The Asp In The Rabbit Hole.

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

On Saturday at 4PM my daughter Josephine started complaining about not feeling well  and an hour later her discomfort blossomed into agony. She’s crying and grasping her head. Ear infection.

Since it was after 5 on a weekend, our pediatricians office was closed, but my wife calls the emergency number and is told the doctor will check in SOON, which is not a time period that works when your 6 year-old is convinced her head is about to fall off.

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When another hour comes and goes, I load Jo into the car and start for the Emergency Room, but halfway there I get a call from Holly (home with our son) informing me that the doctor has gotten back and prescribed pain medication and antibiotics.

So, we U-turn to the pharmacy, where we wait for 20 minutes… my daughter basically speaking in tongues, while I try and distract her with UNO… before we can get the prescription filled at a cost of $30.

40 minutes later, having filled her up with chicken nuggets, the medication takes effect and my daughter returns from the land of “pain you think will never end.”

My initial reaction was, “WHAT A NIGHTMARE!,” but I quickly realized it should be…

…”I am one lucky fucking soul in this America”, because dissecting the above is like shining a light down the rabbit-hole to realize there’s a coiled snake waiting to strike.

If I lose my job and therefore my health insurance, there’s no pediatrician to call (more likely a local clinic without a 24 hour “on call” doctor), which means I just keep driving to the E.R. and the 2 hour wait, not to mention the fact that my $30 prescription has turned into a bill toping $500 when all is said and done.

Let’s say then that I lose my job, but choose the expense of COBRA, but that causes me to give up my car insurance, which means no car.

Well, I live in Los Angeles, which means that I’m now doomed to try and figure out how to engage the woeful transit system in order to get my daughter to the E.R. and then, when the cell phone call comes from my wife, I’ve got to reverse tracks, again keeping Josephine in pain for twice as long.

(I can, of course, try to keep the car without the insurance, but God forbid someone runs into me (no fault, here) or I get pulled over for a traffic violation, because then I’m looking at losing my license and financial fines that make the $500 look like a blue-light special.

OK, lets try this survival method… I KEEP THE COBRA SERVICE and the CAR INSURANCE, but give up the cell phone… which, of course, means that there’s no way for my wife and I to communicate, so even though we’ve got a doctor trying to get a hold of me with a shortcut to pain medication… I won’t know about it and so we end up back at the E.R. with the two hour wait and the $500 bill.

What if I decide to replace my health-care providing job with three others that give me the money to pay for the health insurance, the car insurance and the cell phone… well, then I’m not even home to drive my daughter to the doctor or the pharmacy, but instead its my wife with both kids, unless she’s working also, in which case its some sort of child-care provider, who is clearly eating up most of the extra money being made by the extra jobs.

I don’t suppose I’m telling most people anything they don’t know (OR LIVE), but having a sick kid (even if only a painful but MINOR illness) forced me to pull the puzzle apart and realize that, often, the image cannot be reconstructed to my satisfaction (meaning the quick resolutions of my daughter’s fear and discomfort) because once pieces are lost… most of them disappear forever.

I’m pretty sure the upcoming administration gets it, but in case they don’t, let me add my voice (to others more eloquent) to those SCREAMING that after the stimulus package, there is NOTHING MORE URGENT and vital to getting this country back on track, than a health-care solution in which not having a job doesn’t mean not having health care, because the asp at the bottom of the rabbit-hole is the specter of any and every illness more debilitating than a six year-old girl with an ear infection.

6 comments

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  1. Jo = fine and negotiating the terms of “dark” as it relates to Hanukkah presents.

  2. First: I am so glad Jo is okay.  And that you have decent healthcare.

    Second:  You are so right.  I’ve been without insurance for over ten years, and have pretty well resigned myself to the idea that if I get a major illness, I will die.  It’s not that I haven’t had the chance to opt in for coverage…it’s just that the deductible is so high, and the hourly wage so low, that it’s worthless (“junk insurance” as nyceve would say).  I mean, any insurance plan that has a deductible that would eat up two full months of take-home pay before kicking in–and that’s take-home pay before the insurance is deducted from your check–well, it’s just useless.

    We need single-payer, we needed it before Chimpo the Clown and his sidekick Darth bought the SCOTUS, and we need it 10x worse now that they’ve ruined the country.

    I hope Obama gets it.  I have my doubts.

    • OPOL on December 23, 2008 at 2:18 am

    Glad for the happy ending as far as Josephine goes.

    You’re right.  Health care is a national emergency.

  3. scenarios day after day. We own a business, we cannot afford health insurance(what an oxymoron that term is) if I fall on a spike we lose everything or if my husband gets an infection where screwed. I got a weird infection on my ankle last year that drove me to the ER, where I could of dropped dead by the time anyone actually looked at my problem. Health care for profit, the ultimate in extortion. Our choices are limited to eat, live or buy insurance from a system that offers me nothing but their dictates of healthcare.  

    btw: another issue altogether but the nurse practitioner who ended up treating me asked who my doctor was. I said I don’t have one, I should find a good one. She said “Good luck, if you do let me know. I need one too.”        

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