Friday, December 04, 2009

On matters of health - and great fortune...

I make little secret of the fact that, at age 13, I became epileptic. I had what I know as "Juvenile onset gran mal". I also know that I am one of the very lucky ones who "grow out of it".

There are many others who are greatly less fortunate.

I saw the headline link at (what used to be)Jack Grant's Random Fate blog.
My chest was to his back. My right leg was thrown over his right hip. At first he made a smacking noise with his lips, as if a cow was chewing his cud beside me. I thought I heard him ask for something. I might have just been falling to sleep myself. But this mouth thing caught my attention. My arms tightened around him. He started to shake. I thought, "Is he having another one?"

"I'm right here with you baby." I held him even tighter. He'd told me to hold him tight if this ever happened when we were together.


Read the whole article. It is sensitively and well written.

I want to pick up on the end of it.
He's had epilepsy for over fifteen years. He lost his license and his job fifteen years ago. Medicare says he's not "disabled enough." He has no insurance because after rent he has three hundred dollars per month on which he keeps himself alive. He goes to the free clinic every three months to wait in line for four hours to see his doctor and get his meds.

This is how a man who was Varsity all three years, MVP'd often, who then drove heavy machinery fifteen years for a city he loved, fell through the cracks. He's not disabled enough to receive any help from our government. This is the land of the free and the brave? I don't think so.


Those who fight and bellow at the perceived injustices of social health programmes might like to explain how their ideas would provide this man with the health services he requires.

Oh and so that you know, my health insurance carries a 5% loading for my juvenile epilepsy. I was able to get my driving license at 22, after 3 years clear of fitting and not being on (some fairly scary) drugs including phenobarbitone (barbiturate). I am lucky indeed.