Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Last Tuesday Night in the Emergency Room -Peanut Butter Apple

Spent last Tuesday in the ER...

So I got home from work late on Tuesday night.  I walked my dog.  I threw a frozen pizza in the toaster, and I washed off an apple I purchased from Whole Foods. I was tired and hungry and did not do a very good job of it.  I put on a little soap and lightly rinsed.  Pizza smelled good.  The apple was a "Red Tango" apple.  I took one bite.  And then started freaking the freak out.  It tasted like that indescribable rich nutty taste of peanut butter.  Which is the most horrible taste in the world if you have an anaphalactic peanut allergy. My throat felt like it was closing up.  

But wait.  I grabbed my Epipen and held it to my leg.  I stopped.  Throat felt tight.  The throat feeling was just that: a feeling.  I needed more evidence before I shot myself up with that horrible thing.  

The throat closing up feeling alone is not a sign to warrant an epipen injection.  I need more than that.  The feeling of my throat closing up is a psychological problem, not an anaphylactic reaction.  

I needed one other symptom from my body to let me know if I needed the epipen.  From my digestive system (vomiting, diarrhea), my skin (swollen lips and/or hives), or respiratory system (asthma and wheezing).  

I threw my cooked pizza on a cutting board, put the poison apple in a plastic bag, took my epipens and insurance cards, took a benadryl and got in the car and started driving to the E. R. 

When I got to the E. R. I parked in the temporary check-in parking spot and I went to the registration desk of the Emergency room of the U. W. hospital in Seattle, Washington.  I told the lady at the registration desk that I was experiencing one symptom of anaphylaxis, and that if I experienced any more, I would need life saving medical care.  

The nurse behind her looked at me like I was nuts.  Most medical people suggest that if you even suspect an anaphylactic reaction, to administer the epipen and seek emergency medical care.  But I knew my body.  I have been allergic to peanuts for 33 years.  My body gave me tiny signs, but not the extreme symptoms that warranted emergency medical care.  

I didn't really want to spend the night in the E. R.  I know the drill. It has happened over 30 times.  Who wants to spend 6-10 hours in the Emergency Room?  When you are in the E. R. with an anaphylactic reaction you are a prisoner.  You have no freedom.  You are at the mercy of the doctors and nurses.  Usually I am in such bad shape that I am most grateful and I do not care about freedom or not.  I just want to live another day.  But tonight I was not going to subject myself to unnecessary imprisonment if I didn't have to.  I had things I had to do the next morning. I wanted a good night's sleep.  

I already have extreme medical bills that I am not able to pay.  I didn't want to add to my bills if I could help it.  I am planning to declare medical bankruptcy.  

When I was out of a job in 2011, I applied for Medicaid.  Extreme peanut allergy is a disability, and I needed medical care if I went into anaphylactic shock.  

Medicaid denied my claim.  They said my anaphylactic peanut allergy was not considered disabled enough to qualify. 

I got a low paying job (12.00 an hour).  After 90 days of working there I qualified for the company's cheap, terrible medical coverage.  The week before my health insurance coverage activated, I went into anaphylactic shock.  Twice.  One was an overnight E. R. stay with another day in the ICU.  Over $25,000 in hospital bills right there.  I can't afford to pay that.  I applied for "Charity care" because my job was so low paying and one of the bills was reduced to 4,000.  I still couldn't afford to pay that.  So I have bill collectors hounding me 5 times a day.  Kind of stressful.

All because I have severe allergies and I live in the United States of America.  

This country has great emergency health care.  I think health insurance companies are the worst, most horrible companies ever.  They will do anything and everything to weasel out of paying claims and stick you with the bill.  They have done this to me so many times.  I really don't like Obama care because we are now required by law to support evil corporations who kill people by denying them coverage.  

I believe that the only reasonable solution is to expand Medicare to cover everybody in the U. S.  Health care is a human right like drinking water.  There needs to be a constitutional amendment disbanding horrible health insurance companies and expanding Medicare to every citizen of the U. S. 

Anyways, in the meantime, in my poverty and continued struggle with paying my medical bills, I will declare medical bankruptcy.  I am not ashamed.  I am ashamed to live in this messed up country and unjust corrupt system.  

I intend to proudly, happily, joyously declare bankruptcy.  

I have peanut allergy and I can't afford to pay the expensive bills.  I wish I didn't have peanut allergy.  I really do. 

The last time I went into anaphylactic shock I actually asked my family NOT to take me to the hospital.  I told them that I didn't have health insurance and that I couldn't afford the emergency room.  Of course they ignored me.  I wasn't really being serious, I was just making a statement about how messed up our health system is for people like me.  

Anyways to the end of the story of the E. R. last Tuesday:  the symptoms didn't get worse, I left after about an hour and a half.  The half assed soapy wash I gave the apple must have gotten the proteins off.  The awful, rich, nutty taste of peanut butter in my mouth was likely the oils in the peanut butter, which are not enough to set off a reaction.  

This story is not medical advice, just my story.  I'll put in the standard disclaimer at the end of this.

If you have severe, life-threatening allergies and medical bills you can't afford to pay, I encourage you to declare medical bankruptcy.  Thank you for reading.  Please subscribe.