In an effort to beat the heat this week, we’ve been escaping another 1000 feet in elevation to Williams, Arizona. Relaxing at one of our favorite fishing holes, my son sets up an impromptu game of “tic tac toe”. After a couple of dozen rounds, his interest wanes and he gazes off to the side of our picnic table. A tiny robin is collecting – something. Foraging through pine needles and gravel for tasty morsels, perhaps.
The earlier cool breeze now fights with a hot wind, both struggling to dominate our respite. We move to a shadier spot. My son has been suffering heat exhaustion for the past few days and the fresh, cool breezes are much better for him than sitting in front of the air conditioner. He dozes off. The lake is so quiet today. It usually doesn’t get too crowded anyway, but today is heavenly, even for midweek. In July and August, I just expect crowds no matter where we go.
Clouds build and tease around the edges of the hills. Will our “monsoons” deliver this year? The lake is way down and we have a lot of water to make up for. Boy wakes up and we take a short walk. Spending the days up here, pumping him with gatorade and water have helped keep his temperatures down. He is just about back to normal now, but his body needs a few more days to recover from the shock he’s had. He is already chattering nonstop and I expect him to start bouncing around again, soon.
My friend’s husband has a rare form of lung cancer. He has never smoked. He is a vegetarian. They are self-employed, with two young sons. Like many entrepreneurs, they make too much money to qualify for state health care and not enough to buy their own. Then of course, there are the pre-existing conditions.
So what about the so-called “Affordable Health Care Act”? Out of funding for the Pre-existing Conditions Program. What about providing treatment and working out payments? Nope. The chemo provider won’t start chemo unless my friend can come up with nearly $10,000 up front. Yeah, got that layin’ around after paying for the surgery to remove the tumor and the hospital stay and the biopsy. Right. What about other programs? Other states? Other countries? If only there was a sure answer.
We have been praying for my friend and her family ever since we found out about the cancer. Right now, though, my friend just needs moral support. I hear out her fears. Then she talks about escape. Selling off everything and packing the family into an RV and full-timing it with whatever time her husband has left. I go with it, for this is the very thing I am about to do with my own family. We dream this dream for a few minutes, until my friend has to take another phone call. I have to take my son to his baseball game.
The injustice of my friend’s situation burns in my heart. I want to lash out, but where? I want to help, but how? I pray. I listen. I reach out to my friend, wishing I could fix it, knowing I can’t. This is one of the problems that offensive Health Care Reform Act was supposed to fix. It hasn’t. What now?