August 6, 2011

The Individual Cost of the Lack of Affordable Healthcare

I started dating Johnny around 1995 when we both worked for a small cab company, as dispatchers. The company was small enough that they were not required to offer insurance to their employees. (Cab drivers here in AZ are all sub-contractors that are not considered employees) I knew that he had diabetes and thought he was controlling it. We eventually moved in together to pool our meager resources to make ends meet. At the time he was making $10.50/hr and I was making $6.75/hr. (He had been dispatching there for nearly 10 years by this time). He was also delivering newspapers on a route for extra money.

After a couple years of scraping by, he decided that he would go back to cab driving, where he wouldn’t have a limit of hours or money that he could make. After dispatching for that long, he knew the ebb and flow of the calls & locations of the better calls. At the same time, he continued delivering newspapers to keep the money from that job coming in as well. I used to wonder what people thought to see a cab driving down their street to deliver the daily newspaper.

I eventually found a better job that provided a higher wage and some medical insurance. Since we were not married yet, I couldn’t put him on my insurance, but at least my son and I were covered. One day we were visiting Johnny’s sister, and I asked if I could check Johnny’s blood sugar, since we couldn’t even afford testing strips. Normal levels are between 80-100. Johnny’s blood sugar level was 588. Yes, almost 6x the normal levels. He said “That’s not right, I feel fine.” I knew better and knew that it was going to mean rough consequences down the road. I also knew that he wasn’t “fine.” We got married on /17/1998 and I was able to add him to my insurance, but the damage was done.

As he started finally having access to doctors, we started learning about what the high blood sugar was doing to every single organ in his body. The worst part was having to tell a cab driver, who loved to drive that he had become a danger to everyone around him because he couldn’t see well enough to tell if a street light was red or green in time if he was going 40 MPH. He’d been a very active person, always driving, but ended up nearly a shut-in, other than to go to the doctors or the hospital. 

With the other health issues, he was seeing a lot of different specialists:

  • Ophthalmologist
  • Cardiovascular Specialist
  • Neurologist
  • Dermatologist
  • Pulmonary Specialist
  • Nephrologist
  • Podiatrist 
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Psychologist (being sick for years is depressing)
  • His Primary Care Doctor who could ONLY keep up with what all of the other doctors were doing because of my notes during the doctor appointments (which I let all of the doctors review each visit.) There was a point in time where he was seeing a different doctor nearly every single day of the week, visiting each one every one – two weeks, as his condition was steadily declining. 

The list of “Co-morbidities” was growing faster than we could keep track of them. I’ve probably forgotten a couple of them, as it’s been a decade.

  • Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Partial Paralysis of the Upper GI system
  • Hepatitis B  
  • Thinning of the Epidermis layer of skin.
  • Cataracts
  • Valley Fever
  • End Stage Renal Disease (Kidney failure / Dialysis
  • Stroke
  • Stage 4 Colon Cancer (discovered 2/5/2002)
  • Tumor removed (2/7/2002)
  • Released from hospital (2/14/2002) on Hospice

He Died 2/24/2002 at Age 46

End Stage Renal Disease alone costs $9,760 per person per month, according to Medicare (CMS) data. ($117,120/year or $234,240 for the last two years of Johnny’s life.) That’s after the $60,000 fistula surgery that connected a vein to an artery in

his lower arm, to make it easier to hook up to the dialysis machine. (Think Julia Roberts in Fried Green Tomatoes, when her character needed to start dialysis.)

Other people who have End-Stage Renal Disease live many years longer, and this cost is only one portion of the costs of being a Diabetic without insurance.

Friday’s Political Postings


Ok, so first off, I want to say that I had three root canals done this morning, I’m on some codeine, and spent most of the day cruising through my favorite political Facebook pages. It’s just after 3AM and I think I should try to sleep, but then again, I could probably stay up all night long if hubby wasn’t patiently waiting for me to end my tirade. So, in a nutshell, here are all of the things I posted in my Facebook wall. Maybe tomorrow, if I get organized enough, I’ll post links to my favorite political Facebook pages.

I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was THIS BAD.

The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor | The Nation

Years after ALEC's Truth In Sentencing bills became the law of the land, its Prison Industries Act has quietly expanded prison labor across the country.

  • I absolutely LOVE this video!!!!

  • Are you getting Koch-Blocked?

    See the kick-ass video. Then join the campaign to push the Koch Brothers' money out of politics and bring democracy back in.

  • My step-daughter must have the right to marry the woman she loves and chooses, just as my son would have the right to marry the woman he loves and chooses.
    A same-sex couple and their marriage in NO WAY would diminish a opposite-sex marriage. If someone feels that their marriage is any less because of someone else's marriage, then they probably don't have a strong marriage to begin with. Who my children eventually ch

  • Say, "I Do" Mr. President

    Co-sign Freedom to Marry's open letter to the President asking him to support the freedom to marry.

  • Enough already!

  • Enough Is Enough! Demonstrate the True Will of the People by joining our virtual staging ground for.

    UPDATE AUG 5: It's time for August town halls with your representative in Congress. Town halls are taking place all across the country right now. America needs you to show up to the meetings and speak up!


  • ‎"It sickens me that businesses like mine responsibly paid taxes at the rate of 35 percent on millions of dollars in profits while companies like GE would pay zero percent on billions of dollars in profits. Even worse, they had so many tax loopholes and tax subsidies that Uncle Sam actually owed them money. From 2008 to 2010, GE had $7.7 billion in pretax U.S. profits and $4.7 billion in tax refunds, giving it a negative 61.3 percent tax rate, reports the tax experts at Citizens for Tax Justice.”

  • Yeah, it sickens the rest of us as well.

    Proud to invest in America

    I love America, and have proudly invested in America. I have invested by building successful businesses employing thousands of American workers.

  • Interesting article.

  • Shock doctrine and the debt limit

    Washington's recently staged drama of dysfunction over the federal debt limit sadly distracted attention from real crises occurring outside the beltway. These include unemployment, housing foreclosures, torched 401k plans that have stalled earned retirements, and college graduates struggling to begi...


  • Wenona Benally Baldenegro for Congress, Arizona

    Wenona Benally Baldenegro for Congress: It is time for a new vision for Arizona and for the rest of the country. We need leaders who will stand up for working people and the middle class, and who will restore our image as proud Arizonans.

  • NEW Uncensored E*TRADE Baby

    Liked on

    When it comes to the E*TRADE Baby, some moments don't get past the censors. Take a look at the gems that didn't make it into this year's Big Game.

  • E-Trade Baby Loses Everything.

    Liked on



  • Wealthiest Americans Dramatically Increase Income

    A huge share of US economic growth during the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans, who now make an average of $27 million

  • Eliminate the carried-interest loophole for hedge fund managers, and the Feds just gained $4 Billion annually.

  • Closing The Hedge Fund Manager Tax Loophole Would Raise $4 Billion Annually From The 25 Richest Mana

    During the negotiations regarding raising the nation’s debt ceiling, congressional Republicans have gone to the mat to defend all manner of unwarranted tax breaks, including those for oil companies and corporate jet owners. Despite the drain on the Treasury caused by these tax breaks



  • The writing is one the wall. We just need to read it and do something about it.

    The Beast Is Starved: Welcome to the Next Great Depression

    Since Reagan, Republicans have been on a “starve the beast” campaign – by which they mean eviscerate the government by taking away as much revenue as they can.


  • Matt Damon ‘disgusted’ by debt deal, says it’s ‘criminal’ that wealthy don’t pay more taxes (video).

    He also doesn’t care for people who suggest that teachers might be unmotivated.

  • Well spoken, Matt Damon, well spoken!!!

  • Matt Damon’s clear-headed speech to teachers rally - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post

    Here is Matt Damon’s powerful speech to the Save Our Schools rally in Washington, D.C.


  • New Spider-Man turns out to be a biracial superhero

    David Betancourt marvels at how the superhero is now a half-black, half-Latino kid by the name of Miles Morales.

  • cool article, cool camp!

  • Camp Quest is atheists’ answer to Bible school

    Welcome to Camp Quest, the freethinkers’ answer to vacation Bible school.


  • "Offensive Ideas" - Campaign for Free Expression PSA #1

    Liked on

    Video by Adam Isaak. Center for Inquiry's Campaign for Free Expression Video Contest has begun! The right to freely express oneself is vital in a modern society; we would like you to tell the world why. Participation is easy: create a short ...


  • Living Without Religion - A Campaign by the Center for Inquiry

    Liked on

    To hope, to care, to love. We have all experienced these powerful, fundamental feelings. They help define what it is to be human. These important elements of a fulfilling human life are experienced by religious and nonreligious people alike. Fi...




  • ‎~ Kids with special needs aren't weird or odd. They only want what everyone wants to be accepted. Can I make a request? Is anyone willing to post this and leave it on your status for at least 1 hour? This is in honor of all children, and all people who have special needs, whether physical, mental or emotional. All need our love and acceptance.


  • How many Atheists do you know? Here's a start - you know me. :)

    Dear religious Americans: How many atheists do you know? - On Faith - The Washington Post

    Humanizing those with different religious and philosophical worldviews is essential to ensuring that pluralism is upheld for all communities.


  • And people still think that climate change is not real or man made! Willful ignorance abounds.

    Polar bear kills British tourist in horrific attack by 'hungry' animal

    A British tourist has been mauled to death after a polar bear attacked a group of students on a remote Norwegian island


  • BREAKING NEWS: S To Downgrade U.S. Credit Rating; Blames Republicans

    ABC News has just reported that the federal government expects the pristine AAA credit rating of the United States to be downgraded. According to a government official, Standard Poors is goi



  • This pledge and the second one mentioned in the article is even scarier!

    The Christian Post

  • So, what about atheists and humanists?​p?rssid=411&item=http%3A%2F%2F​​Fdisplaymode%3D201%26id%3D2300​829%26device%3Drss 


  • Obama to unveil jobs push for veterans

    President Barack Obama will outline a new initiative Friday that aims to help former members of the military find private sector jobs, part of a renewed job creation effort focusing on unemployed veterans.


  • In depth description of what liberal means, and what it means to be a liberal.

    ^ Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 2010-02-20. - Liberalism - Wi

    Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis, "of freedom")[1] is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights.[2] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as constitutionalism, liberal democracy...