The girl had a stomachache and was vomiting and for some reason, her poop was neon green, and so it only made sense to take her to the doctor, right? And so we get there and the doctor gives us the worse case scenario (appendicitis) and the most likely (stomach virus), and tells us to run with the most likely, and so we do. Prescription in hand, my baby and I make a detour to the bathroom, where she lets out two more loads—one from each end, both green—before we head out the doctor's office and back to the house. Girlfriend gets a fever. The doctor told us to expect this. But I forgot to ask if I could give her fever-lowering Motrin with the anti-vomiting prescription. And this is where it got dicey.
And super expensive.
I dial up the on-call nurse, and make the mistake of mentioning the two green loads Lila left back at the doctor's office, and by the time we finish up our conversation, the nurse is insisting that I take my baby to the emergency room because the "most likely" my doctor diagnosed earlier in the day really could be "the worst case scenario" and she's not going to tell me whether the Motrin can be used with the prescription because she doesn't want to chance it and "you shouldn't either," she says.
Now you have to understand that it's 10 p.m. on a school night and Lila just wants to sleep and I'm not really feeling the ER thing, but this nurse has me feeling some kinda ways so I wrap my baby up and pile her in the car and drive across town and sit in that stupid ER room for an hour—Lila sweaty and sleepy and curled up on my lap—waiting to hear the ER doctor tell me my kid's got "worst case scenario." When the ER doctor finally gets around to Lila, she listens to me describe baby girl's symptoms, what my doctor said about them earlier, and doc's course of treatment, and then the ER lady laughs—literally laughs!—at the nurse's insistence that I bring Lila to the ER.
"It's not the worst case scenario," she says, rolling her eyes. "Give her some Motrin for the fever. She's fine."
The bill for that ER visit, kids? More than $300.
My insurance, which cost double that each month, covered a small fraction of the cost—roughly the equivalent of the discount you get in the grocery story with a coupon from the Sunday paper. Despite all the claims of the vaunted "competition" in the marketplace, when we tried to switch to another company that was offering a cheaper alternative, Nick was denied because of his "pre-existing condition"—high blood pressure (this for a guy who works out almost seven days a week, takes medication to control his condition, and hasn't been seriously sick a day in his life).
And don't get me started on how many thousands we ended up paying—and still owe!—in hospital/x-ray/rehab fees for a couple of football injuries Mazi suffered earlier this year.
Um, I don't know about you and yours up in your house, but 'round my way, all up in my house? The health care system is B.R.O.K.E.N. You can't tell me that paying over $300 to find out if I can mix Motrin with an anti-vomiting pill is okay. Or that paying almost $700 a month for health insurance and STILL being bombarded with health care charges and fees when we actually USE the services of a doctor is okay. Or that a family that works just as hard—if not harder—than Nick and I do but can't afford ANY insurance should be forced to sit and watch and worry while their child passes green vomit and poop—or worse—with no viable way to get help for their baby. Don't get me wrong: The Millner/Chiles household is blessed to have enough cash on hand for some kind of insurance, but we are compassionate people in the unique position of being able to see up close the many holes and flaws in the system.
I say all of this to make the point that the ongoing debate surrounding healthcare reform shouldn't be about death panels or raucous town hall meetings or coverage for illegal immigrants or abortion or government intervention or Sarah Palin or
dumb ass Glenn Beck or Republicans or Democrats or Socialism or Hitler or President Obama's standings in the latest polls. Making changes to our broke down healthcare system is about mothers and fathers and babies and hardworking families and compassion and being fair. It's about doing what's right by Americans, and demanding that these fat cat insurance companies stop running game on us. It's about holding our elected representatives accountable, so that they'll stop caving into a sorry few, and recognize that the masses aren't as dumb as cable news will have us believe.
It's about doing something because what we have right now is just dead wrong.
I mean, I'm just sayin'.
If you have questions about healthcare reform, or want to know more about what's in the plan, rather than who got shouted down at the latest town hall meeting, MomsRising.org has you covered. The advocacy group for moms and children put together a resource page for its Healthcare Truth Squad, and is sending moms to town hall meetings across the country—in red capes!—to educate rather than agitate Americans looking for honest dialogue and true reform. Check out their in-depth myth-busting resource page HERE.
Editor's Note: I respect that not everyone agrees with my stance on this—it's your right, and you are welcome to post your opinions in the comment section. I only ask that you A) be respectful, and B) know what you're talking about and be ready to disagree without being disagreeable. I don't suffer fools easily, and I'm NOT one of those ninnies who allow people to shout and yell and act the fool all up in her space. Post away, but be clear: Say something foul/stupid/off-topic, and your comment will be erased.