In 2012 Becky and I did a 1,000-mile ride around Florida.
The tour was cut short when I suddenly became quite sick in the middle of a morning ride. One minute I was cranking along in the Florida sunshine, the next I had fever, chills, and just generally felt awful.
So we asked the GPS for the nearest hospital. A few miles away we discovered a small one-story building and a dingy, crowded waiting room. Becky rushed to the desk and explained my symptoms. The nice lady took our information and told us it might be a couple of hours before we could see the *nurse practitioner*. No doctor on staff.
Becky made a quick decision. Back in the car, we likely broke a few traffic laws on the way to Tampa where we found a modern hospital. ER staff took one look at my badly-swollen leg, quickly shuffled me to a treatment room, and performed about a hundred tests at once. I was admitted and treated by skilled, knowledgeable docs including the head of infectious disease control for the state of Florida.
I made light of the incident, claiming I was attacked by a “skunk-ape,” a mythical bigfoot-type creature rumored to inhabit the Everglades. I even included a pic of Monte and me with the staff of the Skunk-Ape Research Headquarters. Funny story, but the infection itself was no joke. As the swelling progressed and medications failed to kill the persistent bug, the situation moved from unpleasant to concerning.
Obviously, I survived. My takeaway from the experience was a deeper recognition of privilege. Becky and I could drive 50+ miles, slap down our insurance card, and gain immediate access to world-class treatment. The folks in that dreary waiting room didn’t have that luxury.
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I recall this story this week as a reminder of injustice.
If Becky or I get sick, we’ll receive the best care possible, assuming our state doesn’t run short of critical supplies. But in many parts of the wealthiest nation on Earth (and much of the rest of the planet), that’s simply not true. In many parts of poor and rural America, the only care available resembles the under-staffed, under-equipped facility we encountered in Florida.
Jesus told us to seek justice, which means to set things right.
At the FREEDOM TOUR we typically talk about injustice in terms of human trafficking, but it’s broader than that.
When receiving life-saving treatment depends on a card in my wallet and my ability to travel 50 miles – that’s unjust.