Working to Live but Then That’s Not Even Enough

A friend from long ago recently shared their struggles with an injury from an accident they suffered earlier this year. The basic story is that some bones were broke, there have been multiple visits to get medical treatment as they have recovered, and they haven’t been able to work for the past two months because of all of it.

This is what they shared on Twitter the other day:

Well, the bills are rolling in for the medical care I’ve had to pursue after this accident and that “covered by insurance” amount is… lower than I thought

And this is supposed to be “good” insurance.

Lol the per-month payment that’s suggested by my medical portal is well above a car payment amount for my wrist surgery.
And we haven’t even fixed my knee yet.


This is probably also a great time to mention that with all this I haven’t been able to work the last two months

<looks toward GoFundMe, America’s actual funding of medical fees>
I might just have to do it.

– twitter thread

This is hard.

I’ve been a Canadian citizen for one year now. I just passed that milestone shortly preceded by getting my gallbladder removed after dealing with increasing issues with it for just over a year prior, maybe longer in hindsight.

It took a while for it to all culminate in getting the surgery, and my situation didn’t make it an urgent thing to get taken care of. I shifted my diet to basically eliminate fatty and fried foods, stopped drinking alcohol, worked out when it allowed me to, and started doing more yoga than I ever had before. Also discovered the bliss of a good heat pad as a consolation bonus to it being necessary for the pain that the stones and polyps caused inside this angry organ on increasing occasions.

Prior to surgery, I also had a colonoscopy just so I could have some personal assurance that it was just a gallbladder that we had to deal with. Once everything checked out there, it was still another couple months until my surgery date.

Each time I went to a medical facility for an appointment, I presented my B.C. Services Card each time, saw who I was supposed to see, and walked right out the door when done. Ultrasound, blood tests, surgeon consultations, and the hospital where I left a piece of me behind at.

So many Americans don’t know what this feels like. What it is like to pay taxes for something that benefits you so directly that is so completely not obvious to so many people in the fifty states. What it feels like to walk straight passed the front desk and not worry about any additional charges needing to be dealt with.

That’s it. Without getting into the how and why, this is more about that this should be a reality.

Because I think about this every time someone I work with loses their job, which happens a lot in broadcasting. It’s a brutal profession with an even more brutal reality where being good at your job does not equal job security.

And I also think about this when someone I know leaves their job or career. Quitting your job in B.C. means you can do so without the enormous fear of not having that job meaning you lose all of your medical coverage. Even if you get a part-time job somewhere, you’re still covered if you break a toe or get cancer.

This is how taxes should work. Health is the one thing that everyone has in common. In a civilized society, we shouldn’t be bound to a job just because the benefits are too good compared to the dream job we’d rather be doing.

It’s not a perfect system here in B.C., and there is much more to that statement, especially today. The system that we have is something to be cherished and improved upon each and every day.

But in America, this story of so many having to ask others for monetary help is so uncomfortably common, especially for someone who was gainfully employed prior to this accident, now has a broken ankle, busted up knee, and a family to take care of that I’ve watched grow from the day they got engaged.

I don’t know how a dream like this becomes a reality, but it really should be better than this for a nation that is so great, prosperous, and wealthy.

This time, I’m covered

Examination Table

When I moved to B.C. in 2005, I got strep throat. Within a few weeks of settling in on Vancouver being my home, a soreness in my throat grew to proportions that I never knew could exist. It hurt so much that I finally bit the bullet and went to a clinic. It cost me $100 just to see a doc, and the meds cost just a little bit more. At that point, I didn’t care. Just give me something to help make this go away.

Unemployed and unable to work in Canada at that point in my life, it was a relief to have the access to care like that. The cost would have probably been twice as much in the states, and the USD was still a tad stronger than the loony. That didn’t stop the doc I saw from giving me a lecture on the importance of having a B.C. CareCard if this happened again in the future. Kind of a “no shit, Sherlock” moment if you ask me.

After an intense few weeks at work, all of the going-ons of Northern Voice last week, and an excursion with The Crazy Canucks to the Canucks Open Practice, a tickle in the back of my throat grew to the point where gargling with salt water and a variety of over the counter remedies weren’t going to cut it. I was in full blown strep throat yet again, but this time I had that damn medical card, plus benefits.

Medical things

I still made Rebecca go with me because I had no idea what to expect. Every medical place you go to in the U.S., there is paperwork to fill out. Medical history, etc. At the clinic, however, I gave them my card, they asked me to verify my name, address, phone number, and got my allergy to penicillin in their records.

That was it. No paperwork. Just have a seat and wait for my name to be called. The doc was brief and to the point of giving him the story of what was wrong with me, took one look at my “severely inflamed, very red” throat, and cut me a prescription for antibiotics which cost me $29 that my extended medical coverage will take care of.

20 minutes and I was back home to settle in with some tea, forcing everything down through the pain. So much pain, all on the day of our two year wedding anniversary. Oh happy day…

So there wasn’t anything great and grand about the experience other than it being quick, efficient, and made me better, even though I had to take the slow working meds because the faster way, the penicillian way, could potentially kill me.

Thanks for making me feel better, B.C. That was pretty awesome.