Life-changing experiences can manifest in many forms. For me, it was a crooked smile.
A heart in your throat, can’t breathe, “Please, no”, crooked smile of my sweetheart having a stroke at 38. Four days in the ICU with no answers and a CT scan documenting damage in his brain the size of a peach pit. Two MRIs, CT scan, two spinal taps, labs, tests, and finally arteriography found Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD). FMD is a disease that causes one or more arteries in the body to have abnormal cell development in the artery wall. He had suffered a stroke caused by a dissection of his carotid artery.
Catastrophic was not even a word in my vocabulary at that time. Two months previous began our first meager deposit into our new high deductible insurance plan. This meant everything was to be paid out of pocket until we met the deductible. P.S. it was high. Discharge meds were prescribed, and I never thought I would ever be facing the decision of whether to fill my husband’s life saving meds or make the house payment. We were two full-time employees. We were hard workers with two small children and a mortgage. It was one event. It was four days. It was only 96 hours. However, for us, the pain would continue. 40 grand in hospital bills, and discharge meds we couldn’t afford.
My scenario up to this point, ultimately, ended with two catastrophic events. One medical…the other financial.
Luckily, for us we were found eligible for a voucher program so that my husband could get the meds he needed at a price we could afford. Later in his treatment we were able to benefit from a new anti-coagulation clinic that the hospital provided. This free-of-charge service allowed him to be monitored without worry of daily co-pays and additional doctor bills. My husband was able to make a complete recovery with very few deficits. He overcame total left-side paralysis with the help of physical therapy and occupational therapy. We are also hospital bill free, after 5 years of payments.
My scenario up to this point…a miracle.
As 340B overseers we are bombarded with facts; percentages, risk, prices, compliance, audits, discrepancies, negatives, positives, accumulations, and savings. But, here’s another fact you may seemingly overlook. The real-life stories of 340B.
The faces of 340B are real and varied…just like their circumstances, and they are our foundation and stewards. 340B is more than a program of risk vs. benefit. It is more than a program of savings and loss. 340B is a program of compassion over indifference, the opportunity to give strength to the weak, and the embodiment of the golden rule: Do what you would have done to you.
Be brave, look into the eyes of those you save. It matters. Because you make a difference.
I am the face of 340B.