Sunday, June 8, 2008

And here I was feeling blah.

Saturday was an "off" day. I was feeling a little blah; it lasted all day.

My husband and I were chatting in the evening, and he shared with me an incident from the day before. He volunteers as the supervisor of the day shelter in town. He sits at the front desk and handles the inquiries, problems, incoming phone calls, donations, and emergencies. It can be stressful but he, no ordinary person, enjoys the challenge and the opportunity to interact with the homeless who use the shelter.

So the story began, "I got to talking yesterday with a guy who told me that his wife died exactly a year ago to the day. He was a young guy--about 40."

My exclaimed "Oh!" punctuated the narrative.

He continued, "So I asked him, 'Was it an unexpected death, or was she sick?' and the guy told me that she was on dialysis and she decided not to continue. 'I tried to talk her out of it,' he said, 'but she said it was her decision.'"

At this, my husband paused a moment and looked directly at me. "Dialysis is expensive. They were poor."

And here I was feeling blah. Suddenly I felt lucky...and sad, too. But not sad for myself anymore.


D.K. Raed said...

It is horrible that health care in America boils down to assets and health insurance. Not much of either = no health care and/or bankruptcy.

Did you see a PBS special a couple months ago called, "Sick Around the World"? It profiled the health care systems of 5 westernized capitalistic democracies. There are NO medical bankruptcies in those countries; it is unheard of.

Interestingly, both Germany & Switzerland made their decision to switch to single-payer systems during the same years that Hillary was working hard to end up with HMOs. So that negates one argument about the genie already being out of the bottle here. The show puts the lie to much other propaganda being floated in our country about health insurance.

Let me know if you missed it & I'll send you a link where you can watch it online, all or just individual countries ... Great Britain, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Switzerland. I suck at links in comments, so I might just refer to my blog from April 17 called "The Sound You Heard" (in the archives).

eProf2 said...

"There but by the grace of God!"

Border Explorer said...

Thanks for the suggestion, DK. I will check it out. I recently viewed "Sicko" so my disgust level is already quite elevated. [I really am enjoying your blog. Hard to believe you're not sure if you're a blogger yet!!]

eProf, how true. A wonderful fringe benefit of working with poor is a constant realization of just how lucky I am and how easily it could be different.