I would like nothing more than to share my success story. Truth is, my story will likely end in tragedy. In the end we are nothing more than a mere statistic.
We may have crossed paths over the years.
Nonetheless I used to be there for you, your loved ones, friends and neighbors. Through countless nights, weekends, holidays, rainy days and horrific days, I absorbed a part of your darkness moments. Provided compassionate care and treated you with dignity and respect. If there was a tool in my bag of tricks to alleviate your suffering, it was used with skill and precision in the endeavor to effect a positive outcome. I chose this profession for the purpose of serving others. Its was never about the shitty pay, marginal benefits, insane hours or arduous working conditions. It was just the right thing to do.
One day I woke up exhausted, my spirit broken and in need of repair. Despite my best intentions, the exhaustion became worse and worse. The sum of twelve hours of sleep or 2 hours of sleep was equal in its affect on my overall well being, not enough.
Determined to eat chicken soup until my soul was fixed, I continued to compensate for the exhaustion with changes in my diet, praying to Jesus, giving up caffeine and alcohol, working more, working harder, energy drinks and micro naps. My world continued to unravel. I lost my job, health insurance, experienced homelessness, found a leaking boat to live in, failed at all attempts to self medicate, became sober, realized that was a good start but not the answer, struggled to live from day to day ever since. I returned to college part time and quickly realized something was wrong with my brain. I would spend 2 hours studying a topic, only to forget important details the following day. So I studied more. And kept forgetting vital information. So I studied more, and more, and more. Despite this, I still continued to experience some sort of cognitive defect which was atypical as I have always achieved high marks in school. Then I experienced a first ever seizure. Today I forgot my PIN number that I have used for years.
Eventually I learned about obstructive sleep apnea and its correlation with other maladies. This was quite alarming as my symptoms were multifaceted and severe. I began to seek medical attention, however without insurance the hospital referrals were useless pieces of paper and only used to absolve the guilt and legal responsibility of the Emergency Room. The very same hospital that claimed my symptoms and undiagnosed sleep apnea were detrimental to my health, life altering and potentially life threatening. I was told that I am at risk of having a stroke or heart attack in my sleep. The doctor told me they would treat me for a heart attack or a stroke after it happens, but unfortunately cannot provide ANY treatment to prevent this from happening. Supposedly my life has value. The ugly truth is that our value is only defined by the quality of our insurance plan or ability to pay out of pocket.
I have lost my purpose and ability to help my community. Lost my faith in our healthcare system. Lost the faith in the community I once served. I have lost hope.
I have been denied and denied again medical coverage.
Our healthcare system is broken and it’s going to require more than I am capable of giving to fix it. What I am experiencing should not be endured by any of our countrymen or women. We take care of our military veterans, we take care of people thousands of miles away, we take care of people who are in our country illegally, we take care of our enemies, however we do little more than offer lip service to our first responders and public safety professionals.