Carolyn Allen is a diabetic who says medical care has changed for the worse. Not only is it difficult to establish a rapport with health-care professionals, but insurance doesn't cover costs like it used to. Like another person who was featured in TQ&A and had to deal with crushing medical expenses (Scott Merk, Aug. 17), Allen decided to set up a Web page and ask strangers for donations. She said she'd like to take those donations and apply them toward a real-estate investment that would help her pay bills. For more information, visit phys-fin-health.com.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. What is it you do?

What is it I do? I work. I work a lot; have been for a long time. I work for civil engineers and the engineering discipline--miscellaneous fields I've worked in for 25 years. I've always worked hard, but never made enough money, so ...

I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that.

I know I'm not the only one.

Tell me about your condition. You have diabetes.

I've been diabetic since I was 10.

Your condition-- is it getting worse?

Well, I've been diabetic for 37 years, and I've always been pretty healthy. I've always been active, exercised a lot, eaten healthy. The last couple of years, I've had a little bit more discomfort and things going on that I don't always know what it is. I've been here in Tucson for about seven years, and I've found that I'm disappointed with the medical support. Nobody's really been able to tell me that much, but they tell me I need all these drugs that are going to help get my blood sugar lower. But the new insulin that I've tried two different times has caused heart racing and allergic kind of reactions that they say is rare. ... They're willing to fix me with drugs, but they don't even want to know who I am. Doctors don't seem to have the ability to know you anymore. They're going to prescribe all kinds of drugs anyway, regardless of whether it's what you need or it fits your life.

You feel your medical care has been very impersonal.

Totally. Ever since the last 10 years, it's gotten more so. I used to have doctors who knew me, who would work with me, and know where I was really coming from. ... I have my hands, my eyes and my feet. I don't have any of the complications that are obvious and glaring, the ones that they tell you about. But I have some internal things that aren't working as well, and I figured that out by reading a book written by a diabetic doctor. No doctor here has told me that's really the condition, you know?

So what's the financial situation?

If you've been writing or reading anything about medical insurance, I'm sure you know the changes that it's going through. I don't know if it's strictly the policy that my employer has chosen; I think I've found more that it tends to be the trend that insurance just isn't covering (expenses). I mean, I have coverage. I have a $750 deductible, which I thought was going to be pretty reasonable this year. But they haven't applied any of my prescriptions toward it. Doctors' visits don't apply. All the things I've done in previous years have always gone toward my deductible. ... Nothing is applied toward it, and I have approximately $400 a month in expenses. My insurance says I haven't paid anything? Wait a minute! What'd I miss?

What's your solution?

(I hope to) get people to support this by supporting not only me, but the whole fight back against the industry--the drugs and insurance companies that are disempowering everybody by not providing the coverage that they used to. How is anybody supposed to financially make ends meet? I can't be the only one suffering a negative cash flow for month after month, year after year. How can you live that way?

So what are you asking people who come to your Web site to do? Give you money?

Yeah. ... Contribute, and ultimately, what I want is to find 1,000 people to give $15.

Would you support universal health care?

It seems to be the most complaints are that we need universal health care and (that) illegal immigrants are taking our benefits and taking money that belongs to us. I don't really have a strong feeling about that. I'm not really concerned about the illegal immigrants. ... I really kind of think, and I want to go with the feeling, that us depending on the government or someone else to take care of it isn't going to be as good for me as stepping in to make my own money and take care of myself.

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