Could have been me

October 25, 2006
Crack head for a mama . . .
birth defect of one leg . . .
no money, no money, no money . . .

Ok Im being dramatical (one of my new words thanks to flavor flav). But I think we sometimes forget that all the above and more could have so easily been what we were dealt in life. It wasn't till I was sick myself that I realized people with illnesses or disabilites dont define themselves by their circumstances, but just like everybody else with just a little extra to bear.
But none of that prepared me for the oddest feeling that I encountered last week that I still can't shake.

The Sunday of Homecoming Weekend found me frustrated and tired of the crowds. What I didnt count on was one of my friends calling me crying in pain. Rushing her to the University hospital with her boyfriend only to be told they were short staffed and the wait could be hours . . .in the EMERGENCY ROOM! wow. I had heard the rumors of HUH, but that made it so real. So we roll her to the car and head over to Washington Hospital Center. Looked the same going in. Black folks with serious DC dialects at the counter. Waiting room full of black people.

But a whole other experience. We roll her straight back to where they have emergency room stations and over to the side where those who need immediate care are in hospital gowns on cots waiting to be seen. We roll her over to a nurses station where they start asking her questions immediately. That's when they tell us she can only have one person in there with her. So I get all the info she needs out of her bag and head outside to find our 7 foot dental student friend who rode with us and man was I happy we ran into him b/c we needed a medical voice going through all that.
Outside we just sit over at this little pond they have which I guess is suppose to be soothing as you wait for news on a love one. Sitting there I pray. I call my cousin who I find out is still downstairs at my dorm b/c she didnt lie like I told her to get back in. So then 7-foot dental friend goes to park the car from the emergency zone and I head back in to see if they have checked out my friend to see what's wrong. They let me back to the emergency patient area and now she is in a hospital gown laying on one of those cots. She's not crying but the girl next to her is still crying and balling in up in some serious pain - she was in that same state when we first rolled in.
My friend is still hurting but even in pain is such a diva she's asking how she look and if somebody could get her some chapstick. I start asking questions like does she know anymore about what's causing her pain as her boyfriend says a few years ago when her brother was about our age his apendix burst and the doctor comes out and calls her name. It's her time to be seen.

I was not happy. I mean, I was glad my friend was getting treatment. But I was deeply saddened at our society that it wasnt a first come first. Her insurance card got her rolled right away. If it were me, I know I would have gotten the same treatment as my friend but that didnt give me comfort. As I watched her roll away that girl in the cot next to her, the one who was there when we first came in 15 minutes before was still crying and watched too as my friend went to go seen by the doctor. We locked eyes. I couldnt even hold eye contact and quickly looked at the ground. No telling how long she had been there or how much longer she would be there. The difference a freakin insurance card makes even in your time of need. Wow. Welcome to America.