Insurance is a safety net for people who otherwise would have nothing to fall back on in times of distress or need. When I “grew up”, I was told I needed insurance for my car, my health, and my life. I was paying all my usual bills including utilities, tuition, and rent, but on top of that I had to pay bills for insurance. I felt like I was throwing away money because I would never be the person who needed to use it. I was wrong.
When I was in nursing school I was living on campus about two hours from home. Home for me was my mom, dad, and little sister. I would frequently call home and occasionally visit, but the work and stress of nursing school kept me pretty busy. The start of my busiest semester was junior year. We were getting into the real nursing stuff, and we were going to be working closely in hospitals and actually taking care of patients instead of just reading about it. The first week of classes in September was preparing us for all the stress we were about to endure for the next 24 months of our lives. I had gotten a call from my mom the Sunday before my first day and she told me she took my dad into the hospital because he was complaining of back pain after he had been cheering too hard when the Patriots scored a touchdown (not unusual). We assumed he had thrown out his back, strained a muscle, or at worst was dealing with kidney stones that frequented his side of the family. I did not think much of it until the next day when I got another call from my dad. He sounded beaten down, but he was trying to be positive. He told me that what we thought was a minor ache was actually Stage 4B esophageal cancer that had metastasized to his liver. He was told that he had at most 6 months to live without any option for surgery. The only thing I could do was sob uncontrollably. I thought of my future without a father, how my life would be drastically altered from this day forward, and how in the world I was going to be the first in my family to go to college, but not be able to complete it because of this hardship.
My father made it very clear that I had to stay in school. It was not an option for me to quit. Every week I would drive home, go to the palliative chemotherapy treatments with my dad, drive back to the hospital, do my clinical rotation, and then go home and study. It felt like I was always in my care shuttling from one place to another. We were blessed and fortunate enough that my dad’s company had a great medical insurance plan that allowed us to receive top notch medical treatment and care without breaking our bank. My parents are middle class, and a medical expense like the one we were facing would have broken us down financially. My dad beat his 6 month prognosis but unfortunately passed away 13 months after he was diagnosed. He left me, my mom, and my little sister. We were heartbroken and distraught. Without the health insurance and life insurance policy he had in place prior to him getting sick, we would have been up a creek without a paddle in terms of finances. I would have had to drop out of college to help support my mother and sister. The heartache and stress related to my dad’s health would have been ten folds worse if we also had the weight of his medical bills. Without the safety net afforded to us I would have an entirely different trajectory in both my personal and professional life.
The phone call I received on that morning in September was hard to stomach, but because of the families financial responsibility, we were afforded the best medical care and doctors to care for my father. Knowing how close we came to becoming broke due to this illness is hard to stomach, but we got through it because of insurance. My father’s company helped us navigate the life insurance plan my father had and helped us collect what was owed to us to fund my father’s final expenses and finish getting all the affairs in order. Insurance may not have been able to save my father’s life, but it saved me , my mother, and my sister from long term financial distress.
Other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Life Insurance:
Should You Get Life Insurance For Your Child
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