This morning Adam and I did something different. We went to a free health screening, open to the public. It was sponsored by the Farm Bureau and other local health organizations. Lots of elderly and infirm folks were there, and us. We looked a little out of place.
But hey ... I got a great free shopping bag!
Adam's blood pressure was Through The Roof. At the screening, it was 188/118. He's 47. (His sugar was great, and his cholesterol was fine, thankfully.) He was pretty stressed. The nurse told him, "You need to see a doctor immediately." It was labeled medically urgent.
I'd just talked with some people from a local clinic with a sliding scale for payments. You should know that Adam and I are two of the millions of working uninsured in this country. No, we don't run up bills at the local E.R. and pass it off on the taxpayers. We are taxpayers. We work. Unfortunately, in the U.S., healthcare is only available to those whohave large employers, or pony up lots of cash themselves. If you're a child in a poor family, or if you're over 65, you get a government funded program. Otherwise ... you just go without.
I know this because we've been living this for years. We just Don't Go To The Doctor. The last time Adam gave blood (he used to do this a lot), they made him wait until his blood pressure came down. That scared him and he never gave blood again. He didn't want to know. He hasn't been to a doctor for a regular physical check-up for about 15 years.
Anyway ... we dashed down to this wonderful clinic designed for people like us. I didn't know it existed before. We qualified (yay! but no surprise) and Adam got a thorough going-over, his b.p. went up even more, we picked up his b.p. prescription and bought a blood pressure machine to check his b.p. at home. He's a hypochondriac, so he's now checked his pressure four times at home, and done the kids too.
We're thankful for clinics like this. We paid a little, but nothing like the E.R. We'll only pay $30 each time we go there, regardless of what they do. So, you should know that there are perfectly normal "middle-class" people out there, well-educated and good neighbors, without tattoos or drug habits, who make so little money and have kids in the house, who qualify for that kind of assistance.
That's the America we live in. If you think doing without medical care (as we've done for years) is normal for other people, that's sad. If you think our present system isn't horribly broken, you're wrong. If you hate Obamacare, that's fine, but then it's your responsibility to present a better option. And remember: the Obamacare model was exactly what the Republicans were asking for, way back when Hillary Clinton was demanding a single-payer system. If you have lovely health care through your employer, or you have Medicare, I'm glad for you. But do take a moment to put yourself in the place of a 50 year old woman with three college kids who have no healthcare, and a husband who is ill, without insurance. If that thought scares you, realize that millions of people live that way every day. And be thankful.
Meanwhile, I'm very, very grateful to the people who run this clinic and meet the needs of some of the millions who are falling through the Very Large Cracks in our nations Very Broken System. If it weren't for them, we'd be paying off an expensive E.R. visit, $25/month, for many, many years. That's the reality for the uninsured who finally buckle and go looking for care, and don't have a clinic like the one God sent to us today. I've been thanking Him all day.