Wednesday, August 26, 2009

health care (yikes)

I am hesitant to say anything about this, since politics on personal blogs seems sort of like tupperware/makeup "parties" where you invite everyone over to "hang out" and then once they're all sitting in your living room you jump up, slam the door, and pull out your order forms and merchandise.

But I'm going to anyway, I guess, because I think sometimes I can let the strictures of being polite, combined with my naturally super introverted nature, get me off the hook from doing the good, moral, or kind thing.

So I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to the people of California, whose generosity in funding healthcare for their most vulnerable citizens meant that Wren and I had it when we needed it. When Chase and I moved to L.A. for Fuller, Chase was going to school and working part time and we were both looking desperately for full time work that would get us insured.

I would wake up in the mornings, in our 300 sq. ft. studio, throw up, get dressed, and walk to the library, where I would comb job sites, send out my resume to everyone I could think of, and then ask Dr. Google about all the things that could go wrong in the first three months of pregnancy.

I don't even remember how we found out about the free Medi-Cal clinic in Pasadena. I remember how nervous I was, going the first time. I remember the competent nurses, who reminded me so much of my veteran social worker mom in their dry professionalism. I remember that I met the doctor once, after 8 months, and he was nice, but not necessarily better than the nurses.

When Chase did start working full time, when we did get insurance, the doctor's office changed, but the standard of care did not.

My Anabaptist heart says "Gov'ment Shcmuvment" (My Anabaptist heart is apparently a hick). So would I rather a church community had stepped in, to be the gospel for us, when we were in need? Of course. The church should be Christ on earth, his hands, healing the least. And our churches were wonderful- praying for us, bringing us meals when Wren was born, and commiserating during the pregnancy about how hard it was to find jobs and health care.

But (please keep in mind, my husband is the seminarian NOT ME) it seems to me that God makes tools out of any damn thing he wants to. And I am tempted to speculate that in our case, the state of California was of use. Without it, when I went to the emergency room, terrified, at 5 months, we'd have been thousands of dollars in debt. Instead we received wonderful, immediate care, and paid a copay. Without it, I'd have had no check ups, no hectoring nurses checking my vitamin intake and my pee samples, no flu vaccines or TB tests, or STI screenings. I'd have gone back to the emergency room when I went into labor, and either we'd still be paying that off, or we'd be bankrupt.

So when people denigrate these programs, I feel like even if I don't want to engage in politics, I have to at least say thank you. Thank you for WIC-- for buying me milk, and cheese and peanut butter and orange juice, when I was a nursing mom and couldn't afford it. Thank you for all the vaccinations and blood draws you paid for, for the genetic counseling and the nutritionists and the gross sugar soda diabetes test, and every single thing that indicated we were valued and our health was important and you were investing in us.

In short, thank God for California. Or the California of 2005 anyway. I hear things are somewhat different these days.


xieferris said...

It was really sad the other day when after church a group of us went to Chipotle for lunch and a lady there (who looked like she was prob. a junkie) started to have a seizure and vomit. Someone called an ambulance and she was wheeled out on a stretcher. The lamest thing was all we could talk about was how expensive that ride would be and that maybe someone should have just given her a ride.

LA the plannerd said...

thank you for your thoughtful words. a good glimpse into who relies on these offerings of care, when i think the image is too often some kind of slacker ingrate who doesn't "deserve" it.