The Measurement Of A Human Being
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Politics and Activism

The Measurement Of A Human Being

What health care looked like for someone without insurance.

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The Measurement Of A Human Being
BayCare

I never felt comfortable with problems I had mentally or inside of me unless I had someone who felt the same or a doctor that could diagnose me. When I got my first concussion, I called Eckerd's Emergency Response Team— kids who aren't able to diagnose you. I meant to abate my friends and a hint of anxiety that came with the fact I had lost consciousness. I was riding, speed and the wind took over me. Other than the pop of my chain I couldn't remember the minutes that came afterward. I shook it off along with my bruised ego.

The EMT said I probably had the wind knocked out of me and laughed. I understand the disclaimer, but it was his humor that made me go to sleep last night instead of seeking the medical care I probably needed. I put it off for the next few days, but it is the headaches, the torment from the sun, and my amnesia that scared me into going to a clinic. I walked around in shame clinging to my sunglasses around people who probably figured I was hungover. Once I was at the clinic I was met with a packet of papers to fill out before receiving emergent care. I raced through them as the salivated over my "Tricare Prime' insurance. The doctor marveled " Oh I love Tricare since Uncle Sam pays the best." I ignored it, anything to get me fixed. But as soon as I got through the packet, the receptionist (also a doctor) explained how serious of a condition I was in. Instead of fear I was relieved to have someone justify what I had been going through while everyone was telling me I was fine. I knew my body. She explained it was wrong to wait this long and even though I didn't display the obvious symptoms it was still serious. I needed a CT scan before I could be seen. Even though there wasn't much anyone could do, what had pushed me to seek medical care was that I need my professors to believe me when I said I couldn't do my work. I loved my work. Even the most challenging work captivated me. But the one time I couldn't do it, I wasn't going to allow my grade to suffer from it.

But once I got to the ER, the only thing that mattered was the papers. It was a whole thirty minutes before I was asked about my head, I saw eight different doctors. After my vitals were checked, of first importance was the time. The third person cared about the events that took place, then I was led to another person who finally questioned me about how I was feeling.

As I spoke, the doctor narrowed his eyes at me. He asked about how bad my pain was. Each time I answered he rolled his eyes and scoffed. I could imagine him saying, "Really? C'mon....that's nothing!"

I have really bad headaches...... I can't go outside...... I can't do my work..or I can't remember things I should be able to. I grew exasperated. With the two times being in the ER on my own was that unless you are dying anything else is just an inconvenience.

The first time I went was with a crippling back pain that was worse when I slept. That batch of E-CERT had urged me to go, with the concerned, I could tear my spinal cord. I wasted my time just for the ER doctor to tap by back a few times, say I was fine, and disappear. I spent more time forcing myself to pee so I couldn't complete a pregnancy test that would protect them from any suits involving medication. It was only after I criticized them about how I got more effort and care from a student-run EMT team that they reluctantly suggested an X-ray. Also, it was my insurance that led to the effort I deserved. If you don't have insurance, good luck getting them to look at you.

Both experiences were met at two different hospitals. This was my first glance at the real world and their first glance at me. I figured to demand such care was perceived as spoiled or ignorant; however, it is just that I know what I deserve. I won't let anyone' s qualifications tell me less. There are more than initial symptoms, anything more— like diagnosing someone goes beyond the capabilities of an emergency doctor since it requires time and effort.

This is fear instead of bitterness. It reminds me of my mother who has evaded the doctors for years because of her lack of insurance. Whereas it was an inconvenience for me to have regular checkups that came as military benefits. I never understood why my mom didn't value getting the care she needed, and I never understood why I needed checkups if I was fine. It was only after checkups didn't I have problems. When I had problems, the doctors were never there, and when I finally saw the doctors, the problems were gone.

Health care workers do not care until they see you have insurance. I've never had to pay, and a copay is less than ten dollars. My new peers stress about how much X-rays or CT scans cost and I've never had to deal with it.

Last week, two weeks after my CT scan, I learned a CT scan was between 1-3 thousand dollars. Money me or my family never sees. It wasn't until my next concussion- 2 weeks after the first- due to my ignorance, that I considered it. This CT scan would be from an injury that was caused by my recklessness. I was singing, staring at the stars while riding my bike, I hit my friend's bike, and fell on my head. I could not help but think about someone who wasn't insured and needed the CT scan more than I did and how they would face the thousands of dollars. Someone who didn't have my military ID card. A piece of plastic determined if you received a basic right of health care or not.

College forces me to look at price tags where I didn't before when I was living with my parents. I didn't look at the price tags on things I needed because I needed them. I never understood why my parents didn't understand that or see it that way.

Now when I'm faced with choosing between food or something I need(knowing food trumps all) that I consider the price tags. I was outraged and repelled by what I had seen. In addition to my concussion, I lost the layers of my skin right down to the fatty tissue. Flesh and pus grew and dried into my bandages. The air was like acid. I spent weeks looking for the proper bandages, I couldn't afford anything at CVS.

It is astounding how people have to pay for basic needs. I believe people have to work for privileges, but for a basic right of health care tantamount to food and clean water. It is a shame how it is a privilege for someone with a hearty paycheck to have. I won't delve further into politics.

Years ago, my step-dad died from "Brain Death". "'There was nothing that could be done' they said, and I wonder if that had anything to do with him not being insured. It would cost too much time and money to fix him. I wonder.

I think about my actions and what they lead to. A small action of mine could put my life in the hands of someone else pressed for time. I weigh my privilege with my peers. Who deserves it? People walk this earth unaware of what they deserve, unaware of their worth as a human being. But, I wonder if they knew what they deserve would they fight for it?




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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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