Rx to Self: Part Three

Rx to Self: Part Three

This post is part of a series of experiences on healthcare. From realizations, patient navigation, and the implications of being divided by a border.

Symptom: Misinformation and poor communication 

I tend to do things on my own for most of the time. The idea of self-sufficiency is something that I look up to. When my family and I were figuring out the logistics for my grandpa’s treatment, things got complicated. 

Communication was key during these times. Specially for my father and myself because we were taking action at the early stages.

However, due to the nature of the situation, I didn’t realize that my father and I had to do plenty of crowd control within the family. 

We had to be rational, assertive, and sometimes rude to some of our family members and friends. The reason for this was that there were plenty of individuals that had the best intentions to help, but in fact were causing unnecessary drama, distraction, and stress.

It sounds harsh at first, but imagine this situation: suppose that you were waiting for a doctor’s call at a given time, a matter of life and death. Suddenly, your phone gets blasted with phone calls and text messages from numbers that you don’t even know. 

How would you feel and what would you do?

Keeping in mind that you might be sleep derived, hungry, possibly anxious, and on edge. Would you like to answer to all of these messages, unknown callers and tell them the whole story? What if you miss the phone call that you actually need?

Rx to self: Focus and be in the moment, for who needs it, and for your own peace of mind

This is when I had to minimize distractions. Prioritizing and basically ignoring a lot of attention requests. I needed my whole cognitive, rational, and emotional stability in order to perform on what mattered at the moment. 

What I was experiencing with my phone was, in a way, what in the social sciences is known as mass hysteria. At a given point, there was a rumor within my own family that my grandpa was basically dead, and that we had prepare for the funeral.

While it’s understandable that we worry about this life and death situations, it’s important to realize that it’s dangerous to assume the worst and treat it as a fact. It’s as if you already lost the fight without even trying, and actually feeling depressed already.

However, once that digital communication issue was minimized, we had a system going on. The right people was helping us out, and I’m forever thankful for their time and care. We were finally getting things on track and the unknown was less intimidating.

We were living the present and being proactive, instead of reactive. Less worrying and more doing.

In short: even on this type of situations, you still have the right to choose to who you give your time and attention. Most importantly, you don’t owe anybody any explanations. That night I was reassured about that.

All of these unnecessary attention requests and explanatory demands happened when I took my grandpa to the emergency department. 

That moment I felt an aversion to distraction.

But goddamn, I was focused.

No time for emotions or worries. 

It was time to act and listen.

Rx to Self: Part Two

Rx to Self: Part Two

This post is part of a series of experiences on healthcare. From realizations, patient navigation, and the implications of being divided by a border.

Symptom: Not having health insurance

I didn’t really had an idea how to find, and be able to qualify for health insurance for my grandpa in Mexico. My intention at this stage was to get him on the healthcare system. I looked for options online to find possibilities on the private insurance sector. 

It turned out unsuccessful. 

My grandpa didn’t qualify for those insurances because of his advanced age and his now pre-existing heart condition. Also, for the couple of insurances that didn’t have an age cap, there was just not enough information to make a decision on them. Mainly because there were new.

I looked at binational health insurances that were tailored for individuals that cross the border on either side to get healthcare. Again, while they provided great services, prices, and co-pay options, my grandpa couldn’t qualify for them either.

By this point it was believed that he needed a pacemaker, therefore, surgery was necessary. Without proper health insurance, this procedure was too expensive given our socioeconomic status. 

I had a feeling of emptiness and few options. 

I managed to get both of my grandparents government insurance as a last resort. However, I was lost on how things worked.

Thankfully, there were people giving us their wisdom, time, and expertise. 

I was clueless, but not alone anymore. 

Rx to self: Think about your longterm health, and the health of your loved ones, too

Rx to Self: Part One

Rx to Self: Part One

This post is part of a series of experiences on healthcare. From realizations, patient navigation, and the implications of being divided by a border.

Symptom: I was taking the health of my loved one for granted

This idea applies to myself and to my loved one, my grandpa. For instance, just because I’ve never seen my loved one ill, it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on inside. Its like a great looking car, and assuming that runs fine. 

Until the car starts giving you signals that something is wrong.

 Along the way, you realize that the car its a classic, and that it has been on the road for quite sometime. And because it never really had any problems, you rarely gave it service other than gasoline and oil change.

You realize that taking anything or anyone for granted is in itself wishful thinking, to the point of believing that things shouldn’t change too much in life. 

Rx to Self: Question your assumptions

I’m talking about the impermanence of life. The first time you experience your own memento mori. The moment of awareness of your own mortality and its almost unpredictable end.  

After my own first attempt, I realized that it didn’t take much for me to do it, and with no hesitation. However, when someone you love and care about deeply is showing signs that life is compromised, the story is different. 

I felt the necessity of being present in the moment. I wanted share and experience life with my grandpa before it was too late. After all, he was the one who raised me and took care of me during dark times. 

It hit me hard when I got notified that something was wrong with him, and that there wasn’t a clear answer at the time. The uncertainty was nerve-racking.

Also, I felt guilt because at the time I wasn’t visiting him as much. 

My excuses were many. For instance, that I’m over-scheduled, that I have to cross the border back and forth in order to see him, and that in itself made me anxious and could trigger symptoms.

All of that bullshit vanished after knowing that he was ill. It was time to take action and prepare for the unknown. I wanted to be part of the process and provide help. It was my way of giving back.

This happened during the winter break. 

I never felt so focused, motivated, and with a courage that I didn’t even know I had.

It was time to get my act together and help my grandpa have a better quality of life. I wanted to do it, and that’s all I cared at the time. 

The problem was that I had no clue on how to navigate a healthcare system that wasn’t the USA. 

I had a lot of unanswered questions.

Time was running out.