When Medical Care Hits the Mark
By George Wenschhof
EDITOR, TALKING MARYLAND POLITICS
OBSERVING WHAT IS BEST DESCRIBED as a world beset with violence and upheaval ranging from a flare up of the Israel-Hamas ongoing struggle in Gaza, President Obama authorizing U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, a rekindling of the cold war with Russia with the Ukraine conflict, and the continuation of a do nothing Congress, I placed my political commentary on hold.
Instead of focusing on the outcome of the midterm elections and whether Republicans or Democrats will hold a majority in the House and Senate, my focus has been on what comes next in a life threatening experience. Receiving the news from my gastroenterologist three weeks ago that I have a cancerous lesion on my sigmoid colon was a jolt.
Fearing anesthesia and upon learning propofol (the drug that contributed to the death of Michael Jackson) was being used, I elected to stay awake during the colonoscopy, watching on a monitor and speaking with the doctor during the procedure. I saw he was not pleased when he discovered a lesion, took biopsies of it and then tattooed the area with a dye so a surgeon could easily locate it later.
The news from the pathology report two days later that it was cancerous was not a surprise. The exhausting days that followed have passed quickly, spent in gathering information, selecting a surgeon and a surgery date. Adding more intrigue was a subsequent CT-Scan. Originally ordered for the abdomen and pelvic areas and later, per a surgeon’s request, expanded to include the chest. The scan revealed a nodule on the left main stem bronchus. A bronchoscopy is up next to be followed by another biopsy necessary to determine the nature of this nodule.
ASK GEORGE IF POLITICS MATTERS
WHAT ALLOWED ME TO RECEIVE THIS MEDICAL care was the passage of The Affordable Care Act. If I did not have this coverage, my diagnosis would not have been made and the subsequent treatment would not be available to me.
Bad business decisions combined with the lead up to the 2008 major downturn in the economy led to the closing of my real estate company that I operated for 16 years.
Since then, I intentionally pursued full time, my lifelong interest in politics by writing news and commentary. While the outcome of advocating for legislative policy and endorsing elected officials has been a mixed bag filled with successes and disappointments along the way, my fascination with politics has never waned.
The personal financial reward of my efforts over the last six years has been a meager and often day to day existence of an aspiring, yet struggling writer/advocate. This downward spiral spinning me into a world previously foreign to me, filled with multiple culture clashes and what is defined as homelessness.
My current attempt as editor/publisher/moderator of a subscription based online political news and commentary video Blog bombed with my owing more than I earned.
In spite of my homelessness, no automobile and no capital, among the recent video interviews I was able to produce and moderate were with the next Attorney General of Maryland Brian Frosh, Montgomery County executive Ike Leggett, Frederick County circuit court judge Danny O’Connor, and Frederick County executive candidate Jan Gardner.
Pride holding me back from pursuing public assistance and eventually without an automobile, I find myself often without resources to afford the basic necessities of food and shelter.
On March 31 of this year, the last day for enrollment for immediate eligibility under The Affordable Care Act, I went online, navigated successfully through the application process and submitted.
LIVING AT A ZERO INCOME LEVEL
FOLLOWING ACCEPTANCE, I EVENTUALLY VISITED MY primary care physician. A blood workup and stool sample followed, leading to my first colonoscopy at the age of 61, a full eleven years after the medical community recommends it be done.
The passage of The Affordable Care Act early on in the first term of President Obama’s administration brought about both disdain and enthusiastic support from Americans across the country.
Those who opposed the passage quickly labeled the legislation “Obamacare” and Republicans in Congress used it to galvanize support from voters. Republicans also used it as an excuse to oppose any and all legislation proposed by President Obama.
The supporters pointing out the U.S. was the only major developed country in the world that did not provide national healthcare.
The result following passage of the legislation has been a gridlocked and dysfunctional government destined to be recorded as the worst congressional session in history.
Some who have helped me over the last six years have often been those who have the least ability to do so. Living at a zero income level, I quickly discovered others who exist in what is best explained as an underground economy.
It will take a book to describe the last six years in detail. A book I hope I am able to write.
The American debate will surely continue on whether government healthcare should be provided and for whom.
LIFE BEGINS AT 61?
For me, I am grateful. With a mixture of fear, hope and a strong belief in God, I embark on the next adventure in my life.
Never actualizing that it may benefit me, I have always been a supporter of The Affordable Care Act and strongly believe a single-payer healthcare system is what should eventually evolve.
Without it, any middle class working family not covered with healthcare that experienced a major medical emergency would quickly reach financial ruin.
My desire is to aid in stimulating a positive dialogue that results in a healthcare system for all that is even better than what exists today and the implementation of a more effective, comprehensive approach to combat homelessness.
Finally, if you are over 50, go have a colonoscopy done. It may save your life.