#PlsSaveMe : A Medical Burden Can Consume Your Savings

Dialysis Machines
Every day, we are not getting young. Every day, we live a lifestyle that we think is right. Every day, we need bigger than yesterday.

A breadwinner like Efren, 40, hurdles the challenge to support a family. He works as a licensed professional teacher with master’s degree. He earns well enough for the family and still able to do some extra curricular activities. It is indeed a simple and comfortable life for him and his family plus he is able to save enough, but a medical condition of her mother changed their way of life.

Efren’s mother got a chronic renal failure. It is in fact a rising condition among Filipinos of having kidney failure wherein more and more people need to have a session at a dialysis center, but if not a hemodialysis, it will be a peritoneal dialysis. Dialysis centers are even spreading around to serve clients who need it. Most of the time, the cause of the kidney failure comes as a complication of other lifestyle diseases like diabetes, sometimes with uncontrolled hypertension, and sometimes due to excessive intake of antibiotics that are sometimes nephrotoxic. In the case of Efren's mother, she has diabetes and hypertension; and she is prescribed for dialysis sessions three times a week. That means to say, she needs to have 156 sessions in a year to support her; that is to cleanse her blood from bodily wastes and go on with life. With the numerous dialysis centers, they opted to have her sessions near their vicinity South of Davao City, and a private institution for convenience and less traffic.

It has become Efren’s nightmare, but they have to adhere with the medical needs of her mother. Slowly, Efren’s savings is eaten up. Aside from the fact of having to pay for a session when the Philhealth package runs out of free sessions (usually 90 sessions per year), there are needs like buying for a dialyzer (temporary kidneys) in case of it being consumed or got damaged because of the blood too thick during cleansing, supplement of epoetin, nutritional needs and maintenance medications. It is indeed a heavy burden without financial support.

I felt the burden of Efren upon discussing the matter, but he said, they need to go on with life since it is already there. He even added that some subsidies from government agencies he thought can help all throughout are limited and not really free. One should find more options to support the condition that could be from LGU’s counterpart and other solicitations. Indeed, a journey that anyone will get tired of.

As a former nurse in a dialysis center, I have seen different pictures of people who avail the services. We even tag the dialysis center as a "luxurious rest room" since body wastes are being flushed through the machines. The condition is not choosing those who are poor but it can be seen with those who are professionals and even big names in their industries. To help aid the financial burden of this condition, I have seen patients selling some goodies during their sessions or their watchers doing it for them. I have seen also a battle of negotiation, trying to be included in a session even payment isn’t completed yet, especially when Philhealth package is consumed. It breaks my heart, but I have to be among those strong people who can impose rules and regulations, as well as empathize with the clients - sad but true!

Efren is already on the 4th year doing the routine to support her mother. It is very noble and humbling, but tiring as well. Efren hopes that there will be expanded program for this in the government, but he can only hope for it for now. He was able to save and still earn but not so much to support their monthly needs now.

Thus, it is really important that as early as yesterday, we should have saved bigger. It is also important to note that we should have a precautionary healthy lifestyle so that we will not experience medical burden in the future and get rid of the idea of being in a "luxurious rest room". I know it is easier written than done but a habit of saving is what we should cultivate to prepare ourselves in any life's battle.

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