Thoughts on Some Costs of Pursuing Healthcare
As I walked home the other evening I noticed a long line of people waiting for dinner, a meal which was provided by a charity that figured significantly into our giving last year. It was a perfect reminder that I needed to reinstate the automatic monthly donation. But how much? The last few months of 2012 were rather, um, tight financially. We had setup automatic giving based on me working, and counted the cost when deciding that it was best for me to leave work. But then more personal giving was needed, and it was a challenge.
I rely heavily on mint.com to keep track of everything, especially while numbers have been so close. As I look away from the homeless man in front of me, I can picture the graphs telling me that there is no money left for January. I think ahead to the upcoming months, and what expenditures can be cut. Everything from now until May seems so essential. Well, not everything. I know that there is more if I pull from the extra spaces where pad so much in the name of health. I do not yet know whether we will owe taxes, but assuming that is not an issue, there is money that can be diverted to giving.
Last time I went to the pro-life medical practice it cost us over $200 in direct costs and immediate loss of income. It was covered by my excellent health insurance, but there was the co-pay, transportation, and the cost of lost time at work, and ultimately the prescription co-pays as well.
Josh was employed as a contract worker at the time, and not only was it stressful for him to fall behind on his work, there was no way that he could make up the hours in terms of compensation. But there was also no way that I could make the appointment useful without Josh being there, because I had previously proven my inability to communicate with the doctor. For instance, the doctor would ask how many hours I slept a night, and I would tell her my time in bed without thinking to mention that I was waking up multiple times a night, especially during the phase where she had me on Prometrium. And then there was the fact that I absolutely stink at pushing any issue with a doctor if my thoughts are rejected at first.
It was very helpful to have Josh there, but I did not enjoy the irony that it simply resulted in a prescription for the pill–something I already had sitting around unused from another doctor.
Josh now has a far better job, a job with more responsibilities and more stress. It is also the first time that Josh has had health insurance since we got married, and there are several medical appointments that he needs for himself. If Josh has to go to the doctor with me one month, it will mean that he delays healthcare for himself by another month in order to not miss more time at work.
If I cannot get things together enough to go to doctors appointments etc. on my own, then it simply is not worth the cost to Josh’s time and health.
The next morning I hurried to get ready so that I could head to work at the same time as Josh. As we walked, he talked about exciting things related to his job. Suddenly I stopped listening to what Josh was saying long enough to think about the fact that he was talking. About his life. We have many things that we have to talk about, and if I were actively pursuing healthcare then we would most likely have been talking about that in this little bit of extra time together. There is only so much space to share so many things. As things are now, there is time for Josh to include me in parts of his life that do not directly involve me. But we must budget time as much as money, and I cannot simultaneously talk with Josh about my health issues and listen to him talk about work.
I have been extremely exhausted for the past two weeks. It is, however, not entirely lacking a rather obvious explanation: I have not been sleeping well. I am the epitome of the Princess and the Pea. There were several things that disrupted my sleep, and most of them could be remedied simply by spending money. We have already spent quite enough on that though. It is nothing short of ridiculous to direct resources toward optimizing my comfort in sleep when there are others who do not even have a safe place to sleep.
We can not have everything. This is one of the most basic facts of life. Complete health is just one of many things that is invaluable, yet not always worth pursuing to the exclusion of everything else.
- I am thankful 2/10/2013
- If You’re Not Trying To Avoid, You’re Trying To Achieve
Interesting post. The last line is one of the reasons I cringe when it comes to investing even more resources/money into more expensive/healthier options. Is it really ethical to eat organic and spend the time to be maximum-fit and shopping for clothing? I currently find myself with very devout and religious friends who care deeply about these matters and for whom it is a matter of good stewardship to do so.
But I just can’t bring myself to, and I must appear sloppy and neglectful, but a lot of my cringing is directly related to the homelessness and poverty of our town and the obvious desperation of so many who struggle to obtain food–any food at all. I feel judgmental and uppity about this and that is depressing to me, especially when I know I could and should be more compassionate and empathic and less inwardly-focused.
I have found is that it is easy for me to neglect my own health and hard for me to take care of myself. This is something that has been brought to my attention that I struggle with. (Sure thing, you implied that I was reading my struggle into your writing long before I realized what the struggle was.)
My wife recently recommended Chiropractic care for a minor problem that has caused me all sorts of annoyances, such as headaches, poor sleep, etc. The care has been excellent and I feel so much better, but I hate it. I hate what I pay and I hate taking the time to go.
What people don’t understand is that while we should always want health, it’s not easy to pursue health. But I believe that pursuing physical health is virtuous, like pursuing spiritual health. We are a unity of soul and body. Neither caring for the body nor caring for the soul is selfish.
Such good and tough questions to ask. Living in the tension is never easy. I guess I figure there’s a season for everything. Sometimes you can focus on health and other times you just have to move forward feeling like crap. It’s taken me 42 years of living to see the pattern in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. I love your realism about how you can’t focus on your husband’s issues and your issues at once. I’ve seen that in my own marriage. It takes so much effort to move one of you forward in an area that the other takes a back seat for a time. There really is only so much time and money. This post is a wonderful example of sacrificial love in action- thanks for sharing.
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