How does it feel to be a second class person?
Living in a civilized and developed country with supposedly one of the best health systems in the world and the world’s leading doctors I have never thought about finding myself sitting in a doctors office 6000 miles away from home because I was dismissed in my own country.
But here I am, sitting in my neurosurgeon’s office at 7 pm and waiting for him to tell me how sick I actually am and shocking me with the possibility of spinal cord damage or worse and with the actual amount of money I would have to spend to avoid this.
Of course, that worst case scenario does not necessarily has to happen but still, it is pretty devastating to know it could.
So now you would think there had to be someone in my own country who could help right?
You probably think I am crazy because how else would I even be thinking about flying to another continent just to see a doctor?
In fact, I pretty much do not care what you think since I am only doing what I have to do to survive.
But how does it actually feel like to be treated as if I were a 2nd class person like I do not deserve help like I am crazy?
First of all, it hurts. It hurts a lot to know there is help, but you are not allowed to get it because of bureaucracy and money.
To feel alone in a developed country like Germany is just unbelievable and I probably would not believe it myself if I hadn’t seen it.
Couldn’t I have diabetes or some disease doctors know about?
I do not want to belittle other conditions. It is just so hard to keep looking into eyes that tell you:
“Sorry, but I have no idea what your condition is all about and how to help you.“
The second feeling I am getting a lot, surprisingly, is guilt.
You ask yourself why?
Because how can I complain about the German health system?
Aren’t there so many people who have no access to doctors at all, that do not have clean water, that cannot even survive a condition like diarrhea?
So who am I to complain about supposedly one of the best health systems in the world? Am I too egoistic? Should I just live with my disease and stop complaining about it?
I am asking myself these questions all the time, and I do feel bad about complaining. I do appreciate the privilege of being born in Germany. I know I have not done anything to earn that. I also recognize I could be off much worse.
But still, don’t we all deserve to have access to specialists we urgently need especially when suffering from a life threatening disease?
I believe everyone in this world should get the help they need no matter where this might be.
To know that there is someone who can give me my life back, who can stop the suffering, who could prevent me from getting worse, who even is willing to help, and the only thing between us is money, makes me feel worthless and lets me think about how this world works and immediately raises the question:
How much is a life worth? My life?
Is there such thing as a price tag how much my well being is worth to the developed world?
I am not sure how to answer this. It feels like it is all my fault like I had a choice, like anyone, asked me.
Living with the knowledge that there is better healthcare for me only one flight away is torture.
It feels like running right to the finishing line and every time you are making one step forward the line moves a little further away. And even if you do everything that is in your power, even if you try to be a good person and help with your Karma, even if you truly believe everything is going to be all right you will not be able to reach the finishing line.
Written by Karina Sturm
About the Author
Since Karina has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, she found her passion for writing and made it her goal to change healthcare for EDS sufferers in Germany by raising awareness.