Thursday, January 26, 2012

Makeshift Wheelchair

My mom walked in and threw her purse on the chair. Her eyes were cast downward as she looked past me. She looked beat. It was another long afternoon at the doctor's office.

My Dad was in the car. I grabbed the wheelchair and rolled it down the ramp and set the brakes down so he could get out.

"What happened?"

"The doctors wanted him to go to the hospital but the insurance company refused. They were arguing over the phone so I told him we were going home."

My Dad has been plagued with a severe infection the past few months. He's bed-bound and spends the whole day looking at TV. He was in the hospital two months ago and given antibiotics. After a month of taking the pills, the infection still persists. His doctor set up an appointment this afternoon to get him admitted into the hospital to receive medicine intravenously. The insurance company says they won't pay for it because he doesn't need it.

My Dad sat down in the wheelchair and we backpedal up the ramp into the house. I have to keep my hands on the rubber handles because they slip off easily. It's a makeshift wheelchair. His actual wheelchair broke a year ago and the insurance company refused to honor payment for a new one because they said it was unnecessary. A family friend went out and found a used and damaged substitute. He fixed it up and brought it over that day and we've been using the same wheelchair ever since.

My mom looked ahead wearily. She fixed the bed and prepared dinner. After four years of work, they're realizing that they have makeshift health care. Like the wheelchair, their coverage has to be handled gingerly as it has been patched together. It breaks, it leaks, it collapses under the weight of its responsibility. The health care was built for earnings, not patients.

I wish to seem them living better. I'm no longer upset at the insurance industry. Where there was once animosity is now just sadness. We look forward, weary and sick of fighting. 

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