Face it, the truth can be ugly. I'm in rare form lately. Kids in pain is just heart wrenching. Not being able to take it all away and make it better is a mother's worst nightmare. The fights with hubby at 1 am over stupid, stupid meaningless minutia is enough to push anyone over the edge.
Last Saturday, I ended up in the hospital. Yep, couldn't cope well. It happens. I've never gone in before, but a friend drug me there. My blood pressure was 145/103, and I usually have freakishly low blood pressure. I think I finally did it, I think I had a nervous breakdown.
We are the average American middle class family... we make too much to qualify for drug assistance programs, or any secondary government insurance (Medicaid) but not enough to pay our medical bills and medication co-pays. For years, we just put all meds on a credit cards, knowing one day it would end. I've called drug companies, and if hubby had no job or insurance, they'd give us the boys' medications free. Yes,, FREE. But they have no assistance for those of with insurance and $281 co-pays.
That's the ugly side of chronic illness in a middle class family. Not only do we watch our children suffer from day to day with pain and other medical issues, we have anxiety over how we will pay for the drugs they need. The $281 med protects his kidneys from damage. When he's got 15 other meds to take, the co-pays add up.
The past 3 1/2 weeks have been what I call a 5K period. We racked up more medical bills than hubby makes in a month. We can set payments up with everyone other than the pharmacies.
When you see parents like me out and about at WalMart, Church or around town, you won't know how much our lives suck. We are blessed beyond measure because we have jobs, our kids are alive and we are barely hanging on. No parent will blurt out the truth and say, "Hey, it sucks, we have $45,000 in debt, took out a $22,000 loan on our 401K last year to pay medical bills off, our credit is running out and we don't know if we will be able to pay for their meds next month. It never ends... we already know there will be more bone marrow biopsies in our future...they've each had over 20 so far...... We know there will be hospitalizations and infections that are hard to treat like the recent toe infection. We usually talk about the weather, the music at Mass or some upcoming event.
We may seem normal on the outside. My boys serve at Mass and even the last 3 weeks, other than not feeling well because of the meds, you'd of never guessed that Joseph had a resistant infection on his toe that was spreading up his foot. You wouldn't know he felt awful and was in pain (back, neck, muscle, knee, joint, etc)
We buy meat when it is on sale for $2 or less.... that's what determines what we eat! Once in a while, we splurge and get a roast when it is reduced price.... we took a vacation where we camped the entire time.... with the exception of using hotel points a few nights. When we travel to the hospital we eat PB&J. We drive used cars.... the boys buy their own electronics and even their own rescue pets. I don't drink or do drugs, but I do buy arts and crafts stuff to make cards. I enjoy sending kids cards in the hospital. That is my therapy.... I buy rubber. And then I feel guilty for buying rubber. I try to sell my cards (they never sell, so I give them away as gifts) to help raise money to pay medical bills.
Tonight I am angry with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome, I am angry with Mitochondrial Disease and I am angry that is affects every aspect of our lives. The system is screwed up and rewards those who don't work. If you have a job and insurance, do the right things by saving, it gets sucked away and here we are...... if Chris quit his job, the Ditropan people would give him J's medication completely free. Yep..... they don't take into account debt to income ratio or medical bills. Ditto for other drug companies...with the exception of possible help from Singulair, they don't have programs for those of us with insurance and kids on a million meds.
Tomorrow will be better. For now, I am angry. God can handle my anger. I know that all things are possible through Him and that He will provide. IO just have to trust and believe, but sometimes, I just get angry because it seems so unfair that my kids suffer so much and we have to make choices to cut their Mito Cocktail doses or pay our mortgage....
Life with chronic illness sucks. Sure, we have good moments, but it sure does suck a lot.