Fat Thigh-roid Woes: COBRA always has and always will be A SNAKE.
My disease got really bad at the worst possible time. No insurance, no job. Since I chose to remain in denial about the severity of my symptoms, coupled with the “I’m skinny and stuffing my face!” things just sorta went to a bad place. I refused to do RAI at the time, and surgery was out of the question. Not that I was scared of the scar – I kinda enjoy scars because they sometimes have badass stories (except for the lame mole removal story of my shoulder scar. Changing that one to “bullet hole…yeah, I grew up in a rough neighborhood” variety going forward).
I was mostly skeptical of the treatments because when I asked “what causes Graves Disease?” the doctors would shrug. How can I move forward with permanent treatment, when doctors don’t know what causes Graves? How dare they speak to me so confidently when they themselves don’t have an answer to the actual problem? My thyroid isn’t the issue, it’s my stupid immune system. So, I wasn’t in the best place to hear – “We dunno what causes it, but here, take this radioactive pill and don’t touch anyone for days – oh, and don’t get pregnant for a year.” Sure doc, that sounds GREAT. Thanks for my amazing options. However, if I was a 90-year-old man and I felt like getting my limp dick up again – I could easily do so with a prescription. Oh, you say that autoimmune diseases mostly fuck up women? Interesting. Not to get on my feminist wagon, but can you understand my frustration here??
I tried holistic medicine for awhile, but the problem was I think my disease was far too severe. In hindsight, I should’ve coupled it with acupuncture, but hey, I was unemployed and could only afford to feed me, myself, and I. Which was a lot of food.
You never really think about how lucky you are when you have health insurance, but you think about it a lot when you don’t. I ended up with Graves while I was still working, but I got laid off soon after. I was offered COBRA, but let’s get real, we all know COBRA means “You need to start selling your body and blowing everyone to afford this”. Needless to say, my coverage lapsed and I was just gung ho on the assumption that things couldn’t possibly get worse. Der, of course they did. When I applied for insurance on my own I was denied left and right. “Sorry Ms. Wells, you’re too high risk.” Awesome. The first time in my life that I’m WITHOUT insurance is the first time I’ve really needed it. Thanks for NOTHING, Blue Cross.
I ended up at…the LA County Hospital. If you’ve never been, it’s a real treat. It doesn’t help to sit and think about the taxes you paid all these years, and how much money you’ve spent on health insurance to literally be left to DIE when you really need help. It just makes you more angry as you’re being herded around the LA County system. However, I had no other choice. The only plus was that my pulse was at a whopping 150 beats a minute, so they admitted me right away and I didn’t have to wait the notorious 12 hour emergency room wait times.
They hooked me up to an EKG machine – and when I saw how nervous the nurse was for me, I started freaking and bawling my eyes out. They put me into a room, pounded me with some beta blockers and for the first time in two years – my body and mind were still. I didn’t want to think about anything except for food and cartoons, and I damn well did. I thought about a cheeseburger, and I thought about how much I loved Tom & Jerry…before they started talking. I never thought I’d be so happy to be in a hospital bed, staring at a dirty floor that had Cheeto remnants on it – and that half eaten Oreo next to the nurse’s shoe was BLISS.
For the first time in forever, I saw the end in sight and I figured it was going to be either RAI or surgery cause I couldn’t do this anymore – and it took some Atenolol to make that happen. My cool story wouldn’t have anything to do with a scar, but went like this: “did you know that beta blockers are given to undercover cops to calm their nerves while on assignment? Yeah…I got prescribed those once.”
Tags: autoimmune disorders, COBRA insurance, endocrinologists inability to explain the cause for thyroid autoimmune disease, Fat Thigh Roid Woes, Graves disease column, Health Insurance Issues, holistic treatments Graves disease, lack of health insurance, RAI treatment, surgery for Graves disease, written by Nicole Wells