Community Columns

One Modesto family’s moving quest to keep daughters alive

Insulin bottles and a syringe
Insulin bottles and a syringe Modesto Bee

This week has been really rough for my family. The biggest reason is because we lost our healthcare and have been going through many hoops to get the kids their insulin.

We knew we would lose our coverage and so we did all the steps we should. We registered for public healthcare options early, we supplied all the information needed, submitted paperwork, resubmitted paperwork, submitted new paperwork the county needed, we waited, we waited, we waited. We called and checked on things and waited until the girls were out of insulin. Then I spent hours calling, sitting on hold, being told to call another agency, waiting on hold again, transferred to someone who transferred me to someone else, just to have the system hang up on me. We finally worked things out after hours on the phone. And last night at 6 p.m., after weeks of calls and hoops, my daughter Fiona finally walked in with the insulin she and her sister Devany need to stay alive.

My point here isn’t to draw sympathy. My husband has a new job and his benefits will kick in soon, but these 90 days of no coverage were eye-opening to us. We have means to get the girls the $971 bottles of insulin if nothing else had worked. It would have hit us hard but we would not have been destitute. We are not wealthy. But we would have worked it out.

But I lost sleep over whether or not my kids would run out of the life-saving medicine they need before we could get health coverage again. I lost sleep while big medical CEOs slept fine in their mansions with silk sheets and 20 bathrooms, with their multiple cars and private jets. I lost sleep wondering what we would do for this short 90-day period while this is a no-end-in-sight problem for millions of families. Families that don’t have a safety net. That don’t have a back up plan. Families that ration insulin and test strips the way we did years ago. Families that, like us when the girls were small, cried in doctors offices asking for samples of test strips and insulin because even with Erik and me both working, we couldn’t afford our children’s medicine. Families that go without food to afford their prescriptions. All while executives at insurance companies sleep well and meet at fancy restaurants for business dinners with fine wine.

I know our country is divided. I don’t identify with a political party. I identify as a human, a mother, a sister, a daughter. I identify with these families.

There has to be something we can do about this problem. There has to be a way to compromise and come together to help each other. This was a short 90 days for us, but not for others. No one should have to go through this struggle for insulin.

I thank God this morning that I slept easy last night knowing my children had insulin. I pray for those who lost sleep last night. I see you, I pray with you, I pray for you. Hold your heads up. Things have to get better.

Bridgid Nichols lives in Modesto. She wrote this commentary for The Modesto Bee.

  Comments