Saturday, November 22, 2008

My daughter has diabetes, all eyes on Barack Obama and his health care bills

The past few days have been a pretty emotional time. Its definitely not an easy thing to hear that that your six your old daughter has been diagnosed with a lifetime chronic illness for which there is no cure, for which she will have to take shots with every meal, for which she will have to count carbohydrates every time she eats and try to match the precise amounts of insulin to match those sugars so her body can get the energy she needs.

We now face a lifetime of blood sugar measurements, worrying about blood sugar too high or too low, worrying about whether an unsuspecting Sunday School teacher gives her a cupcake without telling us... Lots of people worry about this, so definitely we're not alone, we're far from unique. But it is a lot to take in.

But more than that, I've always had job anxieties. I grew up with my dad counting on the fact that he had healthy children because there were many times we lived lives without health insurance, taking trips across the boarder to get dental work done in a third world country with third world prices.

Our health care system sucks, agreed? I now live in a world, where if I lose my job and have trouble getting another one, not only will I lose my health insurance and potentially lose affordable access to insulin and suringes and blood sugar measurement tools (I'm sure there are always was to get what I need, so I'm not too worried except I'm sure I'll have to fight for everything I get), but I will have a very hard time getting Lizzie back into the health insurance system at least at affordable rates. Because health insurance companies don't want someone on their rolls that may have a lifetime of medical costs. Maybe I'm wrong with this, but that's my impressions right now.

So, I'm pretty happy right now, more happy than I was before, that Barack Obama won the election. This election matters more to me now than it did before. Because we need a health care system for everyone, we need insurance that doesn't kick folks with chronic disease out of the system.

I have now moved from the camp where I've been subsidizing some of your health care to the camp where I need you to subsidize some of mine. I know its easier to want a little societal welfare when you need it than when they want you to provide it.

But right now, I want a health care system where the healthiest of us are paying a bit more, so that the sickest don't have to pay so much. A little socialist of me? Maybe, but Darwin doesn't have to be right. We should not want to live in a world of "survival of the fittest", we should want a world where survival is an option for everyone.

And one more thing, for the un-initiated, type-1 diabetes is where the pancreas just shuts down and stops producing insulin. There's no known cause, no known cure. It can happen anytime and has nothing to do with the person's lifestyle pre-diagnosis (at least nothing that we know about). People think of it as an auto-imune disease, where the body starts attacking the cells in the pancreus that produce the insulin. I'm only just learning this sort of stuff, though, so maybe more later.

At any rate, this is a bit of my post-diabetes commentary with a little political spin (everything is politics with me).


Elaine said...

You have joined a family that we joined 7yrs ago when my then 3yr old was diagnosed. It's a great family it embraces every member, our first contact with it was through the American childrenwithdiabetes group and we now have a British arm , welcome :)

H said...

This Sunday School teacher won't slip her any unsuspecting cupcakes, and we'll watch out in Primary for any other sneaky treats. Something tells me though, that Lizzie will be a trooper about all of this and be very responsible about her own healthcare.

Although it was a political twist, it was a very thoughtful one.

Nancy said...

I have type I diabetes too. I can help you guys if you ever need it. I have been on the insulin pump for almost 7 years now and I love it. I won't go back to regular shots again. Lizzie will absolutely love it when she gets on it for herself. It will be challenging to deal with at times but she will have a normal life. I have had an amazing change since I've started on the pump and it will make a huge difference to all of you. Good luck with all of this right now and just know it will soon be every day life. Don't forget to call me if you need anything. And by the way, don't worry about what time it is when you need the help!!!