Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Gymnastics and Thankfulness

I was sitting at gymnastics tonight, surrounded by other moms and dads. I didn't know anyone. I was trying to wrangle my two year old, who seemed to be wanting to get into everything he shouldn't be. I was in a sweatpants and hoodie, looking pretty rough.
On one side of me was a group of parents who knew each other. The woman next to me had positioned herself with her back to me, chatting with her friends loudly.
On the other side of me was a nicely dressed professional woman, whom I soon gathered was a lawyer, after she pulled out a newsletter about court summaries. She was sitting next to another beautiful mom with an infant. This is the kind of mom that I'm pretty sure she never doesn't look pretty. You know the kind I mean. This mom had casually mentioned how she only brings her son to gymnastics about every other week, because it's hard for them to arrive in time for the class. They were chatting, and it was a very small space so naturally I could hear their conversation. The lawyer mom was mentioning how she has her own firm, after leaving her previous job working for a "prick." She explained she now has her own employees and she gives them bonuses and she loves being the boss that is loved by her employees. The conversation then turned to schooling for their children. They were both discussing the private schools they have been investigating and the pros and cons of each of them. 
When will the class be over? Can I leave yet? Time seemed to stand still and all I wanted to do was get out of there. I was feeling very out of place, and took a lot of energy to not run for the door.
And just as I was getting the boys ready to leave, relieved I would soon be able to leave this place that had me feeling so down, I then ran into a very sweet mom I knew who had recently moved out of our little townhome community to a bigger single family house. I asked her how they were doing in their new house, and she raved about how nice it is to have so much space. She said she can't believe how blessed they are.
I had already been feeling down, stressed, today. I've been feeling overwhelmed with grad school and working part time, and the financial stress of now paying for day care for my 2 year old. In my stress, I have been thinking, maybe I should just go to work full time for the financial benefits. But how will I get everything done if I work full time? School, internships, mom and wife stuff, how? How? I'm not that strong! In the car on the way to gymmastics, I asked the boys about how much they really like gymnastics. I was trying to gage if it's worth it, spending a pretty penny each month for this hobby. (Gymnastics is not cheap!)
I was feeling pretty down. Must be nice that these other moms don't even seemingly have to worry about the cost of these activities. In fact, they pay for it and don't even show up half the time. Must be nice. Oh and how I would love a house with just a little more space. Would be so nice to be able to move into a bigger house. But that's not going to happen. I was overall, feeling quite pathetic and feeling very sorry for myself.
We got home, I threw some mac and cheese on the stove. The boys began eating. And then Benjamin said, "Mommy, you know what? This house has everything we need. It has a stove, it has food, it has milk, a door, books, it has a baby and a Mommy and a Daddy. It has everything we need."
Wow. How could I have been so ungrateful? How could I forget to see that my life is so very full? He did not know what I had been feeling. Yet, he said exactly what I needed to hear. I feel ashamed of my selfish ungratefulness. But I am so very thankful that God used my very wise and sweet son to deliver that message straight to my heart. Thank you, God, for snapping me out of my funk and reminding me of all of my blessings. Thank you, God, for each of my sweet blessings.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How the Health Care System Fails Addicts

For everyone who writes off people with addiction... for everyone who gets frustrated with drug users and doesn't give them a second glance... For people who get frustrated with addicts for not "just going to rehab and getting their act together..."

Imagine how it feels to have (or to BE) a patient who tearfully admits they need help. You work all day... maybe even for days and days... to find a bed at a rehab that participates with that patients health insurance. Oh and if we do find a bed, your insurance only covers x amount so you'll still have hundreds and hundreds of dollars to pay out of pocket. ...Only to tell them, "I'm sorry, you're medically stable, you can't stay in the hospital anymore, and there isn't a rehab bed within 4 hours that participates with your insurance. I'm sorry. We can put you on their waiting list but it's 3 weeks long." (Three weeks is an eternity for an addict that has just detoxed at an acute care hospital.)

Or, worse yet, you have a patient that was admitted to the hospital after an overdose, wants rehab desperately, but their addiction has cost them their job, their savings, their family. They have no social support. They have no insurance. And you tell them that it's going to be thousands of dollars out of pocket to get the help they need. If we can even find a bed that will take someone without insurance. They laugh, because, who has that kind of money? Then they cry because this was their last hope.

Do you know how helpless it feels as a social worker to not be able to provide that desperate person with the help they are requesting? With the help they need in order to stay alive?

I don't know the solution. I know there isn't a clear-cut answer. But something needs to change.

"Now, a couple of parents who lost their son to a heroin overdose are pointing out that drug addiction doesn't tend to be treated like a disease in the United States — which means that when drug users want to get treatment, health insurance coverage often comes up short.
And until the prevailing thinking changes, these parents say, progress will only be made on the edges."
(Source: NPR)