It isn’t any surprise that the US health care system is not entirely helpful to everyone. Health costs are expensive and they often don’t give people the care needed. Vets who truly should have the right to good healthcare, are often left behind. Good intentions are paving the road to healthcare and it is pitted with political machinations being tossed out like fire crackers from each mucky ditch.
I was talking to mum as we drove to her almost next to last teeth appointment. I had mentioned how fortunate she was because she was able to pay for so much out of pocket. (We have spent about 20 grand on just her mouth, in the years I’ve been home.) If daddy hadn’t invested and mum hadn’t continued, she’d be toothless. I mentioned how I couldn’t afford to have my sore tooth looked at and one of the hardest merit badges my boys had to earn was the one where they had to visit a dentist. I was so sad when Strider almost didn’t get his Eagle because of the bit of a merit badge we couldn’t afford. It was then I realized how health care really is a privilege and not a right. (mum then mentioned how her mom had wanted to take them to the dentist, but my grandpa wouldn’t let the kids go…which was so random, I felt like I was in wonderland!)
It goes beyond teeth, though. Mum’s had several different kinds of cancers. Not just breast or colon or pancreatic, but all three. Actually, four. The breast cancers were also different. Yet, she is still solvent (and kicking!). She has 2 private insurances, plus her Medicare. She is damn lucky. She’s got me, so she doesn’t have to live anywhere else. She has her house almost all paid for and can afford all the crazy costs she incurs. For instance, those fittings she needs. A box of 10 are 148 dollars (with the senior discount I get because they know it is for mom). She often goes thru a box a week. We pay for those straight. Medicare will supply them, but she only gets 10 for a bit more than a month, I think it is. Now, if mom was healthier or ate better, maybe 10 would be enough. I don’t think so. The paste is 19 dollars a tube and the waste bags are another 40 some dollars for 10 (although, I could be wrong on that last one).
Youth and adults in prisons have better health care than I do. Mum used to work in a juvenile facility and kids would be taken out all the time for medical visits. Those teens felt it was their right to get preventative and necessary treatment at no cost. Mum was known to tell the kids who praised their free health care that it wasn’t free for mom to take care of them!
Mom chooses to eat poorly. Choice. Mum chooses her doctors. Choice. Mum chooses her pharmacies. Choice. However, those last might also be privilege. I texted a query about this to Sir SSC and he responded with this. “Morally, it is a right, I am afraid, practically, it is a matter of privilege.” I believe he is absolutely right. What can be done to fix this? I have no idea. I’m just incredibly thankful for dad’s choices way back when. Mom is upset she’s spending all this money. She had wanted to use it to travel. She still could, maybe, but, it is her choice and her privilege as to how each day will be spent. She’s also angry she can’t be fixed again. That, I think is where cancer has the right of way now and not her.
(photos are of mom in order. With dog in hospital Summer 2015. With head in hand November 2016. With health nurse Summer 2017. All professional health costs paid for completely.)