I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry when Baxter woke up feverish, shaking with chills, and complaining of a sore throat. And again when, just a couple hours later, the doctor on call during our pediatrician’s Sunday walk-in hours looked at me gravely and said, “This is not a typical situation,” before leaving the room to check the strep test. And once again when we walked my son over to the hospital for a throat x-ray and a blood draw in order to determine exactly what was wrong with his tonsil – and the rest of him.
I wanted to cry when the vomiting started and we were told that if he couldn’t hold down the strong antibiotic he’d have to be admitted to the hospital to receive it intravenously, and then again when my husband and younger son left to run to Walgreens to pick up the prescription while we were getting the tests done, leaving me to push my exhausted, weak son around the quiet hospital in the wheelchair that he’d requested.
I wanted to cry, not because I was so worried for my sick son. No, although I felt awful for him, I knew he was taken care of and was probably going to be just fine, no matter what this miserable infection was.
Instead, I wanted to cry for all those without health insurance across this country, those who also woke up that day to find their sons and daughters feverish and clearly very ill but had nowhere decent to turn for care. How did that feel?
Where did they go? Who cared for them? What kind of care did they receive?
If an abscess on their tonsil was suspected, were they sent to a high quality hospital right across the street for an immediate x-ray? Did they have easy access to that Walgreens for the antibiotic, the one with the pharmacist who could recommend the grape flavor because it would best mask its horrible taste? The one that gives out green alligator measuring spoons for the kids? Was the order put in for a follow-up with the best ENT in the area the next day, with a nurse calling the ENT’s office on their behalf – in advance – to let the office know they’d be calling and that the doctor needed to fit this child in? Did the nurse call again today to make sure they got an appointment?
All over this country, that’s not what happened yesterday. But it should have.
I love my kids more than words can say, but their health is no more important than anyone else’s children’s health. They don’t inherently deserve better care than any other child who woke up with a fever and infected throat. All I kept thinking through this ordeal was, “How could we be so fortunate?”
I’d gladly give up some of our medical perks and a portion of our income to see another child cared for. Wouldn’t you?