In the old days, before your diagnosis of a chronic or other life-altering illness, when you got sick you may have gone to the doctor, paid for an office visit and lo and behold you got well. There weren’t repeated trips and co-pays for office visits. There weren’t endless tests or supplies needed, maybe a bottle of Tylenol. The cost was minimal financially, and the cost emotionally and spiritually was minimal too.
Then you were given a diagnosis by the doctor and everything changed. You began to see your doctor more than you see some of your friends or family. Your new inner circle consists of lab technicians, insurance personnel, and your medical team. Chronic illness is expensive. Let’s take Type 2 Diabetes as an example. It not only about the costs associated with a change in diet, but the meter, the lancets, the test strips, and the follow-up lab work with the doctor. There is no end to the costs and for many this becomes a financial and thus an emotional burden.
This week the New York Times Online ran an article about the cost of Type 2 Diabetes. They state, “Already, this incurable and often debilitating illness costs the country’s health care system a staggering $174 billion a year.” They go on to say that because of the personal cost of managing the disease only about 25% of Type 2 Diabetes patients are getting the care they need. Don’t you think that’s shameful? Doesn’t the healthcare system and the powers that be understand that by not taking care of those with Type 2 Diabetes you end up taking care of patients with heart, kidney, and circulation problems. Does paying for test strips and meters costs less than having to hospitalize someone to amputate a limb?
The New York Times cites Consumer Reports Health in a report they produced stating that, “diabetes patients spend an average of $6,000 annually for treatment of their disease.” When you think of the cost, understand that these are net dollars. As a “civilized” society can we continue to look the other way and not treat those who need our help. Yes, there needs to be a partnerships and Type 2 Diabetes patients need to do their part (just as my mother is doing) by eating properly and getting enough exercise. It has to be a partnership, but a true partnership, not one in name only.
If you have a chronic illness what has the cost been to you? I’m not only talking about the financial cost, but the emotional and spiritual as well. Let your voice be heard!