Hope In All Things

If you have ever been in the hospital, you know that you are ready to go home by day two. I think being in the hospital makes you feel worse than if you were at home. Last month, I was in the hospital for eight days, and I am writing this on day five of my stay at the hospital this month. The reality is, the food is terrible; they poke and prod you every hour, so you never get any rest, and the beds are awful. I had the bonus of having a TV in my room about the size of a postage stamp. It turns out having a tiny TV was a good thing; I never turned it on, so I have no idea what is happening in the world right now.

So, last night, the infectious disease doctor who has been managing my case, albeit from afar as it was the first time I had seen him since being admitted, told me everything looked good and that I could go home last night. I was excited. My wife happened to be here already, so she helped me get everything packed up, and then we waited for about an hour and a half. The timing wasn’t great as the doctor had come to see me right around 7:00, which is shift change for the nurses, so I knew it would take a while to get discharged. 

After an hour and a half of patiently waiting for my nurse to come to remove my picc line and discharge me, my nurse came into the room and said, “is there anything you need right now?” I told her that my doctor said I could go home and be discharged tonight. She then informed me that I would not be going home. She said my attending physician said no, and he wanted to wait until today when he saw me deciding whether or not to discharge me.

So, basically, there were two larger than life egos on my care team, and there was only room for one at a time in my orbit, and here I was stuck in the middle. All I wanted was to go home and sleep in my bed and take a shower. Please don’t misunderstand me; both of my doctors are excellent doctors with very nice bedside manners. Apart they are great, but when one massive ego challenges another large ego, look out for the fireworks. My Infectious Disease doctor didn’t have permission to discharge me and should have reached out to my attending before telling me I was going home.

I was crushed. Yesterday would be twelve days in the hospital in the last forty-five days, and I was so tired of being here. The antibiotics they had me on were the big guns, so I was having symptoms related to them; I was nauseous all of the time, and my taste buds were all out of sorts. Before they would let me go home, they wanted to see what the blood cultures showed. The crazy thing about blood cultures are they can come back in as few of days as two up to five days on the outside limits. Mine were taking their good sweet time. It is hard enough to be in the hospital, but I needed this infection to be gone so I could get off all of these antibiotics.

Hope is a precarious thing. It can motivate and help keep one’s spirits up, but it can also be damaging. If you are hoping for something and then it never comes to fruition, it can crush you emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. I have seen it keep a person going, and I have seen it destroy a person’s faith. It is easy to get wrapped up in other people’s issues, and when their problems don’t resolve in the way that they had hoped, they are blindsided.

Hope is defined, according to Dictionary.com, as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. Faith, like hope in scripture, describes it in Hebrews 11:1 (NLT): Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Faith and hope are uniquely tied together. You need to have faith to have hope. That may be faith in God, in science, or many other things. Hope, with the right expectations, can bring peace and give clarity to an unclear situation. Hope should be in all of us, but unfortunately, some people, because of events that took place earlier in their lives, have abandoned hope and cannot cope with any adverse circumstances that come their way. You can have hope again, regardless of where things have taken you. My hope comes from God. Everyone is different, and I am not condemning you if you believe differently than I do. In the deepest part of me, I believe God has a plan for me. If He has a plan, I have hope in the future and that it will all work out to His glory. 

So I am finishing this post from home. The attending doctor in the hospital who wouldn’t let me last night came in my room around 8:00 and said, “you ready to go home?” I wanted to say something inappropriate, but I refrained. Whenever I go to the doctor or am in the hospital, I end up waiting a long time, so I wasn’t surprised when two doctors couldn’t come to a simple decision. No matter the situation and no matter how frustrating it is, I still have hope that it will work out. So what is one more night in the hospital? It is easy to get frustrated at doctors, at hospitals, and circumstances in general, but what does that solve; nothing. It is better to accept your conditions and have hope. Now I am not saying you should take abuse or mistreatment or discrimination. If you are a victim, stand up for your rights and speak up.

The bottom line is you will face difficult circumstances in your life, especially if you have a disability or a chronic illness. It may seem like you are alone in all of this, but if you have hope, you can see yourself through any situation. I know it is what keeps me going every day. If you are reading this and are searching for something to keep you going, try looking past your circumstances, looking for the best outcome, and hoping that everything will work out for the best in the long run.

Healthcare in the United States

Unlike most developed nations, the US health system does not provide health care to the country’s entire population.[1] Instead, most citizens are covered by a combination of private insurance and various federal and state programs.[2] As of 2017, health insurance was most commonly acquired through a group plan tied to an employer, covering 150 million people.[3] Other major sources include Medicaid, covering 70 million, Medicare, 50 million, and health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) covering around 17 million.[3] In 2017, a study found that 73% of plans on ACA marketplaces had narrow networks, limiting access and choice in providers.[3]

I have excellent healthcare. I have private insurance (Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield) and Medicare because I am on disability. Even with this healthcare, I spend between $15,000 and $20,000 per year on healthcare. Roughly 18% of Americans are uninsured. That does not include the number of Americans that are underinsured. Those uninsured and underinsured can’t afford proper medical care, so many go without seeing a doctor or getting necessary prescriptions, leading to approximately 60,000 preventable deaths per year.

Now, politically I am somewhere in the middle. I am fiscally conservative and environmentally and socially more liberal. My problem is I believe we need major healthcare reform, and I support a single-party payer or universal healthcare, but I have no idea how we could ever pay for it. Don’t translate my views and think I am a socialist because I am not. Most countries in the world that provide universal healthcare are not socialist; they are democratic nations.

One of the worst things that can happen to someone without healthcare is to be hospitalized. When they get out, they are burdened with sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars of healthcare debt that they will never be able to pay. This puts a severe burden on the individual and the hospital, who often has to write off a large portion of this debt. The Affordable care Act was supposed to resolve this problem, but let me tell you there is nothing affordable about it. When I first went on disability, my wife was working for a company that did not provide health insurance, so I had to go to the Health Exchange to look for insurance or pay for Cobra. When I went to the Health Exchange, I found that I would have premiums of roughly $1,200 per month for subpar coverage. The Affordable Care Act has done absolutely nothing to provide affordable healthcare. Luckily my wife was hired by a different company that offered excellent health coverage.

I know a lot of uninsured or underinsured people, and I see them rationing prescriptions, not seeing a doctor, and not getting the treatment they need. On the other hand, I have a friend that is Canadian who is married to an American who, while living in Canada, had a life-threatening medical problem. It was going to take over nine months for her to be seen by a specialist, so they moved back to the US to be treated immediately. Without immediate treatment, she could have died. Countries with universal healthcare do not have all the answers. It isn’t easy to see a specialist because they are so back-logged. I don’t know what the answer is, but something has to be done.

I haven’t even discussed the topic of those with preexisting conditions. If you are like me and have preexisting conditions, getting affordable health insurance is nearly impossible. Unless you can get on a group plan through an employer, you will be charged considerably higher rates because of those conditions. Why is it that those that need healthcare the most have the hardest time accessing it?

Like I said earlier, I don’t know the answer, but the current system is not the answer. People are dying, suffering, and going bankrupt because of the lack of availability of medical care. The United States is consistently ranked as having one of the worst healthcare systems in all developed countries. How can one of the wealthiest countries in the world have such lousy healthcare? This ranking isn’t based on the quality of healthcare, as there are many brilliant physicians and many exceptional hospitals in the US. It is based on affordability and access to good healthcare. There has to be a solution that doesn’t drive up US debt but provides affordable healthcare to US citizens.

  1. a b Institute of Medicine. Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance (January 13, 2004). Insuring America’s health: principles and recommendations. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. p. 25ISBN 978-0-309-52826-9.
  2. ^ Access to health care in America. Institute of Medicine, Committee on Monitoring Access to Personal Health Care Services. Millman M, editor. Washington: National Academies Press; 1993.
  3. a b c “The Decline of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance”commonwealthfund.org. Retrieved November 25, 2018.