Buying Health

There’s a lot of talk these days about health care reform and making sure the uninsured have coverage.  I don’t want to debate the strengths and weaknesses of the law but I do want to comment about the struggles associated with having a chronic health condition and how much is not considered when adding up the cost.
Fortunately, most of Lynn’s prescription costs are covered.  If we didn’t have insurance, our cost would be over $5,000 per month for just his MS drug.  In addition to his MS medication, he takes meds for other conditions like high blood pressure, mitral value prolapse, neurogenic bladder, MS depression, hypothyroidism, and others.  Just the cost of meds alone would send us into bankruptcy or more likely, we just couldn’t afford for him to take anything if we didn’t have insurance coverage.  Total cost for his meds last year (insurance + copay) was $58,000!
Besides medication, his dietician has him on numerous dietary supplements to support neurological cell regeneration and to assist with energy and autoimmune responses. We spent $6,500 for those last year. That does not include the fact that most of what I buy for him now is organic or meats that have been grass fed.  Don’t know if you’ve checked out the price of organic food lately but it’s not cheap.  Grass fed meats and pastured poultry is also much more expensive than buying the store brand. We have discovered that his body does not eliminate harmful chemicals ingested or absorbed and that he’s been storing them up for years.  We are working now to get rid of all those toxins so the last thing I want to do is put more in there from fertilizers, hormones, or other chemicals used to buff up the animals or prolong storage and/or appearance.
Totaling our cost continues:  food and medications–covered; now for supplies.
Each month, I order medical supplies (self-catheters, in-dwelling catheters, gloves, lubricants, catheter insertion kits for travel, etc., skin care and barriers, lotions and ointments for various needs, and miscellaneous other supplies particular to his care.  I have shelves in an unused room full of such daily used supplies as well as other “in case of” supplies.
All of the above are the routine costs of daily living, but there are other more costly purchases which fortunately do not occur every day but when they do happen, they really take a toll on the purse strings.  For example, at various times we have purchased a cane, rollator, manual wheelchair, bedside commode, shower chair, and power wheelchair.   We were fortunate beyond words to have our church donate the cost of putting in a ramp so Lynn could get into and out of our house and a roll-in shower to make it easier to bath him.  Our house is a rancher so we have not had to decide between moving, putting in an elevator, or redoing a lower level to make accessibility available inside the house. Others, I know, have not been as fortunate.
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