10/13/2008 10:43 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

It's All In Her Head

Any one of us could be Renateco2. She is a mother. A small business owner. An American. And because of health problems, she found herself facing medical bills in the millions of dollars. Millions.

Our country has a lot of issues to tackle -- the economy, the environment, the War in Iraq. During the last presidential debate, both Barack Obama and John McCain said health care will be a top priority for the next administration. It must be.

We have to address health care reform and help people like Renateco2 and her daughter. Ignoring the medical needs of our citizens would just be un-American.


By Renateco2

For three years, I took my daughter to local family doctors and neurologists for her severe head pain....they kept telling us the pain was "all in her head."

As her mother, I could look in my daughter's eyes and know that my daughter was telling me the truth. It was not "in her head" psychologically, but it truly was in her head medically. We went from one medical clinic to another. From one migraine clinic and neurologist to another. They continued to claim it was all in her head.

Then they claimed that it was Munchhausen by Proxy. In other words, they were accusing me, as her mother, of making her sick. Holy cow! That was the last thing that I would have wanted. I proudly owned my own financially advisory business since 1993; the last thing that I wanted to do was repetitively take time off from my clients to take my daughter to doctors in Colorado or to out of state hospitals to see if someone could take away her miserable pain. How could they now blame the one person that was supporting her every breath? They were trying to blame me for making her sick? How could they? I cried until I had a migraine. While I had never experienced a migraine, the ER had now diagnosed me with my very first migraine. How ironic.

Five years after all of this had begun, I started fainting from all of the stress of the ongoing issues. Suddenly an EKG showed that I had a heart problem. Something called Long QT#2.

They then said that they needed to test my daughter to see if she also had it. To my utter disappointment she did; her EKG was identical to mine! This condition is genetic. On the day of my 45th birthday they wheeled me into the surgery room and sang me happy birthday. I asked them to stop immediately as I, clearly, was not in good spirits. They implanted a pacemaker and a defibrillator (called an AICD) that would keep me alive for the rest of my life. Two weeks later they implanted the same in my 23-year-old daughter.

Since the implant, my daughter has not had the severe migraines ever again. The cardiologist had consulted specialists in Salt Lake City and the Mayo Clinic before the surgery. They had all agreed that the migraines were not true migraines, but they were due to this condition called Long QT#2. This is a condition when the heart does not have enough electricity to keep going on its own, and the stress causes her heart to go very fast and then that is when the headaches begin.

Since the implants I have not fainted and my daughter has not experienced the severe migraines. It's clear that it never was "all in her head." I am hoping that if doctors read this they will understand that there can be other problems causing serious migraine headaches that don't respond to migraine medications. It was never "all in her head."

Now this gifted young woman is moving forward. She has attained her EMT and is attending college. She could never have done this before having received this wonderful implant.
By the time that we finished all of this medical care, the total costs have been over $5 million for my daughter and $3 million for me. I have had to fight for every nickel of coverage even though I had a good health insurance policy for the both of us! I have spent an average of 30 hours per month over the last 3 years trying to get our medical bills paid.

During this time my daughter qualified for Medicare social security disability. They backed out all of the paid bills while she was covered under our health insurance and medicare has not paid the bills within a reasonable period of time. At the same time she now has qualified for Medicaid so the bills should be paid at 100% by the State of Colorado, but they aren't being paid that way either. Instead, my daughter's credit looks just terrible. She has over 65 medical bills that are being reflected as unpaid when they all should have been paid by the insurance that we paid premiums for, or they should have been paid by Medicare or ultimately Medicaid. But no one is doing their job of getting them paid off. So at this time, this young woman has no credit left to her name, due to a system that is not considering what they are doing to her credit.

What can a young woman do in this situation? Why should this be? Why is this? This is absolutely ridiculous!!

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