Sunday, March 8, 2009

American Health Care

During a recent sickness that kept Belle home from daycare, I just picked up the phone and called for job coverage. Bam. That easy. And of course, this made me realize how very lucky my family is.

When Belle was initially sent home from daycare for having a fever, Pythagorus was able to call up his work and say, "I'm not coming in today." He has the flexibility to get on his company-provided laptop and work from home (not that he did a lot of work, but you know what I mean). There will be no dip in his paycheck.

I found out via an e-mail from Pythagorus that Belle was home sick. Before I left work, I made arrangements in case Belle needed to be home for another day. I was hoping that this was one of those cases where, if I actually took the time to do it before I left, I wouldn't need it. Unfortunately, she was still pretty sick the next morning, so I made that phone call and focused on making my little girl as comfortable and happy as possible.

All I could think about was that there are thousands of people who don't have this luxury. Back in my days as a single mother, I worked at jobs where, if I had to take a day off because Addie was sick, I didn't get the paycheck that I was expecting, the paycheck I was often depending on. In addition to being a heart-wrenching decision (never mind the fact that some jobs--the infamous gas station/convenience store combo comes immediately to mind--had a policy where you COULD NOT miss work unless you found someone to cover your shift), it's pretty hard to find someone willing to take care of a sick child if a) you don't live close to your family and b) your family members have a similar absence policy at work.

Beyond the health care disaster that our country is facing is this very real issue. Because I'm me, I thought about it even though it didn't directly impact me. I felt guilt for laying in bed an extra hour and a half, my little girl burning like a hot coal next to me.

But mostly I just felt fortunate.