B is for Barriers
When one thinks of barriers often the logical assumption is physical barriers followed by the question of barriers to what exactly. Barriers can take many forms including the obvious physical form but also may well include psychological, medical (health), and even spiritual depending upon your belief system. These barriers can be ones that are real, in the physical world or perceived. They can be tied to many aspects of life despite one’s state of health in many socioeconomic ways such as race, ethnicity, financial status, and job status to name just a few.
To say that any one of these is more important than another would be inaccurate as to the person perceiving the barrier it is most certainly important, and as such can manifest itself as a psychological barrier in addition to the perceived barrier. But rather than continue to digress in explanations, let’s explore a few potential barriers that may pertain to someone with a health issue, whether chronic or acute.
Let’s say that your leg is injured at work through no fault of your own. Your employer’s insurance carrier does not want to cover your medical care, treatments, or lost wages. You have a spouse, children, car payments, and a mortgage that all need the income you were bringing in. You have no choice but to seek legal counsel so you consult with some trusted friends who recommend a local lawyer who specializes in worker’s compensation cases.
You finally break down and make the call to the lawyer. He speaks with you on the phone for quite some time, and you feel confident that he can help you so you schedule an appointment with his secretary. You arrive at his office on a major street here in Anytown, USA and get out your crutches as you are unable to bear weight on the injured leg and proceed to work your way down the block while searching for the proper numerical address. As you look up the walkway towards his office and you realize there are many stairs and no ramp that you can see.
You get back in your car and go around the block searching for the possibility of a ramp to the rear of the office. No such luck. You go back to your original parking spot and slowly and carefully make your way up the stairs into the office as you wonder to yourself why any person, let alone a lawyer who deals specifically with injured people, some of whom are in wheelchairs, would have such an office setup.
This is a very real scenario and one that happened in real life. One that happened to me. This is just one example of a barrier, albeit a physical one, but one that is real nonetheless and physical barriers are encountered nearly any day, anywhere in the country.
Other barriers that bear mentioning, which is where my original thought was for this article when I originally chose the topic include the obvious insurance or cost aspect of obtaining healthcare. One’s mental attitude towards the situation being faced can also be a barrier. While depression is very common in either acute or chronic illness if it is not properly treated it can lead to despair, which can be one short step away from hopelessness. Do not isolate yourself, seek counsel in friends, family, or even professionals but do not attempt to ignore the barriers that may lie in your path. Ignoring them will not make them go away.
What barriers do you face, or has someone you know faced? How did you mitigate or overcome the barrier?