Living the American healthcare dream


Alright guys and gals, I am not kidding when I say I need any small donations you can swing this month. If just a few dozen people where to pitch in 10 or 20 bucks that would do it. My lifestyle is frugal. This is potentially dire, possibly even life and death. Here’s where things stand: I had a comprehensive review of all tests performed to date over the last several months, there are still more to be done, but for now the verdict is not terrible: my condition continues to improve. I’m feeling a lot better. But it a was a close call, I could have easily died or ended up a vegetable, and I’m not out of the woods completely both medically and financially. Sad to say, there is a political party that is literally trying to kill me and millions like me.

I have a blood chemistry disorder, in laymen’s terms, out of whack blood cell counts that in all likelihood stem from a genetic propensity with a big fat assist from some meds I was on. I’ve probably had it going on for years, but because I was on meds that exacerbated it (Some auto-immune drugs, thinners, and low dose steroid therapy, combined with a rib/lung injury) it got way, way worse. Considering just a few weeks ago I was all but told point-blank I had leukemia or lymphoma, I’ll take it. But it is not without risk and the treatment regimen ahead could be routine or extreme.

Here’s how serious this has already been: it caused a massive MI — that’s a heart attack in civilian speak — earlier this year that I was lucky to survive with very little cardiac damage, then kept a hole between the two main chambers of my heart from closing after surgery and may have even widened it, it inhibited circulation all around, caused scary bruising, cranked my blood pressure to a nice 180/120 for months on end, intense vertigo and exhaustion, and might have damaged some arteries in my liver, lungs, brain, and every where else, anyone of which could clot and close. I’m on meds for now to mitigate that threat.

It remains to be seen if it can be treated with simpler methods, like drugs, regular blood donation, or if I will need occasional transfusions for the rest of my life, or if I will have to go the full blown route where my blood stem cells either have to be knocked back with, basically, poison, or replaced with a full bone marrow transplant. Since I’ve improved so much odds are the latter extreme treatment can be avoided. Just a few more weeks of rest, some mild exercise, continued drugs, that kind of thing. There’s a small possibility I have a TIA in progress, that’s basically angina of the brain, a stroke waiting in the wings, but that’s looking less likely — I had some fun tests which including having probes inserted under my skin and shocked — but even so it can be treated with drugs and in some cases can be cathed much like a heart blockage.

My biggest problem right now is this had to go though the CIGNA network, which means it took a lot of time to schedule all the test and get them auth’d. While that was being dragged out, another branch of CIGNA determined I wasn’t eligible, at least yet, for continued disability, since they had no firm diagnosis and kept hitting me and three specialists with form after form they claimed were never received or were not properly filled out no matter how many times they were sent in. So I have not been paid for two months outside of what I’ve made writing and begging, even though I signed up and for and paid extra for disability insurance at my employer years ago. We all know why, the dollars, always the fucking dollars, insurance companies don’t like to pay claims if they can’t possibly weasel out.

And speaking of my employer, they’re threatening to cut me off, i.e., fire me, since they too haven’t received a myriad, confusing array of forms to authorize my leave of absence despite me and docs sending those in also. I don’t  see any downside here to reveal that that employer is a well known video game developer that has plenty of money, and they’re not having to paying any of it to me anyway since I’m hourly and I have disability insurance. I spent the entire afternoon Thursday filling out the latest set of forms in my PCP’s office, a great doctor who caught all this stuff, put it all together, figured it out, and has saved my life twice over (This a PCP who caught a tiny, two millimeter wiggle on what looked like an otherwise normal EKG that even my cardiologist praised her for again and again), and then spent over an hour with me yesterday filling out all this shit while other patients had to wait. My PCP is also kind of struggling, in part because she’s just starting out, she’s female, a minority, and has an accent. But goddamn, I wouldn’t trade her for anything, the woman is the best primary doc I’ve ever had and she makes no pretense about maintianing an emotional distance; she gets right in there. She rocks.

I may get fired anyway, this week or next, in which case I am truly fucked, out of health insurance while in the middle of this shit and in Texas, you don’t get to file for unemployment if you are deemed medically too unhealthy to work full time. But even if they keep me on for another few weeks, and even in the unlikely event CIGNA finally coughs my shitty, below minimum wage short-term disability including the back pay they’ve so far delayed for more than 60 days, I won’t see a dime for weeks or more.

So that’s it. That’s why I’ve had to pester readers to help me this year and why I’m doing it now. I think I’m going to survive, I have some paying work going that may come in Jan, but I’m recovering slowly from a dead serious medical issue, I’m being screwed and pressured by my employer and my insurance company in all kinds of bullshit ways, I’m broke as hell, and I’m getting pretty fucking close to desperate.

I’m sorry to burden you with this, I know you each have your own problems and many of you are struggling like me. But if you can spare a few bucks, my paypal email is DarkSydOtheMoon at AOL dot com. Or you can send checks or money orders, payee Stephen Andrew or leave it blank, to my lit agent’s address below:

G. Scanlon

11512 Tincup Dr #109

Austin TX 78750


Leave a Reply