The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007



I spent two nights in the ER and three days on the Pediatric Ward with my 5-year-old daughter last week. Doctors were determining whether the uncontrollable fever, vomiting, and pain in her right side were solely the work of a kidney infection not responding quickly enough to antibiotics, or if they were the added burden of a bursting appendix, as well.

Two urine samples, two blood tests, four I.V. insertions, four ultrasounds, and a CT scan later, the doctors determined that the pain in her right side was indeed the work of the kidney infection, particularly raging in her right kidney (hence the heightened attention to her appendix).

The doctors and nurses were so thorough (see above), treating the many scary symptoms and listening to every piece of information coming from my 5-year-old’s mouth that, despite the pain and fear I both witnessed and felt, I was certain they would do whatever it took to correctly diagnose her.

Because of this, I felt calm and strong.

However, when I spoke to my mother up in Washington state, also calm and strong, I almost lost it – but not for any obvious reasons.

We were having an even-keel, matter-of-fact conversation, when, off the cuff, she told me she’d never had to go through anything like this with me. The only thing that came close was a middle of the night trip to the ER for a terrible earache when I was Aubrey’s age. There, she’d learned her insurance company wouldn’t cover the visit because it wasn’t technically an emergency.

That’s the point of the phone call where I could feel pressure in my throat, that burning in my nose and eyes.

How dare they? I found myself thinking. What kind of horrible healthcare system would make a single mother with next-to-nothing in child support, working full-time as a bookkeeper for a lumberyard, have to choose between the care of an ailing child and taking a big financial hit?

Pardon me, but what a shitbob choice.

Fortunately for us, we’re poor enough while my husband attends dental school and I work part-time. that we qualify for kick-ass state insurance – and I am so eternally, eternally grateful. But, listening to my mom, I couldn’t help but think of all the in-betweeners, the families on other kinds of insurance that won’t cover x, y, or z, or the families with no insurance at all.

Coincidentally, the night before Aubrey’s first trip to the ER, I listened to Joan Blades of and, and co-author of The Motherhood Manifesto, speak about these very issues.

Little did I know I’d be playing so directly into her concerns.

I remember her saying that it was time for families to recognize that what might seem like isolated incidents were not isolated incidents (i.e. my mom having to make the choice between medical care in the middle of the night or financial safety). They were the widespread problems among many. She said it was also time to see an acceptance of these incidents, as being “just the way it is,” as problematic as well. and The Motherhood Manifesto are grassroots attempts at uniting women and families with a common goal to create positive change in these areas.

I’ve never thought of myself as someone political. Give me good literature that makes me ponder the human condition and I feel wise enough. Truth be told, though, I’ve always kind of wondered if sometime my desire to understand the human condition, my own real world experience of it, and the possibility of impacting it would arrive at a three-way crossroad – where I’d have to get out of the car and feel the dirt under my feet.

Perhaps now is the time.

When I looked at my little girl, pale after days of fever and pain and uncertainty, I knew it was never a question of whether she’d get care; it was simply a question as to what extent the care would work.

Shouldn’t it be that way for everyone?

I made it through one emergency last week; it looks like it’s time I gear up to face another one.

By Anjie Reynolds

Tell the President and Congress it's not acceptable to have 9 million kids without healthcare coverage and millions more with inadequate coverage. And it's not okay to have 46 million total uninsured Americans. In our country, healthcare issues shouldn't be a leading cause of bankruptcy, and our childhood mortality rates shouldn't rank in at a pathetic 37th of all nations, according to the World Health Organization. This is simply not acceptable.

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Really nice piece, Anjie. Poignant and thought-provoking. I'm glad your little girl is fine.

My 4 year old son was admitted for overnight observation about the same time as your daughter. In the complete surprise of it all (severe stomach flu left him dehydrated even with IV), II never lost sight of how lucky we were that (1) he would get better and (2) we had health insurance.

In a moment of crisis no parent should have to decide whether they can *afford* to act. Glad your little girl is okay!

Thank you for writing this Anjie

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