Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hospital Music

A little over a year ago, my daughter got very sick with the stomach flu and had to be hospitalized. She could not stop throwing up and developed a condition called Acidosis. On the verge of unconsciousness, she continued vomiting through a sick child visit to the doctor and then the waiting room outside the ER. Her symptoms were such that the ER doctor began talking about the possibility of "metabolic disorders." Of course we googled it immediately, which was appropriately shocking.

Turns out, a basic dehydration IV and bicarbonate infusion was all it took to bring our nearly two year old back from the brink. I'll never forget the feeling of watching her, tubes and wires and drip-line, slowly return to her normal, overly active and gloriously spontaneous self. I could have done without spending the night throwing up myself from the same flu but the point is what? Medical care, her pediatrician and Children's Hospital, probably saved her life.

Only a few months later, my son Micah was born at Clovis Community, healthy and thriving, thanks to the medicine that my wife received to help her kickstart her labor. Shortly after, I had another traumatic Dad moment when I had to drive behind an ambulance with my wife and daughter inside after Amelia tipped over backwards, strapped tightly to her high chair and smashed her head and back on the tile. A CAT scan confirmed that she was OK.

I don't know what side you come down on this contentious Health Care debate. In fact, I'm not sure what side I'm on to be honest. But I will say this. I am offended by what some people express when they say they will make it their personal mission to defeat health care reform. Citing statistics about 85 percent being happy with their health insurance, they are leaving out millions of uninsured people from their population sample. I also find it troubling that certain pundits make it sound like having health insurance is somehow a privilege that one earns for being hard working and industrious as opposed to lazy and dependent on the government. I'm sure you and I both know plenty of lazy people with great insurance and plenty of people working 90 hours a week with three jobs who can't go to the doctor.

We would have likely kept Amelia home longer if we didn't have a pediatrician. If we didn't have a good doctor that had recommended we go to the hospital and called ahead, we might have waited outside among the many sick until she passed out.

Sitting here in the Grind typing this, I am actually struck by how many other hospital stories I could tell. By the grace of God, they are all minor compared with what many have experienced. I am blessed and thankful for the country I live in and the health insurance we have. And although I've paid tens of thousands of dollars to the health care system in the form of deductibles, copays and diagnostic test fees, I don't think reform is about me at all. I think it's about other people. Other people who have real Hospital Music stories as well. Please don't say that you or I deserve health care, we don't. Children around the world die every day from diarrhea, the flu and common colds. We GET to have health care in this country and it should be with a spirit of humility that we try to sort out this mess and find some solutions that will save lives.