Insurance is both a blessing, and a curse. Much like the hundreds of insurance companies’ commercials portray, insurance companies can be there when a person needs them most, or bail out on them. My life has been greatly affected by health insurance, in both the good and bad ways. When I was eight years old, my mother was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. The insurance company said, “No big deal, it’s covered, enjoy your life,” Insulin and needles and test strips and this and that, all add up rather rapidly. At the time, my father was a stock broker; that was when the stock market decided to take a nose dive. We had a hard time making ends meet, but when it came to my mother’s health, our insurance flipped the bill.
Two years later, our lives were flipped upside down like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. My mother was diagnosed with a rare disease, very similar to lupus. She gained over 100 pounds in just pure water weight, yet, her organs, were dying due to dehydration. The antibodies in her immune system used her kidneys as a punching bag, puncturing holes in them in an attempt to destroy it as if it were a foreign object. Any liquids she drank went right to her skin, seeing as her body could not process it. Three months of dialysis later, steroids, and a cocktail of Lord-knows-what later, she was in remission. Our insurance covered a more than fair amount of her treatments. A year later, the thought dormant disease, came back with a vengeance. Two hundred pounds of water weight. Her skin had stretched to it’s breaking point, quite literally. There was a time, I recall vividly, where the nurses joined in a circle of prayer before attempting to put the morphine needle into her thumb as a last ditch effort to relieve the pain. Some tumultuous weeks had passed, and my mother had returned to my sister and I. This time, the insurance hadn’t supported us like it had in the past.
My father had to take up a job in Jacksonville, Florida, that promised amazing doctors and health insurance for my mother. Since we made the move to Florida, she has not succumbed to the illness yet. If the insurance had decided that the bill was too much, the first time around, I do not like to think about what would have happened the second time. However, the second time this disease attacked our family, it ruined our finances; we were unable to pay bills, or make house payments. It forced us to uproot our lives and move to another state. Good insurance, I believe, is a necessity. Since we started anew in the Sunshine State, our lives have been flipped upside down again, not by illness or national economic recession, but by poor decision making. My father quit his job, cashed in his 401k, and led us on what he calls “an adventure.” I, since then, have moved in with my grandparents.
I have no health insurance currently. My parents and sister have the lowest form of Medicaid possible. Because I am a legal adult, and no longer live with them, I am not on any sort of insurance plan. Thankfully, I am a generally healthy person, but, so was my mother. At the present moment, I do not have the income to be able to pay for insurance. I severely miss when I could just go to the doctor when I felt sick, rather than taking Tylenol or Zyrtec then crossing my fingers, praying it would help.
Health insurance is so vitally important in the story of my life. There are several plot points that would have been drastically different if it were not for decent insurance.
Yet, here I am, working just under thirty hours a week, so they are not required to give me any sort of benefits, praying for a miracle. Praying, maybe, they’ll give me more hours at my hellacious retail job, just so if something were to happen to me, it wouldn’t ruin my family’s life even more. When I was a child, I hated trips to the doctor, now, I wish I could find out why I hurt every morning. If I had insurance, I’d be singing on the way to the doctor’s. I wouldn’t even care about the needles, as long as it wouldn’t wring my bank account dry, give me as many shots as you can!
Never sacrifice health insurance. People never know when, or why, they will need it. We certainly didn’t.
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