right now. MFP is feeling sick. Not just “eh, it’s a cold, I’ll be okay,” but like “I may be coughing and/or vomiting blood and the pain in my belly is excruciating, help!” When she called me in the middle of the night to ask for my help, I realized that there wasn’t much I could offer her, nor really much anyone else could either.
See, the only options available to many folks in the US all include the potential to kill you. Is the thing you’re dealing with is going to kill you in moments unless you get some kind of help? Then call 9-1-1, get an ambulance to take you to the Emergency Room, and get billed for the ride to the hospital and the ER visit. Oh, and they’ll have to run some kind of test or other, especially if what you’re dealing with isn’t immediately obvious… and bill you for those tests, too. Sure, your health insurance — if you have any — might cover a small part of the overall cost, but you’ll still be left with payments to make. So when you’re considering that emergency call, you’re also considering whether you’ll be able to make your rent on time, whether you can keep the gas and electricity turned on, what items you’re going to have to pawn in order to cover the cost of that call.
And if that thing you’re dealing with isn’t going to kill you right now, and you don’t get it checked out and treated at the ER… well, you can make an appointment with your regular doctor! Oh, you mean you don’t have a regular doctor? Or what if your “regular doctor” consistently refuses to listen to your actual complaints and instead pushes an agenda down your throat? “If you would just lose some of that weight… you should try antidepressants, they’ll make all the difference… if you didn’t sleep around you wouldn’t have to worry about these kinds of things…” and on the lists go. And if you’re one of the lucky few to have a doctor who listens to you, you might be waiting for a month in order to see them anyway! “Okay, let’s see,” says the receptionist, “The next available appointment is in 6 weeks, at the crack of dawn. Will that work for you?” Whether it “works for me” is irrelevant. And by the time I get to that appointment, I may well have taken care of the problem on my own, or I’m dead.
This system is so completely broken. I don’t know what to do besides feel both powerless and angry (and have no target for my anger.) What can anyone do?!