Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.
Just thirty minutes had passed while sitting in the waiting room but with every push of the front door the heavy steps moved to the glass window of the receptionist.
The stories were strung by the same thread…the need for quality medical care and a way to pay for it.
The Chinese couple who brought in grandma with son and daughter glued to their legs with their own needs. Speaking both Mandarin and fluent English her son interpreted both for the nurse and his mother.
“No insurance?” asked the health care provider.
“It will cost about $140 to $160.00 for the visit with additional cost of tests as needed.” Without hesitation he opened his billfold. No translation needed, this was his mom and he would do what it would take for the medical service.
The tall thin woman in jeans and black t-shirt, her skin was a pale white. It was the type of pale that made you worry, and suggested pain. You could only hear the muffled request of cost from the window and with her head lowered she shuffled out to the parking lot.
She was standing a flat five feet if you counted the carpet; thin and scrappy. You could only guess that the middle-aged daughter hanging on to her arm had her hands full.
“Fifty dollars co-pay! Hell, I’m not paying it! I’m on Medicare young lady.
I’ll just wait until next week and see my own doctor!”
“But mom you really should see_”
Little more than wrinkled skin and fluttering blue cotton material was all that you could see as she hit the door.
“Not good, not good.” he noted with each shake of his head.
“Have people been scaring you with stories of Lime Disease?” doctor Yee asked.
“No sir, you’ll be the first.” I responded.
He smiled a warm smile and stared at what now had become a very impressive bread plate sized; rock-hard; red-to-blue; blue-to-black infection high on my leg.
He covered the mass with the palm of his hand to feel the heat and that head started to shake once again.
“Well it’s not Lime Disease, definitely not Lime Disease. But, we may have to lance it (place heart dropping pause here) but it won’t be today.” Damn that smile!
“Are you allergic to anything?” the nurse asked.
“I’ve had problems with penicillin in the past.” I answered.
“Well I guess we better not give you any in the future.” she said with a hint of glee.
“That will be $50.00!” said the women at the window.
As I limped into the parking lot I was again struck by the need of quality medical care and blessed that I’ve been able to make those monthly cobra payments.