Thanksgiving eve, 2011, my dad went to the hospital for a liver transplant.
The two years leading up to that moment were full of new diets, lifestyle changes, meetings with nutritionists, counselors, doctors and surgeons. The year and (still to come) months afterwards were mostly the same, although things were obviously much more hopeful on this side of the surgery.
In the immediate aftermath of the transplant, there was a lot of wonderment and awe at how complex the human body is, and how much modern medicine has come in order to be able to fix all of those things that could and do go wrong. But also I came to realize how expensive good healthcare can be.
I still get chills thinking about what would’ve happened to our family if we didn’t have health insurance.
My dad stayed in the ICU for 5 days, and twice a day, had to take some form of anti-rejection medication that cost upwards of $20,000 a pop.
My dad didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t make a habit of eating unhealthily, and needed a liver transplant because of cirrosis and a tumor from contracting hep-B as a youth. In other words, through no fault of his own, he needed that transplant, or he would have died in a few years.
I think I worded that wrong, because although there may be responsibility accrued for past actions, i don’t know that anyone ‘deserves’ that ending.
Had my mom’s company not given her great health coverage, we would’ve had to watch him die, slowly, over the course of four or five years.
I don’t really know what my point is, except that sometimes, it seems like young people don’t think about health insurance, and to me, it’s an expense that is worth giving up other things for. I even have health insurance for Mowgli, because I’ll be damned if I watch him die because I can’t afford veterinary care.
I don’t know what else to say. Life is fragile? Life is beautiful? Life should be cherished? These are things we all already know, but maybe don’t yet understand viscerally. I don’t know if I do or do not yet, but death scares me, for a number of reasons, that maybe should be outlined in a different post. But death scares me, and I think the only way to combat that is to love the people that I love as much as I can for all of my life, for I have love in spades. Above all else, I believe in love.
Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pur gibberish – a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow – to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested… Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.