Time To Vote..

The Co-Morbid Disease of Our Presidential Election

Sjogren’s Syndrome and our Presidential Election Season share similar symptoms. Let me start by saying that I hate politics. Has it always been that way? No. There was a time many years ago when I actually still thought that my vote counted and I was helping to make positive changes to our society. At some point however, it became clear to me that my thoughts, feelings and desires as a U.S. citizen are really meaningless. I finally decided that I could effect no change or help make a difference, and as a result became very apathetic where politics are involved. I like putting my efforts where I know I can make a difference.


Can You Relate?

Through the years I have watched politicians attack, denigrate, throw mud at each other and worse. I did align with a party many years ago for the few times I decided to vote. I have even had a few friends or acquaintances react with horror when I said that I hate politics and don’t vote. They quickly reminded me that I could not complain if I did not like the way things were going. Hello…when I did complain, no one listened or cared. See apathetic.

I started thinking about Sjogren’s symptomology and our country’s political symptomology and how they are alike. Let’s compare the two:

  1. Both are chronic
  2. Both can (and are for many) debilitating
  3. There is no cure
  4. There are few effective medications
  5. They are both painful
  6. There is a lot of distrust with both (doctors who don’t believe us ~ politicians we don’t believe)
  7. Both are fatigue-producing
  8. Both can be depression-producing
  9. There are lots of sub-par professionals who know little about either
  10. Both make us victims


And So It Goes..

So here I am like all of you…trapped in the political firestorm of all of our lifetimes. We are amazed, we are appalled, we are disgusted,  we are in shock and it is definitely ‘Reality TV’ at it’s absolute worst. Just when we think it can’t get any worse, another batch of flaming arrows are shot.

And we common citizens of this diplomatic society are even seeing our relationships effected. Family members and “friends” are tense around those who do not share the same political views. Social media is infected with snarling commentators who are attacking like a bad swarm of locusts. It seems as if everyone is loaded and ready to fire with their arsenal of arguments to any intruder who infringes on their hallowed political ground with anything less that raging support for the candidate they support.

But A Funny (Not In A HaHa Way) Thing Happened..

Me..SjoDry..the least political person you will ever meet has gotten sucked into this abyss (and almost over Thank God) political election season. How you ask? I will tell you. As you all know my fellow Sjoggies, our serious and chronic medical condition(s) is/are expensive. I won’t launch into all of the minutiae here. But for the sake of this post, I am going to share a few specifics.

Like many of you, I require multiple specialists for my various organ systems that have been attacked by Sjogren’s Syndrome. I routinely have doctor’s visits, tests/MRI’s and take a lot of medicines, as well as over-the-counter medicines and supplements.I should add that I have a severe immune deficiency called Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) for which I must take IVIG infusions every other weekend. These infusions cost over $5000 each. Because of this, it was necessary for me to choose a comprehensive insurance policy for just myself (no one else in my family). I should also add that two years ago when I obtained this policy, it cost me $750.00 PER MONTH. I searched for help from non-profits to help me defray the costs of my ridiculously expensive insurance. Thank God I was able to find a non-profit related to the specific brand of infusion medicine that I take, which helped the first year I had the policy.


Now Where Are The Benefits?

In spite of the help, we still struggled to pay the premiums because we felt that I could not get by on a less comprehensive policy.  Then the Obamacare insurance program was passed. We were immediately informed that 2 of the policies that my husband and our employee had would not qualify under the Obamacare program. So we had to re-structure how we previously offered insurance to our employee and re-shop those policies for the only policies that we could find (more expensive ones).By the way, so many of the insurance companies have now dropped out of the marketplace, that Pennsylvanians have two insurance company choices.  At that same time we were contacted by our insurance provider, we were informed that my policy rate was changing and would go from $750.00 per month, to $950.00 PER MONTH!  We thought seriously at that time about changing policies. Of course you all know what a hassle it is to change policies, try to find a policy that will allow you to keep ALL of your multiple specialists and Rheumatologist that you require and a policy that would approve the same type of infusion medicine that I require. No easy feat. We decided that since we were receiving some help from the non-profit organization, we would keep the astronomically expensive policy. That worked fine..until a few months later when we were contacted by the non-profit and informed that I no longer qualified for their help. (We are self-employed and our earnings fluctuate).

And Now….

In between all of the ugly political ads, debates and snarling political party-warriors, I received a letter from my insurance company last week. My policy will be changing. The deductible has gone up significantly for the same coverage and the price will now be: Are you ready for this? $1450.00 PER MONTH!!!! A whopping 57% increase.

So there it is folks, I have no choice but to vote in this election. Everyone has their own reasons for the candidate that they have chosen. And I, my Sjoggie-Mates, have just shared with you, mine.


Reluctantly I Will Vote

Looking forward to November 9th and beyond…I think.

May the polls go the way you want them to.



About VitalSignsPgh

Sandy Burkett is the Creative Engineer, President and Owner of Vital Signs. Vital Signs is a certified Native American/Woman-Owned custom sign and graphics company located in Carnegie, PA.
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1 Response to Time To Vote..

  1. Lisa Long says:

    Very well-written post, Sandy, it’s obvious that you put a lot of thought into it. I just hope that you remember the tremendous effort that Hillary made as a Senator to craft a single-payer system similar to Medicare that would bring costs down for all of us. But the Republicans fought her tooth and nail, and we wound up with Obama’s poorly crafted version that allowed the insurance companies to charge whatever they wish. There were some benefits — like those robber baron insurance companies no longer being able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, no longer being able to kick kids off the parent’s policy when they turned 18, and 3 or 4 other things I can’t remember (I’ll blame it on Sjogren’s fog). A vote for President Trump will certainly do away with “Obama care,” but there’s no telling what will take it’s place. I sincerely doubt that the insurance companies are going to drop their prices back to what they were before, but the protections under the Affordable Care Act will most likely disappear. I am betting on Hillary getting back on the single payor bandwagon, which will bring prices down for all of us. There’s lots I don’t like about that woman, but she doesn’t repulse me like her opponent. Someone said a woman voting for Trump is like a chickens voting for Colonal Sanders.

    That’s my story & I’m sticking to it! 😊

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