was the funniest, coolest, sweetest, most selfless guy we knew.  The world is way worse off without him.

Ron’s cancer was due to a rare disease called Von Hippel Lindau (VHL) that has no cure yet.  Coincidentally, May is VHL awareness month. (If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, that’s the same disease Teddy’s husband had).  This disease is genetic and causes tumors to grow and can be very dangerous if unmonitored.  Ron’s previously treated and monitored VHL was left unattended due to a lack of health care/insurance coverage that would allow for preventative care.  While we can’t know for certain what would have happened, it is likely Ron would not have died a few days ago, or have spent the last year and half in a lot of pain if there was healthcare available that would have covered a yearly MRI scan to monitor his VHL.  THIS IS A FAILURE OF THE SYSTEM.

Please take a few minutes and read Heather’s very informative blog post about VHL and the frustrating lack of healthcare available until Ron’s cancer was terminal.  Then, join me in taking action by writing your representatives to encourage them to continue to press the issue of health care reform at the federal level so that this stops happening!

 

[Sidebar: This is likely to be my only political post, and I don’t really feel that this post is about politics as much as it is about basic human rights.  While I know that some readers might not share my thoughts on the necessity for health care reform, I still urge you to help raise awareness, funding for patients, and funding for research on VHL and other rare diseases.]

If you’d like to email your representative and don’t know what to say, copy and paste this message:

To the men and women representing me at the Federal level:

Ron Clark died a few days ago at the age of 30 from cancer caused by a rare genetic disease called Von Hippel Lindau. Ron’s untimely death could have been prevented if he had access to a yearly MRI scan to prevent cancerous tumor growth.  Unfortunately, because Medicaid would not cover this preventative care, and insurance with this preexisting condition was unaffordable for a college student whose parents’ insurance would not cover him, Ron was forced to go 7 years without a scan.  When his body became ravaged with multiple types of terminal cancer, his Medicaid covered thousands of dollars of treatment and care, but that money could have been better spent preventing his death.

I urge you today to continue to find a universal health care option so people like Ron don’t have to die young.  So people with rare diseases aren’t ignored.  So our taxpayer dollars don’t go to helping people die, but helping people live.

[You can read about Ron’s battle and the many frustrating and ridiculous obstacles he faced trying to get help on his blog (http://morelikeasseffect.blogspot.com/ and his wife Heather’s blog http://heatherbelle79.blogspot.com)]