Dear Senator Ramsey:
This is my 25th letter to you.
You could in a couple of days save as many lives as all the doctors in all the hospitals in the state of Tennessee.
You see….Insurance can be and is a miracle in the lives of countless people. You and every person in the legislature literally has the chance to be a miracle worker….. or prevent miracles in the lives of people who pray for little else.
Perhaps you have never thought about it or perhaps you have never seen the miracle. I dont know. I want to introduce you to such a miracle….Her name is Linda. She is my wife.
Linda has Tenn Care and it has saved her life. Without being overly dramatic or emotional it is simply a fact. It has saved her life.
We have had to fight for it. On more than one occasion it looked like it was about to be gone. I can remember many years ago writing Governor Bredesen a letter asking him not to kill my wife. On another occasion it looked like she was on the cut list and I can remember coming to the state legislature to testify asking for mercy.
But Tenn Care has stayed steady. Thank God it has stayed steady.
Linda has had seizures since birth. 15 years ago a good day for her was 10-15 grand mal seizures. There werent many good days.
Finally she hurt herself really bad. She fell down a flight of stairs during a seizure and hit her face on the banister. She literally broke her face. She looked like I had beaten her with a baseball bat.
Doctors told her medicine wasnt going to work. They said she had two choices. Have brain surgery or eventually the damage from seizures would get so bad she would be unable to care for herself. In the end she would die.
We knew about death. There is something called status epilepticus. It means going into continous seizures until you die. I have seen her status 3 times. You race to the ER and if you get there in time they can normally stop the seizures. If you dont you die. We have known 2 people who have died. So far it is a race we have won every time.
She had the surgery. Seizures were gone for a while and then in a couple of years they came back as bad if not worse than ever. Doctors….medical care…made the difference. She still has seizures but we are in a different world than what we previously lived in. She is a Tenn Care miracle but she is a miracle that must be redone each and every day.
I write all this not to bring attention to us or to say that in some way we are special. We are not. There are many LInda’s out there and with your help there can be many more. I know 3 people right now who have seizures who have no insurance. They have no doctor…no medication. They need a miracle. They have been hurt multiple times. Their lives are a shell of what they could be. What doesnt have to be is for them. And eventually they will probably have to run the “status race” too. I pray they win.
What you save, what you could save is worth so much more than anything you think you are actually saving. In a couple of days you could make more difference to more people than you have made in your entire legislative career. You could give miracles.
LInda and I dont live together anymore. Because Tenn Care was not expanded we had to separate to save her insurance. I worked as a mental health counselor for 47 years and retired. My social security retirement would put her insurance in jeopardy. We almost lost the miracle.
Seizures are starting to come back again. More and more each day. I think it is the stress of the way we live. She is alone and I am not there to catch her when she falls and she has been hurt more in the last two months than in the last several years. It is not safe for her to live alone. It is not possible for me to live with her.
Two nights ago I got a call late. The ambulance had taken her to the ER. Things stabilized and I took her back to her place. A bulllet dodged.
There is another insurance miracle. If Insure Tennessee passed I would have insurance for the first time in about 8 years. I need surgery. The doctor tells me other things may well be coming down the road……But more importantly than that. I would have my wife.
If the criteria of insurance was to be poor and simply to be poor my wife and I could live together. We have been married for 34 years. I would like to live with my wife. I still remember my wedding vows. “What God has put together let no man put asunder….”
I make sure the phone is by me now when I lay down. More calls are coming.
Insurance is not simply about money. It is not simply about politics. It is not simply even about doctors and hospitals. It is about miracles.
It is a miracle I pray for each day.
Until next time….