Aaron and I went on our big adventure into government assisted health care last week when we went into the local Medicaid office to finalize out paperwork. When my health insurance stopped, we decided that for the time being we’d apply for Medicaid, to make sure Caden gets the care he needs and the proper vaccinations. Because Aaron and I both have eye issues, and want to make sure any future pregnancies are also covered, we decided to apply as well, figuring that if our finances changed we would stop and purchase “regular” healthcare.
It didn’t really go like I expected. I need to add a disclaimer to this post, because I don’t want anything to come out wrong.
Disclaimer: I am NOT in any way, shape, or form, racist. I think God loves us all equally. Now, one with the post.
The local office for us is in the Plaza. Well, it’s near the Plaza. Over the railroad tracks on the other side of Troost. People who don’t know this area should see the following reference movies: Boyz in the Hood, Training Day etc. It’s not a wealthy area, and had more than it’s fair share of misspelled signs and stray pit bulls….
Aaron and I were actually looking forward to this trip, as it was a really nice day, and we were all wearing cute outfits. Including Caden. We got to the family services building, and to my suprise the parking lot was completely packed. We parked what felt like half a mile away and hauled in the infant transport pod and bag of survival gear.
Inside the office they had banners made on those printers that used the accordion paper with the edges that rip off. Despite the rather shabby surroundings, the people were all very friendly (WAY WAY MORE friendly than anyone at the ritzy hospital where we delivered the baby) and helped us fill out some papers, and told us to take a seat and wait for our caseworker.
The place was hoppin’, and Aaron and I stood out like halogen high beams in a tunnel. We were the only white people as far as the eye could see, including the people that worked there. Lots of women wearing very tight shirts and toting small adorable children with the cutest puffball pigtails, and men wearing huge jeans, muttering expletives at various types of phones. Sometimes not muttering.
Some people were obviously very down on their luck, and the place just had this….miasma I can’t describe. Almost a sadness. Desperation, maybe? I held Aaron’s hand, and was pretty uncomfortable. I grew up in a very white upper middle class area, and this whole gig was a tad out of my comfort zone.
After a very long wait, with a increasingly fussy Caden we were called back by our caseworker, Samantha. I’m almost ashamed to say that when I saw she was 25, very pretty, and caucasian, I breathed a sigh of relief. Mostly because she felt familiar, and was clearly very interested in helping us out. She took our wads and wads of paperwork (if my bag had been stolen, our identities would have been TOAST.) answered our questions, and promised to get back to us this week.
In the car, I asked Aaron to help me work through my feelings of weirdness. He nailed it on the head when he said “it’s poverty. Poverty is really sad.” It got me to thinking, Aaron and I make very little money every year, but I wouldn’t consider us poor at all. Certainly not poverty stricken. We have a nice house, functioning cars, our baby is happy and healthy…
It’s all about the spirit of the thing. My money comes from Jesus, who has never let us down. I may not make enough money to afford health insurance, but I am certainly not poor. It’s funny how there’s a difference, isn’t it? My hope rests in God, who has always given us what we need, even though it’s in some interesting ways.
Because we have a baby, Aaron and I also get to apply, which means we can get our eyes and teeth checked for the first time in YEARS. We’re very grateful. Like my friend Jessica says, “when I have to for my kids, I love me some welfare.”
Must run, our poor baby has to be cutting some sort of monster fang, as he’s crying and needy ALL DAY if he’s not sleeping or eating, and it’s my turn to try and quiet the screaming. I wish there was something we could do for his poor little face, but all suggestions of frozen teething rings and orajel have failed. Pray.