Madeline S

Today’s society has made leaps and bounds in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. It is for this reason that I am alive today. Had my family not had the medical care available to us when I was a child, I would not have been able to thrive, or even live through my childhood years. However, the life-saving technology and medications that have been developed come at a cost to consumers. It is for this reason, that insurance has saved my life and given me the opportunity to thrive and care for others the way that I have been cared for by my doctors.

When I was a toddler, only a year old, my parents handed me peanut butter toast shortly after my pediatrician had given them the go-ahead. He had told them that I was out of the woods for the choking hazard aspect of the food. My mother has relayed this story to me many times, telling me that she knew within seconds after watching me take my first bite that something was not right. My skin became covered with hives, and I struggled to breathe as my small throat began to close. My body was rejecting the peanuts as if they were poison. My parents rushed me to the doctor, to find out that I was having an allergic reaction. I was in anaphylactic shock from the peanut butter my parents had innocently spread on my toast. This was not just a mundane reaction however, like one someone who is allergic to a dog may have, with a stuffy nose and runny eyes. This reaction was one so severe that my parents were told it indicated my allergy would probably never go away, and just as they predicted, it has not.

As I got older, my health problems multiplied. Every year I got tested, which included endless bee-sting like pricks in my back, hypodermic needles in my arm, and blood tests. And every year, my allergy seemed to get worse. My parents were taught how to prevent contact with my allergen, and what would happen if I were to react again and how to save me in such a situation. Unfortunately, though, my anaphylaxis was not the end of my health problems. Severe asthma attacks put me in the Barbra Bush Children’s Wing at Maine Medical Center on numerous occasions where supplementary oxygen kept me alive. Cold air and the common cold would put me in the hospital with pneumonia at least once a year. Every year when it came time to go back to the allergist, a new allergy seemed to develop. First tree nuts, then shrimp, shellfish, then dogs and cats, and pine nuts. The complications seemed endless. Thankfully though, I have been fortunate enough to have an amazing team of doctors who have walked me through my allergy, asthma, several medication changes, and every disastrous cold and flu season. However, these life-saving tests, people, and treatments come with a high price tag, and unfortunately one that would have crippled my family financially had it not been for insurance.

I didn’t realize until I turned 18 how expensive my health was. The one inhaler that has ever worked for me doesn’t come in an off-name brand and could cost me an arm and a leg every two months. The yearly chest x-rays, testing for pneumonia, could have drained my parent’s savings every year. However, this has never been the case, because of health insurance. I truly believe that if it hadn’t been for insurance, my parents could never have afforded the proper healthcare that I needed as a child to diagnose and treat my medical disabilities. Thanks to insurance though, they gave  me all of the medical attention that I needed, and now we have control over my disabilities, and they do not affect my day-to-day life. It is because of this that I can thrive and work towards achieving my goals.

When I moved away from home to begin college, I was worried that my disability would get in the way of my education. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to help people the way that my doctors helped me. I could not let my medical problems get in the way of this goal. Insurance has given me stability so that the cost of my healthcare hasn’t needed to be a priority. I have focused any financial resources available to me on my education, and saving for medical school. I can focus on studying instead of working so I can pay for my medications. I can spend time applying to internships instead of at the hospital, because I have control over my disabilities. None of this would be possible if my family had not had the resources to provide me with the healthcare that I received as a child, or if I had been forced to go to work to pay for hospital trips and medication instead of going to college.

It is because of insurance that I am where I am now, in college, doing everything I can to become a doctor. Insurance has provided me with the opportunity to help children in the same life-threatening situation that I was in. Insurance has given me the opportunity to give future generations of children the same opportunity that I have had, so that they too may help others. My only goal as a future doctor is to better the lives of others, and it is because of insurance that I will accomplish this.

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