Monday, May 5, 2014

Your Cavities Cost More than My MS

Chickens, rabbits, and hamsters are just a few examples of the "bribe presents" I received from my parents in exchange for sitting in a dental chair. Guess what? We didn't live in the country; we lived in town and had all of these animals! I have always had dental issues. My brother, who is 5 years older, has had one cavity in  his life. (He might dispute this, but I am pretty sure it occurred during college.)

I was born with a calcium deficiency that has essentially weakened my teeth. Three of my top front baby teeth came in "rotten" (Man, I am really spilling my guts on this Monday morning!) resulting in my need of silver caps. I always asked my mom why she didn't get me white teeth instead of the silver. Now that I am a mom with expenses and a budget, I understand that spending several thousand on white teeth that were going to be replaced by permanent teeth would have just been silly. So, at the age of 3, I essentially had a "grill." Who knew it would later become a trend?

I can remember jumping out of our tree house and losing the caps. My parents would haul me to the dentist to have them re-glued on. In exchange for my patience, I was allowed to pick out anything I wanted. We would go to the feed store to get the chickens and rabbits. We actually taught the chickens to slide down a sliding board in our backyard. They eventually turned out to be roosters that crowed. My daddy sent them to a "farm to live. (I really think the people came to get them and ate them. He would never confess to letting this happen, but I still to this day think it is true.) One time, when the rabbits got out of their cage, my brother convinced me to chase them around the backyard to try to catch them. During my failed attempts to catch them, my brother and a neighborhood friend posted up in the tree house with BB guns and tried to hit the rabbit. It is a wonder I survived my childhood... (At this point of reading this post, Josh is probably referring to me (as a joke) as a Mississippi hillbilly. I always point out that he did live in the country, basically on a farm, in TN. Who is the hillbilly? Really, now... I am joking, of course:)

Well, I have to have dental work done. (Really not a surprise. I just never know what they will find and the extent of the issue. One time I went and the issues they found could only be seen on x-ray. Geez...) Josh knew of my "dental" issues when he married me, so he can't say this is a surprise to him or his wallet. I called him after my appointment and gave him the news and the estimate of the cost. His response to me, without missing a beat, was, "Your cavities cost more than my MS." We both cracked up. In a way, this is true! It made me laugh, because I have told him since his diagnosis that he is high maintenance. It was his turn to let me know that for the time being, I was having a high maintenance moment.

When the weather is pretty, we usually sit on the front porch after the kids go to bed, watch the sprinklers (yes, we are old), and talk. I really look forward to this time, because it is just he and I having a conversation without someone else demanding our time. As with anyone who has bills and responsibilities, we often talk about our budget and what the upcoming/current month looks like. Even though our Tecfidera is covered now through MS Active Source, the cost of the medicine is still on our minds. We are still appealing the insurance company's denials in hopes that they will cover it. I have faith that it will work out. I really do believe the Tecfidera will be covered, and we will be relieved of that stress. As I have stated before, the out of pocket cost for a year of the medicine is roughly $55,000. I say roughly... give or take a couple of hundred dollars. In our conversation, we laughed again about the cavity comment and the cost comparison to MS. We also started talking about what it would take for us to be able to afford the medicine. Remember the minivan? I said, "We could sell the minivan." We just died out laughing. The minivan would only cover about a third of what the medicine cost. Bless the minivan's heart, she is just a used carpool taxi who has seen better days.:) It hit me on the front porch, at that moment,  for the first time in my life (our life), we really can't afford something that we essentially need for survival/quality of life. (Not many people in their early 30's with 3 kids could afford a yearly prescription of 55k.)

 I have always felt sorry for people who are in situations like this. I am truly thankful for organizations like MS Active Source and for pharmaceutical companys' patient programs. I have done pharmaceuticals before. I know there is a ton of cost that goes into testing and getting a drug through the pipeline. I have also received awards for helping a company reach a "million dollar" month, and like any business, profits will be made.

 I also know that there is no shame in needing help to get something you truly need and can't afford. I think about the move John Q when it comes to stuff like this. (I also love Denzel Washington!) I can't imagine being in a position where there is no help or assistance available. We are fortunate and blessed with an amazing life. We have great insurance and great jobs. Both of us love what we do and the people we are in our careers. We have an awesome family and support system. Through our insurance, we are able to go to amazing doctors who have helped get us set up with the right programs. They have also made us aware of everything that is available to us. What if we didn't have that? What if we didn't know or couldn't afford to know? I just can't imagine. I am hoping to get involved in some of these programs to reach out to others to help them become educated on MS, as well as the resources that are available to them. Sometimes, it just takes a little help and direction from someone to change a life for the better.

So, for the record, my cavities DO NOT cost more than Josh's MS. His tab is way higher than my tab is :)

As for the weekend, I can't tell you enough how much I love the weather in Alabama. I know, the temperature will eventually be 100 and the humidity will suck the breath out of you and give you a case of frizzy, Alabama big hair, but right now the weather is perfect. We went to the pool (a perk to living in a subdivision!), played outside, and just enjoyed the not-rushed hours we were able to spend together. We had a trampoline casualty yesterday. Josh, Jack, and Anabelle were playing on the trampoline. Jack was running around and fell through the net opening. He hit his head on a concrete block and took about 10 years off of our life. He was fine and just has a round goose egg that we are now referring to his "minion one eye." My parents hated trampolines, so I am pretty sure they are both telling me "I told you so" from heaven. My students are counting down the days until graduation and summer. I always can't believe when a school year is coming to a close.  I received a sweet comment on the blog from someone. She had great words of encouragement. Sometimes simple words can mean the world.

Oh! Speaking of simple words, the best words I heard all weekend were said to me by Josh as he was squinting one eye driving down the road. "I am pretty sure my eye is almost back to 100%." Whoo hoo!

Happy Monday! I woke up, the sun is shining, and God is good all of the time!


A "selfie" from the weekend

1 comment:

  1. Those Elmo slippers are adorable! (As was your story of having a grill as a kiddo!) Great post!