Pinky Pie

They’re talking about me & me

Posted on: November 8, 2009

Oh this has been as strange time to be battling breast cancer. In the summer, there were discussions about death panels (ridiculous) and Breast Cancer Awareness month during which Pepto Bismol was poured over the land.

I really wonder how the pink stuff plays to women with other cancers. Do they felt left out or “like others?” Do the feel happy that breast cancer is getting its play, but how about ovarian, cervical or uterine cancer? Do they ask “How about me and my cancer?”

Now, there’s the H1N1 (the name given swine flu in par to appease hog farmers) epidemic.

I feel a little paranoid. I carry hand sanitizer everywhere and look around to see if anyone is coughing and/or sneezing.  I remember being on the constant search for chicken pox while Matt was being treated for leukemia. He was always out of school to prevent him getting something that would make his life-threatening disease even more life-threatening. So I was always paranoid.

It’s funny because a few weeks back, my daughter and son-in-law came to visit. We decided to go see a movie in the evening picking one based on a favorite book of our grown kids’ childhood: “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”

We sat towards the back hoping no one gets too close. Would you believe two groups of children sat in rows directly in front and behind us? The rest of the theater was practically empty.

I didn’t hear coughing or sneezing and it was sure fun to see the kids reach out towards the flying 3D food.

And just last week at meeting on a project, a woman kept moving her things across a double-wide conference table. Knowing I was going to be having treatment the next day she was trying to be helpful. Finally she said her daughter had been sick for a couple days and that she was starting to feel crummy.  Another woman in the meeting and I immediately pulled back and I brought out my hand sanitizer.

The other woman and I looked at each other, not wanting to touch anything this other person had touched. By the time, the woman had left the meeting and when she returned, she stood at the far end of the meting room away from me. More sanitizer for me.

So far so good, I haven’t gotten sick and my treatment well Friday. More about that tomorrow.

But today I want to thank the House of Representatives for passing the Affordable Health Care for America Act Saturday night. It was a close vote at 220 to 215; too damn close.

Now on to the Senate, where it will not be an easy battle.

rant_smallWarning: The Rant starts now.

I am a firm believer in a public health care plan. What has the profit-motivated insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies ever done for us? These companies are not our friends. They are interested in profits. Period.

Anyone who is against a public option must never have had the experience of someone desperately seriously ill in his or her family or feared losing a job that provided health insurance.

And even those of us with insurance have to fight our companies constantly to get care that we through we were paying for.

I have written before about getting a letter from my insurance company when I got home from the hospital after my double mastectomy. The company wanted proof I was high risk for the breast cancer I already had to warrant paying for breast MRI that actually diagnosed it. (Other modalities did not.)

I still find myself fighting for the drugs that will keep me most comfortable during chemotherapy.  And then there are benefit reports from my insurance company saying there were posting errors or the treatment was not warranted.

Still, I am grateful for the insurance we do have.

But please, senators pass this bill or something very similar. It’s important for me and it’s important for you.

You may not know that one of the growing groups of the uninsured is composed of women age 50 and older. In our family, with my husband almost four years older than me, I could be high and dry without insurance for a long time. Now that I have a pre-existing medical condition, I could be high and dry without insurance for a long time.

And, as my friend noted, what about the people who have no insurance or have insurance with a very high deductible who postpone doctor visits because of the cost and later end up with something more serious than what they started with.

But this is not just about me. It’s about all of us. We are all one diagnosis away from financial disaster.

And speaking of financial implications, how many people with great ideas that could solve many of our problems are trapped in jobs because of health insurance. With a public plan that covered everyone, we could unleash entrepreneurs to create and develop products. These incredibly talented people could do so knowing their families would be safe while they pursued their dreams.

And the many who have lost their jobs in the midst of this economic crisis that began in the Bush Administration won’t live in fear that one of their children will become seriously ill and they can’t pay for the kind. Some forgo preventative care and much-needed medical care.

Yes this program will cost money, something like $1.3 trillion over ten years.

It’s also funny to me that this concern about deficits wasn’t brought up during the Bush administration so much by Republicans. It’s become a deep concern now that we are talking about programs that might actually help people.

So it’s time to stop using terms like death panels, socialism and the government getting between us and our doctors. Since the death panels idea was embraced by Sarah Palin, it could only be dismissed as nonsense.

Some getting Medicare has voiced fear of socialism and government interference in health care. Just what exactly, do you think Medicare is, folks? It is a government-run program that is works very well.  The challenge in the Midwest where our services run more efficiently in multi-specialty clinics, the reimbursement rates are unfairly lower, which means private insurance folks like us pay more to make up the gap. I’m not opposed to helping others, but the system needs changing.

Also needing to be dismissed is that  claim the  government will get between us and our doctors. There’s certainly not much room for government between us when insurance companies are jammed in between us and our doctors.

And let me say suggesting medical safety accounts as an answer is like French Queen Marie Antoinette suggesting to the poor they should eat cake (I know there’s no proof she actually said it, but the quote lives on  in history.) My point is that encouraging people who can barely put food on the table to get medical savings account is out of step with what’s really happening in this world.

Health care is human care. This is a moral issue. Other countries have embraced a public plan and have healthier citizens as a result.

So senators, this is not about your getting re-elected but about meeting the needs of your people. Right here in this country.

And now this rant is officially ended.

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2 Responses to "They’re talking about me & me"

Great rant! I hope everybody reads it, Republicans, too.

Keep on ranting Sue – you are so right!

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