She was 25 years old came into the ER with a bad cough and trouble breathing. By the time I had seen her she had been in the hospital already for about 2 weeks.
She had a bad case of pneumonia. However it was not just pneumonia she had. While inpatient they discovered she was not just HIV+, she had AIDS. This was very difficult for her to believe, as she stated she was NOT a drug user and had not had sex in 6 years. Not since her son was born.
Nonetheless, it was in fact AIDS. She was angry, almost hateful even. She was not very nice to the staff, and would not even talk to the social services people who were trying to help her. She was convinced it was not AIDS. There must be some mistake. She was sure she didn't have what they said she had. She demanded those words not even be said in her precense.
After being in the hospital a total of about a month and a half and after many tests, many new medications, many procedures, she went home. She went home with home health to care for her. She went home to spend what time she had left with her son, who during this hospital stay also learned that he was HIV+ as well.
How can a person live that long and look so frail and sickly and never learn the fate that is set before them. Did she not go to the doctor? Did she not have the financial means to get there? Did they not test her while she was pregnant? There are so many questions here.
Where did our healthcare system fail this family? Will it ever get better?
What can we do to ensure that each person has the health care they need and the education that is so important?
I am seeing this all too often. People come into the ER for what they think is something so simple. However they don't have a family doctor because they can't afford one. They come to the ER and probably don't even have the money to pay that bill and the hospital ends up writing it off. Then while they are in our ER, they learn that because of lack of healthcare, they now have a very serious illness. One that will now take their lives because they did not have proper preventative care. Now they have to live what life they have left with AIDS, lung cancer, breast cancer, an inoperable brain tumor. . . .
Our country as a whole needs to be focusing on education. People need educated!!! It is not just the middle or lower income people who are having this issue. It is also the higher income people. Those who just think they will live forever. Don't have time, don't want to spend the money to go to the doctor. Or maybe they have the attitude that, "It won't happen to me".
Let me assure you, it can happen to any of us at any time. These terminal illnesses do not discriminate. They don't care who you are, who your parents are, how much money you have or how important you think your life is. If you don't take care of yourself and have regular check ups with your doctor you could be that person that finds yourself in the ER with what you think is an easy fix, just to learn that it's not that easy.
Ladies, go see your OB at least once a year. Teach your daughters about annual exams, and how to do a self breast exam.
Gentleman, have your yearly check ups as well. You are not exempt. Teach your sons how to do testicular exams. Did you know that men can get breast cancer too??
When you become of age for colonoscopies and mammograms, GET THEM!!! Early detection is the key!!!
If you have questions, make an appointment to see your doctor. Don't let these things go!! Love yourself and your family enough to take care of your body.
There is a young man who will now grow up without his mother. There is a mother, who will miss out on the majority of her son's life. She will probably not live to even see his 8th birthday. Could this have been changed if she had been having regular annual check ups with her doctor? Who knows. There would have at least been a better chance of them catching it earlier and prolonging her life.
Educate yourself and the ones you love!!!