Preface: there are several posts in my drafts folder discussing my thoughts and feelings during pregnancy. Since I made a decision not to discuss my last pregnancy on my blog, I will be posting them now, when having a little one prevents me from writing much and on a regular basis. So some of the things are a bit outdated (in regards to my personal life), but I hope you will find them interesting nonetheless.
Women are often accused of not being objective because they tend to follow their heart and intuition over cool headed logic. There probably is some truth to that. The older I get, the more I lose sight of the big picture and concentrate on personal details of the situation. Whenever I hear about a child abduction, my heart skips a bit, because that child is someone's baby, terribly missed and desperately wanted back. Then I think about the abductor and it occurs to me that he too is somebody else's son. This might not be a good example, but what I am trying to say is that personal experiences such as having kids definitely softened my heart and swayed my views.
One of those personal experience was hyperemesis gravidarium (check out this site more info, if you wish), in layman's terms, severe morning sickness during my last pregnancy. Those who don't know what it entails should consider themselves lucky because it is much worse than it sounds, and not only for the one experiencing it, but also for those around her. My case was not particularly life threatening and probably fell in the mild category, but many women have it much worse and it is considered life threatening. Without going into lots of distasteful details, my mild case required taking medication for several months to suppress nausea, involved stretches of time when I could not stomach anything even while being medicated, and at one time living on half a toast and a bite of apple for four days and at another time celebrating eating five Cheerios, the first meal in three days. Drinking presented even a bigger problem, resulting in two visits to the ER for hydration.
But in many ways, besides medical, my case was truly a lucky one:
1. I had a doctor who understood the condition.
2. I had a manager who was understanding.
3. I had an employer who provides decent medical insurance and good prescription coverage.
4. My company also gives a generous amount of sick days.
5. I had an understanding husband and family nearby to help out.
6. The pregnancy and the baby were wanted and expected.
It makes me shudder to think that even one of those things would not be available to me during this very hard time. Yet the reality is that for many American women that would be the case. An appalling number of our compatriots has no medical insurance. Many times these people are blamed for their situation and called irresponsible, but I had crunched the numbers (I won't bore you with those, unless you ask me to) and wish that were the case.
And even when you do obtain insurance, the battle is not over. Not all procedures are covered by all insurance companies. In my case, the medication prescribed to me for nausea, Zofran, is often not covered or covered only partially. How much does it cost? $1,000 for 15-20 day supply, generic. (Somehow, it is only half of that in Canada. Interesting, isn't it?) I needed three refills. If my insurance didn't cover this medication, I would have to pay $4,000 our of pocket for the luxury of being able to function. Luxury that - with all my being responsible and insured - would be hard to afford.
Where am I going? I have given this topic a lot of thought, even before I got married and thought of having kids. Now my personal experience more or less cemented my belief that medical coverage should be universal. It is appalling that the country as rich as ours does not provide this to all its citizens. That people who are on the low are being kicked by their health insurance carriers, and that hardly promotes recovery. I would support any viable plan to bring decent coverage to every American. The problem is, though, I have yet to see that viable plan.
Would this belief earn me the lable of "socialist"? Does it make me one? Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn...
(originally from 11/2/08)