Chuckie and the Health Care Debate…
In mid-October, our sweet family member Charles (aka Chuckie to his friends) was struck with a sudden, severe and very life-threatening form of anemia, known as IMHA (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia.) For some unknown reason, his body had developed an autoimmune condition, where he started destroying his own red-blood cells. Over a weekend, we went from household discussions of, “He feels warm, do you think he’s sick?” to a Sunday-morning possibility of emergency surgery. That weekend we also spent a lot of time climbing up a steep learning curve about how the immune system functions.
Among the factors in the treatment of his case is that Charles has no health insurance, save what a Visa card can provide. We were making treatment decisions with the consciousness that a price tag was looming somewhere in the future.
Thankfully, Charles’ treatment was far more effective than anyone suspected it would possibly be. Just a day after his internal medicine specialist started his treatment, he was up and around, and doing the kind of inappropriate sniffing that would get you kicked out of most respectable bars. We were elated when the nice veterinarian said our Chuckie was well enough to go home.
Yes, I realize that many people may think I’m being melodramatic about a dog’s illness. Yet Chuckie’s sudden disease brought home the reality — the fear and the terror –in the possibility of losing a loving creature who is so close to your heart. Chuckie’s lack of insurance made me realize how horrible it would be if one were faced with a comparable situation for an uninsured human family member. In light of the emotional trauma of serious illness, the added financial concern is almost too much to stand.
I’m so glad that Chuckie had access to an impressive level of health care that has—cross your paws—allowed him to recover from what is an often fatal condition. It also clearly illustrates the need for many Americans to have a better health care plan than Chuckie. Sadly, some of them don’t have better health insurance than a dog.