March 20, 2010

A medical emergency - calling for health care reform

It's a judgement call to ask for help, to know and acknowledge when a situation is beyond your control or resources. Last night, I was in the kitchen trying out a new recipe of chickpeas and spinach when my mother told me about about an unrelenting sharp pain she was having, she said that it was severe and interrupting her ability to breathe. I made her comfortable then I called 911. In a parental tone she was challenging my actions trying to downplay the episode. As I was dialing she voiced her fears, "I wonder if my health insurance will cover this?" was the first question mom asked as I continued to hold for the 911 operator. As I went through a few simple questions about my mother's present condition and history of illness with the EMS operator it became clear to me that my judgement call was clearly a good decision. She was rushed to the hospital.

Learn the signs so that you can respond in emergency situations by knowing when to call for help.

While my mom continues an ongoing battle for her health, I will continue to advocate for health care reform and continue my training to become a physician in family medicine.  My mom's story like so many other stories I know is an American story of hard work as she has been gainfully employed for half a century. She maintains a healthy and active lifestyle that is complicated by stress.  We are working together to establish new habits and learning to make better lifestyle choices, change is hard work.

While she continues with medical treatment, we hope and pray that healing will come.

In the meantime, I hear the voice of Civil Rights Leader Fannie Lou Hamer  crying out to us "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."  

Health care reform in America has chance this weekend. I have hope. One of the most important lessons we can learn from the Civil Rights Movement is that unrelenting public pressure can keep the focus on health reform until there is justice. It's a battle worth fighting for now and in the days ahead until there is justice.

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