Now a beautiful grown woman, but still my baby girl - with a pre-existing heart condition
I am the mother of two girls. My daughter Jennifer is 27 years old and a third year law school student. My daughter Julie is 25 years old. Julie's life has been filled with numerous road blocks. Julie had her first heart procedure at age 12 and the last 13 years have been filled with many ups and downs, including losing her father when she was 15.
Despite her numerous health issues, Julie was still very active as the captain on her softball team, captain of her tennis team, student council member, and an active community volunteer. So, as you can imagine, I think she is amazing.
Like many young people her age, Julie dreamed of going to college and having a successful career in business. Her efforts were derailed about three years ago when she started having multiple system disorders and started blacking out. There were days when she only had the energy to crawl to the bathroom. I think the worse for me was every time I called Julie on her cell phone and she didn't answer I feared she had blacked out somewhere and injured herself. Many times she had. Concussions, bruises, broken teeth were part of our routine. Worry and anxiety became a part of my everyday life.
Just as her condition was becoming severe, her insurance was due to end (due to her age). However, because of the new Affordable Care Act provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents plan until age 26, Julie was able to get the health care she needed.
In early 2011 – just weeks after Julie would have been uninsured without the Affordable Care Act - she received a pacemaker to treat the blockage in her heart. The day after the pacemaker was insert, she looked and me and said, "Mom, look at my fingernails! They are pink!” It had been a long time since blood had reached her extremities.
Holding her warm hand after surgery warmed my heart. As I stared at the heart monitor now pulsing with a regularity I hadn't seen all week, I swear I could see the changes in her face as the blood seemed to be bringing the needed oxygen to every part of her body.
It's been over a year now since she got her pacemaker and Julie is working full time. She has ventured out on her own and now she hopes to not have to feel like a financial burden on her family.
As my fears of something really serious happening to Julie now dissipate, my fears increase for Julie when I think about health care reform being repealed. If health reform is repealed, her future will always be at risk. Without the Affordable Care Act, Julie will always have to worry about insurance companies denying her coverage because of her serious pre-existing conditions.
She is a beautiful grown young woman but to me still my baby girl and deserving of affordable health care. I just want to go to sleep at night knowing that in this wonderful country called the United States of America, with all of the brilliant health care providers that we have here, my daughter can get health care when she needs it.