Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things I Heart

Because I feel as though I have been in a rather nasty, complaining mood lately (Pete has pointed out that I feel as though I've been in such a mood, because I have, in fact, been in such a mood... whatever.) I think I need to write a list of things that make me happy, even though they may drive me crrazzzzyyy at times.

WARNING: This list is comprised entirely of things Caleb does and absolutely contains run on sentences.

1. A few days ago I was wrestling with the surprisingly strong toddler, trying to be a good mother and actually wipe the snot off his nose, instead of just letting it run straight into his mouth, like I normally do, and I came up with a brilliant solution. I stopped struggling, looked at him and asked, "Do you want to see the yuckies on your nose?" Thrilled, he responded "Yesh." And I took him to a mirror and showed him. He then let me wipe them all off while he watched. He was thrilled. He has not stopped asking to see the yuckies on his nose every four seconds for days now-- awesome :) Sigh. Win some, lose some.

2. When I see Caleb, I usually greet him with, "Hey, baby." He now responds in like.

3. Every morning Caleb wakes up and asks, "Grandpa ride tractor?" He's more than a little obsessed.

4. When Caleb wants to be held he grabs my shoulders and gives a big hug. He then snuggles in and pulls his arms between my chest and his, while laying his head on my shoulder. It pretty much melts my heart.

5. The other day Caleb saw me crying (I was reading something sad) and he got very concerned and asked, "Mommy sad?" He then crawled up on my lap and said, "Mommy need hugs and kishes."

6. He runs around kicking a tennis ball with surprising accuracy. He asks me everyday for a "sicker" ball. I would buy one, but did you know soccer balls cost $20!?! He's sticking with the tennis ball for now, and we're pretending that he's improving his agility skills.

7. Anytime Caleb wants to do something, he looks at you very sincerely and declares, "It my turn, peas." How do you argue with that?

8. When I put Caleb down for a nap, you can hear him counting to ten, over and over again until he falls asleep. I have no idea why.

9. He does the best rendition of "Popcorn Popping" I have ever seen. This kid has serious Jazz Hands. He also demands that we sing it over and over and over and over again. As soon as we finish, he yells, "Again!"

10. He recently spent a few days with his cousin, Dean, who is only a few weeks younger than him. Since then (it's been about two weeks) he asks me everyday "Where Dean at?" Anytime he wants to play with something, it is labeled, "Dean-Dean's car" or "Dean-Dean's block" or "Dean-Dean's" anything. If he gets really sad that Dean is not around, he tells me that Dean-Dean is sleeping.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lions say Rawr

Somehow we only took a picture on Peter's phone of Caleb for Halloween. Sad.

Peter's mom made the costume and he was sooo cute!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I am Medicaid

Recently I've been hearing a lot about service. It seems as though this theme has been everywhere lately, and I'm guessing it's because I need to hear the lesson over and over again.

Not surprisingly, I've been thinking over the service that has been offered me. I've been ridiculously lucky (or blessed) by acts of service in my lifetime. The one act of service that comes back to me over and over again, might seem a little strange, but stick with me, I think I might be able to put it into words.

We found out we were pregnant with Caleb as Pete was applying to medical school. Not knowing what we would face, we tried to be as prepared as possible. Peter signed up with the Navy, through the HPSP, which has been a huge blessing in and of itself. Through HPSP, Peter's medical insurance was covered, but mine was not. Knowing that I was pregnant, we realized how difficult it could be for us to find affordable insurance--if any at all-- so we swallowed hard and signed up for the student insurance program.

Swallowed Hard? Yeah. For the luxury of paying $40 a visit (do you remember how many visits you have to go to when you're pregnant? Yeah, a lot), $150 per hospital admission, plus $100 a day in the hospital-- PLUS no prescription coverage, lab work coverage, ultrasound coverage, etc, we got to pay $8,500. Nice huh? The Navy covered the cost of Peter's part of it, so we paid out the additional ~$5,000 and budgeted for the bills that were sure to come in.

Somewhere during the last few months of my pregnancy, some friends mentioned that they were on Medicaid, and that as a student you can qualify if you have children or are pregnant. This news was phenomenal, since we had learned that to add our future child to our plan would cost us about $7,000 more, for a grand total of $15,500 +copays. Awesome, huh?

Stay with me, I have a point.

We jumped through hoops and finally, after a long struggle (another post entirely) we were approved for Medicaid. Medicaid came in a paid for all of our additional out of pocket expenses for Caleb's birth. What a relief! It meant that we would actually have some cash reserves in case of an emergency. Without Medicaid, we would have spent every dollar to our name, quite literally.

Fast forward about a year. From January 2009 to August 2009, Caleb was admitted to the hospital 12 different times. Sometimes the admission was just for a 24 hour observation, sometime it was for a week or two at a time. We knew how lucky we were to be in Philadelphia, where the Childrens' Hospital of Philadelphia is-- the number one Childrens' Hospital in the country. We received INCREDIBLE care--never once were we given a hard time because we were on welfare insurance.

Never once did a doctor stop and say, well, we should run this test, but your insurance won't cover it. Never once did a doctor say, sorry, I don't accept that insurance. Never once were we turned away. We were served time and time again. Served by doctors who knew that they wouldn't get paid well for treating Caleb. Served by nurses who cared for him as if he was their child. Served by IV team after IV team, who rushed to calm Caleb when they couldn't get an IV placed. Served by the tax payers who's incomes helped to cover the cost of Caleb's large health bills.

Without Medicaid we would be bankrupt. We never could have afforded his surgery, his tests, his consults, his treatments. Without Medicaid, we would have a very, very sick little boy. Instead, I have a beautiful toddler who didn't want to go to bed tonight. I have a little boy who loves soccer, tractors and the moon.

I know the sacrifice it takes to fund programs like Medicaid. I know that we are being served by those who pay into the system. I know that we will probably never cover the costs of Caleb's medical bills with our future taxes. But I also know that I don't deserve health care any more than anyone else. Why should I be able to have health insurance when others go without?

I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have a sick child and not be able to take him to the doctor. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose your home because a loved one needed medical care and you couldn't afford it.

I am the face of Medicaid. Too often, we feel like people on welfare are "those people, over there." We think they aren't our friends, our family, our neighbors-- But they ARE. I'm on Medicaid. And I am grateful. I am proud of a country that offers me health care. Without Medicaid, Peter, very seriously, would have had to drop out of medical school and get a job so that we could cover the costs. Because of Medicaid, and the SERVICE, it provides, he is able to finish his education and become a *hopefully* productive member of the health care workforce.

Isn't it our responsibility to serve others? Isn't that our duty? With all we have been given, isn't it our turn to serve those around us-- those we don't know, and don't understand? Sometimes the service we provide goes to those we feel might not be deserving. But that's not our job, to decide, who is deserving, and who isn't. Our job is simply to serve.

I know that there are families out there, experiencing what we went through, but without the comfort of health insurance. My heart breaks for them. And so tonight, my act of service is to show this side of Medicaid, to show this side of "Welfare."

I am Welfare. I am Medicaid.