Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health is Wealth

My health care requires visits to an internist every three months for checking up and some blood work. This year I had no visits until yesterday. In February, Dennis and I finally paid off all my medical bills from 2008. And then I got a letter that my primary care doctor's office was closing in two weeks. Dennis started a new job, and wasn't eligible for benefits for awhile. And I lost mine because my weekly hours did not average 20 and I didn't make the quota for the quarter to stay eligible for benefits (too many people on the payroll at our store). So, as a diabetic, I was extremely stuck. And then my prescription for glucophage was running out.

I finally found a doctor, but it was three months before she could be available. I chose her because she specializes in diabetic care and she had been in practice for a long time. And then the appointment that I made fell through because she was sick and I had to wait another two weeks. So yesterday, was my long anticipated meeting with Dr. Eileen. And I was out of glucophage for only two weeks. I did the best I could with controlling carbs (limited flour, bread or white rice or potato) and walking to keep the numbers low on the glucose monitor. This last week was really hard, as though my system finally had it.

So, today, I checked my blood glucose and it was an odd relief to not see a high number in the mid-200's (needs to stay under 180) even though I didn't each much all day and a 20 minute walk would do the job of bringing it down, but that was getting harder to do as well. Today, I had a reading of 126 which was completely appropriate since I had not eaten for six hours at that point. And I took a walk with a friend an hour later because I wanted to, not because I had to.

I see why healthcare run by the government would be valuable, especially during an uncertain time such as this. If we can do it, great. But it has to be done well. I feel very blessed to have any coverage at all, but I've gotten a glimpse of what it feels like to be in need of care and not have it accessible. It is a desperate feeling.

The good news was that Dr. Eileen did a test for neuropathy on my feet and she told me that I don't have any loss of feeling. She had me close my eyes as she poked different places with a thin filament and told me to say if I felt something. I felt them all. For the last three years, this was one of my deepest concerns, and I changed what kind of shoes I wore completely. She said that I needed to keep my blood sugar lowered and I shouldn't be seeing any problems.

I walked out feeling like a free woman. On Tuesday, we discussed idioms in our beginning English as a Second Language class, and Sandra from Chile shared a favorite idiom from her country "Health is gold". It is indeed.

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