Health Care in America… Or Not

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah

As I write this, I’m having a miscarriage. Don’t read of if you don’t like the thought of blood, or if you don’t want to hear about it. I don’t want to hear about it and I’m experiencing it…

I had a positive preg test in July. I was just getting over the flu, no idea if that had some effect. On the first of August I started spotting. Very light, brown, old blood, no gushing or anything. I have had four miscarriages previously, in addition to my successful pregnancies resulting in my lovely children. After a few days, the bleeding picked up. Been there before, so I figured this was not a viable pregnancy. I had not yet applied for Medicaid for pregnant women – we have a struggling business and no insurance – but after the bleeding did not subside, I ended up going to the ER to have them check if there was anybody home or if I was indeed suffering an early miscarriage.

How much did this cost? The first bill I got was over $2000. Well, take my breath away. I can barely afford $20. Then I had to follow up with another doctor, who charged $150 for an office visit, and a lab, which charged $120 for a single test of my hormone levels. Can you bill me? No. Whip out the credit card, saved for just such emergencies. Two days later, they tell me what I already know. Hormone levels are dropping, nobody home, not a viable pregnancy. Okay, been there, done that.

The last two days have been rough. I’m trying to keep the routine, cooking, taking care of the kids, laundry, all that. But the blood… the blood. Today I reached the “dizzy from blood loss” level and gave up and called hubby to come home from work. Can’t pick up the baby without a gush that sends me to the bathroom. Yeah, too much information, but I did warn you.

So, why am I not going to the ER? With a previous miscarriage I had to have a D&C;, where they put me under general anesthesia and cleaned out my uterus. If the miscarriage is not complete, you can hemmorage and continue to bleed long past what is safe. But I’m so afraid of the bill. I’m sure it will be over $10K, and though I have applied for Medicaid – technically, I was still pregnant because I still had a positive pregnancy test – I don’t know if they will approve me and I don’t know if they will pay for a medical visit that took place before I was approved. I was told ten days for the review.

So here I sit, afraid to stand up, getting dizzy, trying to hold it together but almost undone by the baby’s fussing. Can’t even think of going downstairs to check on my stroke-victim father-in-law. I hear him going in and out downstairs. He likes to sit on the back patio area and watch the squirrels play. Trying not to alarm the kids. Now waiting for hubby to get home.

Why the hell, why the hell in the United States of America, should I be terrified to go to the doctor for fear of poverty? What third world country is this? President Obama, Congress, are you listening? I have worked many jobs in my life. My husband has a business. We contribute to society. I don’t ask for much from my government. I expect the government to do few things, but do them well. I can do without the National Endowment for the Arts. I can live without NPR. But for God’s sake, can we at least get some basic health care? I know there are many more like me. When I was in the waiting room the other day, I heard the receptionist telling some poor, ill woman that she owed over $500 on her bill. The woman had no checking account, and about $25 in her pocket, which she offered to pay part of her bill. If she can’t pay, she can’t get the operation she needs. Really? In the United States of America? We can engage in wars of choice, we can ignore illegal aliens, we can give financial support to every two-bit nation, but we ignore our own citizens? Am I mad? Damn right I’m mad. I’m scared, too. Scared that the bleeding won’t stop and I’ll be forced to go to the ER. Scared that we’ll have to declare bankruptcy because my body couldn’t stay pregnant right now.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve been sitting her fifteen minutes and I can tell I’m going to need to make another trip to the bathroom. May have to camp out there if the bleeding doesn’t let up. Yeah, been here, done that. When this happened about six years ago, my husband had insurance through his job. I could survive the misery of a miscarriage without the fear of breaking the bank. I thought it was rough then. It’s worse now. God bless America….

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