Revelations 21:4 - He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Sometimes, when we’re in pain, we want to escape the world we’re living in. But there’s a difference between imagining yourself on a beach, and just wanting to run away from life.
But we don’t have to run away to find peace. We can use our imagination to meditate and find ourselves walking through an open door to the beach. This can be a good thing. Breath deeply and:
However, it isn’t a good thing if we let our imaginations take over life.
Do you see the progression? Where once your imagination was used to help you relax now, we can’t pull ourselves away from it.
What are healthy ways of dealing with pain and wanting to escape?
Here are a few ideas on psychologytoday.com in their article titled, “Escaping Reality to Heal”:
Find the complete list in the article. It will help you to find relief in a healthy way. So, be careful, though, how long you stay in your imaginary place or it can lead to wanting to escape completely from life.
Find comfort also, in the above Bible verse. Know that your pain will not last forever. Someday God will wipe away your tears and there will be not more crying or pain. Focus on this verse when you’re meditating, and you’ll find it penetrating your soul
Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
When we go to the doctor, they expect us to arrive before our appointment, but if we’re late more than 10 minutes, they cancel our appointment.
So we arrive on time and they finally call our name and put us in a room, where we wait and wait. We might get angry, but sometimes doctors are forced to double book the appointment. So much of it isn’t their fault.
On top of everything, I read an article today stating that a local medical group, Dignity Health is cutting 1% of staff. Need to be angry? But at who?
It would do you no good to be angry. Yet, I know so many who are angry at our medical system. But it also points to us, do we really need to see a doctor for every little thing? It would depend on what we need addressed. Remember, as the Bible verse above says, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
I’m not saying that you should ignore warning signs that might point to a larger issue. If there’s any doubt on whether you should go in, you should get checked out. But as you wait, try to think of the main issue that you need addressed and what you would like the doctor to do for you. Houstonmethodist.org list when you should see a doctor in their article, “10 Signs You Should go See a Doctor?” Some of the signs are you have a persistent fever, your cold becomes unusually bad, you’re short of breath, and you develop unexpected symptoms after a procedure or starting a new medication.
You may find yourself becoming angry when you must wait to see the doctor, but be careful of what you tell yourself, major symptoms and incidents aren’t the only reason to go see the doctor as I talked about above. Whatever your situation, remember that for many conditions early detection can lead to better outcomes.
Psalm 77: 3-5 – I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago.
If you have a long-term illness, or a disability, there are things that you just can’t do:
And this lack of being able to do things can lead to severe depression and loss of a sense of self-worth. No matter where you turn, with time, even more areas of your life feel impossible to do. Even making decisions can be difficult.
But if you need a caregiver, whether it’s a family member or one from Social Services, all is not lost. With the help of a caregiver you may find your needs being met, and your sense of self-worth raised. It takes a person with much patience and a kind heart to help someone in need.
Some people seem to be born with the ability to see and feel the hurt in another’s life. And if you’re the one suffering from a disability, you have a unique viewpoint. Don’t stay shut up in your own little world. Reach out and you may find someone who needs your viewpoint and it may help them move from being shut in to reaching out to the world.
Take a look at the article, “A Point of View: Happiness and Disabilty,” on bbc.com. The post talks about how people with disabilities can still lead a life of happiness. There’s a difference between being born with a disability and those who become disabled. People born with a disability have nothing to compare with their existence. Whereas someone who becomes disabled can feel profound depression. Quality of life can still return to a place where you were before you were disabled.
Keep your focus on the good things in your life and you can find the depression that chases after you dissipates and you’re left with joy in your life once more. Find things that you can do and you’ll stop focusing on what you can’t do.
The Bible verses above speak about how the psalmist thought about his former life and groaned as he thought about them. He felt that God had forgotten him. We too can feel like God isn’t caring about us anymore, that the years of long ago joy won’t come back around, but they can. You can mediate on the good things in your life and find yourself enjoying today more. Even if you need help from others to do for you the things you can no longer do.
Mark 5:26 – She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
I have to admit, that sometimes I villainize a new physician – he’s the bad guy and I’m the victim. Ever feel this way? With all of the tests and trying new medications can be tiring.
Your doctor says, “I’m not sure if this will work, but let’s give it a try.” Ugh, I’m circling the drain as the side affects of a new med makes me nauseous and gives me a headache. Sometimes we do need to stop taking a new medication if the side affects are more powerful than the help it brings. But sometimes you have to stick it out because side affects can decrease the longer you take the medication.
So here you are, wanting to scream, because you have to see yet another specialist and you have to explain your symptoms and your medical history one more time.
Do you ever wonder what a doctor is really typing into their computer? Perhaps is something into your record. But, what if he’s really just playing a game? In a way wouldn’t that be funny? So on he goes typing on his computer waiting for you to hurry up and finish your story.
The problem is that there are fewer doctors than there are patients. Many times doctors over book and he only has few minutes to give each patient. But just because he doesn’t have time, don’t let this give you one more reason to villainize your doctor. It’s all about perspective. So the next time you feel stressed as the doctor spins through your appointment, think about things from their perspective and try to be as concise as you can and explain why you are there. Give the doctor some space and you may find that he calms down as well, and is glad to have a patient like you.
Here’s an article on psicinsurance.com, titled, “Overbooking and Double-booking: What’s Acceptable,” which talks about double booking patients or having a primary care doctor who treats in a patient focused organization. It also talks about the difference between overbooking and double booking.
In closing, look at the Bible verse above. Here was a woman who’d spent all she had seeing many doctors. I wonder if she felt like a victim, or was she just trying her best to find a way to relieve her pain and sickness? I believe that it’s all about perspective. Ask God to show you whether the doctor is taking advantage of you for their gain, or if they feel like a victim, also, but of the expectations that are placed upon them? Sometimes they are also just trying to do their best to help you.
Guest Blog: by Aly J. Yale: Updated on 05.10.19
Credit and Debt
Home » Guide To Combating Medical Debt
Overwhelming medical debt is the No. 1 reason Americans file for bankruptcy. In fact, according to a study out of the City University of New York, 66.5 percent of bankruptcy filings cite medical expenses as a contributing factor.
These expenses often stem from unexpected emergency room visits or surgeries, costly bills after life events (the labor of a child, for example), or treatments for fertility or chronic illness. Regardless of their source though, they pose a serious financial burden for the everyday American.
Not only can costly medical debt make it difficult to pay household expenses, like rent, utilities and grocery bills, but getting behind on those bills can mean a lower credit score, a constant barrage of calls from collections agencies or, in dire situations, even a filing for bankruptcy.
Are your sky-high medical bills forcing you to consider bankruptcy? This guide can help you find medical bill assistance programs, walk you through the bankruptcy process and help get your credit back in good standing.
Dealing with Medical Debt
Having a solid emergency fund or Health Savings Account is vital in the event an unexpected medical cost arises. Unfortunately, most people don’t have these funds at their disposal. According to the Federal Reserve, nearly half of all Americans don’t have the cash to cover a $400 emergency expense. And many of those people said they’d need to finance the bill in order to pay it off.
If you’re currently without an HSA or flush emergency savings fund, it’s important you take steps to prevent unexpected medical costs where possible. To do this, call doctors and hospitals ahead of time to confirm they’re within your insurance provider’s network. You should also ask about how the charges will be coded at the doctor’s office and connect with your insurer to be sure these are covered expenses.
When a medical bill does arrive, take this step-by-step approach to tackle it:
1. Make sure you understand the bill.
First, is it a bill or an Explanation of Benefits? An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is simply a statement from your insurance company explaining what medical services were covered (and how much they contributed.) Since you’ll be responsible for any remaining balance past that, you will usually receive an EOB first, and then the actual bill later. That bill should come directly from the provider or hospital system they work for.
Second, look at the line-item charges and be sure they’re accurate. If something looks off or says it was not covered by your insurance company, call them up and get the details.
2. Negotiate the debt.
The best time to try and negotiate your medical costs is before any care has been provided. If you don’t think you can afford the full cost of the services you need, ask early on about reduced costs or some sort of payment plan.
Providers may still negotiate with you after the bill is issued. Consider asking for a reduced fee in exchange for paying the bill off ASAP or setting up a repayment plan that spreads your costs across several months or years.
Other tactics that might work:
3. Consolidate the debt.
If your medical debt has started to become overwhelming or you’ve fallen behind on your bills, it’s time to consider consolidation. This combines all your debts into one single account, allowing you to pay just one bill per month, ideally across many months or years.
You can do this by putting the debts on a high-balance credit card or taking out a loan. Keep in mind that even if your credit score has dropped due to your unpaid debts, there are bad credit loans that can help.
4. Consider an income-driven hardship plan.
Income-driven payment plans are available to Medicaid participants with low income. They function like standard re-payment plans in that they spread your medical debt across smaller monthly payments over time. In some cases, providers may even reduce your debt if you’re on one of these plans. Because of this, you’ll want to consider an income-driven hardship plan immediately — as soon as your medical bills arrive.
There are many programs and providers that will provide medical assistance for free or for reduced costs to those with financial hardship. The United Way can help connect you with some of these services in your area, or you can look to the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics or NeedyMeds.org, which details medical assistance programs by state. Many of these programs also offer bill advocacy to help reduce and negotiate existing medical debts.
Sight for Students
New Eyes for the Needy
Donated Dental Services (DDS)
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The Assistance Fund
Good Days from CDF
Patient Access Network Foundation
Hearing Loss Association of America
Rehab Equipment Exchange
US Department of Health and Human Services / 1-800-311-BABY
Other forms of assistance you might want to consider include:
Medical bill advocates.
A medical bill advocate is a person who works independently of any insurance agency or healthcare provider. They work on your behalf to analyze your medical bills and negotiate them directly with providers and hospital systems. They usually come at a fee (a percentage of the amount they save you, in most cases). Popular options for medical bill advocates include the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants and the Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals.
Help from family and friends.
You can also ask loved ones for assistance. If you’re not comfortable asking directly, consider setting up a campaign on a crowdfunding platform like GoFundMe or PlumFund.
If you still can’t pay your medical bills
Despite all these sources of help, you might still be unable to pay your medical bills — and you wouldn’t be alone. Medical bills are one of the most commonly collected on debts in America. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 52 percent of debt collection actions in our country contain some form of medical bill.
Unfortunately, if you’re unable to pay your medical expenses, this likely means you’ll have collections agencies at your door as well. This isn’t just annoying, but it can have a serious impact on your credit score, too. Having a single debt in collections can ding your credit by 100 points or more.
Dealing with Collections Agencies
If you’re dealing with debt collectors, make sure you know your rights.
You should also record every call you have with a collector and get other communications in writing if possible. If you ever feel your rights are violated, consider enlisting an attorney to represent you.
Filing for Bankruptcy
In the event you’re unable to negotiate or settle your medical bills, filing for bankruptcy may be your only financial option. And the sooner you file, the better. Bankruptcies stay on your record for seven years, and they can have a significant impact on your financial options during that time period. The quicker you’re able to file, the quicker you can get on the road to recovery, financially speaking. In medical debt cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the best route to take. This allows you to wipe medical bills and other unsecured debts clean, while still keeping the majority of your property and assets intact.
Recovering Your Credit
After you’ve filed for bankruptcy and eliminated your medical debt, you’ll need to work hard to get your credit back in good standing. That means paying your bills on time, every time, and avoiding big purchases or risky new debts. You also might consider:
Finally, just give it time. It takes a while to build credit, and even more when your credit has taken a major hit. Pay your bills on time, avoid expensive new debts and commit to long-term fiscal responsibility, and your credit will recover in no time.
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Isaiah 40:1-2 - Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
It’s another one of those days. You stayed up late working on a project knowing full well that if you did, you’d receive what was coming to you.
The pay you’d receive isn’t something you earn at work like overtime pay. It’s also not the pay you’d receive by way of complements and the words, “job well done.”
The “reward” I’m talking about can’t be taken to the bank to save up to spend on something you really want. The “reward” due to you would be how your body reacts to work those long hours. To be more specific, it would come in the form of a pain flare-up.
A pain flare-up can come in the form of muscle spasms, deep bone pain, loss of strength, inability to function on a daily basis and the guilt that would follow knowing that you had caused harm to your body.
But don’t stay put in guilt mode. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do. Life expects us to sometimes step up to the plate and give it our best shot. Our team is counting on us. All the bases are loaded and we’re up to bat. We can’t just put down the bat and run away. Right?
Not all is lost though. There are things you can do to quench the flames of a pain flare-up before the fire gets out of control when you must push yourself at work or home. Here are a few:
These are are just some of the ways that I use to help me make it through a difficult pain day. Painpathways.org, in their article, “Preventing and Recovering from … Overdoing It!” provides us with several ways to cope with a pain flare-up. One is to, “schedule a rest period mid-morning and mid-afternoon. A half-hour is usually effective, but some people take an hour or longer.” Another way is to, “do light stretching and petting your dog.” Animals can make a big impact on how you feel on the outside as well as the inside.
Though going through a pain flare-up can seem all consuming, with the right knowledge, help from coping skills and the support of others, you can get through the flare-up easier and faster than you may have thought you could.
In addition, take a look at the Bible verse above. Sometimes we may indeed feel guilty that we caused another pain flare-up, but God is ready to comfort you and speak kindly. He knows the price you’ve paid, and will wrap his arms around you, hold you and tell you that you’ll get through the pain together.
Matthew 25:21 – His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
So you’ve been praying about an assignment, working your hardest to complete the task and provide the most accurate research.
You want to do well at your job so that you can be in line for a promotion. You work all day and into the evening thinking of nothing but your job. Finally, you’re done.
And to your great surprise, it mets your boss’ expectations. He even smiles at you. But what do you do?
No. You’re right back to square one thinking about the next assignment. That vision of your boss smiling at you spurns you on. Now, this may seem like a really good thing, and sometimes it is, but there can be serious consequences if you suffer from chronic pain. But, you don’t care about that right now. Well, maybe you don’t think of the consequences at all.
So you keep working all day and into the night the next day to try and get more praise from your boss. It’s a good sign of a hard worker to make sure you do everything to the best of your ability. However, if you’re not careful, your life will be only one assignment blended into the next one.
Your goal in this scenario is to please someone else. Is this to be your only goal? I’m not saying that we should be selfish and point the finger at ourselves and taunt our fellow coworkers about what “we” did.
I’m talking about a healthy acknowledgement that you did a good job, and it brought you pleasure to know you completed the task.
It’s okay to recognize your accomplishments and tell yourself that you did a good job. And it’s also okay to receive praise from others. It’s not always selfish. A healthy self-esteem can go a long way to carry you through difficult assignments at work and stressful situations in other areas of your life.
Inc.com posts the article, “3 Reasons Celebrating Your Many Accomplishments is Critical to Your Success,” describes how you can recognize what you’ve accomplished and benefits from doing so. An example is, “The act of celebrating changes your physiology by releasing endorphins inside your body and you feel incredible,” and, “Celebrating with colleagues and business partners tightens your network.”
Did you, also, know that God likes to acknowledge your accomplishments as well? Take a look at the Bible verse above. Here you read of God praising his servants by telling them that they did the job well done. So do it. Tell yourself that you did a good joy and remember it’s okay to receive praise from others as well.
Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
It’s another one of those days. The sun may be shining outside, but inside your heart it’s a cloudy day.
You tire from the day-in day-out struggle with pain or an illness. Sometimes you do better than other times, but there are many days that you feel hatred toward your own body.
It’s like as if it’s an entity unto itself. It screams at you, “You think you’re in control of your life, but you’re not. I’m in control! I’ll decide what you can or can’t do today. I’m the one who can turn your day upside down.”
But you push yourself even though the screams inside haven’t calmed down. Anger is about to spill all over your day, while pain is right behind with fists pounding down the door to your heart.
You try to go about your day smiling at people in line at the grocery store or saying pleasant “hellos” to fellow coworkers. However, what’s inside will eventually find its way outside.
Your coworker gently places her hand on your shoulder and says, “I can tell you’re having the start of another bad pain day.” You feel anger swelling inside of you and then embarrassment.
Living with chronic pain and illness can steal much of your life. And it can indeed feel like it’s taking over your life, but it doesn’t have to. You’ll find some ways to look deeply at anger on lasvegasrecovery.com website in their article, “Anger, Resentment and How They Affect Chronic Pain.” The article provides some hands on ways to identify what you’re feeling and then tips on how to deal with the anger. It also discusses how resentment is related to anger in that anger is about the present, whereas resentment relates to the past.
Back to your coworker:
“I don’t think you know this, but I deal with chronic pain too,” they say. “It’s not an easy road to walk on, but I found that when you have even one person in your corner the anger that’s just beneath the surface dissolves into gratefulness for someone who understands.” Then your worker says they will pray extra hard for you today, and you find your anger just went out the door and a softened heart takes its place.
You see, God knows you. He sees that all of your anger has turned your heart of flesh into a heart of stone. But he is able to use people like your coworker to help heal your heart. Chronic pain may continue to spill all over your day, yet you may begin to feel less hatred of your body, and a renewed spirit which can see that there’s hope your day won’t have to be destroyed by the pain you face.
Hebrews 6:19 – We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
I’ve been doing well for some time now when dealing with anxiety, but lately, pain plagues me around every corner and out pops the anxiety.
Anxiety and chronic pain create a repeating cycle:
It’s not that you want to pretend to be something you’re not, but that you want to look like you’re doing better for the sake of those who care about you. So, you become anxious about this, too.
But hang in there. There’s hope. Not everyone can handle what you’re going through, but there are those who can.
Build yourself a life raft by placing a few individuals around you who can help encourage you to be who you are. Even if that means you’re in an anxiety free fall down the rapids, your friends will help you. These people will pick up your life raft’s oars and help direct you towards a peaceful inlet.
So how can your friends help you move towards peace of mind when you’re in pain? Awaremeditationapp.com lists specific ways they can help in their article, “How Your Friends Add to Your Peace in Life.” First, friends can make your immune system stronger. But this isn’t talking about your social media circle, but people who you can spend time with in person. Also, friends can help reduce stress, help with depression, and prevent anxiety. They help ease feelings of loneliness which is among the biggest causes of disconnection and anxiety.
Now that you have friends who are helping you build your life raft and directing you towards a peaceful inlet, it’s time to have an anchor ready.
That anchor is our faith and hope in God. Knowing, really knowing, he will keep you from drifting further downstream can begin to finalize breaking free from the cycle of chronic pain and anxiety.
Job 19:14 – My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me.
Many times disbelief and cruel opinions surround us when we have multiple health conditions.
They question us:
Out comes the measuring spoon; no, out comes the ladle as you’re covered with a cloak of shame and guilt. But what these naysayers are missing is that you are doing the best that you can do in the situation that you’re in. Try to find comfort in those few words, “I’m doing the best I can do.”
You are not a failure. You are not faking your pain. You are not just exaggerating. Every day you’re suffering, yet you walk through your day. Every day you fight giving up, but you don’t. And, you’re the only person who has to believe that you’re not just making excuses for yourself.
Having multiple health conditions not only affects the opinions others have of us, but we can also begin to doubt ourselves. Reverehealth.com, in their article, “6 Tips to Self-Manage Multiple Chronic Conditions,” provides ways to help us cope. One of their suggestions is to consider behavioral health counseling. People with chronic conditions are more likely to experience depression, but the opposite is also true: people with depression are more likely to develop chronic conditions. Also, keep track of your symptoms and progress. You may find using a paper journal helpful, but there are also apps that can help such as mymedicalinfoapp.com, medisafeapp.com, and sympleapp.com.
And remember, don’t let others’ disbelief that you battle multiple health conditions cause you to wear a cloak of shame. Job was a man in the Bible who had suffered multiple tragedies in his life including a chronic health condition. He felt abandoned by his relatives and closest friends because they believed it was Job’s fault. It wasn’t. God helped Job see that he would never forsake him, and in the end, his life was blessed. God knows that you’re not “faking” your health conditions. He will walk with you through the chastisement of others and will hold you together.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.