While a full-time, working registered nurse, I had returned to school to write and get a master’s degree in English. The research I had to do for my thesis was grueling the last semester. Since I was healthy, and rarely sick, I thought I would go to work part time. That required dropping my insurance because of the high out-of- pocket expenses I would have to incur to keep it. (I had to pay rent).
In that short time, I got a neck nodule, then another. I was diagnosed with a “possible cancer,” which meant I had a precondition. Not able to get insurance, my cancer went from what would have been a simple excision to a Level III, requiring the maximum dose of radiation and chemo, and then, surgery. Fortunately, the county finally helped me.
When my head grew to the size of a football, I was given prednisone so I could see. Then I couldn’t work, nor drive, and all I could think about was death and dying. I realized: without health, life is unsustainable; without health, liberty is inaccessible; and without health, the pursuit of happiness is impossible. Though I was a nurse, who had saved lives, I would have been discarded just like that without money. It’s time our country gave health care its just and true station in our lives — an inalienable right that cannot be denied.

Grant Marcus, RN, MA, HCA