Monday, January 31, 2011

Just Another Day in the Life of the Uninsured

I went to bed one day last week quite worried. I was having terrible chest pains that shot through my shoulder as well. I tossed and turned worried about possibly losing my battle with debt or even my life if I waited too long for medical attention.

I woke the next morning still in pain, but got ready for work anyway as usual. I did ask my husband not to have a drink while he watched his football game just in case I needed to go to the hospital. He wanted me to call in but it was too late for that.

It's funny, after three days of underlying worry each day I remembered what probably caused this pain. An elderly neighbor had dropped by to borrow my phone. I didn't want my daughters dog to try to jump all over her so I picked up the wiggling 65 pound dog and put her in the bedroom. It was that night that the pain started so I most likely pulled a shoulder muscle.

The pain lessens day by day. Funny how it's possible to get hurt and just not realize it at the time. I'm glad I remembered the dog incident, it eased my mind.


  1. Not having health insurance is scary. We have managed to get it through the state for my youngest since she recieves SS(her father died). We pay for the two oldest to have it on campus(state law). But I live in fear every day of what could happen. I make sure everyone takes there meds, but I realize we are only one major thing from the hospital at any point. Glad your ok


  2. It is also tough because when you are so worried about money, you are always in catastrophe mode and it makes you think that everything is going to lead to something bad.

    I wish I could tell you not to worry and organize your thoughts, but I am the same as you! We do have insurance but even that is a worry because of deductibles and non-covered services, etc.

  3. The fact that these are also heart-attack symptoms illustrates the difference between insured and uninsured:
    The insured call 911.
    The uninsured use a heating pad and aspirin, if they have it.
    I hope you feel better soon.

  4. Reading this makes me realise how lucky we are in England. Although we pay National Insurance through our wages it's not very much, and this pays for our National Health Service. If you had been here you would have called the doctor out or gone to A&E (ER) and been seen, and treated if necessary, for free. No charges for medicines, no insurance excess, no worrying about whether you're covered for things or not. Healthcare here is completely free at source. That's not to say that nobody has medical insurance - some do but mainly so they can be treated at their convenience (like elective surgery maybe) rather than wait on a list. Yep, we're very lucky.

  5. That has happened to me several times. I went to the emergency room the first two times, and then the last two I stayed home, as Donna said, and used a heating pad and aspirin. I have health insurance, yet I hate the emergency room. Glad you realized that you strained your time GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM!!!

  6. Thank Goodness, that's all it was. Now stop lifting that 65 lb. dog and teach it to obey you! ;o)

  7. Judith, thank you, I'm better now.

    Alem M, there is always worry isn't there.

    Donna, so true. Well stated.

    Keshling, we need a drastic change here. Affordable health care should be available to all.

    Sharon, at this point I would have to be closer to death to spend so much on the emergency room, and even then I would really think about it first. It's an unfortunate spot to be in but it's the truth.

    Catseye, LOL, I know. It's my daughters dog and we are trying not to get too attached but that is difficult. You should see me in the recliner under the "lap dog."

  8. I suddenly felt as though someone had hit me in the chest. The pain spread immediately to my neck and jaw and into shoulders and down my arms. Thinking I was having a heart attack, I went to the ER, no waiting, not even to get my name. I was hooked up to many machines within five minutes of arriving at the ER. A cardiologist came within ten minutes. I stayed into the afternoon as tests were performed. I had not had a heart attack. And, I had not had one in the past, according to their tests. I insisted on going home. I was scheduled for a angiogram (tube in groin to heart? the next morning. The total cost to find out I had healthy heart and arteries to find I had no problem whatsoever--$13,000 and I was never admitted to the hospital! I filled out papers and the state sent me a confirmation that 100% of my bill would be covered. I had no insurance, had just lost my job and had debts otherwise. Later, I had half my thyroid out and the total cost to me, now with insurance, was $20. I have had excellent insurance (federal job) and none. Going into the hospital knowing that you only owe a copay for two office visits--$10--certainly relieves stress.

  9. I understand all too well delaying medical care due to $$$$. I live this part of your life every day.

  10. I'm so happy for you that it wasn't something more serious. Being uninsured too, I know just how you feel.

  11. After not having health insurance for 7 years ( my 2 jobs dont offer it) I purchased a state plan for $323 a month, which is alot to me!

    But I've had a few health issues and knew my luck would run out eventually, and a hospital bill of $20k or such would be an insurmountable amount to pay off.

    Now, I cant afford a car payment or save much money, but knowing I have health insurance brings me peace of mind.

    Good Luck to you
    :) Christine