This will be a brief post. While visiting family in Maine, I am pretty sure I slipped a disk. It hurts like hell down my left leg, thigh and shin, there’s shooting pain in my buttocks, and muscle weakness. I’m limping like an old mare that’s ready for the glue factory. I’m a pretty athletic guy, so this is a real problem.

But I got laid off from work several weeks ago, and don’t have a stable income. I can’t afford an ACA plan. Not that I ever got got a call back from a healthcare navigator in Tennessee, the state where I live, when I called to set up a plan. No one answered the phone, no one responded to email, no one responded to voicemails.

Tennessee is also a state that didn’t expand Medicaid and is in the process of dismantling its state-based health care program for low-income residents, TennCare.

So I’ve been doing stretches, trying to avoid lifting, and making sure I don’t drive for too long without getting up to walk around. Some days the pain is worse than others, and sometimes it disappears entirely. Mornings seem to be the worst.

But hot damn: if I have to go to the doctor it’s going to take a bite out of my savings. I can’t imagine if surgery is required. I may have to relocate back to Pennsylvania (and quickly!) if I want to get care that seems to be pretty necessary. That state, for all its flaws, was smart enough to replace its idiot Republican governor with a Democrat, who immediately expanded Medicaid. But even that will take a few weeks or days, and I have things to attend to in Tennessee.

On a semi-related note, I’m writing from Montréal, where I dropped my kid off with his mom. I typically stay over for a day or two after the trip (if you don’t mind saving money going the hostel route, and I don’t mind at all, I highly recommend Alexandrie Hostel Montreal).

Every time I come up here, I am tempted to just never come back. The fact that health care is available to everyone in Canada—REALLY available, not this verkakte “health care access” as we pretend in the US—is one of the many reasons why. It ain’t perfect up here, but at least you can get a standard of care without going bankrupt.

In the meantime, ouch.

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