I find that I have to post an update to my last post, to clarify our situation. I have gotten three responses so far, one was an offer of financial help to get treatment, one was encouragement to find a way to get help, and the third sounded like a scolding for not valuing my husband's life enough.
After receiving the offer of a check from my friend in Europe, I was in tears from her generosity. I started calling around to find out what the total cost would be. When I called the local clinic/hospital's billing office for prices, she told me that they have multiple programs to help those without insurance. The first is a 30% uninsured discount. Secondly, they will work with you to come up with an affordable 0% interest payment plan. Thirdly, she sent me paperwork for up to a 100% income-based discount. She told me there was no need to let finances get in the way of getting help.
But I still have another reason for hesitating to go to doctors. I don't trust them as far as I can throw them. The medical system in the United States is so broken due to corruption. I truly believe that the privatization of health care should be considered a crime against humanity. No one should ever be forced to choose between going to the doctor for a major illness like this and getting warm boots and snow pants for their children for the winter. Or, if it is expensive enough, food to feed their kids. The question is not, "How much is your husband's life worth?", but, "Why is anyone allowed to put a price on human life like insurance companies and drug companies are?"
The medical system has fought against diabetes since the dawn of written history. Anthropologists use diabetes as a marker of civilization. It should therefore be obvious that going to the doctor will not take care of the diabetes. So why go to the doctor then? I do not believe in going to the doctor for treatment of disease. Doctors cannot cure. Doctors can diagnose and can monitor diseases, but they cannot cure them. Healing is done by the body, not by drugs. The only way to truly cure any disease is through proper nutrition (which varies widely depending on whom you talk to) and a careful, deliberate lifestyle. I am willing to go to the doctor for injuries, diagnoses and monitoring, but I will not take their drugs.
Back to the comment though about valuing my husband's life. I have pretty much come to the conclusion that most people do not truly understand what it is like to live in poverty. To ever wonder where they will get groceries to feed their children next week. To be homeless. Remarkably, I was homeless when I first met the commenter nearly 20 years ago. Perhaps he didn't realize I was homeless. Most people have never worried about not having enough money for gas to visit their little girl who lives with her father nearly 100 miles away. These aren't the worries of the average US citizen. But we live these questions a few times a year every year. It is no fun having to call up your daughter to say, "I'm sorry, honey, but I can't come get you this weekend because we have to replace the tires on the car and then I won't be able to get gas, and I don't want us stuck on the side of the road when we run out."
Poverty is alive and well in the United States but most are blind to it. Poverty is what makes us have to choose whether or not we can afford to go to the hospital for a diagnosis of a potentially-fatal disease. It isn't free will, it isn't apathy, it isn't that I don't love my husband with every ounce of my being and don't know how I could live without him. It is that it is a long and complicated and therefore expensive process, one that could very well require surgery (for ancient knee injuries that make it impossible for him to do much physical activity), and that means time lost from work, which means reduced income, which could mean that we have to ask those hard questions again. Doctor or food? What kind of a choice is that? One driven by poverty.
So why don't I get a job? Again, this is a complicated question. At first blush it would seem the answer. First, we have several small children. Daycare costs alone for 4 children, 2 not yet old enough for school, would completely consume all of my potential income and more. A friend and I recently discussed how it might be possible for his wife to stay home with their baby. His baby is about 6 months old or so and he told me that daycare for her is $500 per month. That is one child. Now multiply that by 3 (full time for the two younger, part time for the two older) and that equals $1500 per month. That is more than I can hope to bring home in a paycheck, and is only a little less than my husband brings home. Sure, we could apply for state-funded child care, but that would be an extra $1500 or so burden on the state. Currently, we receive almost $600 in state aid as food stamps. Do you, the taxpayer, really want to replace that with $1500 that the state can't afford since it can't balance its budget?
Secondly, my child support payment would go from $50 per month to about 25% of my take home pay. When I was working full time (which was until 5 years ago) I paid nearly $100 per week in child support. So that brings the cost of my working up to about $1900 per month. Still can't afford it.
Thirdly, when I was working full time, our family life suffered terribly. The children were always cranky about having to go to a sitter, I was angry at society for not paying my husband a living wage and therefore requiring me to work when I wanted nothing more than to stay home with my children and be a mother. To keep the daycare costs down (though not completely eliminated) my husband and I worked separate shifts. That is hell on a marriage. We nearly got divorced. So quality of life is another cost of working away from home, though one that defies a price tag.
We have a plan of action now, one that we worked out after the encouragement from my friends cleared my head so I could think more strategically. I am not letting him go without a fight. Never doubt that.
2 years ago