I am starting a blog because: everyone in the whole world writes blogs; I have been told
that it might increase traffic to my website; I work alone.
THE PARKING LOT
Let's begin with this lighthearted video:
Speaking of which, I just DID find myself maneuvering my aging mini-van, (she goes by
the name of Peri), into the NEW Whole Foods Parking lot in Berkeley. What a cornucopia
of gastronomical delights, including caffeine! And it is all laid out so beautifully, all so
But. Why do I feel so guilty (and poor!) when I shop at Whole Foods? Maybe there is a
part of me that remembers that Whole Food’s CEO, John Mackey, has been an
outspoken opponent and lobbyist against Obamacare and any type of government
financed healthcare. Maybe there is a part of me, when walking into that pretty market
and picking out my vegan donut, (or wondering if I should make it a cinnamon infused
morning bun — gooey pecan roll???) that is remembering, kind of like muscle memory,
the terror I felt, 21 years ago, upon finding myself with a planned and very wanted
pregnancy, but lacking in any type of healthcare.
At the time, I was self-employed as a mosaicist and Jeff was employed as a community
college and state university English instructor. Jeff was working in at least two places at
once, sometimes, three -— what they call the adjunct track —so no healthcare for him
and his loved ones. And along with the constant nausea, the first half of my very wanted
pregnancy was filled with worry and dread about how I would get the prenatal care that I
needed. I ended up finding homebirth midwives that we payed out of pocket, thanks to
some saved funds via Jeff’s generous Mom, but my mid-wives advised us that we
needed to be able to access the regular hospital system, just in case a more medical
intervention was necessary. (These were great, experienced and very responsible
women who require their clients to have a back-up plan, as I believe all home birth
Because we did not have health insurance, we were directed to a state program for the
uninsured, specifically dealing with pregnancy and the first year or so of an infant’s life. (I
have forgotten the name of the program.) What I haven’t forgotten is the first name of
the bureaucrat who took our case and was supposed to help us. For weeks, Irma
became a regular in our household as we dealt with her on the phone and submitted
reams of paper and documentation only to find out that we made too much money to
qualify for the program. Yes, only utter poverty would work to get this holy benefit of
prenatal care, and healthcare for our soon-to-be newborn. I remember feeling so
disgusted with our system. So alone. We crossed "Irma" off our list of potential baby girl
names and tried to obtain some form of insurance just in case the baby needed to be
born in a hospital.
We discovered that the state of California had a kind of temporary Medi-Cal program,
that would cover hospital births, called Restricted Medi-Cal for Pregnancy also known as
Emergency Medi-Cal. I remember going on down to an ugly government office, sitting
my tired and very pregnant self, into one of those cold, grey plastic chairs that looks
like it has sat out in the rain too long. Our Government gave me the "emergency"
coverage, and thank goodness! A month later, my son, Arturo, was born at
San Francisco General Hospital.
Due to being “sunny side up”, otherwise known in medical terms as “in the posterior
position”, my baby was unable to be born at home and I and my entourage, (four
midwives, one sister-in-law, one brother, and one husband), rushed ourselves to
San Francisco General Hospital, where they did a good, but pricey job. If I had not had
Emergency Medi-Cal, it would have cost us about 10,000 nineteen ninety-four dollars.
(Did you know that they are changing the name of SF General to Facebook’s founders’
names? But maybe that could be the subject of a future rant :).
Fast forward to now — this Thursday in late-mid March, 2015. Thanks to Jeff’s job as a
full-time and tenured community college English instructor, we have health insurance
for all of us. And Obamacare means that our 20 year old, and soon to be 18 year old can
remain insured through the age of 26.
I am grateful. I happen to think that Obamacare is a good start, but it doesn’t go far
ENOUGH! Even so, there are folks in Congress who want to throw out Obamacare
budget-116190.html And, in June, the Supreme Court is releasing a decision about a key
tenet of the Affordable Care Act.
That vegan cinnamon sugar donut that I ate today was delicious.
But I tasted a hint of remorse, or is that guilt? Patronizing Whole Foods felt disloyal to
my story and to all of us who do not think that healthcare is a privilege, but a very
Dzienkuje/grazie/ thanks for listening.
©Diana Maria Rossi 1994