An Open Letter To Those Who Oppose The Affordable Care Act

My son is 25, soon to be 26 in August. For the last month or so, he’s had severe swelling in his legs, ankles, and feet. After putting it off because he couldn’t afford the copay to visit the doctor until he got paid, he finally went in on Monday. Our general practitioner started off his diagnosis with the most likely cause, high blood pressure; she prescribed lasix and potassium. Two days later, his legs were worse.

He came over yesterday morning so I could see his legs, and I immediately sent him to the Minor Emergency Clinic. Our MEC is fantastic and the doctors are amazing. They took one look at him, drew blood, took a chest x-ray, and diagnosed him with a severe enlargement of his heart. The physician’s assistant that saw him then called a cardiologist and instantly got him an appointment for an hour later.

I looked at reviews of Dr. Steve Bailey and they were excellent. When I met up with Matt at Dr. Bailey’s office, I was incredibly grateful that he is also an amazing doctor. He diagnosed Matt with viral cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. He sent him for an echocardiogram, where I saw just how enlarged my son’s heart is. As the doctor told Matt, this is what Barbara Hershey’s character died from in Beaches. Matt’s never seen Beaches, so I told him it was what the Denny Duquette character had on Grey’s Anatomy. THAT was something he could relate to, but it certainly didn’t reassure him.

Dr. Bailey said that the best case scenario would be a slew of medications to get his heart functioning correctly, then a maintenance medication for the rest of his life. He also warned us that should Matt ever be exposed to that same virus, without the meds to protect him, his “chance of recovery would be unlikely.” Dr. Bailey couldn’t diagnose the severity of the problem until he saw the echo, and he made no promises. Within an hour, I became immersed in the language of the heart; ejection fraction, stroke volume, heart rate, arteries, veins, ventricles…I have never been so grateful for my pre-nursing classes as I was yesterday.

Had the ACA not been in effect, my son would not have been covered by our insurance. Without insurance, he would have put off going to the doctor until it was emergent. Without insurance, he would not have been seen by one of the best cardiologists in the state. Without insurance, he could not afford to get an echo, and he definitely could not afford the medications required. In other words, without insurance, there would be a high probability that my son would die before age 30.

He will require medications for the rest of his life. He will need yearly echocardiograms for the rest of his life. He will need regular visits with his cardiologist for the rest of his life. Without the ACA, he would be denied insurance coverage because of his pre-existing conditions. Without the ACA, he could not afford to do all the things he will need to do for the rest of his life.

Because of the ACA, Matt does have insurance. Because of the ACA, he will continue to be insured even after he is no longer eligible to be on our policy. Because of the ACA, my son has a chance to live a normal life span, have a career, get married, have children… Because of the ACA, I still have my son.

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Get It On

I was hoping my body would last one more day, but it looks like it’s going to refuse to cooperate. I only needed a few more hours, but nope. At least I managed to get the back sides of my shelves painted before I dropped.

Although I had planned to go with basic bookcases that I already had, after filling one and a half and still having Mt. Everest-Of-Craft-Supplies stacked in my living room, I realized I needed a better solution if I hoped to get everything in here. Because I hoard hardware like squirrels do nuts, I scrounged up several ClosetMaid 84 inch standards, 104 inches of hang rail, and 17 brackets. A quick trip to Home Depot for a few more brackets, two more standards, and a sheet of MDF cut to 90 inches and divided into 12 inch boards, and I was on my way to a whole lot of linear foot storage space.  45 linear feet to be exact, plus the floor under the shelves too!

Risking life and limb, I installed the damn things by myself. There’s a lot to be said for hang rails if you have to do it yourself BY yourself.  I primed all four of the MDF shelves on Friday (I’ll get two more cut when I’m back on my feet) and painted them yesterday. I’m giving them a day to cure because the South Texas humidity is atrocious right now. Once they dry, I should have plenty of room for all my goodies. If not, I have another wall where I can fit more in. Since I *am* purging things, I think what I have should be fine.

Matt desperately needed to shampoo the interior of his van and I really wanted to do my sofa before I posted it on craiglist, so we rented a Rug Doctor while we were at Home Depot on Friday. He did the van that afternoon and Saturday morning, I did my sofa, my office recliner, and the chair (and ottoman) from my bedroom that is now going in Aubrey’s room. I thought the Woolite got my recliner clean, but I was seriously wrong because the water was so gross when I finished. Surprisingly, my sofa was the cleanest of the three pieces. I busted my ass and we managed to get the machine back with 16 minutes to spare. Kinda cutting it close, I know.

Unfortunately, my super comfy office recliner was injured in the ordeal. The rear right leg somehow has detached from the frame and now my chair is listing. We’re going to try to brace it somehow, but if that doesn’t work, I’m back in the market for a recliner for the office. That royally sucks because I love this chair.

Ron has been really wonderful throughout this whole ordeal. He moved furniture, washed the cushion covers (and put them back on!), made dinner, AND made strawberry daiquiris and margaritas. Considering how much he despises DIY and having the house torn up in the process, he’s handled this whole upheaval pretty well. I think what helps is that he wanted this to be our office from the beginning, so he’s content in playing the “I told you so” card. I can live with that.