It was dark outside. I was alone. The pain did not stop! It had been five hours. I made the call and waited. Soon the red and yellow lights appeared outside of my condo. The paramedics came in and confirmed that they would take me to the hospital.
A week later I am reflecting on a series of events and America in general. I am back home without a gall bladder. I really never thought much of gall bladders except for the rather ugly name of the organ. However, I did stop and wonder what it’s function was when I was reading my paternal grandfather’s biography on the Internet recently.
The article began with his birth in Northern Ireland and described his immigration to the United States as a small boy in the 1860’s. His family was able to work on a farm and as a young man he went to business college. After that, he owned numerous businesses and became active in state politics. Eventually, he was elected state auditor in the state of Iowa. He died at the age of 56 from gall bladder complications.
I never knew him. I was born 20 years after his death. My father spoke of him in passing and would take me to the State Capital to see his old office, but other than that the details of his remarkable life were sketchy. Perhaps because they were too painful for his heirs. The family’s insurance company had failed during the great depression.
I was raised in a humble, if not almost a poverty level household. Medical expenses often ate away at whatever income we had. In some ways, now I am grateful because I went to work at an early age and was always mindful of having a secure job with medical benefits. I was able to do this and still break away for world adventures.
All of this brings me to reflect on America today. Our cruel incompetent government has almost destroyed the American dream, for America and for immigrants. Protests occur daily. People are crying out for universal heath care and humane treatment of refugees seeking asylum.
When I entered the hospital, I encountered several things. Of course, I had to show that I could pay my bill. That seemed to be foremost in the minds of the American medical staff. My intense pain came second.
During my five- day stay, I observed something else. The foreign-born staff members from Nigeria, Siberia, China, Spain and other countries too numerous to mention, cheerfully and competently rendered caring medical services. They were lucky enough to be experiencing the American dream that seemed to have slipped through the fingers of some of the American staff. I applaud the immigrants who enrich our lives daily. It is only fitting that this image was taken in Africa, to be exact, in Botswana.
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