Chronic Snarkopolist: The Chronic Burdens of Chronic Illness
Hello my loves! I missed you so much when I was away last week. Let us never be apart this long again!
Crazy things happened whilst I was away. Snow storms! The day before I was to go to Atlanta and visit specialists and see my friends and visit my city, snow hit. My flight got cancelled. The city got snowed in. I was stuck home with little to do. In despair I thought of all the reasons to wallow. And, I wallowed.
I got more bills from 2009 (No- not even from 2010) from doctors I love and thought I had paid. The sums are fairly insignificant. Yet each time I get a collection notice I feel like a naughty girl. I feel as though I have done something wrong. I feel dirty. I feel ashamed. I feel damaged. Even though I HAD insurance and the doctor got paid by me and my insurance both I felt a sense of shame so heavy I could get out of bed half a day.
I struggle with the idea of paying him or paying the doctors I currently have. I also realize that one more ding to my credit at this point won’t matter. It won’t. One more collections call on top of however many won’t matter. One more won’t matter.
Like many of us, I have “good girl” complex. I want to pay every medical bill. I want to white wash the medical debt I have until it doesn’t exist. I grew up in terror of anything going down on my “permanent record.” And I was told repeatedly that having good credit was important. Once you become chronically ill and have numerous medical issues and even more expensive procedures you start rethinking these notions.
Yet, it is a lie to think that “being sent to collections” is somehow easier. Each time feels just as same. Each notice feels just as dirty and low. Each time feels like a slur to my good name and the honor code by which I live my life. I truly thought I’d paid this man off. Indeed, I called him and asked to see the record and he said, “Our old office manager ran your insurance wrong in 2009 so you never got any bills but you didn’t do anything wrong, but you have only a week to pay or you’re being sent to collections.” I loved this doctor. I loved his staff. And it felt like a betrayal from him to admit that errors on their part could go on so long but I get only a week or else I’m in collections.
With that, I am now in collections. A week gives me no more or less time to make up for their errors. And with that I talk again of medical debt. I have always thought it inhumane to give more medical debt to the most ill. People who are in recovery or dealing with chronic illness already face enormous expenses and uphill battles not only with their family and friends, strained relationships, but also financial burdens. Our health is the most draining thing on the planet from every angle and the most worth investing in. Yet, it feels as though it has cost me the most sometimes. And even, stolen from me, like an angry teenager demanding from me what I cannot afford to give without feeling lacking in personhood and identity. My friendships, my relationships, my wealth.
Somehow I realize a balance between the two. I write to heal and share. I write to ask you how you do it. I write to share my life and seek guidance because I know there has to be more than one way. What do you do in these situations? How do you live your life? What brings you joy and fulfillment? Does medical debt nip at your heels? Does chronic illness bear financial burden in your life? If not, why not? How do you get away with illness without the financial burdens? Does it create burdens in other areas – with relationships, with creativity, with work? Tell me! I must know!
I’ll be back same time next week! Kiss kiss!
Tags: burdens of chronic illness, chronic illness, chronic illness support, Chronic Snarkopolist: The Chronic Burdens of ChronicIllness, financial burdens, medical bills, medical debt, written by Melissa Travis