PRIVILEGE AND SHEER DUMB LUCK

I’ve just been for a long walk, thinking about the post I just uploaded here. While it is great that my doctor, and his team (including numerous other people), was able to help me so much, I find myself unable to let go of one piercing, painful issue:

I could only get all this fantastic and wondrous help because of Michelle, who works at a job where she gets paid more than the average salary. This means we can both be covered by the maximum level of private health insurance. And that in turn means I don’t pay anything to see my psychiatrist; it’s bulk-billed (he once told me, when I asked about this, because he used to bill me upwards of $150/visit, “I don’t need the money”). Each of the three times I was laid up in hospital last year, it cost about $200 for admission, and that was all, for 3 x 7 weeks of inpatient care. I only had to pay at the end of each stay for the medication I consumed.

This is a high-end private psychiatric hospital. In their orientation book it does say patients who don’t have such robust health insurance, who are on Medicare, have to pay $800/week, each week, to get the level of care I received.

This is outrageous. I am no more deserving of that level of care than anyone else. I’m just ridiculously lucky. I’ve long thought I was the luckiest man in the world, but there are times when you have such a painful apprehension of the magnitude of your own privilege (white, male, middle-class, middle-aged, home-owner, university-educated, no serious debt) that you can hardly stand to face anyone.

It’s unjust that the high level of care that I received, and continue to receive, is only available because of my fortunate circumstances. This bothers me very much. It makes me burn.

2 thoughts on “PRIVILEGE AND SHEER DUMB LUCK”

  1. It is all too lamentable that wealth, in any given form, is distributed so poorly. That said, I’m happy you’re able to find what you need. I benefit similarly from similar types of privilege though healthcare in America sounds a bit more compromised than in Australia. That is, I don’t know anyone of any status who’d pay $200 for three weeks of in-patient care. Chalk it up as yet something else we could learn from the rest of the world here in the States.

    Stay well!

  2. Yes Adrian, you’re lucky. But don’t beat yourself up over that luck. Be thankful for what you have, help other people as much as you can, and keep working on developing your skills to give out to the wider world. This blog post is a treasure you are handing out to others, to help them think further on their own situation …

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *