Junkfood Science: Reflections on health care

June 18, 2008

Reflections on health care

A lovely reminder of what health care really is and should be about.

As my daughter turns 4, I'm thankful for health care

In less than a week, my firstborn child, my baby girl Ava, will turn 4. While this isn't often considered a major milestone, it is still very dear to my heart, being her mother and all. It got me thinking about how good we have it here in North America. I feel fortunate to live in a country where we have access to things such as clean water, nutritious food and medical care. Elsewhere in the world, however, in places like Darfur, Nepal and Afghanistan, where those basic essentials are lacking, a child living to see his or her fourth birthday truly is a major milestone. Even if our health care system in the United States is not ideal, at least we have access to medical assistance when we need it.

When Ava was 13 months old she came down with a nasty case of croup... We kept a close eye/ear on her breathing and did the recommended trips to the steamy bathroom, then out into the night air to help open her airways, but her condition continued to get worse. By 2:30 a.m., as I lay with her on my chest on the couch in our living room her breathing became very labored. Her sternum started to cave in as she inhaled, and that combined with the stridor (whooping sound) were enough for me to tell my husband Jody that we needed to get her to the Emergency Room NOW...by the time we pulled into the ER parking lot, the skin around Ava's little mouth was turning blue...

It's easy for me to take the medical care Ava received for granted. After all, I've never been in a situation where we've been without it. But if I stop to think about what would've happened if we hadn't had access to a hospital right then when we needed it most, it's enough to bring me to tears. It's a very frightening thought to imagine living without access to medical care for my children and I'm thankful that it's not something I'll (hopefully) never have to worry about...

Prioritizing our health care resources, and money for real medical research, to save lives does matter, as she goes on to write.

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