17 Paige T

For years our family activity and adventure choices have been controlled by my mother’s severe pain issues.  There were days where just standing, sitting, walking and even laying down could cause pain. We would have to think about whether or not she would be able to keep up with the rest of us on something as simple as a long walk on the beach or if she could comfortably sit in the car long enough for us to reach our destination. Even though she would repeatedly assure us it would be okay for us to go without her, we never wanted to do that. We are a family…we stick together. We would try to think of things we could do together that she could be a part of, even if it was staying home to watch a family movie together or playing a game.

She spent endless hours going to doctors. The doctors would send her to specialists. The specialists would scratch their heads and say it didn’t fit any of the known afflictions that were in their wheelhouse, so they would send her to a different specialist. This continued for almost two years. Test after test, x-rays, MRI’s, physical therapy and injections. Driving from appointment to appointment. Taking time away from work or family hoping the next doctor or specialist would be the one to figure out the puzzle. Playing the medical game known as “Process of Elimination”. While living through this process was extremely frustrating and disheartening we would have never been able to go through all these steps without medical insurance.

If my mother or family didn’t have medical insurance she would most likely be living the rest of her life in pain.  She wouldn’t have known where to start and what steps she needed to take to go through the hoops of finding a medical diagnosis. Thankfully and gratefully my mother does have health insurance provided by her employer. She was fortunate enough that the medical group associated with her plan is a superior one and while the “Process of Elimination Game” got old, it also got her some answers and quality care.

The diagnosis was spinal stenosis and wouldn’t you know? Several cysts had grown around the pinched area adding to the pain party. Surgery was a necessity and the medical plan through her insurance matched her up with an amazing knowledgeable and experienced surgeon. He explained the upcoming procedure and answered all her questions with patience and kindness.

Within weeks of the diagnosis the surgeon was able to perform the necessary surgery and my mother noticed the difference right away. She recovered for two days in a beautiful hospital room with excellent care. While in the hospital she was visited by both a physical therapist and an occupational therapist making sure she was capable to be released. She was sent home with all the tools she needed to take care of herself while continuing to heal. There were several follow up appointments with the surgeon and even weeks of physical therapy. All of this made possible through her health insurance.

Months later an itemized statement was sent to us from the hospital and surgeon. The amounts were astronomical! Our jaws dropped to the ground as we read through line by line the amounts charged for everything from anesthesia to the tape used to secure the bandages. At the bottom of the page it listed the total price, the amount covered by her insurance company and the amount we needed to pay. We took that moment to talk about how fortunate we are that she had the coverage. We spoke of how we couldn’t imagine what someone without coverage would have to do in order to take care of their health. Living with pain significantly diminishes a persons quality of life.

Having insurance is so important to me. As a seventeen year old student I’ve only had experience with car and heath insurance. I understand that both of those are required for everyone to have and after going through my moms medical experiences I can understand why. Anything to do within the field of medicine is so expensive. Without insurance people would avoid treatment, put themselves into debt or default on payments. I am so thankful my mom was covered as much as she was by her medical insurance. The difference in her is amazing. We no longer have to allow her pain control our future activities. We are able to plan a wide assortment of activities adding to the experiences and memories we will create as a family.

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