Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

February 10th, 2014 5:18 PM

Barium in My Belly, That Old Familiar Terror in My Gut

I stepped up to the appointment check-in desk last Thursday as I prepared to have the CT scans needed to find out what the heck is going on with my body. Many know I have been ill off and on since the day after Christmas, and I spent a week in the hospital after becoming so ill that dehydration was taking a toll on me. Doctors ordered lots of tests while I was in-patient and because the major symptoms have only been masked by meds and have not gone away, there is lingering concern about my cancer status, etc. So I needed to be re-scanned to find out what is going on before we move forward with other care or treatment.

Drinking the barium in preparation for the test was not much fun when I've been taking anti-nausea medication off and on for a month. And I knew they'd also be starting an IV for more contrast dye to see as much of my belly as possible. I was nervous.

The woman at the check-in desk pulled up my record and first asked for my co-pay for the test -- $250, but then also asked if we wanted to make some progress on paying the now more than $2,000 I owe against my 2014 deductible and out-of-pocket costs. I was instantly transported back to the terrified and angry places I have been so many times before when seeking health care has meant choosing between taking care of my health and hurting us financially. My husband stared at me in disbelief and told the woman we would not be making payment on the $2,000. We paid the $250. As we walked back to the radiology area, I felt like leaving in shame. I was ashamed of myself for needing care, ashamed of myself for not knowing how much the co-pay for the one test would be, and mostly ashamed of myself for not being wealthy enough to just take care of myself.

My shame and terror lasted right through the time when I went in for the scan. Then I started to get angrier about the system that does this to me over and over again. We need improved and expanded Medicare for all for life -- a single standard of high quality care without financial barrier -- so no one ever again is more terrified and ashamed of a co-pay than he or she may be of finding cancer or some other serious illness brewing inside. I don't want to see my husband's angry face in a medical waiting room. I want to see him supporting me, comforting me when necessary and maintaining his own calm in the face of medical issues. This is just such an awful system. And the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, as we all know, did not end these scenes from happening all over the country thousands of times every day.

I also spoke to a young man yesterday who is a friend of mine and who has just learned about how much his Food Stamps are going to be cut. This young man struggles with some physical disabilities that make it impossible for him to work but he always maintains such a positive and caring attitude. His Food Stamps had been a monthly benefit of $80. Now he will get $15. Can you imagine? He also helps push for a change to our health care system as he has had to reapply and reproof his eligibility for Medicaid and his Medicare over and over again.

What is wrong with us that we have become such a selfish, greedy and boldly uninterested society. So many people just truly do not care unless the trauma is unfolding in their own lives and costing them cash. Have we really lost the ability to show our compassion for one another by making sure the social safety net is what it needs to be? What do we not get about an injury to one is an injury to all? The lessons I learned as a child about trying to do what is kind and just seem more needed now than ever -- and my parents were both pretty conservative Republicans in terms of their political affiliations. Now we have both Democrats and Republicans signing off on policies that hurt people -- and policies that hurt average people also hurt those who think themselves invincible.

We can change the system. But we have to be prepared for some ugly fights that will sometimes be waged against people who claim to be our friends. But what we cannot do is stand by and do nothing while people feel so much terror and shame that is not of their own making. Do something. Step up. Stand for changing this system before you have to stand alone. The dead and the broke numbers below are not made up of anonymous, unimportant souls. They are you and me, our neighbors and friends -- until the day when we've finally had enough.
_________________________

February 9, 2014 -- Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:

The 2014, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 4,920
The 2014, to date, U.S. health care system bankrupt: 79,120

** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org/endorse_right_to_health_care

Follow Donna "American SiCKO" Smith's blog at: http://donnasicko.blogspot.com/

Creative Commons License This content is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... www.theonion.com President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States www.theonion.com WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract pando.com As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors pando.com If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa ...by Nick Turse www.michaelmoore.com Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 www.theguardian.com Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? www.huffingtonpost.com I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | RootsAction.org act.rootsaction.org The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles