I experience chronic pain. It stretches throughout my body and it seems never ending. It started in October 2020 with my thumb. I had Marketplace insurance, so my copays were high. My deductible was high. I was laid off and searching for a job. Which I found one and started the end of October as a part time status. My pain at that time was still “tolerable”. Because I had a job, the insurance premiums went higher. I had to put off going to the Doctor due to not only the new job, but because I couldn’t afford to go. My job went full time just over two months after starting. Because I work with a small business, the insurance was pretty much the same, but my employer paid the premiums instead of it coming out of my paychecks. This freed up a bit of money.
I finally scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic to look at my thumb. By then, I had let it go so long, I could no longer bend my thumb. And that constant chronic pain was starting to take a toll on me. I had to start going to Physical Therapy. My copays were $80 per visit. So I could only go once a week and had to do the rest at home. Spoiler alert, it’s now March 2022, one and a half years later, and I still cannot bend my thumb. My insurance only allows 30 visits per year.
I had to go to another specialist for my hand for further treatment. This doctor was in the “Tier Two” plan, so my specialist appointments went from $80 per appointment to $120 per appointment. They diagnosed me with Trigger Finger in my thumb. Then my pinky started bothering me as well. Cortisone injections for the win until my thumb surgery. Not sure why he just didn’t do my pinky as well.
But, I now know better and I am continuously bending the fingers bothering me. Just so it won’t get stuck like my thumb. Yep, multiple fingers now. The chronic pain spread to my middle finger and now my right hand. My legs started bothering me March 2021 and my shoulders in October 2021. My foot started over the summer and is progressively getting worse. I have surgery on my toe scheduled for this May coming up, after my sons college graduation.
I am ruling things out one by one. Had X-Rays done on both hips, both hands, my shoulder and foot. My hips are fine, but arthritis is setting in, in both hands, my shoulder and my foot. I have an appointment with a Rheumatologist the end of this month. I also asked to be tested for Lyme disease, just to rule it out before my appointment. Family history has me fearing Rheumatoid Arthritis. But, I also have scalp psoriasis, so there’s a possibility it could be psoriatic arthritis.
So, now that you have my life story behind the chronic pain I am experiencing, where does the blame lie? Yes, every body can be prone to different ailments. But with costs skyrocketing and salaries are not increasing at a steady equal pace, what are we supposed to do? People are being forced to put their health on hold because they simply cannot afford treatments.
Pennsylvania’s federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. After taxes, that is around $5.00 per hour. And the costs of insurance on top of that? It is absolutely sinful. The way insurance costs have increased is making people prioritize their health below keeping a roof over their head, or food on their table. How is this sustainable? How can insurance companies make decisions to increase rates, copays, etc, when so many Americans are struggling?
I remember when I gave birth to my son. I was in the hospital for six days and my insurance covered everything. Now? New moms are charged for the first touch of their new darling angel. How is this right? The powers that be in the insurance companies should absolutely be ashamed of themselves. The CEO’s make millions of dollars while their customers can’t afford to go to the doctor for treatment. People have to work multiple jobs just to survive today. This is a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
Just to clarify! I am NOT against people making money. I am not against people getting rich. But I am against people and businesses taking advantage of a situation and making life harder for those who have less. Forcing people to decide what they can and can’t afford. Being healthy is a human right. Not a privilege.