Note: This started out as a letter to a friend. But the more I wrote, the more I felt it was something everyone needed to read. Because my story might be yours, or the story of someone you know.

In case you’re not on FB, here’s a summary of my life story:

“After racking up over $30k in medical bills, paying thousands out of pocket for medicines, tests, and doctors’ visits, being debilitatingly ill for three months, and being told I was simply “crazy”, they finally find a test that might be able to diagnose/treat me, and I can’t get it done because they want $1200 TODAY (which they didn’t tell me prior to showing up.). Not only am I part of the 99%, but when I die, which will be on my own terms and not theirs, I hope everyone who ever knew me will help use my story as an example of a loss to humanity that was preventable”

This world is not designed to treat me, and people like me, with any sort of compassion or humanity. In fact, when it comes to the values our world espouses, compassion and humanity seem to come far behind money, looks, cool stuff, power, personal accomplishment, and ME,ME,ME,ME.

I’m not sure I want to be a part of such a world. There isn’t a place for me in it, and I’m not sure there ever has been. This situation just *proves* it, more so than anything else I or my loved ones have been through.

People are hurt, shunned, denied treatment, left to die, and treated as if they don’t matter because of a variety of factors every single day. Money may not buy happiness, but it does buy survival.

One day, I hope someone wakes up and sees that our world is not just losing lost human beings in the corporate, money-oriented, self-centred process of living, but a lot of “might have beens” and hopes for the future. Right now, however, few I encounter seem to care one way or another.

I hope those people remember that one day, they too will get sick. One day, their children will be in need of care, an accident will happen, or a loved one will be on the brink of death. And when that happens, they’d better hope they have an insurance company that’s willing to work on their side, plenty of money in the bank, and happen to be treated by a “compassionate medical professional” that actually gives a shit. Chances are, they won’t, because that’s karma for you.

Every day, people die. Every day, people are left to deal with their mental and physical ailments because they can’t afford the endless merry-go-round of insurance payments, co-pays, deductible, out-of-pocket expenses, and $50-100 every time you so much look as a doctor or someone wants to give you a drug. That is, if you’re not one of the 40% of Americans that just flat-out can’t afford insurance. The sad thing is, one of those people might have cured cancer, become a world leader, changed the face of society, or just built a loving and beautiful family. But that doesn’t matter that much. We have plenty of people. What matters is that you have the cash in your pocket to entitle you to the help you need.

Our society is full of rules and viewpoints I don’t agree to play by. As with most games that stack the deck, I’m opting not to participate. Being on this earth is thoroughly optional for me, and I opt for quality of life over quantity. I don’t fool myself into thinking that I might have changed the world. It’s a little late for me. But, I’d like to think I might have been worth keeping around, if someone had cared to treat me not as a bizarre medical case, not with someone that can either pay or not pay for a diagnosis, but as a human being.

Anyone who thinks medical care in our country doesn’t need reform should get to know someone like me; smart, educated, personable, empathetic, with a zest for life…and an illness that isn’t properly diagnosed, treated, and may not only be a life-threatening issue, but the non-diagnosis of which has greatly impacted that person’s economic status and ability to get by in the world. Because that could be your friends, your parents, and anyone you know. That could be you. And you may not have the luxury of waiting until 2014 to see if things improve.

People are human beings. When the next generation of medical professionals is being trained, I hope somewhere, that’s emphasized. People deserve your empathy and your compassion, because they are human beings. And the next person in need of compassion, help, and empathy might just be you, or someone you love. I can only hope that when your time comes, someone is there with a helping hand, in a way nobody has bothered to extend to me.

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