In the beginning of May, my wife went to her primary physician. The appointment was to address some of the routine things that can happen to a person as they get older.
Or so we thought.
During the appointment, the doctor ordered X-rays of my wife's chest due to my wife having a lot of congestion.
The Friday before last, the doctor called and told us that the X-rays showed a spot on one of her lungs.
As the doctor gave us the name and number to an oncologist, my mind was reeling. My wife had cancer twice in the mid-1990s, but had beat it both times. She is also about the age my mother was when she was diagnosed with cancer.
We called the oncologist and got an appointment for the first thing Monday morning. That was the longest weekend of my life as I tried to keep my imagination from getting carried away.
I'll spare the gentle reader the details of the whirlwind of scheduling appointments, more tests and more scans, and the nonverbal language of the oncologist giving the tell that she was already thinking of treatment options.
The big news was that the tumor was thankfully not cancer.
As I spent the weekend waiting for Monday and then spent the beginning of the week waiting as my wife was poked and prodded and dyed and had all sorts of tests and scans done, I did a lot of thinking. What else is there to do in a hospital waiting area?
The most frequent thought I had was how glad I was to have a job with relatively decent benefits. If not for the insurance, my wife might not have had the X-rays done, the spot might not have been found. I silently thanked by union brothers and sisters who had fought so hard to get us these things and appreciated them all the more.
For without the insurance through my job, we might have had to go with Badger Care, like many of the poor, the working poor and Walmart employees (but I repeat myself). But with the way that Scott Walker has been screwing up by the numbers with first Badger Care and now with Walkercare, odds are my wife wouldn't have any resources that way.
She might have been able to access free screenings, like those offered at Planned Parenthood, but Walker and his Teapubligoons went after them and made sure that they couldn't help the poor either. After all, who would want to save a life or anything?
Another frequent thought was that of gratitude to the Milwaukee County Board, led by Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic. I realize that this might sound odd, but there is a very solid reason for it.
When the county was going through the crafting of the 2013 budget. one of the major issues that Milwaukee County Executive Emperor Chris Abele and the County Board were at odds was that regarding employee benefits.
Abele wanted to give workers a 3% raise, but completely eliminate the health savings account and raise employee contributions to 29%. The Board restored the HSA and cut the contribution to 25%. They also cut the raise to 1.5%. It was the same amount of money either way, but the Board's method offered a greater potential of savings as well as balanced it a little better for the workers (although we took a hit either way - losing over another thousand in take home pay).
Because the Board's version won out at the end, I was able to focus on supporting my wife instead of trying to find money we don't have or finding a bankruptcy attorney or having to give up everything just get her the care she needed.
As I wrote above, we were most fortunate that the scare was just that - only a scare. Even with the "Cadillac" insurance we have, if it had been anything more than a scare, it would have sent us over our own personal fiscal cliff.
Yet, even though we are one major illness from bankruptcy, we are one of the "lucky ones."
Until these wrongs are righted, I am rededicating myself to the fight, not just for health care, but for all the evils that Walker and his ilk have visited upon our once great state. I hope that the gentle reader will remember what we are fighting for and once again pick up the fight as well.
I would also be remiss if I ended this without giving a large shout out of thanks to all of our family, friends and coworkers who gave us an overwhelming amount of emotional support during this scare.