What’s Up, Doc?

By Hilary Berg, OWP Editor

Nobody enjoys going to the doctor, especially me.

First, there’s the waiting room filled with an often miserable-looking crowd. No matter what seat I choose, I am surrounded by sick people — some coughing, some moaning, sometimes even hurling — anxiously watching the clock, waiting for their names to be called.

When the nurse calls mine, I quickly get up and hurry through the swinging door. But before she tells me what room I’ll be in, she asks to record my height and weight.

Now, for some, getting on a scale is like taking any other step, but for others, like me, — who never lost her “freshman 15” and added a “sophomore six,” — this is what I call “adding insult to injury.” 

When I finally get to my room, I survey my seating options once again. I can either climb onto the paper-wrapped stunted exam bed — with fuzzy stir-ups peeking out — or opt for a boring old chair.

No-brainer: I choose the bed. I lay down, stare at the ceiling tiles and buzzing lights, and carefully listen to the noises outside my door.

No matter how long I lie there — a few minutes or half hour — I always start to wonder if the staff will forget I’m in there — remember, my self-esteem is poor at this point. So every few minutes, I cough — fake or real, doesn’t matter — loudly, as to alert the nurses and doctors that, yes, I am still here and certainly still sick.

When the doctor finally knocks on the door, I sigh with relief. An end to my “suffering” is near, and I begin to tell the doctor all the sordid details.

As melodramatic as the whole process seems to be — when I feel crummy, everything is exaggerated — I am always grateful for the opportunity to see a doctor and get the care I need.

I know many Americans don’t have insurance to pay for adequate health care; this is one of the biggest problems our nation faces. Health care should be a universal right. No one should go without.

But some, like many migrant vineyard workers, don’t have access to health care at all.

Twenty years ago, Oregon’s progressive wine industry created a successful program to address this issue. ¡Salud! is unique and exceptional, and the annual auction to raise money for it is memorable and especially meaningful. Turn to page 22 to read about the program and its evolution.

Cheers to ¡Salud! To your health!  

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