“When I grow up, I want to be in the Air Force!” I once told my mom when we went to the base in Colorado. Basically, she told me, well, you can’t. You can’t go into any of the armed forces if you have diabetes. Well, that was a bummer. On to the next thing.
I wanted to be a writer. I got my, you could say, dream job right after I came home from living in Champaign-Urbana for five years. I was basically an intern in a small start up magazine, getting paid peanuts, but doing what I love. “Are they giving you benefits?” my dad asked me once, in Spanish. “No,” I said, but I was writing and getting my name out there and meeting people I wanted to meet. I was having fun.
Around that time, as luck would have it, the law that stated that children could stay under their parent’s insurance plan was passed in Illinois in June of 2009. I was technically saved from needing a “real” job. However, this would only last until the age of 26, so time was ticking. The magazine had to be successful enough to provide these kind of benefits or I’d have to leave and find myself something that would, not only sustain me, but my disease.
The magazine closed in 2010. What the hell was I going to do?
Flash forward. I got the jobs I needed and, in fact, I’m working in the healthcare industry now. Go figure. There was a time in between gigs when I didn’t have insurance that you can read about here. It was a scary time. I was gifted with the generosity of folks to help me pay for health insurance that would accept me, because back in the day, no insurance would if you had a preexisting condition. However, that health insurance plan was a scam and hardly covered anything. So, I let it go and decided to get on County Care with the state. Again, you can read about my time going there and how fun that was. Not.
So, as I’m looking through news stories and reading about the Government Shutdown, the fact that people my age can’t find decent jobs that provide benefits or are suffering through unemployment and can’t afford the option to health care, I think to myself, “How fair is that?”
- How fair is it that our bodies decided to attack our pancreas and cease insulin production?
- How fair is it that we have to ration our insulin because costs WITH INSURANCE go into the thousands of dollars?
- How fair is it that people have to start GO FUND ME campaigns to pay for their insulin? Then die before they can cash out those funds?
- How fair is it that big companies want to take advantage of those of us who didn’t do anything to deserve this condition?
- How fair is it that a generation of young people were handed the shit end of the stick and are expected to make it when there’s nothing easy about this condition? Who’s going to help pay for it?
It’s not fair.
Pigs will scream “Darwinism!” They also scream, “Let’s take advantage of the sick!” Because we know that being healthy isn’t profitable. But you can read that blog another time.
This is not just about being limited to certain activities or foods because you’re “sick” but now, people like me are fighting for their lives. FOR NO GOOD REASON. Especially when you find out that Frederick Banting sold his patent to the concoction that keeps us alive for $1 so that people wouldn’t have to suffer anymore.
Why do people want us to suffer?
When friends of mine see a paycheck, they see a trip to Puerto Rico or Miami. They see a new pair of shoes, or a new blouse. You know what I see? Life. With the amount of money I make, knowing that at least $2,500 a year have to go to medical costs is nothing. I’m not complaining. But I can’t imagine making less than I do and trying to manage this complicated disease. I can’t.
I’m also grateful for the job and health insurance that I have now. When I saw that people I KNOW are paying so much for the hormone that our bodies refuse to produce, my heart sank. I realized how fortunate I am for having the situation that I’m in, but it doesn’t take away from the pain I feel for all the others suffering through these times.
As I got older, things started to make sense to me too. This is why my parents always wanted me to study something that was going to be “useful” and always pushed me to teach (because at least I’d have a decent job). This is why they worried about the jobs I’ve had and always asked me, “So will they give you health insurance?” every time I decided to jump to a new gig. Happily, I’d say yes, especially when the job was something that I absolutely wanted.
Either way, something needs to be done about the state of insulin in our world. And the state of our country in this world. People should not have to suffer or die as they have been in recent times, because we have the technology to keep us alive. It just isn’t fair.
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