maandag 22 maart 2010

health care

She lay on the couch in the living room. A bucket beside her. Her coughs filled the space. The blood and slime from her longs filled the bucket. The complexion of her face turned pale, almost white, in a few minutes. She looked nearly European, except for the frizzy hair, which was covered now with tiny pearls of sweat. Her sister offered tea with honey and we rubbed her chest with mental herbs. ‘It’s the cold,’ she muttered. ‘I get sick from the cold in this country.’

A doctor, we need a doctor. Where do you find one, for an eighteenyear old girl with no papers, no passport and worse, no health insurance? Luckily most doctors in this country still remember why they took the oath.

‘Asthma’, concluded the physician. She will need medicine and I’ll run some more tests. The medicine is quite expensive, I can’t help that. But the tests I can do.

Today Obama’s Health Care Bill passed the conservative blockade. We heard it at the health care centre where the lean African girl was tested. ‘Inhale deep and then blow as hard as you can into this device,’ the doctors’ assistant told her. ‘I am so happy with Obama’s victory. It gave me goose pimples all over! Health care should be available to all people. All over the world.’

The woman energetically moved through her office, like dancing. ‘Blow, blow’, she sang to her patient. ‘Come on, you can do better than this.’ And she laughed. ‘I am glad I could run this test on you. You did really well. The doctor will call you in a short time and discuss the result. I wish you good luck and freedom to live your life as you choose. There is hope.’

We were unsure if she meant the condition of the teenager, the victory of Barack Obama or the mentality of the physician she works for. Maybe, she referred to all three.

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