I have always been healthy. I’ve never had to worry about my blood pressure or my cholesterol. I can always stand to lose a few pounds, or get more exercise (okay, ANY exercise, if you want to be picky), but generally I would say I am in pretty good health. Until recently.
I had some abdominal pain recently, thought it was just some stomach virus or something. I went to instant care for some medicine. Instead of a quick cure, they sent me on to the emergency room. Talk about a surprise. Eight days, several tests, and gallons of intravenous antibiotics later, they released me to recuperate at home. I have to learn a whole new way of eating – not the act, but what to eat. What I took for granted all these years is suddenly completely different. And it is hard, trying to figure out what I can and cannot eat and in what quantities. The person who never went to the doctor is now having to plan regular visits for tests, checkups, blood work, you name it.
The person who never used her sick leave is now down to ZERO leave hours remaining. That is another thing I take for granted – what if I didn’t have the paid leave and had to go without my check for three weeks?
Another thing this whole experience has taught me is how lucky I am to have health insurance. I wonder what a person without insurance would have done in my situation. Would they have gone to the doctor, or suffered with the pain? Knowing they were without insurance, would the ER have admitted them, or even ordered the tests they conducted that night?
I think the cost for this little wake up call from my body has exceeded $30,000 by now, but I am responsible for less than a tenth of that amount with the various co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums. How would I have paid if I didn’t have the insurance?