October 15, 2012
Article: Mission of Mercy
I’m stepping out from my normal mode of sports writer’s to do a special article on a group of people that have had the pleasure to meet last week. With political agendas flooding our TVs with all kinds of ads and political debates containing talk of Obamacare and Romneycare, it’s nice to find someone that actually cares.
To give you a brief picture of what I deal with everyday both myself and my wife have health issues. I am disabled due to nerve damage left from an extreme bout of shingles. My wife has diabetes and has just recently started insulin injections on a daily basis. We are very much like thousands upon thousands of people to where we face every day with no health insurance and any medication or doctor’s visits will come out of pocket.
With my situation, I have been taking Neurontin for the past two and half years in an effort to block the pain. Regarding nerve damage there is no fix for this condition, all I can do is hope that my immune system will heal the infected area. Getting Neurontin locally would mean I would have to see a doctor or monthly for him to do absolutely nothing and write me a prescription for the medication. These meds are extremely expensive and could easily run into the $3-$400 range monthly on top of the doctor’s visit. Not too many people are in a position to do that so my six is to order these pills from a Canadian company that is based out of India. There is an extreme hazard to doing this because the quality of the medication is always suspect. It also takes about 2 to 3 weeks to receive the product because it has to go through customs and at any time customs could confiscate the medication and I would be out. The medication I get from these places is much cheaper in price and makes it much more affordable.
My wife’s condition is a serious one because her blood sugar level seldom gets below 280 usually in the 300 range. Anyone that knows anything about diabetes knows that those are dangerous numbers and all kinds of bad side effects can happen from that. The state of Arizona offers access as an option for healthcare but unfortunately we make over $1000 a month and we have no dependents anymore. One circumstance of my wife’s blood sugar made it up to over 600 and we had to take her to the hospital to the emergency room at Maricopa County Hospital. She was there most of the day they manage to get her blood sugar back down to about 200 but encouraged us to seek out and Endo chronologist for follow-up. Most of these doctors will not take new patients with no insurance so after about 12 calls to various doctors, all telling me the same thing I abandoned my search. The bill at the county was rung up at over $5000 which we still have no way of paying. This has been pretty much are life for the past three years but something happened last week that actually brought some relief.
My daughter Shannon was talking to a friend who told her about a group of doctors and nurses that meet with patients at various places around the Valley. She also mentioned that these people were able to dispense free medication to those in need if the medication was on their list. I had a two-hour window of calling these people to try and make a reservation realizing that hundreds of other people were calling at the same time. So with about 10 minutes remaining in their window I managed to get through and make an appointment.
This program is called Mission of Mercy and we went in for our first appointment this last Wednesday. They were meeting that day at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church as we entered the facility we saw the mass of people waiting to get in to see a doctor. Many of those people showed up there with no appointment and they were the last to be seen so I was glad that I took the time to spend two hours on the phone to set an appointment because we were seeing within about 20 minutes.
Mission of Mercy is sponsored by donations only and the doctors and nurses volunteer their time. I think God for these folks because I had not seen a doctor in almost 3 years and I was eager to ask them any questions about my condition and if there are any options. My doctor and nurses evaluation of my condition was not promising because I was 180 pounds overweight and my blood pressure was high. Much of that was due to the medication that I am on, Neurontin has several side effects which I have been struggling with, one of which is weight gain. I have put well over 100 pounds since being on this medication and my caloric intake is minimal. What complicates things even more is that my nerve damage does not allow me to work out at all it is difficult to even walk 50 feet without severe pain and having to sit down.
The other side effect that I have is swollen extremities. My feet, ankles and calves are swollen and have a rash on them from the pills as well. One would think that any other type of pill would be better than what I’m facing but facts are that there are limited options one of which would be a harder narcotic and I choose not to go that route.
So as I sat down with these folks I explained my situation and asked if there were any options for pain and the doctor I met with said there was one possibility that they could give me for free that was known to deal with chronic pain but she wasn’t sure that it would help. It was worth the try but at the time of this article I have increased the dosage of those bills and very little of it deals with my pain. But it was good to sit down and talk to these folks and answer my questions.
My wife’s condition was much more familiar to them and there is more in place for her. So we wound be able to get her insulin prescription on a quarterly basis and she also receives some additional drugs to help with her side effects from the diabetes as well. The nice thing about going through these folks is that she will hopefully be able to qualify for the Eli Lilly foundation program and receive insulin for free.
Although I have gone at length to explain our condition, the real focus here is Mission of Mercy. My hope and prayer with this article is that it will reach people in the Valley that would be willing to donate to Mission of Mercy and help sustain them to continue their program. These people work long hard hours and don’t get one red cent. This type of program is what the government hopes to do and where I do not endorse any of our candidates for presidency our leaders need to look at organizations like Mission of Mercy and do what they can to fund them with no strings attached. While the political leaders joust for an advantage in selling their health care program to the United States here are people like Mission of Mercy that have found a way to help people right away that have absolutely nothing.
I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to find these people to help us out. The stress from dealing with our health conditions can be unbearable at times. We all know how tight money can be and there are times that we’ve had to choose one drug over another on who gets what and the other goes without. People like Mission of Mercy deserve our support and our prayers. So please if you can help, please contact them at http://www.amissionofmercy.org/arizona.
Thank you very much for your continued support.