Roughly ten years ago, I became disgusted with both political parties. I was tired of the bickering; I was tired of the lack of consideration for Americans. It was apparent to me that Republicans and Democrats only cared about their Party. In which they used elections as a type of beauty pageant where the winner receives a crown of power and bouquet of American lives.
In reaction to their disappointing antics, I exercised my right to vote for a third party. I chose to vote for the Green party every chance I had. I don’t believe in their rhetoric. Embarrassingly, I have no clue what they believe in. My vote was more of a protest, a protest against the two-party-centric-system. If I stayed home, my non-vote wouldn’t have made a difference. Placing my vote for a third party would send a message that I wish for another choice. I knew that the Green party wouldn’t win, and that was not the intention of my vote. It was simply a protest.
I still believe in my protest. Yet, circumstances have changed.
During the previous week, I learned the meaning of fear. I learned what it was like to feel less than nothing, a little fish in a big pond.
Last Monday I had a small scare. It was a bad acid reflux episode that lasted a few minutes. It felt like hours. The pain was so acute that I broke out in a cold sweat and nearly fainted. This happened at my job.
If you follow my blog, you know that I’m a substitute teacher at a local high school. I can only thank my lucky stars that it was my lunch hour, and I didn’t have a class at the time.
After the episode, my digestive track was uncomfortable like a volcano threatening to erupt a second time. I didn’t have another episode that day so I went about my business.
Wednesday night, after dinner, I had another episode where the acute pain peaked twice. It lasted maybe ten minutes. Still felt like hours. I had the cold sweat and the threat of fainting that I often get with severe pain.
Unfortunately, this last episode left me with more than a simple feeling of digestive discomfort. My insides literally felt bruised. This left me worried, stressed, and scared. Questions and thoughts rapidly filtered through my mind.
Is there more wrong with me than simply bad acid reflux? Should I go to the ER? Do I have an infected gallbladder and the gallstones associated? That required surgery! I don’t have health insurance! (If you’ll remember, I attempted to get health insurance. Yet couldn’t afford it because they used my height and weight as preexisting conditions.) I can’t let my work down. They trust me to do my job. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. If I need surgery, then how would I pay for it since, for me, no work equals no pay?
These are thoughts and feelings that no American should have. Everyone should have access to affordable health care to have the confidence to see medical professionals instead of attempting to diagnose themselves and have an internal argument about going to the ER!
I ultimately regulated what I ate (i.e., nothing harsh, fatty, caffeinated, etc.), went to work, and prayed that I made it through to the weekend. The weekend is the only time that I had available to go to a clinic. I visited the Walgreens Take Care Clinic on Saturday to no avail. They suggested I see a doctor and gave me a list of local clinics with prorated prices based on income.
None of them were open on the weekend.
Luckily, I managed to go to a clinic on Monday that happened to be open late. They were located inside a hospital. They would surely be able to help.
My luck was false. While the people at the clinic were nice, they were not affiliated with the hospital and did not have access to the needed technology to diagnose or help me. They highly suggested I go to the ER down the hall.
I spoke with the ER receptionist about financial options. Was there a program that could help defer the cost for those without health insurance? Not if that person was working! They did have payment plan options and if I opted for the ER visit, my bill would range from $1,000 to $5,000.
The receptionist suggested I see my general physician if I had one. I did and I would love to pay her $200 visitation fee. My general physician was not an option. She will not see me without that covetously lovely thing called “health insurance.”
I thanked the receptionist for her advice and moved away from her desk. In the middle of the ER waiting room, I stood there to absorb my chaotic emotions and think. No financially viable establishment could or would help me. I didn’t have an extra few thousand dollars laying around for an ER visit. Unless I was dying or my situation was life threatening (something I wasn’t sure of), the ER wasn’t a logical option.
Forcing my fear into submission, I opted to wait till an ER visit was unavoidable and wondered if I would be able to pen a small note telling the EMT’s to not resuscitate me. In my case, dying is the cheaper option.
No American should go through the situation I went through. They should not have to feel the unruly emotions and weigh options regarding their health.
If the Supreme Court leaves the Affordable Care Act alone, I’ll have a better chance of seeing a doctor when faced with a similar situation after 2014 – I whole heartedly pray for that day.
It’s not perfect; yet, it’s something. If a Republican becomes President, they’ll take that little ray of hope away from me, a person who works hard at her low-paying part-time job in addition to finding a full-time job.
I’m not a moocher. I don’t seek to nor have I ever lived off the hard work of non-familial Americans. What I want is my right to the American Dream and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness stated in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence!
It is my inheritance from the brave revolutionaries that fought for this country’s freedom from British rule. It was the revolutionaries’ belief that everyone should have those rights and I’m demanding the government give me those rights, not take them away from me.