Saturday, March 22, 2014

What Next?

What next?  I used to be pretty successful at answering that question.  I used to be equally as good at putting that answer into action.  It is actually quite easy when, if in every other aspect, things are normal.  I can attest to that from experience which makes this sound like a resounding endorsement for those pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstrap types.  Ironically, it's the exact opposite.  People need support.  Compassion is a virtue.

It has been a pretty rough and tumble recent past for me although I keep on getting back up.  I would regret it though if I didn't acknowledge a few people like my mom and some good friends like Wayne.  If not for them, I wouldn't have the chance to get back up quite so easily.  Thank yous are in order for sure.

Several months ago it became very apparent that I needed a hernia repaired.  Simple enough since, even though it is major surgery, it is probably the most commonly performed surgery out there.  1 in 4 men will get a hernia.  Most of them at some time will require an operation.  Some don't.  Unfortunately for me, I did and mine came at a time when I was transitioning between jobs.  I also had no insurance so it had to wait.  And I waited, painful as it often was.  Waited through one job rejection after another which in turn meant one insurance rejection after another since the two were inextricably combined.  Yeah I know, I can hear those that don't agree with my leftist leanings telling me that I am a lazy freeloader.  The problem is, I worked during that time.  I mostly worked full-time even; sometimes two jobs.  What it also meant for me was that those jobs didn't offer insurance being with small companies or in a temporary position.  But the ironies don't end there.  I ended up getting a good job with insurance but it was caught in a holding pattern while I waited to qualify.  Unfortunately, the hernia did not recognize the wait.  It kept worsening.  So then what?

Thankfully for me there emerged another option.  Some of you deride it as Obamacare but I welcome it by that name.  I followed the process and I got insured.  It was, in fact, as easy as sitting through one of those job sponsored open enrollment classes.  It was boring as shit, sometimes confusing (although really no worse than the usual insurance crap), but doable and now I am scheduled to get the help I need in a very short time.  

So does the system work flawlessly?  I can comfortably say hell no.  I am sure when all the stupid, post-treatment, this-is-not-a-bill paperwork starts rolling in and the clerical errors send me to collections (which happened before Obamacare) I will be just as furious as I was five or ten years ago.  But that only attests to the fact that we need to work even harder to simplify the process even further and make the coverage still more ubiquitous.  It attests to the need for a single payer system.  But there is also something new.   It now keeps a person who is capable and educated and willing to work from being needlessly marginalized because they can't get necessary medical help when changes in life happen.

I really hope my hernia surgery goes well - I mean really.  I want to be working again with the same vigor and confidence that I had before.  More so, I want to resume doing all the things I have come to identify so passionately with like biking and climbing.  But I also want people to know that I have gone through the process and that it has worked up to this point.  If you want to argue with me about the pros and cons of health care please do.  I think open dialogue is necessary to fix the problems, both old and new.  But if you really enter the conversation, please do so with solid facts, not rhetoric, because I am bringing hard-earned, first person experience to my defense, not a bunch of blowhard talk show bullshit, big on ideology and short on reality.