I rarely write or talk about my own health issues. We all have them in one form or another. Besides, I am an old-school football player who comes from an era that if you suffered a compound fracture of one of your fingers, your coach told you to spit on it and get back in the game. So, it’s simply not my way to complain.
But, I feel like in a case that I just experienced with the Health Care System, I should share it.
Here’s the back story:
In recent years I have suffered with severe bouts of GOUT. I’ll spare you all the intricate details and just describe it as a form of arthritis that periodically attacks virtually any joint in your body (*see below for a link with more information). It’s a genetic disorder that causes one to retain Uric Acid, normally passed in a person’s urine, causing crystals to form in the blood and creating extreme swelling in the joints and pain that can be reasonably described as excruciating.
Personally, I tend to get it in my ankles and knees. It can last anywhere from a week to a recent bout that I had of 6 weeks!! Simply put, the pain gets so severe as to be incapacitating. In other words, IT CRIPPLES ME. I cannot walk so I cannot drive, etc., etc. And, since I live alone, completing any task around my apartment without encountering mind-numbing pain is virtually impossible.
A strict diet that limits the amount of food containing the substance (Purines) that creates Uric Acid helps. However, when it kicks, you need DRUGS. My doctor prescribes Colcrys. And, it usually provides relief within a day or two of its administration.
Now, here’s THE ISSUE: I’m on Medicare with a drug plan administered by United Health Care. After a recent bout of the disease, my MD prescribed the usual dose of Colcrys — as he had for the previous episode. And, ALSO as was the previous case, THE INSURANCE COMPANY disputed MY NEED for this essential drug! Therefore, while it goes back and forth for DAYS, I sit at home, waiting in EXCRUCIATING PAIN. If it plays out like the last time, the Insurance Company will pay a PORTION if what is a very expensive substance — but, only after days of suffering.
As strange as it may sound, I’m lucky. Gout won’t kill me — at least not directly. I just have to deal with the intense pain. However, there are others where a delay like I experienced can literally prove deadly. I had a very dear friend’s son die after a lengthy battle to get treatment for his colon cancer. The check game the day AFTER he died!
Folks, it’s always someone else’s issue until it happens to us. Well, believe me, it will happen. Sooner or later, it will happen to all of us.
So, let’s stop screwing around — FIGHT THE SYSTEM — PASS UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE NOW!!