In today’s world there are many things that can come with insurance. Our technology devices, cars, homes, medical needs, pharmaceutical needs, car, disaster and death are just a few of the items we sometimes purchase insurance for.
One of the most common ones that comes to mind is healthcare insurance. Through an experience in my family I really learned the value and assistance that healthcare insurance can provide. When my brother, Noah, was four years old, he woke up and could not walk. The first time it happened my parents just thought he was exaggerating. He was growing and had been playing hard outside. After the third and fourth times my parents took him into a pediatric unit. This was the beginning of a long and devastating journey. At first the doctors did not find anything wrong and just summed it up to something strange, but not long lasting. The concern seemed to be in his lungs, and he suffered from asthma. Noah turned eight the asthma seemed to have gone away and there were a few blissful years. The day junior high sports began, the blissful years ended. According to the doctors, his growing, asthma and stress on his body from the activities were taking their toll. After nine years and five hospitals Noah was diagnosed with Ankyloses Spondylitis Rheumatoid Arthritis. A long name for someone who is depressed, exhausted, unable to participate in activities, bad eye sight, difficulty breathing, and failure of the brain’s limbic system (freeze or flight). The rest of junior high it continued to worsen. By high school Noah was missing one – three days of school per week. He had to realize that unlike his peers, he couldn’t be outside in the winter, didn’t have the strength to participate in sports like he once dreamt of and a variety of pills at morning and night were just his daily routine. His sophomore year was a fast downward spiral. Noah was now only making it to school once or twice a week. He had dropped out of most after school activities and spent most of his time laying on his bed. As his sister, the moment I knew Noah needed help, was when he was laid in bed under his sheets and cried. He had a basketball game that night and wanted to go but simply could not get out of his bed. Through his sniffling he whimpered, “I want to, but I just can’t”. Basketball had become Noah’s passion, it isn’t a contact sport so it allowed his body to play a little. This was the turning point and became final that the things Noah once enjoyed were now causing pain.
At his appointment in Rochester, my parents explained to the doctor it was getting worse and at a rapid rate. The doctor recommended a Pain Rehabilitation Clinic (PRC), it would offer a 3 ½ week long class for the child and their parents to help them learn how to cope with the chronic pain. The catch was, it is only offered at certain times, in Rochester, has a waiting list and is $35000 for the program alone. This large amount of money, did not even include the extra activities that the class offers, meals, lodging and transportation. A parking pass at the hospital was $75 and the cafeteria lunch was an average of $10 per person and lodging was $150 per night. The hotel alone was an extra $4000.
Chronic pain effects 100 million Americans per year. That is a huge number and causes so much more suffering than it appears from the outside looking in. Most of those that suffer from chronic pain are unable to hold a job, have many medical costs and mental suffering. PRC is a program offered in a few hospitals across America. There are two separate programs, one of adults and another for adolescents. The goal of PRC is to help the individual learn how to cope with their chronic pain in a healthy way. The goal is obtained by having various health professionals offer guidance to the families and patient directly. Each family is assigned a personal nurse. This nurse is there for when they have questions on something, helps hold the patient accountable, offers their recommendations, gives pep talks and so much more. Another component of PRC is allowing for the patients to meet others they can relate to. Though it is just a 3 ½ weeks, Noah and my parents met other families who they still communicate with and are planning a reunion for this fall.
Insurance made PRC an option for my brother. He now is playing baseball, has a strong support system, phrases for when he “just needs a moment” to refocus and do deep breathing. He sees a mental health therapist bi-weekly and is living again. He still takes his medicine, but has learned about pain triggers and how they make the pain worse than what it really is.
Being healthy, feeling good and knowing medicines and health care services are readily available is important, and that is why insurance is important to me.
Other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Healthcare:
Health Insurance (Includes Video)
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