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Colonscopy Awareness Bugs Columnist
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
Iíve been seeing billboards up around town about the importance of getting a colonoscopy, and Iím not quite sure what to think. On one hand, having had a colonoscopy, they arenít fun. Iím not good with anesthesia. Every time I go under, it means throwing up for at least a half hour or more after the procedure. The colonoscopy showed I had polyps. If they werenít removed, Iíd have cancer. So I had them removed. I also went bankrupt. My insurance, which was little more than preventative care only, paid for $19,000 of the costs. I was on the hook for $51,000. I didnít have it. So I filed.
But it was either have surgery I knew I damn well couldnít afford, or die. Iím due for another colonoscopy, but of course, I canít afford it. Maybe the Affordable Care Act still covers it on my insurance. Iím hoping it does. Because if it doesnít, I canít afford to have a colonoscopy. Theyíre around $5,000. I wonder if the person spearheading this campaign is a supporter of universal health care. If not, and my insurance doesnít cover it, would that person still want me to get a colonoscopy? And if so, how the hell do I pay for it?
So, I guess I sort of resent seeing billboards that assume that I have the means to have expensive health exams. I also kind of resent seeing a dead person tell me to have a colonoscopy. Iíve talked about my health problems in my column before, but I canít quite put my finger on why this local billboard campaign bugs me. Hold up ó after a few seconds of thought, it hit me. Itís the American tradition of telling people what to do, but not providing a means to do it, because the task is priced so high. Iím sick of seeing ads about how important my health is, while the powers that be want to take away the first decent insurance Iíve had in over a decade. This is America: ďSee your doctor.Ē ďGet it checked.Ē ďGet this test when you turn 40, 50, whatever.Ē Oh, you donít have any money? Sucks to be you.
Weíre hypocrites. We decry teenage pregnancy, while sex is everywhere in the media. If you donít have sex, youíre a prude. But if you have sex, you run the risk of pregnancy. We push for education, but make fun of intellectuals. We are concerned about health, yet fat acceptance runs rampant. If being overweight opens the door to multiple health problems (and it does) why are we saying itís okay to be heavy? We supposedly have the best health care in the world, but only if you can afford it, and if youíre a certain age. You can talk all you want about death panels, but Iím willing to bet long before the ACA was passed a few thousand, if not a few million older Americans were told their cough was bronchitis, when in reality, it was cancer. I know of at least one case where this actually happened. The patients werenít told what was really going on because, well, weíve got to cut costs somewhere, and Grandma isnít getting any younger you know. Itís a pretty callous decision, but this sort of stuff has been going on, probably for thousands of years.
Maybe Linda Vandeveer gave her blessing to her husband to use her to spread the word about colonoscopies. If so, well, okay. But it still bugs me. I wouldnít want to be honored this way. To each his or her own, I guess.