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I am a mommy, scribe, and middle-school English teacher. I am trying to cope with being separated from my beloved. DoUWantMore? email me: theprisonerswife@gmail.com

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Notes from the ER

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 3:12 PM

I can count the number of times I’ve been in an emergency room on my left had. Once when I was 12, when I was pregnant, when the munchkin was 5 weeks old and fell (ok, I dropped him) out of his bouncy chair, and again last night.

Flip flops and three-year-olds do not mix. Yesterday, the munchkin was running around my grandmother’s living room., tripped, and hit his face on her wooden coffee table. At first, I thought he would bounce back up, like usual, but then I heard the screams. Then shrieks. Then blood. Blood. Blood. Blood.

I was shook.

I’ve never heard my child scream so loudly in my entire life. Blood poured out--all over my shirt, all over his face. It was crazy. Seeing him in so much pain nearly broke me. My heart opened, and I almost cried myself, but I held it in, not wanting to scare him even more.

And then we were off to the ER, and I assumed, to wait until…...

We’ve all heard the stories, people dying while waiting to be seen by an ER doctor have been reported all across the country. Here in Los Angeles, one county hospital (“Killer King” no less) closed after it was found to provide substandard treatment to patients (mainly poor w/ no insurance). Which brings me to the health care debate happening all over the country right now.

Until now, I’ve pretty much stayed out of it. The specifics of the bill being kicked around by Congress is so complicated my head hurts. I try to focus on things that directly effect me (and that I can understand), but sitting in the ER waiting room brought it all home.

I have health care. I’ve always had health care, except for the time I needed it most.

When I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t have health insurance and I couldn’t afford it either. I was finishing grad school and had just been laid off from my job. Had it not been for PCAP, a program in NYC that provides free prenatal care for low/no income pregnant women, I would have been shit out of luck.

The center of the storm surrounding the health care debate seems to stem from people who have health care, not wanting to extend it to those that do not. The opposition throws around the term “socialism” to stop any sensible debate about why all Americans shouldn’t have a CIVIL right to health care. I don’t get it. Those who don’t want to extend health care to the uninsured also find themselves in ER waiting rooms, waiting to see doctors who are busy with non-emergency health issues, right? So why not make sure we’re all healthy? If everyone is insured, which allows people to not only see a doctor when they’re sick, but to get preventative care, it makes us all healthier and more productive.

So what is this debate really about?

What would you like to see in a Health Care bill?
Do you think everyone should be insured?
Been to the ER lately? How long did you wait?

10 Response to 'Notes from the ER'

  1. Anonymous Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1249945773650#c874888866597655088'> Monday, August 10, 2009 4:09:00 PM

    I work in health care and unfortunately I think the bottom line, much like every other industry, is the dollar. The documentary Sicko did a good job in exposing some of the political tactics that helped to design the current health care system, intended to be profitable to corporations under the guise of "non-profit". It showed other systems, such as England & Canada, in which health care was free/low-cost and accessible to all, not to mention providing higher quality treatment. Complicating the issue & victimizing/criminalizing the poor for "draining" the economy helps to keep the current system in place, when the true criminality is greed and lack of conscience.


  2. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1249947624783#c9118405155829687175'> Monday, August 10, 2009 4:40:00 PM

    GG: thanks for the comment. i think you hit the nail on the head. Wu Tang was right: CREAM--cash rules everything around me. i guess i just hope(d) when it came to people's lives greed wouldn't win out.


  3. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1249952691165#c3406464907180118182'> Monday, August 10, 2009 6:04:00 PM

    We have spent so much energy as a country caring about ourselves and the money in our bank accounts, that we've forgotten about caring for each other. It just makes me sick to see how selfish people can be. I grew up without health insurance and one unfortunate incident with a bike and a road when I was 11 left my parents paying for it until after I graduated from high school. That doesn't include the thousands I spent getting my teeth fixed properly after I had my own insurance. I don't think anyone should be left to make decisions about taking care of their or their family's health based on their job status or where the money for their next meal is (don't even get me started on people starving or malnourished in a "western" country).
    We have been to an ER twice since M was born, in one of the poorer neighborhoods in Minneapolis. It is at a children's hospital, so the wait wasn't horrible. But it is all relative, and it wasn't fast either.


  4. Claudia Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1250034752278#c4087166854139109337'> Tuesday, August 11, 2009 4:52:00 PM

    Hello TPR! I'm enjoying your blog immensely and your description of your son's accident in this post was so vivid, it made me cringe and think about my little girl (also 3 years old). There's nothing like these kinds of personal experiences to bring the reality of idealism and political philosophy home. I hate dealing with my insurance company and I think the increased competition from a gov't option would do them good. I'm disgusted by how the debate is getting muddled by screams of "socialism" and the birthers, but the Prez has my support as long as Blue Cross keeps trying to take more of my money. :)


  5. Execumama Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1250039988821#c3126293028088922867'> Tuesday, August 11, 2009 6:19:00 PM

    Thank goodness your 3 year old is alright! I have one of those myself, and she trips, flips, and dips on a regular basis! Near misses from sharp edges and tough surfaces keep my belly in butterfly mode!

    I think we should have the right to healthcare, despite income! My husband and I are both self-employed, and with 2 children under age 6, health care costs are a bitch! There are options, but they are quite costly, and I think it is a part of the government's responsibility to offer viable (ie. reasonably priced, if not free) health care options for working people!


  6. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1250051674822#c4257366404196372395'> Tuesday, August 11, 2009 9:34:00 PM

    Amelia: you've pretty much summed it up. we've gotten too caught up in greed & money that we don't think about our neighbor. sad.

    Claudia: it was horrible. i've heard stories of other parents & i've always felt for them, but this sure did bring it home. he's had several near misses. now i hope he never breaks a bone. he's so active. and yes, Blue Cross is getting over..big time.

    Execumama: don't they (the little ones) give you heart palpitations? i agree, we should have access to healthcare despite our income. your health should be part of your civil rights. i can't imagine NOT having it right now, especially with California cutting back on "Healthy Families" (free/low-cost health care for low income families), i would be in a really horrible place w/ a 3 year old who needs shots & costly asthma meds. crazy. what do they expect people to do?? it kills me when the opposition talks about "death panels." what do they think will happen to sick uninsured people? hmmm.

    i love the discussion we're having. keep it going!


  7. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1250088753141#c294958671016743946'> Wednesday, August 12, 2009 7:52:00 AM

    I too have been staying out of this whole health care debate. I saw the documentary sicko and it made me want to pack up and move to France. I'm all about allowing everyone access to health care.

    My only concern is will patients be treated any differently. When I first became pregnant I had to get on medicaid as I was temping and didn't have any health insurance. The first doctor I chose treated me like crap and wouldn't even let my spouse in the room with me during the exams to hear my baby. Needless to say I got a new doctor and I was hired so I had new insurance too. But that is my worry, how will they regulate doctor's actions to those who have government health insurance as oppose to the private ones.


  8. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1250100559215#c1928518167802076468'> Wednesday, August 12, 2009 11:09:00 AM

    Felicia: i feel you. that's horrible that the doctor treated you differently. I was also on a form of Medicaid (PCAP in bklyn, then Medi-cal in Cali) during my pregnancy and, aside from the long wait in Brooklyn, I didn't feel like I was treated any different. As a matter of fact, when I had my son, I was in a GREAT hospital w/ a great staff that I couldn't have been in on my previous HMO. So I was pleased. I hope that any public plan will offer the same choices that I had in picking my own doc & hospital.


  9. Anonymous Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1250350071015#c6378075786011338964'> Saturday, August 15, 2009 8:27:00 AM

    I really don't think there is an answer to fix healthcare, until you can stop the trial lawyers and people suing medical professionals at the drop of a hat.

    Most of the price of healthcare, goes to covering legal costs.

    That said, I also think insurance should be able to cross state lines, and open up competition of rates. There is no reason why an individual should pay $150/month in one state and $60/month for the same coverage in another. A lot has to do with state laws too. That needs reforming.

    There is really no reason why EVERYONE should have healthcare. It's a privilage, not a right, and for any privilage, one needs to work for it.

    Ann in Michigan


  10. SE'LAH... Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-er.html?showComment=1250516795267#c113337277863452350'> Monday, August 17, 2009 6:46:00 AM

    Hope your baby is feeling much better.

    Universal health care calls for everyone to have some form of health care coverage, whether or not they can financially afford it. If we have a healthier population, we all are better off. It's really awful to see people, i.e. human beings, dying of preventable diseases.

    I think the problem is much more deep rooted in this society but why not start somewhere? A place that makes a significant impact.