Saturday, May 14, 2011

Brokeback Mother

I hurt my back and I have no idea how, I just woke up one morning and could barely walk. This means I have missed a few days of work and spent my days shifting one eighth of an inch one way or the other trying to find an ounce of relief from the unrelenting pain.

This is not the first time this has happened although the other times there was a definite cause. The first time it happened I thought I was dieing so I splurged on an emergency room trip. They looked at my spine to see if everything was lined up properly, gave me an x-ray, then told me I had some torn muscles and sent me home with some painkillers. The first painkiller knocked me out for eight hours straight and made me weird and groggy for a long time after that so I never took them again. All I can do is bear with the pain and wait for it to pass. Gradually it is getting better.

This is not an enjoyable break from work. Times like these remind me of the precarious spot I perch on as a part time worker with no health insurance. If something actually were to go wrong, what could I do? There are no sick days, not much of vacation time, and no affordable health care.

To tell the truth if I were to become seriously ill, I would have no options. My personal catastrophic health care plan is a copy of "Final Exit" by Derek Humphry. If my health were to decline to the point that I could no longer find any joy in daily details then I would like to leave on my own terms. This would only be if there were no other way. It really isn't to be taken lightly.

The reason this comes to my mind, is the health care topic. There are millions of workers with no health care. Many people live in poverty, or slightly above. There are no checkups, and family doctors for these people. They try to get by as best as they can. If it hurts take some aspirin and slap a bandage on it. You can't miss work, they're having a sale on egg biscuits, or that convention group will be checking in, or you'll be replaced. Without health care there are no regular checkups so when something is found it is often too late.

The current model is not working. It's time for new ideas, new ways of looking at the world. Let's rework the entire system to find something new and beautiful where no group is excluded.


  1. Have you gone to a chiropractor? I had sporadic back muscle problems for years went to a Chiro and he popped me back in place. It was amazing to walk out of there upright! Its worth a try and less expensive than a doctor and pills~
    Health Insurance is a mess, so is our health care system. Too many lobbyists on Capitol Hill and ppl not wanting to pay even a little to go to the doctor. Scary....

  2. Oh, love...I can so relate. In preparation for eye surgery I was to take 2 'scrips and one cost $90.00! The other was $125.00! Forget about it! I called the dr's office to ask for anything less costly and they seemed to be offended. They must deal with people everyday who have insurance and just quietly pony up. That was not happening in my case.

    I do wish we were closer. I know magical things for ailing backs and muscles with owies. Maybe I will do some long distance healing for you.

    Meantime, think beautiful thoughts and let people wait on you and pamper you silly.

    Mother Connie

  3. I agree with Suzanne. A good chiropractor can work miracles! Times like this are why you have an emergency fund. You can get along without some things, but you can't get along without your back. Take care of yourself - you're worth it.

  4. The whole health care mess needs to be tossed out. It's no fun for people with insurance, either. Even with insurance, so far this year I've had to front the dental insurance company $3k for three months as they lingered over a claim for exactly as long as they were allowed to. Every month I find myself paying a doctor, submitting forms, and then waiting for a check from an insurance company. And I've nearly wiped out the $5k pre-tax medical flexible spending funds I had withheld this year. Yes, I am not poor but it's ridiculous that the insurance companies are so powerful and ubiquitous.

    Rest is a great healer. And if this is a chronic problem, a good chiropractor is awesome.

  5. I'm with Linda. Having insurance isn't a bowl of cherries either. My previous plan had a $3k deductible. @@ Seriously, I'd have been better off with NO insurance.

  6. The healthcare system is a mess. We unfortanately are one of the families that don't have healthcare insurance. I learn whatever I can about herbs and homeremedies. We use them alot.
    My father also has back issues and swears by his chiropracter. I am not sure of the rates in your area but his only costs him $30 a session.

  7. Chiropractor! I never ever thought a chiropractor was something I would use, but after being rear ended in my car a few years ago I tried it. Best thing ever!

  8. I also have a bad back and I had a similar incident with waking up to major pain. After suffering for over a week, I finally bought an inversion table. I got it from Big 5 for $99 and it helped a lot. Now, I just hang upside-down whenever my back is compressed and that's the end of the problem.

  9. No medical advice; I've had back problems, sometimes immobilizing, off and on for years and there is never a fix.

    Health care -- now there's an issue I can get into. Give every American the same health care that Congress now gets, Make it universally available at no cost. I don't care what the taxes go up to: we all deserve health care. I'd rather pay higher taxes for universal health care than for a subsidy for big oil. We would all be healthier because people could get the treatment, including preventive care, they NEED instead of what they scrimp by and afford. (Why yes, I DO have an attitude.)

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  10. Truly, this is the shame of our country. My husband has serious back problems and no amount of health insurance helps--not that that is any consolation for you.

  11. Sorry to hear about your back. My DH suffers from chronic back problems stemming from an accident he was involved in as a young man. As for healthcare in this country, I so agree that it's a disaster. As a social worker I see too many families suffering through what you've just described. It's an outrage that US citizens have such a precarious position, many second world countries provide better healthcare options than we do. Feel better.

  12. Ugh. My back went out at the end of last month; it made me realize how much I depend on a strong back to do even simple things (like sit in the car to get to work), let alone the more taxing things. I hope you recover soon. :(

    April, just wanted to say that ITA with your comment.

  13. My back has given me trouble for years. Now, at last, I am going to get some help--Medicaid.

  14. Hi! I just had to chime in !I recently had a conversation with a lady on medicaid, and believe me I don't know how she was even standing next to me with her swollen, inflamed leg.the ER sends her away, no help, just make appointment with Dr.the Dr. office makes appointment 3 months away, she gets there and 39 people have same appointment time. She never gets to see Dr., too many people, make another appointment. this is the short version.Our nation has to start taking care of its own. Best wishes Roxy

  15. Very sorry to hear about your back pain and that it's kept you from working.
    A chiropractor sounds like your best bet. Please keep us updated on your condition.

  16. Owee! I know how easily a back can go out. Last summer I bent down to get a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and BAM! My back hurt so bad I could hardly walk and felt sick to my stomach. If you can't take a pain pill, maybe a muscle relaxer would help instead. When all else fails, lie on the floor with your legs up on a chair or couch and alternate with ice and heat. For it to really help, you have to lie there for a long time. Might be a good time to get some reading done! Feel better soon!

  17. Here is wishing you a speedy recovery.... back pain is no laughing matter, and quite debillitating. As far as health care goes...I have insurance and have had nothing but trouble, they never want to pay for the things they are suppose to pay for. I had messed up knees once after a car accident and accupuncture was wonderful. Just rest and take it easy you will be back to work in no time.

  18. While I agree that something needs to be done to the insurance system, offering it at no cost to everyone is not the way to go. For several years I worked for Kaiser Permanente where premiums and copays were very affordable. Copays were so low that many patients "used" the system. They'd see the doctor for anything and everything and by anything I mean it. LOL. Let's see broken fingernail, a headache when they look at the sun full on with no sunglasses...etc. I've worked on both sides of this issue and it is one that there is NO easy one solution. BTW-Kaiser is no longer in my state because they basically went broke. They simply could not afford it due to the overwhelming use and abuse of it. I know someone is going to say that the abusers were a small percentage, well it was large enough for them to leave the state.
    In my humble opinion, fees can be on a sliding scale according to our salaries, # of people under one roof etc.......I think even if we pay just a little bit of $$ for premiums or copays we are more likely to be better consumers. Oh well I will get off of my soapbox-LOL. I truly hope I did not offend because I think on this issue I am in the minority at least on this blog. It is an issue I think is important and something needs to be done really soon. I would also love to see the prices of prescriptions go down. Why can we send AIDS drugs to 3rd world countries for pennies yet patients here spend thousands and thousands for the same drug? Go figure that one! I sure can.t

  19. A couple of suggestions:
    Call the county health department and ask if there is a clinic that will treat the poor and uninsured. I have a friend who cannot get insurance because she has had cancer. She is retired but not old enough for Medicare and not poor enough for Medicaid. There is a clinic on an Indian reservation, 30 miles south of here, that will see her. She pays $20 per visit, based on her income. She is NOT native American. We also have a nonprofit clinic operating in our area. These are things you never know until you ask.

    Prescriptions--get the list of cheap generics (usually about $4) from the various pharmacies that advertise this and take the list with you to the doctor's if you go. Surely they can find something on that list to prescribe! Also, do not be shy about asking for samples.

    Finally, I second the motion (or cast a unanimous vote) for a chiropractor. Chiropractic has helped me enormously for pain, especially mystery pain where I have no clue why I hurt. Although you might have to pay $30-$50 per visit, that beats being off work without pay for an indeterminate period.

  20. One last comment--a "doc in the box" at a walk-in clinic is going to be MUCH cheaper than an emergency room visit. I have insurance, and I wouldn't go to the ER unless I was convinced I was dying.

  21. I'm so sorry to hear that you're in so much pain.

    My mom woke up one day and her back was in terrible pain. It turns out that it wasn't one thing or another that triggered it, it was over years and years of manual labour and bad posture that had taken a toll on her body.

    Even now, more than 1 year later, she has not fully recovered.

    She's been to chiropractors, and has to sleep on a very firm bed. She can't walk long distances and she can't sit on soft surfaces.

    We live in Canada, and most of the cost was covered; however, the costs for chiropractor and some medicines were only partially covered.

    Wishing you all the best in your recovery.

  22. I am truly sorry for your back pain.

    I have suffered with years of back pain because I use to lift heavy furniture when I had my Antique business and I broke my tail bone 8 years ago. I actually spent 2 weeks in bed and 6 weeks recovering a few years back because of back pain.

    If the doctors are saying that it is not your spine then a chiropractor really will not do the best good. You need to see a registered massage therapist.

    If you run your hand down your back a feel a large lump then it might be that your muscles have seized. This can happen when your body is under a lot of stress. If you ice it every 15 minutes you will find that you will get a lot of relief. Do not put any heat on it or take a hot shower or bath as this can make the muscle seize even more.

    If some one in your house hold can gently massage the area that hurts and it starts to give you relief then it probably is a seized muscle.

    I pray that the pain disappears soon. All the best, Ingrid

  23. Hoping things have improved since you posted.

  24. thanks for sharing.