It was also so much more eloquent in my head. Any of my family members who want to rewrite it with more articulate thoughts and a more refined vocabulary are welcome to!
Last night Eli woke up with an awful cough. It sounded like croup to me, and he had that scared feeling of not being able to breath normally, comfortably. Richard and I calmed him down, debated whether or not to take him into the hospital, and eventually decided to just let him sleep and evaluate in the morning. He fell back to sleep and didn’t wake up again until his alarm went off.
Eli really wanted to go to school today, it was a special day and he had special plans. There was hardly a trace of the cough that he had during the night, but Richard and I were both worried that he was contagious, or too sick for school. So Eli and I got dressed first thing and walked around the corner and up the street to the GP office. We walked in shortly after 8:00, I explained the situation and a Dr. called us back straight away. She was still wearing her walking shoes and her office smelled like toast, but she was helpful and kind and thorough.
The thing that has caused me to reflect is that Richard and I were able to make these decisions about our child without any fears, pressures or anxiety about the cost. This gave us a certain kind of freedom. I also knew that if Eli was very ill, he would have access to the medication and/or treatment he needed. We were free to proceed with providing these resources to Eli without being held hostage to cost or availability. This gave me so much peace of mind and I was filled with gratitude.
Back in the states Richard and I have always been blessed to have the means to provide for our children’s medical needs. When a trip to the ER was warranted, we were able to do so. When a specialist was required, we’ve been fortunate to be able to see one. But I know this isn’t the case for all people, in particular all mothers.
It would be a gross over-simplification to blame poor choices or lack of hard work for these circumstances, and often that would be altogether false. I speak about mothers, because that is the role I play that causes me the most uneasiness, uncertainty and fear. But I genuinely wish for every mother in the country I claim patriotism to, to have the freedom I have. The freedom to make choices about her children’s medical care without fear, anxiety or pressure. If I take my child to the doctor, how will I pay for it? If he needs a prescription, what will we go without to compensate? Must I live with the guilt of not taking my child to a doctor because I simply can’t pay?
I am willing to pay tax dollars for every mother to have that freedom. Maybe you are not, and that is your prerogative. I grew up with conservative ideals, but the older I get and the more suffering I see, the more I find myself feeling emotionally connected to humanity around me, and morally obligated to meeting their needs.
“‘A right faith is an excellent and valuable thing,’ wrote the early American preacher Jonathan Mayhew, ‘but it is advantageous no further than it… leads us to live an holy and godly life.’ And that means a life that earnestly engages, rather than distracts us from, our ethical obligations to each other.”
T. and F. Givens