Monday, July 30, 2007

a sorry state

Here I am at CIY trying to recruit kids to come to Bible college and all of the sudden my tooth starts to hurt. Then it starts to hurt some more. Then it starts to hurt so bad I can't eat very well. Finally, during extended recreation time I make some calls to find a local dentist.

Now, I know that dentists have a crappy job, looking at people's sugar-rotten teeth and all, but do they have to make it harder than it already is? In a recent article from the Washington Post, I read about a little boy who died because of an abscessed tooth (bacteria underneath his tooth at the nerve). An $ 80 tooth extraction would have saved his life. His hospital visit after his death totaled between $ 200,000 and 250,000. This is a problem.

After about fifteen phone calls to various impossible-to-get-a-hold-of dentists in Carbondale, IL. I finally found a dentist that would see me. Eighty-six dollars later I had a prescription for an anti-biotic (which cost 189.99 $ to fill) and the knowledge that I will need at least one root canal. My very friendly Carbondale dentist told me that a root canal will cost me roughly 700 dollars! I have been taking the anti-biotic, but I'm still in pain and in need of 700 dollars. I don't have medical insurance let alone dental. What am I going to do?

Well for some reason God has given me parents who love me very much, and who think it is important for me to continue to live. They also have the means and have promised to help me and Margo pay for this outrageously priced procedure. What about the people who don't have parents like mine? What about all the kids, students and adults who can't afford any kind of health care, let alone dental care? I feel like I'm in a sorry state, but the truth is people are hurting all over this country and the world. Who will help them? I'm frustrated with a few calls, but many don't even have anyone to call.


Andy Rodriguez said...

Sorry to hear about that T. I hate tooth pain, and I despise gong to the dentist. Glad to hear you are going to get it taken care of.

This got me thinking. I also have recently been in need of a very costly medical operation, yet was not insured. I, like you, was able to get it done free of charge - much thanks to Dr. Norman and Baylor - All Saints. But also like you, I was one of ther VERY few uninsured to be treated properly.

I had too much time on my hands a couple nights ago and was watching the democratic presidential candidate debate (as I said, way too much time!). One of the topics of discussion was this issue. What should America do to provide for its beloved citezens who do not have insurance. Lower health care costs? Mandated national insurance? How should all this work. Blah, blah, blah.

We talk a lot about how our response to, say war, is defined not as Americans but as Christians. Well what is our (Christians) response to the problem of health care? How should the church take care of its people who are in need of help. I, for instance, would not have gotten my opperation done if it wasn't for a church going out of its way, and a Christian surgeon, not only doing it for free, but going to bat for me so that all charges were eliminated. But I am "different" because I am a missionary, young, and gosh darnit, people like me! But what about the single mother with a couple kids trying to hold down a couple jobs and being a faithful Christian. When little Jonny breaks his wrist and older sister gets a bladder infection, where is mom to turn? What is the church's responsibility to her and the kids? What is our creative response to this problem?

You probably weren't looking for all this with you post, but it got me thinking. Love ya bro, and hope you get feeling better.

Unknown said...


Thanks for your thoughts. This was, in fact, exactly what I was looking for. One interesting observation is that the Muslim extremest group, "Hezebollah" in Lebenon provides free health-care for all its members. They take care of people in need, and have thus gained huge support because of it.

What if the church provided for the needs of its people? Now, I will say I'm not opposed to universal health-care in this country and I think it is an appalling system that continues to profit off of other people's pain. But, is it the government's job to take care of health needs of its citizens? Is it the church's job to take care of the health needs of its citizens?

Michael DeFazio said...

What up fellas. Good questions indeed. I just wanted to add a story. A friend of mine recently told our Life Group about a friend of his whose mother was being treated for cancer. She had no insurance. His buddy had tried all sorts of things to raise money, but the most he raised in any one attempt was just a few hundred dollars.

So our Life Group did what all Christians in our situation would have done. We threw a poker party! We worked for weeks planning, getting the word out, asking for donations for prizes, etc. We cooked out, served plenty of beer, charged 50 bucks for a buy-in and 25 for a re-buy, and we made over 2000 dollars! (Did I mention I took second place.) So maybe the church should start a poker ministry specifically for people without insurance.

(Sorry for such an 'unsophisticated' response, but I figure we've got to start somewhere, right?)

Peace and Love

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Lord knows you'll get no complaints against starting a poker ministry from me or Andy. I think it is a great idea. I have actually thought about doing the same thing for my mother in law. I didn't mention it in the initial post, but my mother in law is had surgery earlier today for something that insurance won't cover. It's not even that she can't afford insurance. She can. But, no insurance company will insure her.

She was told that if she refrained from going to the doctor for a year related to her problem (i don't even know how to spell or describe it) then she could be insured. Unfortunately, when your sick you need to go to the doctor. The point of insurance is to be able to go to the doctor. Because she wanted insurance she didn't go. Surprisingly, her problem got worse. She has had a hospital visit and a surgery not covered by insurance. They are generous givers and support missions in China, and Japan. Not to mention the fact that they help me and Margo.

What will we as the church do? I hope we will think of creative ways to raise money to support each other.

Anonymous said...

Good words.