Chronic Pain, Insurance & Neo

NeoNeocon goes deeply personal to chronicle a horrendous-sounding injury, years of pain, and how this is relevant to what may be in our own future. It’s long, but please give it a read. Neo was told there was “nothing” that could be done and that pain management would be difficult as well. Finally – after years – she had surgery. But this is pretty sobering when our president is saying, “maybe you won’t need the surgery, maybe you just take the painkiller.”

It was actually my injuries that first propelled me online over ten years ago, looking for information to help me with my decisions, and to read about the experiences of other people who suffered from similar problems. One of the things I found at that time that made a deep impression on me were the stories told by patients in Canada and Britain. Although they didn’t have to worry about insurance coverage, they were uniformly the most miserable of all the chronic pain patients on several message boards I frequented. They had to wait forever for tests. They often lacked the freedom to choose their doctors, and/or there were far fewer specialists in Canada and Britain that knew anything about their injuries or how to treat them either surgically or medically. The problems of these patients were generally considered unimportant and they were given low priority.

Until that time, if I’d thought about the health care system in those countries at all, I had assumed it was a great thing that there was universal coverage. But during this experience I learned that, at least for nerve injuries and chronic pain of the sort I had, the care here was far better. In fact, many of these people dreamed of saving up enough money to come to the US to some of the surgeons I’d been able to see. But they could not afford it, and they continued to suffer.

I’m not a rich person. But ever since then I’ve continued to pay extra for the medical insurance most likely to preserve my freedom to choose. If I hadn’t been able to have surgery on the west coast, I believe that even now, ten years later, I would probably be suffering from pain at or above the level of those early years. The prospect is so dreadful that I shudder to even think about it. I’m just grateful that wasn’t the case.

You’ll want to read it all.

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