Why do I, why do WE, get it so good? Here I sit in a world class hospital, preparing for surgery--not life-threatening, not urgent now, though someday it may be. I've just been told that the insurance company has now responded--pre-approved. Yes, they will cover everything, 100%, thousands of dollars.
And I start to cry.
Yesterday was Mid-Autumn Festival, and I have access to this all--good health care, wonderful facilities. They've checked everything making sure my body is all fine for surgery.
Two years ago, on Mid-Autumn Festival, a woman died. She was born 8 years before me. I suspect her death was preventable. Oh, at that time it wasn't, emergency surgery only one week earlier had extended her life, but couldn't save it. By that time she was already too far gone. But two years earlier, or even earlier still, had she got a check-up, received some early treatment...would she still be here today? Would she get to watch her kids complete university? To see them, in the future marry, and have children? But she won't see any of those things. She's gone.
I know too many stories like this...probably simple antibiotics would have saved him. Maybe early surgery would have caught the cancer. Even the 16 year old who passed away two weeks ago--in the 10 days before she died, the hospital repeatedly told her father that he should transfer her to a hospital in a larger center, more equipped to help her. He refused, "Just do what you can here." It is understood that they have no money, previously spending all on his wife's cancer treatment. And minimum costs for that "more equipped" care, were just to much to even attempt.
And even when people DO go for treatment--what is available is sometimes so limited. Sometimes it hits me even about far smaller things. I also cried in February, back in Canada, in the hour between ordering my glasses, after checking my prescription, and waiting to pick them up. I just wished I could take my colleagues for a good eye exam--where you know the results of the exam will be accurate, the glasses good quality, and last for years. (Okay, I was extra emotional then, adjusting culturally and all...)
There's a sort of guilt that comes--a guilt for privilege I did not buy, grab, or in any way pursue; it just came to me, by being born. (I had a similar sense after watching the movie Amistad, feeling guilty for horrible sins I didn't personally commit.) Because I was born in a time, in an era, in a certain place, and related to certain people, I can get check-ups, while he just endures. I can get surgery and early treatment, but she dies.
What do I do with this? Feeling guilty doesn't help. Electing to not get the check-up or treatment available to me, doesn't mean that someone else will receive it. The unfairness of it all...and how so much of the "good" side of unfair landed on me--what can I do with this?
I can be grateful. I can share. I can strive to help those in my vicinity, my range of knowledge and reach. I can share my resources, and somewhat go in the direction of "loving others as I love myself." I can make sure those who work for me get annual physicals, and have insurance of some sort. I can make needs known, and together with others cover the costs, pay for some surgeries, do what we can (this, we have done!).
And I can, and I must, not take this for granted. There are areas in which I must continue to repent, and change and grow, and learn to be a better steward of this body I have been given. With what is given, and for as long as it lasts--this life, this body, this energy, this time granted to me that others may not have received--may it be offered, used well, spent loving and giving to God and to others.
(post started Sept. 20, 2013)