Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm Feeling So Lucky

I honestly don't have the first clue about how the health care system works in other countries. Sometimes navigating ours is a challenge enough. But having been down the critical illness road and sharing my story with people in other countries I'm seeing some of the differences and realizing just how lucky I really am. I'm lucky to be Canadian.

I've been dealing with all things cancer for a full year now and my total out of pocket expenses have been $300. And those were for what I consider 'luxury' items. I bought a mastectomy bathing suit and paid to have a private room in the hospital after my mastectomy.  Beyond that though, my surgeries, my Dr's appointments, my home visiting nurses, my post surgical supplies, my prosthetic, bras, chemo, radiation, prescription medications....you name it. It's ALL been covered by either our provincial health care or by Sean's insurance through work.

It's something I've taken for granted. When my oncologist prescribed the miracle anti nausea pills, Emend and I picked up the first tri pack I saw it cost $110. Yep, that's for 3 pills. And I paid $1 of that. All 4 times.  The 300 percocets - $1. The prosthetic breast. I did pay out of pocket for this but between the provincial health care and Sean's private insurance I was reimbursed 100% of the cost for that at 4 bras every year. Oh, and a new prosthetic every 2 years (don't think I'll need that though) Which brings me to my reconstruction surgery. This too, will be covered by the province. They'll build me a new breast and adjust the left one to make me symmetrical. And it won't cost me a dime.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying our health care system doesn't have major flaws. I suspect if I'd been living in some other countries I wouldn't have waited a full 2 months from when I found my lump to when I got a diagnosis and then almost another full month before having the mastectomy. I also know there are people here who don't have private health care who would have to pay for their prescriptions or for a large portion of their prosthetics but the major things, surgery, chemo, radiation....that would all be taken care of.

I read in this blog today about a little boy who is dying. But because he's not dying 'fast enough' the State is taking away his home hospice care which means his parents will now not only have to endure the unthinkable; watching their son die, but they're going to loose valuable resources and support and have to pay for necessities to make this little boy's last days as bearable as possible out of pocket. If my 3 little anti nausea pills cost $110 (and I know for a fact they are often going for that much  for 1 pill in the US) I can't fathom how much what they would need would cost.

It's sad. It's shameful. It's unfair.

It makes you appreciate what you have and realize just what you take for granted.

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