Unfiltered Story #103616

, | Unfiltered | January 10, 2018

For an assortment of reasons, my husband has been unemployed for a while, outside of extremely short temp work and off-the-book odd jobs. For a while he had had been having random symptoms: foot/ankle pain, shortness of breath after exertion (more than normal) and lower back pain. All together they didn’t seem to add up to anything aside from random aches and pains, they never stuck around long, and without insurance he couldn’t afford to see a doctor properly so he just treated with Aspirin and the like.

Finally, it happened: the Affordable Care Act was passed. He signed up and got real health insurance for the first time in a decade. He’s assigned a primary care physician, and we call to set up an appointment. No answer. We try again, and again and again, at both the number listed on the insurance site and on their individual site. Never get an answer, never even get voice mail. After a bit more than a month of this he’s feeling ill; the local EMO doesn’t take the medicare-based version of his insurance, so we head to the hospital ER right down the street. He apologizes for coming for such a minor thing but we didn’t have any options at the time, but it’s fine and after a wait they take his vitals… and immediately wheel him into the observation room. We’re trying desperately to get some actual information from the first nurse bringing him in, or the second nurse coming to hook him up to all their monitors.

Finally a full doctor comes in and starts asking questions, but we interrupt and ask for, specifically, WHY they were doing all this. She shows us the blood pressure monitor: 220/120. His BP had always been high, especially at the doctor’s/hospital because of “white coat syndrome”, but never THAT high! Somehow he never actually had a heart attack or stroke over the past several months, but that unrestrained pressure did a lot of damage to his kidneys. My husband was in the hospital for about 10 days (although he was originally going to get out in 6, one batch of test results got messed up and they couldn’t run it again until the following Monday.) When he left he was on a perscription for about 8 different heart and blood pressure medications (two of which were quickly dropped and two others cut in half once he got home and could relax!)

The bad news is that, because of the level of damage his kidneys had suffered, my husband’s on the verge of needing to go on the transplant list. The GOOD news is that his heart has made a near-complete recovery, his perscriptions have been cut down further, and his kidney functions have actually improved to a point where he’s no longer hovering on the verge of failure!

And that’s why we say to this day, with no irony: thanks, Obama!

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