My husband and I have not had health insurance for two years. Whether that was a reasonable choice or an arrogant and ignorant decision is neither here nor there. We lost coverage when I left the zoo, but my previous two wellness exams showed I was in perfect health. We couldn’t afford insurance, and if we needed to go to the doctor, we decided to just pay those rare visits out of pocket.
For two years, Chris and I used our lifestyle as our health insurance. We ate healthy, eliminating processed foods from our diet, eating locally sourced organic foods, and cooking at home rather than eating out. We worked out together 5 days a week. Our gym was a local park about 10 minutes away. It provided everything we needed. I came up with our workouts and we had lots of fun while always getting our sweat on.
Two years later, my knees have started to give me a bit of trouble again. When we had insurance, I had my knee issues fixed with a little bit of physical therapy and weekly visits to a chiropractor. Chris and I decided we would pay the ridiculous premiums and sign up for insurance at the next enrollment. The creaking in my knees wasn’t going away by itself.
While we seemed to feel my knees were the prominent issue, Chris was also suffering from extreme migraines. It would be nice to have a doctor take a look and see if we could do something about those,too.
Fast forward to October and I am away visiting friends I haven’t seen in 6 or 7 years in Florida. Chris goes for his check-up and even before he tells them about his headaches, he is told his blood pressure is dangerously high. Like, the doctor was going to recommend going to the hospital. They take several more tests and get Chris on blood pressure medication immediately. I’m getting this information via texts, mostly, and Chris doesn’t seem overly concerned at this point, so we decide to hold off jumping to conclusions.
The next day while I’m eating lunch, again, still in Florida, my husband calls. “It’s bad.” How bad? Bad enough that they sent Chris to the Emergency Room for testing and immediate care because the tests show his kidneys are in failure.
Wait…WHAT?!?! Do I need to come home? “No,” my husband replies, “I’m fine.”
(This statement, by the way, is a whole other story to share with you at another time)
So, I’m in freak out mode the rest of the day. Chris texts a little later to let me know he left the hospital, and that they mainly got more tests and tried to bring down his blood pressure. I relaxed a little but not much. I was leaving for home the next day, and I hoped we would get answers to questions.
When I came home, I went with Chris to see the nephrologist, a kidney specialist. That’s when we realized how serious Chris’ ailment really was. From the beginning, the doctor admitted Chris had severe damage to his kidneys, and he would likely need a transplant. He explained we didn’t do anything wrong, and it was possible that we wouldn’t have even picked up on the kidney disease from normal blood tests. From the doctor’s mouth, he said “sometimes these things just happen.”
My mind immediately went the negative route, I’ll admit. I strive to keep things positive, but I couldn’t help but feel this was unfair to the two of us. Why did we bother taking care of ourselves if “these things just happen” anyways? What was the point. I guess I needed to be a bit pessimistic for just a moment, because after that my positivity took over. How lucky are we that we DO take care of ourselves? Imagine how much worse it would be if Chris and I led sedentary lives, eating fried fast food everyday? Because Chris is an otherwise healthy individual, and because we eat healthy already, we are ahead of the game.
Chris went in to get a biopsy of his kidney and the results are confirming he will indeed need a transplant. We are still getting a second opinion at this point, but we are shifting a lot of priorities to set this as number one. In the one good news section, his headaches are gone. So, there’s that…
Luckily our lifestyle has helped us out already. For Chris’ high blood pressure, we need to eliminate processed foods, fried foods, and foods high in salt. Oh, we already do that. Awesome. While we’ve been told not to worry too much about potassium, which can affect the kidneys, we are already starting to look at ways we can naturally lower potassium. We’re going to check out a nutritionist/dietician to ensure we are doing everything possible for our health and well-being, and to see if we can slow down further deterioration.
It’s bad. I’m not sugar coating anything here. But luckily, we did get insurance and it won’t be AS bad as it could have been without it. Luckily we take care of ourselves and changing our lifestyle to accommodate Chris’ needs won’t be a huge shock to our systems. Luckily we are young and healthy and will likely have little complications during this whole process.
If you’ve made it this far in my post, then you are likely a very good friend and are now super worried about Chris. Here is a link for more information about his preliminary results and diagnosis:
Again, this whole thing is scary and new to us, but we live like ZooFit, and are focusing on the positive and preparing for all scenarios that this diagnosis may lead.