Friday, December 23, 2011

Livin' the Dream, Craig Style

This has been a whirlwind of a week for the Craig Family.  It has left me with questions, confusion, and yet utter thankfulness.
Steve ended up in the hospital this weekend for a series of blood clots (aka DVT) that he didn't know he had.  His leg had been hurting him, and he felt a tough patch under the skin at the spot.  He called our neighbor who is a paramedic and was advised to get it checked out immediately (Thanks, Chad!).  It was date night, our first date night in seven months since bringing home our little man, and we spent it in the ER.  Hot, right?  After Steve's Doppler and blood tests, four blood clots were found.  Thankfully, three were superficial, but the fourth was/is a different story.  It apparently formed six fateful months ago.  Six months ago we were in Ethiopia having one of the most joyful moments of our lives.  I am utterly grateful that it didn't travel to his heart and cause an embolism there; our happy moment definitely would have turned tragic.  So, after two days in the hospital, Steve was released Monday night.
This is Steve's second round with a DVT.  It happened once before after his knee surgery in 2004.  I don't think Steve will ever forget being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance; it really scared the crap out of him.  We were living in Florida at the time with our then 1 1/2 year old little girl, who was going through a screaming phase that brought us to a few uncomfortable conversations with the director of her preschool.  We got him home, started on self injections of lovenox, and got him up and running.  Because this is Steve's second round with DVT, it looks like this is something that could be genetic or some sort of blood disease; we're still figuring this out with his new friend, the hematologist :)
Monday night, Steve came home, happy to see the kids and ready to take a hot shower.  He handed me a series of prescriptions, which I was happy to go and fill.  Off to Kroger I went, handed our friendly pharmacist the orders of medicine that would continue to thin Steve's blood and essentially save his life.  Steve and I are professionals, he a marketing/fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity and I'm a teacher.  We have health insurance through my workplace.  Although it has changed a bit due to budget cuts,  I was not prepared for what happened next in any shape or form.
As the pharmacist was about to hand me Steve's injections, he looked at me and said, "Now, I don't know if you're aware of this, but this script costs $900." With a smirk on my face I replied, "How much does it cost with my insurance?" thinking this was before he ran it through.  His reply, "No, this is with your insurance."  My reply, "Holy sh**."  Of course, I followed this up with the old standby:  Does this come in generic...  This is the only medicine on the market like this.  Fourteen injections=$900.  Wow.
My next move was unavoidable in my mind; I began to cry in front of the pharmacist.  This poor guy.  He must have been straight out of pharmacy school or something.  He said amidst my tears, "I would have been concerned if you weren't shocked."  Sincerely nice guy.  I handed him our credit card and signed away.  What else could I do?
I wonder if in that moment I should have just sucked it up and been overjoyed that my husband was home, we caught the clot before it traveled, etc...  But it was tough.
I then became angry on the way home.  Anger erupted on my solo sojourn, and I poured out to God that I just needed Him right then.
The more I think about it, the more justified I feel in speaking out about this.  How does this happen?
I am most likely going to write a lovely letter to my district office and our insurance company about this.  The bottom line is this:  no one should be sent home from the hospital with that kind of predicament and expect to just have money lying around like this in a life our death situation.  I am beginning to have true empathy for other people and families who are in this type of situation:  cancer patients, AIDS patients, etc...  It just seems out of control.
On top of this, we've experienced other negative things in our insurance as well.  Every time the kids see the pediatrician, we get a bill for $80, and that would continue until we reach our crazy, unreachable deductible.  HSE has kindly provided a free clinic with a very nice doctor who handles every case by handing out antibiotics like candy, and you're on your merry way.  His job is to get the employees back to work ASAP; I get it.  But when you have bigger problems than that or when you have children, you need someone who is going to take care of the whole problem and see what's sincerely going on.  This guy put Steve on three rounds of antibiotics for a nagging cough this November; while he was in the hospital, they discovered it was from acid reflux, and the cough was gone in a day.  UGH.
Health care cannot be treated like a McDonald's drive through.  I understand the quick fixes, but when we have true issues that need sincere care, we have to pay way more than we can ever think to afford (and that is with insurance that we pay for out of our paychecks!).  It infuriates me.  I am a teacher, just a hard working teacher.  I hate to use the phrase, back in the day, but back in the day, at least a teacher had good insurance.  Not anymore.  I could go on and on how teachers, who pour into the future of our country and work more hours than anyone sees, are being cut off at the knees by our government despite the worthy work we've been called to do with at least a bachelor's degree, although many of us have at least a master's degree plus many more countless trainings (sorry about the run on sentence), but then I would digress.
On a side note, I would love to see how many people they can convince to join the teaching ranks after all of the crazy bull crap they are passing through in legislation.  Unfortunately, our kids will pay the price.
Anyway, I am infuriated over our fast food health care that we're expected to pay steak dinner prices for, and then pay crazy amounts of money for scripts.  These people are on crack.  Some one's making way too much money, while I have to fund their salaries on my freaking Discover card.
 This has been one of those years for the Craig family where an elbow bumping doctor at a walk in facility is not sufficient, especially for my babies.  Steve and I suck it up, but when your 12 month old has puss coming out of his ear for the third time in six months, and the amoxicillan (sp?) they already gave you isn't working, you don't go back to the clinic.  When your 9 year old gets diagnosed with ADHD, you don't go to the clinic for that either.  And when your husband is experiencing unexplainable leg pain and you fear that he may have another blood clot, you don't go get an antibiotic, even though they're handing it out for free.
If I don't sound grateful, I am.  And thank you for putting up with my rant.  I love my job.  I love my family.  I love my God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.  I'm so happy we'll all be in service tonight, worshipping Him and thanking Him because I am thankful.  I'm thankful we'll be sitting around our tree tomorrow with my two beautiful children, who humble me beyond words, with Alex's trillions of homemade ornaments that keep filling our tree from year to year.  We are home, we are safe, but we are broke.
Much love.  Merry Christmas to you all.  I pray that you all have the best holiday ever and that you have great health this year; really, that's my prayer!!!

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