The following is an e-mail I received from a reader that I have shared here with their permission. I don’t often publish e-mails from readers, but when I do they’ll be categorized and tagged “Hi Kat e-mails.”
I really appreciate your website. I was raised with Christian Science beliefs by my mother and maternal grandparents, but wasn’t part of a CS congregation growing-up. I just wanted to share two experiences that really made a difference for me when I went to college out of state. The moment I got to the East Coast I realized my eye redness/itchiness was absolutely horrible. Contrary to how I was raised, I listened to my new friends and decided to go to the school clinic. The clinic nurse gave me a prescription for allergy eye drops. I went and paid full price for them- a couple of hundred dollars at the time- and was very confused about how to use the medical insurance that I had, but was never expected by my family to use. This is to say I had this experience several times in going for a physical for the first time as an adult, and filling a few simple allergy prescriptions. I had to learn how to use medical insurance, and ultimately had to pick a plan at the age of 21 and wade through all the red tape of how deductibles and other unknown things worked. It was very intimidating, but an interesting side note is I actually learned much younger than my friend who grew up in the medical system how insurance and other things worked, because I had to figure it out without the help of my parents.
The other thing I wanted to share is that I had this horrible reoccurring ear infection/cold that happened every year as long as I can remember. In college I was relieved that my doctor could give me a prescription decongestant that helped my symptoms and discomfort immensely. However, at some point she mentioned I could have asthma. Long story short I do have asthma, but it took me about three years to get diagnosed for the simple reason that when I went to the doctor, and the simple instructions they gave me didn’t help enough, I didn’t know I was supposed to go back to see them. Over time, as doctors would tell me “now go home and do XYZ, and if it doesn’t work or you don’t feel significantly better, call me or come back and see me” this message sunk in. Finally in graduate school I met a wonderful allergist who listened to my whole story, and helped me to start asthma medications that changed my life.
I just wanted to share these stories of hope, and that even for those in CS, a few simple over the counter medications (that are much cheaper now that they are now prescription) can make life so much more comfortable. And for those moving out of CS, that there is hope to get through the red tape and to make sense of it so it isn’t so stressful.