Women are the nurturers. But where are they right now? Women are to be fountains of love–but where are there hearts? Has something changed?
Most of us know what being a caring individual looks like. We’ve seen it demonstrated in our childhood and/or adult homes. If not, we’ve found it in our friends, in books, films and our relationships. Being cared for, being honored by others beats in our hearts. It’s in our DNA. And because of that, we know how to rush to help a child; how to want to stop a child or anyone from crying. We know how to reach out, help someone in trouble, call, text, check on a friend. We worry, want to help. Again, it’s in our DNA.
Or is it? Am I being a sentimental fool and talking about a world that no longer exists? No, I think that world still exists, the desire to care is still there, but we are frightened. Every one of us. Things have changed.
IN THIS MOMENT
Never before have we had to think about who we touch, walk near. That we can’t hug someone, console another human being. (I embarrassed myself during this past week, walking up too close to a neighbor I had not seen in a long time, forgetting the necessary distance. She had to remind me to step away. And this happened after months of knowing the rules, because it’s not NATURAL TO ME. Neither is seeing my grandchildren and not being able to hug them, or sit with my grandson and draw, or go outside and play basketball.)
And I get why in the grocery store, some people just can’t remember to follow the arrows. Maybe under their breath they are saying, “F-the arrows.” But at the same time they must know THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS. Or do they. I wonder. Because I have also never had to avoid a group of people and their conversation because even though they are living in the same world I am living in, they see that world in a totally different way. It’s frightening. It’s crazy. They make me crazy.
SO, WHAT I AM REALLY LEARNING…
I am learning that I stand with every healthcare worker in the United States of America.
Someone might be moaning that they need a haircut or want to have their nails done; someone else might be angry that they can’t hang out in a bar with friends; someone might be willing to brandish a gun because they are angry about rules, masks, social distancing. WELL YOU KNOW WHAT? With all the care in my heart, all the kindness that is part of me I say: TOO BAD. GET OVER IT. THAT’S WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW. THAT’S WHERE MY HEART IS RIGHT NOW.
And so I am dedicating this post to CELIA MARCOS, who ran into a COVID19 patient room without a N95 mask, because her patient had stopped breathing. Seconds count. There was no time to get the right mask. She subsequently died of COVID19.
And I wish to honor Dr. Mark Morocco who wrote about this loss: “I won’t take the chance treating COVID19 patients without proper PPE. To honor Marcos memory, no nurse or doctor should. The Hippocratic oath does not include a suicide clause…Call Fox News, tweet the president until he blocks you, stand up in your home office and make your voice heard. When they ask for a name, tell them you are Cilia Marcos.”
(Thanks to Dr. Morocco MD and professor of emergency medicine. His statement appeared in the LA TIMES. Read it a few times. Think about it. It will keep your heart open.) PHOTO CREDIT: LA TIMES.
Really sick kids are not just in commercials on TV. They exist. They suffer. Sometimes they die and sometimes because of poor or nonexistent healthcare, their health is forever compromised. Children should always be one of the first things a government remembers to protect and take care of. Children deserve good healthcare. They are our future. And parents, grandparents reading this post–you might know more about these issues than I do, but bottom line: a sick child changes your day or your week. A chronically sick child changes your life.
The Beginning of the Story–The Symptom
During the time when Andrew had developed the symptom, the first thing I thought about when I awoke each day was the results of the blood test. If a neighbor called, I could barely concentrate on the conversation. I wanted the answer. I kept creating the conversation in my head. The blood test would be normal. His symptom would be normal. Our lives would be normal again.
“How long has he had this pain in his feet?” the doctor casually asked. Thank God we had a general practitioner who saw Andrew for high temperatures, immunizations, a checkup after a broken arm–you name it. Now this.
“I don’t know. He’s growing. I can’t keep him in shoes. He’s going to be tall.”
“How long,” the doctor asked again. I looked at my notes. This doctor was a step up. a podiatrist, a specialist. “A month, longer.”
She nodded. She was continually prodding, pressing, massaging Andrew’s feet, appraising his reactions. She picked up the X-rays she had ordered and looked them over again. “In order to be sure, I’m going to have to do blood work. Or we really could just wait and see.”
“What are we waiting for?” I asked. She had let go of Andrew’s feet. He was pulling on his socks. What twelve-year-old boy likes all this fuss and about feet, no less.
“To see if he has rheumatoid arthritis. It can develop at this age and the pain he is describing is symptomatic.”
“Or his feet are growing,” I said with emphasis. I was fighting back with my own logic. I didn’t want her forcing me down this path of chronic illness, but the purpose of my story is to relate how fortunate I was as a parent to avoid delay, to see a doctor. I had access to healthcare. I could take care of my child no matter what the answer would be.
Remembering Sleeping Beauty
In the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty–a christening party is planned after a princess is born. When the King realizes that he has only twelve golden plates to serve 13 fairies, he invites only 12. But during the party, the 13th fairy arrives. Angered by the slight, her gift is a curse: the princess will later prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. But the youngest fairy, who has hidden behind a curtain so that she can give her gift last, is able to alter the old fairy’s wish. She promises that the princess will only fall asleep and that after 100 years a king’s son will find her and awaken her. This was early healthcare–the best she could do.
And Now the Conclusion to the “Andrew’s Feet” Story
After a long five days, the podiatrist finally called me. The blood work was normal. No signs of rheumatoid arthritis. My son was growing rapidly and I needed to make sure that he always had proper footwear to support his bones and tissues. I thanked the doctor more than once. A few years later when I needed a podiatrist, she became my doctor.
Healthcare Should be a Gift from Birth
So what’s the connection to the fairy tale? Every child born in our country is a gift. And regardless of their pedigree and financial abilities–they should be given the gift of good healthcare–from the start. Each child born in the U.S. should not need a fairy hiding behind a curtain–they should be able to grow and develop into a healthy adult. We are not a third world country. Everyone of us deserves the proper immunizations and periodic checkups. Every child should be assured the gift of health at his or her birth.
Changing the Ending
In our creative world today, television shows and some books allow the reader or viewer to change the ending. So let’s do that now. Let’s assume that I could not afford a general practitioner to see Andrew. Or let’s assume that he saw a medical person who was not particularly skilled at figuring out what might go wrong with a 13-year-old’s feet! And then let’s assume that Andrew did have rheumatoid arthritis. Check out basic info from the Mayo Clinic:the most common signs and symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis:
Pain. While your child might not complain of joint pain, you may notice that he or she limps — especially first thing in the morning or after a nap. Swelling. Joint swelling is common but is often first noticed in larger joints like the knee. Stiffness. You might notice that your child appears clumsier than usual, particularly in the morning or after naps. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can affect one joint or many. In some cases, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects the entire body — causing swollen lymph nodes, rashes and fever. Like other forms of arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by times when symptoms flare up and times when symptoms disappear.
If Andrew had developed juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, his life would have radically changed, but he also would have had healthcare. My message today: not everyone in the U.S. is as fortunate as Andrew. So…help those who need the following information.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HEALTHCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN NOW Click on this link to learn more. There’s a video on the site to explain the relationship between the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and CHIP, Children’s Health Insurance Program. On the site you will read: Don’t Wait to Enroll in the Children’s Health Insurance Program
Under ObamaCare kids, there is no reason to wait to make sure kids are covered. Millions of children qualify for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) 365 days a year. The CHIP program provides free or low cost coverage to kids and other family members, even kids whose parents make too much money for Medicaid coverage can qualify for CHIP. Over the past 15 years, CHIP has done an excellent job in reducing the number of children without health insurance and under the Affordable Care Act even more kids are covered.
Even states that didn’t expand Medicaid still tend to provide good CHIP coverage. In many non-expansion states, parents who wouldn’t normally qualify for Medicaid can qualify if children qualify for CHIP. Medicaid and CHIP cover:
Children and teens up to age 19
Young people up to 21 may be covered under Medicaid
Youth who have “aged out” of foster care can be covered under Medicaid until they reach age 26
More information here. Health Insurance for Children and Young Adults Under 26. healthcare.gov
Every mother or father who has ever drawn breath worries about one thing and one thing alone–the inability to help their sick child. I no longer believe in fairies, but I do believe in government taking care of its citizens. Stay informed. Reach out and give those who need the information provided here. Seeing the photo of a cute kid on television can lead one to believe that everything is all right with the world of children. It is not. But this would not be the United States of America if we fail ONE CHILD–let alone the over eight million that are currently taken care of by (Children’s Health Insurance Program) CHIP.