I woke up to raging, searing blisters. I could barely walk to the breakfast area, two doors down. While this is a walk, at an average of 24 miles per day it is more like a lengthy 'sprint!' As this walk, the stories I’ve been getting and its overall mission, was too important to jeopardize, this morning would have to be a rest day (subtracting 15 miles from the total walk distance.) Besides, I don’t have health insurance and a major foot infection could not only knock me out of the walk (letting down many people) but also drive me into bankruptcy or worse. My “Living Will / Advance Directive” states that if I am incapacitated, I do not wish lifesaving measures to be taken. That’s the reality.
So, I took a break in the morning (walking, though, every day) updating dispatches, sending emails, and doing other logistical matters. Besides a small rally was planned and I wanted to be ready for the long afternoon walk to follow. I had a chance to talk with some people at the Days Inn in Plymouth. Here are some of their stories.
Jay: Jay is the manager of the hotel and he told me the story of his uncle who had a heart attack and required a triple bypass operation. Unfortunately he was uninsured and the operation would cost about $118,000. There was no way that he could pay that money—the money that would save (or at least extend) his life. And so he ended up having the operation in
Mike: Mike’s the fiancé of the front desk attendant. He doesn’t have insurance having recently lost his job. “I still owe a bunch of doctor’s bills,” he told me. “I broke my hand and right now its better but I owe $12,000.”
And so that afternoon a bunch of us gathered—Cassie, Mike, and Keith and we headed the two miles downtown and back. We talked about life in
We saw some interesting sites in Plymouth. Apparently, one can buy artillery shells there! After returning to the hotel, and feeling better (though distressed, of course, at all the hardship I’ve learned of), I walked another five miles to bulk up my miles. During that walk I went to dinner (Burger King) and stopped at a Walgreen’s to buy seven tubes of Neosporin and other supplies, preparing for a night of ‘minor surgery.” At the store, I met two women who shared with me their stories.
Val: Val is 58. She told me, “She and her husband have worked all their life, had insurance all their life and were both laid off in November. We’re both looking for jobs and have had no health insurance for the first time. We’re too young for Medicare. We don’t know what we’ll do.”
Ginny: Ginny lost work and took early retirement at 62 but, she told me, “The bad thing about that is that there’s no health insurance.” I nodded. “I make too much for the
With pain from head to toe (in my mind from hearing these stories and down below in my feet from blisters), it’s difficult to keep walking. But I did and, thankfully, I am here to bear witness to what is becoming increasingly apparent to me as a national catastrophe of epic proportions. This must change.