Peanut, our 4 year old boy, took swimming lessons over the summer. We have a pond in our back yard, and although he knows that he isn’t to go out there without an adult, knowing how to swim is a necessity should he ever slip outside while my back is turned. But swimming was scary. He would cry before lessons, even though once he was in the water he was happy as a clam, so we started to talk a lot about using brave skills to overcome what he anticipated to be hard or scary.
Bravery is when something is scary and you do it anyway, and it doesn’t come naturally. One has to practice being brave. When he had trepidations in class, I’d remind him to be brave. Soon, he was swimming across the pool, face in the water, without touching the ground, and he excitedly told me, “Mommy, I used my brave skills!”
Recently, I took both kids in to have blood drawn. I tried to prep Peanut for the needle – a small pinch, over quickly, and then a sticker – and reminded him to use his brave skills. “Any boy who can swim all the way across the pool without touching isn’t afraid of a silly little shot!” He squeezed my fingers but didn’t shed a tear. When it came time for his baby sister’s turn, he turned to her and said, “It’s okay, it’s just a little pinch! Be brave!” and held her hand. Understandably, she wailed, not yet having had the chance to understand or practice bravery!
I’m currently practicing my brave skills. We’re canceling the health insurance policy that I’ve been on my whole life. This year’s policy changes arrived and services were cut while they raised our premium 20% on a high-deductible plan; our deductible was raised from $4,500 to $11,000 a year. On a $24,000 a year income, we simply can’t pay out of pocket $11,000 a year for our health insurance deductible alone!
I’m anxious about finding new doctors, a new plan, and asking for reduced fee programs for low income families. I keep reminding myself that health insurance is a necessity and the effort will pay off, but it is taking all of my brave skills to pick up the phone and call around to admit, over and over, that our income is low and we need help.
Next week, my first Dialing for Dollars post will be about health insurance options for those readers living in San Mateo County, and how to find health care at a reduced fee in your area.