When Money Becomes an Obstacle
Last updated: June 2018
I’m going to show my bottom a little here, in an effort to reach out to those of you that are struggling with the financial issues involved in getting proper medical care for IBS and IBS related symptoms. I am a social worker who pays child support. What does that indicate to you? Yes, that’s correct, I don’t have a lot of extra money laying around. With the cost of living the way it is, it is hard enough to pay rent/mortgage, heat, electric, food, cable, car payments, insurance and the seven thousands of other things that pop up in our daily existence that require…PAYMENT. After my divorce, I was left with, uh…not much. Lost the house, the 401k, my job and my sanity. Soon after, I was diagnosed with IBS. So, I have to take care of my responsibilities, right? Well, basic responsibilities are doable for the most part, but add in the cost of doctors, medication, procedures, ER visits and potential surgeries…God, what to do? Hand to mouth, baby. Hand to mouth.
Doing the best you can
I have ‘pretty good’ insurance through my workplace. ‘Pretty good’ doesn’t really cut it these days, does it? Right now I have outstanding medical bills of over a thousand dollars. I’m sure many of you can relate and some may have a lot more debt than that. The struggle is that we owe more than we can pay. That makes keeping a regular doctor, medical treatment, therapy or even bloodwork seem impossible. But our health is the most important thing in the world, right? We are strong people and want to work the overtime or a part-time job (or full-time job) but sometimes our disorder will not really allow it. I am committed to my physical and mental health and I know that I cannot bite off more than I can chew with regards to my time at work. It’s hard enough getting through my eight hours when I’m having a flare up, which from month to month can sometimes be very often. This not only causes significant discomfort and a general feeling of malaise, but also affects my mental health as well. By taking on more work, I am liable to end up in the hospital. My kids don’t want that, my family doesn’t want that and I certainly don’t want or need it. So, what to do? The best you can, that’s what.
Create a plan
I think the most important thing is to make sure that the financial aspect does not overwhelm you. I know, easier said than done. The point is, if we are not operating to full capacity upstairs, it will be even more difficult to care for yourself. Care for yourself first. Once you are in a calm, clear place, try to make a plan to make payment arrangements with those medical providers that you know you are going to need. So, keeping on good terms with your GI doc, family doctor, therapist or local blood testing place is important. Most places are willing to take small payments in order to keep you in the fold. If you find yourself in a spot where you simply can’t afford any of it, please don’t be too proud to look into public assistance. Also, don’t panic and remember there is so much you can do for yourself in between doctor’s appointments. Just keep going and accept the way things are, whatever the situation. Keep your cool. It will work out. One way or the other.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?