Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Everyday I thank the good Lord that I live in Canada. Sure, it's colder here in the Nation's Capitol and we pay more taxes than our neighbors to the south but we have one thing that is better. A huge thing. We have health care.

In the past 5 years, I have seen 7 different specialists and 2 family doctors. I have had scores of x-rays, CT's, allergy tests and blood draws. And it all has cost me nothing. The only medical services I have paid for are my physio visits, cortisone shots (because I did not have them done in a hospital) 1 specialized blood test, and my prescriptions. All of which is covered by our medical insurance.We are lucky. Our insurance provider covers 100% of our medical bills, without any deductible. When the time comes for my hip and knee replacements, OHIP will cover the surgery and our insurance will cover the hospital stay, medications and physio visits. Say what you want about Canadian health care, but if you have a serious health problem, it is a Godsend.

If I was living in the US, my RA and resulting lung issues would cost us a fortune. Currently, my monthly prescriptions are approximately $700/month. I go to physio 1 to 2 times a week at $50/visit; I have monthly blood work and see my Rheumatologist every 3 months. I also see my Family Doctor every couple of months for some complication or another. If it weren't for our health care coverage, we'd be in the poor house!

I have read other American blogs, where the writer has complained about having to jump through hoops for their HMO to approve the medication that was ordered by their doctor. I've read about people begging their HMO's to allow then to even see a doctor, or have a medical test performed. Recently, I came across New Knees for Lisa. Lisa has RA and desperately needs knee replacements for both knees. Her insurance deductible is $7600. She has had to resort to relying on the kindness of internet strangers to raise funds so that she can walk pain free again. Then there are those, who don't have insurance. Those who can't pay for even the basic medical care. I can't even begin to imagine how these people with serious health issues cope.

Yes Canada has their health care woes. We have doctor and nurse shortages. Waiting lists for CT's and MRI's are miles long. I even had to wait a year to see a Rheumatologist. But I'd take all that, to know that I can afford my medical care. If I had to add that stress to the stress of having RA and MCS, I don't think I could take it. Being sick is hard enough. Not being able to afford treatment is a whole lot worse. My Canadian readers, remember that the next time you complain about your medical care. Be thankful that you have it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

These days, it seems like the pain and fatigue are never ending. I found myself starting to spiral into the murky depths of the RA blues so I decided to start celebrating the little things in my life...

My hips, knees and hands are in agony but,
my elbows and shoulders have been pain free for 2 weeks now!

My hips make sitting or walking for long periods difficult but,
I am still able to walk my beloved pups around the block most evenings!
(Albeit slower than they would like)

Some days it seems like I spend more time asleep than awake but,
my naps are usually accompanied by a warm furry JRT nuzzled by my side!

And the biggest little thing of all...
The MTX has turned me into a hair shedding, nail losing zombie but,
it has enabled me to enjoy a small scoop of ice cream again!

Life with RA and MCS (or any chronic affliction) can sometimes feel like it's too much for you to handle. The exhaustion can be more painful than the disease it self. Losing the ability to perform even the most basic tasks unassisted is mentally heartbreaking but try to remember the little things. Because, really they are the most important things of all.