I've been off the grid for the past week for Reasons Personal: the 9-year-old contracted a completely out of left field staph infection.
A tiny cut somewhere led to staph getting into a hip muscle, and from there it got into her bloodstream.
Last week she started complaining about a sore leg, and then she got a fever. Molly I&I didn't think too much about these things, or that they might be related. These are both common & usually inconsequential childhood complaints -- she's an active kid & bangs her arms & knees often, & kids get 24-hour bugs. But then she spiked a scary high fever, we took her to the ER, they did blood work, and holy toboggans, she had staph in her bloodstream and suddenly we were terrified about sepsis. Fast forward a few days, and some twists and turns in the story, and she's in Syracuse.
So it's been kind of scary. The good news is that she's going to be fine; she's responding well to the IV antibiotics, so much so that she might not need surgery. We're still waiting for more tests, but she seems to be out of the woods.
This episode, though, has been the occasion for much reflection. What happened to our kid was frighteningly random -- one of the Syracuse docs was apparently quite worried that we might Blame Ourselves. "This is bad luck," she said, "nothing more or less or else." (A nice turn of phrase, that.)
And we get that, and appreciate it. But we think a lot about what would have happened if our kid had not just had the bad luck to get sick, but the bad luck to have parents with bad luck.
MollyI&I are pretty damned lucky, first of all, that we have good insurance. And we're lucky that we have jobs where one of us can at all times be with our kid in a hospital an hour away. And we're lucky that we're educated enough to understand and consider what health care professionals are telling us, and confident enough to insist upon what we decide will be the best treatment for our child.
Absent these bits of luck, our child would at best be more miserable, and at worst be dead.
Not a joke -- if we'd listened only to the hack ER doctor ("just a virus!") and didn't have a close relationship with our awesome family pediatrician, if we'd been scared about losing our job and put off getting our kid an appointment or three for fear of boss retaliation, if we were terrified enough about paying for treatment in wan hopes she'd get better from what at first looked like typical, trivial childhood complaints... we could have lost our daughter.
I have no human understanding of anyone who argues against universal healthcare.