The following post is from contributing writer Janelle.
Our family had an adventure this past week. After a long day of continuous pain and vomiting, my daughter Kayla was diagnosed with appendicitis and had an emergency appendectomy. The entire ordeal was difficult and of course stressful, but through the long, chaotic two days of emergency room, surgery, then hospital recovery, a different perspective began to emerge for me. It was gratitude.
Since Kayla’s long, hard ordeal in the months before her celiac diagnosis, I believe I have become a bit cynical regarding the health care system in the United States. I guess I just lost confidence.
I had so many questions.
- Why wasn’t she diagnosed earlier?
- Why didn’t they check for this? Or that?
- Why aren’t they listening to me?
- Why does the doctor talk more than listen?
- Why are things so disorganized?
- Why don’t they seem to truly care about my child?
- Why does it feel like this is all so money-driven?
After Kayla’s diagnosis, I made a decision: I have to be the one to advocate for my child, since I can’t trust that anyone else will. And since that time, I have done just that. I do the research, I make my voice heard.
But this past week I was overwhelmed by a somewhat different perspective. I was so thankful.
- Thankful for the fact that my daughter could have emergent tests, access to a qualified surgeon, and a comfortable bed and medication when she was in pain.
- Thankful for anesthesia.
- Thankful for knowledgeable nurses and anesthesiologists.
- Thankful for the required equipment, in the right place and the right time.
- Thankful for speed and organization when we needed it.
- Thankful for health insurance.
I was amazed at the knowledge and understanding that came along with Kayla’s gluten-free diet in the hospital. I remember the “old days”, really just about 6 years ago, when no one had a clue about the gluten-free diet. This time, all I had to say was “she’s gluten-free”, and up came a tray within a half hour, carefully marked as being gluten-free. Of course, the taste and texture left something to be desired, but it was amazing, the care that was taken with her food!
And I was amazed that a problem that just 100 years ago, even in our own country, could have been a life and death situation, was transformed into literally a bump in the road and a $25 co-pay.
Of course no one does everything right. And I will still need to be an advocate for my children’s health care. But I am just so thankful for the access to health care when we need it. Many people do not have that access, and it is something I have previously taken for granted. And I am so thankful for the awareness that is being spread regarding a gluten-free diet, and the comparable ease of attaining gluten-free foods even in an emergency situation, especially when measured against previous years.
Kayla is recovering quickly, with no complications, and we are just so thankful!
Janelle is mom to 2 sweet girls, one of whom is celiac, and the other showing signs of gluten intolerance.