Recently, I’ve changed medical teams. The free clinic we had in town has closed shop, and I now must attend the local sliding scale fee clinic. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I may receive affordable health insurance – but as I still have a lot of past medical bills – I am blackballed from attending the local major medical complex, which has a monopoly of care in town. This is a reality for many people living with chronic health conditions and in need of balancing financial obligations and supporting a spouse or a family. I don’t have children – but I support my spouse, who also has diabetes.
This means I really don’t have much of a choice in who I see to help manage my diabetes, while I slowly chip away at those bills. It means I must deal with whatever else there is – and often that means people who have a limited health knowledge base, but the ego of a specialist. And I hate talking to those kinds of people. They can never be wrong about anything – and don’t you try to correct them.
November is a bitter-sweet month for me. I am, at once, full of the spirit of advocacy and full of the knowing self-awareness that I have lived exactly six years with this disease. I look over my own body, as if taking inventory of its various parts. For a woman with a lot of freckles, this can sometimes border on hypochondria and paranoia. Ultimately, I suppose… I am scared of what may come, but I am also thankful that I am still healthy to enjoy friends and family, festivities and the occasional piece of leftover Halloween candy.
November is also like one of those Halloween ghost stories, for me – the ones where people claim an apparition repeats the same ‘ritual’ over and over again. The one where she again, clamors for awareness of her condition, and then remembers how her happy moment came tumbling down by that other moment that changed her fate – that moment of diagnosis.