Nearly twenty years ago, I awakened screaming in pain in the middle of the night.
I was the stoic one. Bust my head doing flips off the bed? Greet it with a grimace. Fall from a stand off my moving bike? Greet it with a grimace. What good would crying do me anyway?
It was my customary stoicism that made my mom anxious. It made her so anxious, in fact, that she decided to take me to the hospital. She did this despite the fact her deadbeat ex-husband as seldom paid child support as medical bills.
A trip to the emergency room? That would put her out months of garage sale money, which was frequently all the money she had to get by.
During uninsured periods, my mom grappled with the same horrific decision every time one of her children got sick: a trip to the hospital and even worse financial instability than she already faced daily (including potential loss of home) or riding it out at home and risking—if worse came to worst—the loss of a child.
Of course, it’s not only a child’s own health care that determines her personal well being. Read more…