About a month ago, a young friend told me that her dad had been really sick. Headache, stomachache, a cold that wouldn’t go away. He wasn’t able to work or even to get out of bed. He went to a doctor who told him he was fine. Another one said the same.
He told his daughter, “Maybe, after I’m dead, you can take my body to them and show them I was really sick.”
I asked her how I could help. She said she would let me know. Sometimes he feels better, then he gets sick again.
Yesterday she told me it was bad again. He’s having trouble breathing. I probed for some more information. Her dad started smoking when he was a kid and quit five years ago, but he’s almost my age, so that’s a lot of years. Same with drinking. I gave her some ideas for what it could be, but I’m not a doctor. And he needs to go to a better one.
I told her that I don’t have a lot of money to help, but I know people who do. (She is familiar with this story of mine. We talk about it a lot.)
I also told her the story of Urgent Care from Hell Summer 2018. I’ve shared bits and pieces, but here’s the whole deal.
Ava gets a sore throat in July. Gets worse and WORSE. Finally take her to Urgent Care. Pay $50 (pretty excited about that). Strep test negative. They give me antibiotics anyway. Head to SC to see my sister and fam. Ava still not 100% but on the mend.
A couple days later, Ava starts getting a rash. In no time flat, it has spread from her head to her feet and is turning solid red. Her face and lips are swollen. Head to Urgent Care #2. They won’t let me pay any cash. They’ll bill me. IV. Epipen. Meds. Most likely severe allergic reaction to antibiotics. Send us home with medicine to fight the medicine.
Fast forward to a couple days before we head back to Cambodia. Get a bunch of mail. From 2 Urgent Cares and a lab. The total they want from me? $2000.
Our monthly salary is $2500.
I cry. I call the numbers on the bill for help. I’m not eligible for aid, because I’m not a SC resident, nor an OH resident. “Oh, but if you don’t have insurance, there’s a different price for you to pay.” THANK YOU FOR TELLING ME.
Final cost: a little over $1000. (We don’t have this much $.)
If I would have just kept Ava home in the first place, she would have recovered from her sore throat and ALL OF THIS CRAP COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED.
Anyway, back to my friend and her dad. I tell her that we couldn’t afford Ava’s medical bills. And a friend stepped in to save us, paid the rest that we couldn’t pay. So we get it.
We aren’t white saviors swooping in to rescue people. We’re rescued people (with connections) walking beside people we love who also need rescued.
“I will NOT sit here and let your dad die because he doesn’t have enough money for a good doctor,” I told her. I know some really amazing, wonderful people who will want to help him as soon as they know.
I asked her to please tell him that and ask him if he would go to the doctor. Once we know how much it will be, Alex (my “adopted” Khmer son) will meet them with the money.
She messaged me a little bit ago (at the exact time I was writing this post). She told her dad, and he agreed to go, but this morning, he was feeling a little better, but his wife is in a lot of pain. Her stomach. Apparently, she experiences this pain every few days (and I’m assuming she hides it as best she can), but this morning is the worst it’s been. He asked if his wife could go to the hospital in his place.
Of course. Ideally, they’d both go, but we can start with her. So, the daughter is taking her mom on the moto as I type. Mom said she has enough strength to hold on to her while they ride.
I love this family. We met them the day we moved to Siem Reap almost three years ago. They’re around my age and have three beautiful children. They are kind and generous and work so hard for the little they have.
Pray with me for answers and that their health will be restored? And when I know how much money we’ll need, I will ask for your help.