Sinus/Ear Infection – and no insurance

I went to the doctor today. I’ve been putting it off for almost two weeks, hoping I just had a cold. I went to one of the few places in town, besides urgent care, that will take new patients without insurance. My wife went with me. I make her sit in the room because I’m so nervous about doctors since the diagnostic process for pseudotumor cerebri started back in November. Every time I feel slightly sluggish, I’m more than slightly convinced I’m dying. The nurse today said, “it feels like that when you have a sinus infection.”

That’s part of why there haven’t been new posts in the last day and a half or so. I’ve been feeling quite generally icky. But, now I have an arsenal of Levaquin (thank goodness for free samples sometimes, though I have issues with the way pharmaceutical companies push drugs on doctors), a new humidifier, and something called Rondec DM, which I think is theraflu on steroids.

But all of this has me thinking back to the diagnostic process for pseudotumor cerebri, the fact that I can’t afford health insurance, and that being sick is no fun when you can’t afford doctors or time off work/school. Back in November, I went to my optometrist, thinking I needed new glasses. I had been seeing color spots and getting double vision for a while before I went. he sent me immediately to a neurosurgeon and an neuro-ophthalmologist for a diagnosis, which he thought was going to be PTC. The neurosurgeon sent me home and told me I didn’t need him. He also refunded the $200 consultation fee – there are genuinely nice people in the world. Now I see the neuro-ophthalm every month, sometimes 3 months, and I have really cool pictures of my eyeballs – from the inside.

But, the scary part was hearing that I needed to have an MRI and a spinal tap just to diagnose the problem. Where does a full-time graduate student who works full time for peanuts (and sometimes barely that) get enough money to pay for this stuff without having health insurance? and here, since my family is also poor, they can’t come up with that kind of money either. Luckily, I found out about charity care for the spinal tap, and the hospital system approved me 100%, but there was still the MRI to worry about. And, let’s be serious folks, I needed to know that I don’t have a brain tumor – it’s a pretty important thing to know. My family is poor, too, and I couldn’t ask them – they don’t have it. My partner’s parents came through and loaned us the money to pay for the MRI, we still haven’t paid it back, and we have no freaking clue when we can… but it weighs heavily on my mind all the time.

And through all of this, I kept thinking that if I were dying of a brain tumor, not only could I not afford to try the treatments for it, or get surgery to try to remove it, but I also might not be able to have my partner there for the dying process. And that, my friends, is scary, too. She’s my rock. I can’t sleep at night unless she’s holding me, and there are hospital administrators and conservative legislators who would tell me that I have no right to choose, even on my deathbed, who gets to be there. And I don’t have the money to fight them. I have enough sob stories to change their minds, I’d like to think, and given a few minutes in a room with one of them, I might just tell ’em… but unfortunately, it could be with my fists, because sometimes they’re smarter than my head.

So, rather than fill this one in completely, I’m going to sign off here. My head is throbbing from this sinus infection, and I can’t really think straight anymore – but it’s not like I ever could.


One Response to “Sinus/Ear Infection – and no insurance”
  1. Christian says:

    **hugs*** hope you feel better soon!!

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