Follow by Email

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bad News on Easter Sunday: Health Care Update


Today is Easter but not for me.

I got some bad news in the mail yesterday.

Oh, gosh. Where to begin.

In a previous post I talked a bit about my status: I have always been working poor. I'm a really hard-working person. I started working when I was fourteen years old, as a page in my town's newly founded library. I moved on to being a nurse's aide. I did that to pay college tuition, room, and board, sometimes working full time while attending classes full time and maintaining an A minus average. I entered Peace Corps and served twice, came back to the states, entered grad school, and earned a PhD. While doing the PhD I worked as a landscaper, carpenter, live-in domestic servant, cook, cleaner, tutor, exam grader, and telephone surveyor. I love work. I completed with PhD with no debt.

After completing my PhD I fully expected to get a tenure track job. I spent most of my free time for many years doing nothing but applying for tenure track jobs.

Didn't happen; I am an adjunct. I earn less than minimum wage (most of the hours an adjunct works – preparing lessons, grading papers, meeting with students, creating courses we are assigned at the last minute – are unpaid) and I have no health insurance.

A couple of years back I was diagnosed with cancer. After many days of intense effort on my part and supported by Robin Schaffer, I was able to find charity care. Surgery. Recovery. Good news – my prognosis improved a lot.

But then I was diagnosed with a new, chronic condition. I've since learned it's fairly common and relatively easily treated. Problem. With the onset of Obamacare, I lost charity care. That happened months ago.

Since then I've been phoning, emailing, visiting people in person, begging.

I got a letter yesterday that appears to be my final rejection.

I lost charity care, and I've been turned down for my last hope for any coverage. Coverage I desperately need to treat the new, chronic condition that really wouldn't be that big of a deal – if I could afford to go to a doctor.

I'm crushed.

Tomorrow I will start phoning and emailing and begging again. I need medical care. Given the letter I got yesterday, and what I've been told so far, I have no reason to hope.


My book "Save Send Delete" is a declaration of Christian faith.

I'm not even sure why I'm trying so hard to say alive, any more. I accomplish nothing and I am alone. My life is just a series of pointless struggles.

Do I still believe in God, even at moments like this?

Yes, I do.

This is the best way I can put it. Right now I feel like I'm totally alone in a blizzard. It's dark. The wind is pounding against me. Pellets of snow blast my face and all but blind me. I am lost.

Somewhere out there, somewhere – I don't know where – I don't know how to get to it – I don't understand why I have to be alone in the dark while others are safe, warm, connected and comfortable – I don't know why I have to fight pointless, petty, losing battles while others can relax and enjoy  – I don't know what this means to me, exactly but – I think – I think – that somewhere out there one candle flickers.

At this moment, that is the best I can do.


  1. I stumbled across your blog while doing research on Polish-Jewish issues. I think that you're a talented writer and thinker and I'm praying for you.