- Posted September 26, 2013 by
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Obamacare: Your story
Living A Life Of Pain
More background: I was born at home, just me and my mom, in the country... I was a premie weighing only 3 lbs. I had no idea I had any birth defects until I was already an adult with 3 children. At that time I found that I was born with my knee caps not in alignment with my knee joints. I've had 4 knee surgeries since with the last one actually fixing the problem. Then years and years later, I discovered I was also born with Spinal Stenosis.. my spinal column is much too small to house my spinal cord, making my spine seem like it's at least 20 years older than I am. After having already received more steroid shots in my neck than any physician cares to do, I've been refused any more shots and told I must have surgery to make my spinal column bigger. I have no insurance and I cannot even consider making payments on a rather expensive surgery. And once I do get my neck fixed, then my lower back will follow suit.
However, I have NO insurance and have NO job since 1) my job was outsourced and 2) I cannot get insurance on my own because I have pre-existing conditions.
So while my orthopedic specialist repeatedly tells me I cannot keep pushing out this surgery, I have had no other choice but to push it out, AND, he informed my employer that I was not allowed to work anymore at the beginning of this year, I am not working and I have no insurance.
In the meantime, while waiting to be approved for disability, I suffer. I have a plethora of nerves being pinched in my neck and lower back. I have at least one artery being pinched in my neck. Any simple movement at all pinches something somewhere. I took a huge fall down 3 steps while only trying to stand and look out my front door at the outside scenery. It happened in a flash of a moment when by simply raising my head a tiny bit, the artery got pinched, cutting off blood to my brain and I dropped like a rock. The result of this fall: my left foot took all the impact and was severely traumatized to the point that the greater part of the top of my foot went necrotic (died). I had the initial ER visit to make sure nothing was broken. Got lots of bills for that. Then a month later had to return to the ER to have the necrotic tissue removed. Got lots of bills for that. Now that my foot has healed, it does not work. Nerves were severed. Tendons were severed. And the largest part of the regrown tissue are scar tissue. I can now no longer walk other than very slowly and with a limp and the stress of this "new way of walking" has put great stress on my lower back and my right knee. More pain.
I live in constant pain every day and night. I have to make sure I do not move my head at all if at all possible. I can no longer walk very well and just standing for a few moments causes my injured foot to turn a deep red/purple and the pain is enormous.
IF my job had not been outsourced again and I had been able to use the insurance (which cost me $1024/mo for me and spouse only) via my employer, I could have already had both my neck and lower back fixed and I could be working again, playing my part in supporting our economy and being responsible for myself. Instead, I am not working, struggling just to pay for basic needs, struggling to keep my home, all while enormous ER bills are piling up, and while playing the long wait game for disability approval, I have no income to do anything with. I have gone through all savings. We are still afloat, barely, due to my husband's monthly check and our selling just about anything and everything we have.
What is so frustrating about all this is: I was responsible my entire adult life, raising my kids right and ensuring we always had health insurance. I have paid out so much money during 30 years of working, and actually rarely used it... and now when I need it the most, I have nothing.
Living in pain as I do on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, with the fear of having a nerve, or even more horrific, an artery, severed is extremely frightening and frustrating. Not to mention the frustration and fear of having to lose our home when we are so close to retirement simply due to a fall I took while waiting for disability approval and the lack of insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.
There are millions more like me, who ensured they had the healthcare they needed for decades just to end up with nothing available to us due to job losses and pre-existing conditions.
Being able to get an insurance policy for myself (my husband will be covered by Medicare Nov 1), which we can afford and being able to, in 2014, get the very needed surgery in order to prevent permanent nerve damage... paralysis is a huge potential and fear... death from severed artery.... is a GOD SEND to us. I am looking forward to the day when I can stand up and walk and turn my head without fear of falling or paralysis or death. Until then I will continue to do nothing other than sit here and share my thoughts as even going to the ladies room in my own home is a risky trip for me. NO ONE should be forced to live this way, especially when the situation causing me to do so can easily be corrected with the ACA. I only wish my state, OK, legislators had implemented the ACA fully instead of doing all they could to fight the ACA and do all they could to make it fail.