A Thank You Note to Jimmy Kimmel from a Person with a Pre-Existing Condition

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By Allen Callaci

Hi, Jimmy

Five years ago, I became a pre-existing condition for life. In April of 2012, I blacked out for 20 minutes across the cold bathroom tiles of my one-bedroom apartment. After regaining consciousness, I got a ride to the local community hospital where the doctors discovered an aortic artery that never fully formed. A condition that decades of EKGs failed to detect. In a little over a week, I traveled by helicopter to the world-renowned Cedars-Sinai for a heart transplant with a 20% chance of surviving the flight. To make a long, miraculous story short, thanks to the amazing staff at Cedars-Sinai, the airtight support of my small army of family and friends and personal will that varies between as flexible as bamboo and as stubborn a mule, I am here now.

The transplant surgery cost over $5,000,000—not including the additional costs of angiograms, biopsies, clinical, and medication costs that constitute my post-surgery lifestyle. If these expenses were all added up, Lee Majors would need to step aside to make room for another six-million-dollar man who works at a library and teaches English as an adjunct instructor at a local community college. A man whose humble estate consists of a small savings, the first three issues of Iron Man in fair condition and some rare Bruce Springsteen recordings worth several hundred dollars. A man who would need another century or two of servitude just to pay the interest on six million dollars and who would be beaten handily in a battle against a robotic sasquatch.

I wish I had more to offer you than a Godzilla-sized sense of gratitude for using your platform and position to do something more than sell pistachios during expensive Super Bowl Ads. Your recent public and viral takedown of a National Healthcare Bill that would send millions to the poorhouse and/or the morgue provided an immeasurable service to the public good. To all the blustering critics in the bad hairpieces howling about the unfitness of a comedian to engage in the debate over healthcare, I say that you hold the same right and responsibility as an everyday citizen who screams “fire” if he sees a building going up in flames.

This is not a simplistic left vs right or another tired and warmed over red state vs blue state debate. Let’s leave those skirmishes on the grade school playgrounds where they belong. This discussion is about life vs death. If there is one thought that should unite this divided union that is currently bleeding to death from the inside from self-inflicted wounds it should be this one: We are all a pre-existing condition waiting to happen. From the 35-year-old diagnosed with diabetes to the first-time expectant mother to a hairless 10-year-old suffering from leukemia. And we are all a single phone call or text message away from a late-night visit to a hospital waiting room.

Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thanks Jimmy for taking a moment to hit the pause button to remind us of this fact. There will be time enough later for monologues and lip-sync conversations with Demi Lovato, but not now.