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Traveling the Distance for Health Care

By Evan B., Leon County

I recently moved to Tallahassee, Florida, but today I drove two and a half hours to Gainesville to go to the Equal Access Clinic. I needed a prescription refilled and knew that a $35 tank of gas would be cheaper than what any doctor would charge me up there. It’s not something I’m planning to do long term, but I needed my prescription. The doctors here gave me the name of a doctor that I can see in Tallahassee.

As an adult I’ve never had health insurance. I’ve been told that there may be some roundabout ways that I could get something, but I’m not sure what or how. I haven’t been told anything that’s been especially useful. I’m working, but I don’t make very much money each year.

I don’t go to the doctor unless I know exactly how much it’s going to cost, and sometimes not even then. If it’s going to cost more than about $40 a visit, I don’t go. I know that medically, there is absolutely something wrong with me. I get fatigued and experience joint pain, both of which are unpredictable, so I can’t hold a schedule very well. I’m stuck doing minimal hours in a low-paying job. I take Advil. I suck it up. I do what I can.

Fortunately, I’ve never had to use the Emergency Room. There probably were times that I should have been in the hospital, but I was never bad enough that I couldn’t manage on my own. I come to the Equal Access Clinic and talk with student doctors. I’m talking to a different doctor each time I visit. It makes getting a diagnosis pretty much impossible. It’s not any of their fault. It is what it is. Every time I come, I have to reiterate the same thing to different people and they’re getting only as much of the picture that I can remember at any given time. So, a consistent doctor might help. I don’t know for sure that having health coverage would definitely improve my condition. But I do believe that it would give me a better chance at improving things and I would be able to take that chance without risking not having any money ever or being stuck in debt.


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