Although Dianna didn’t pass away until January 31st, today brings back so many vivid memories for me. I have been calling this my “IF DAY”. What IF my Dianna had medical insurance, would she still be with us?
You see one of the major problems of living the life of the glitz and glamour of professional wrestling is medical insurance. They call us independent contractors, which we certainly weren't. Thusly, social security, income tax, retirement, and medical insurance are ours to bear 100%. Post cancer, every penny I had earned and saved working on top of the WWF/WWE went to her care, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way as she was more important to me than life itself.
When Dianna was first diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 2000’s, we were caught without medical insurance. After that, it was impossible to get because of preexisting conditions. Are you following me?
Five years later, cancer was found in her other breast. There we were again, notwithstanding her many other medical maladies, such as diabetes, COPD, etc. So… in August of 2008, she started getting sick again, primarily with trouble breathing, and severe pain, in her back and rib area. We were going to a clinic that cared for the uninsured, and had co-pay based on our income. Nothing against the physicians there, as they were and remain wonderful professionals; their care was somewhat limited.
They treated her for the pain and breathing problems, which only got worse with time. By December, she couldn’t even sleep in bed, she had to sit in a chair, was on oxygen 24/7, and when she was able to move she had to use a walker. She wouldn’t let anybody help her but me; she would sit in that chair all day without going to the bathroom waiting for me to get home from work.
The clinic doctor decided that maybe she should go to a orthopedic specialist, but before that maybe a trip back to her oncologist would be in order first. So an appointment was made on this very day, 365-days ago, with her cancer doctor who we love dearly.
I will never forget that day (IF I ONLY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN IN 48-HOURS). I got her into the car, every bump and turn caused her so much pain. I had to use a wheelchair to get her into the cancer doctor’s office. Remember this doctor, had treated her from her very first battle with cancer, and we knew her well. As soon as she saw Dianna, I could see it in her eyes. She immediately called for a nurse to start an IV of morphine. She told Dianne that she was not leaving her office until she was pain free.
The first IV didn’t relieve the pain, so she gave her another round of morphine, and did some blood work (results of which I'll talk about in my Sunday's blog). She explained to us that she was going to schedule Dianne for a PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography), which is a type of nuclear medicine imaging. This would tell us if there was any kind of cancer in her body. The scan was set for early the next week; and she gave her a prescription for morphine and muscle relaxers.
On the way home she held my hand and was smiling, she was pain free for the first time in months. We played hell finding a pharmacy to fill the morphine script, but finally found one; and we drove through Taco Bell for some take-home supper.
Little did we know what the future had in store for us on January 31st.
What IF… What IF we had had insurance… her care would have been different… and she would be with me this very day.