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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Home Alone

I'm not playing hooky.

And my dog is home, too, so technically I'm not completely alone. My husband is back to work after a week of vacation.

I've called in sick. This is the first time in a long time that my migraine medicine is not enough to get me up and out the door. I started having these cyclical headaches several years ago. Apparently it's a perimenopausal malady. Yay. My doctor said that she has it, also.

The first time I experienced a migraine my husband took me to the emergency room at a nearby hospital. We both thought I was having a brain hemorrhage of some kind. I could not even sit up in the waiting room chair; I had to lay with my head on Tim's lap.

Now, when I get the first symptom of dull pain behind my eyes, I take my medicine and, though it makes me a little foggy, I can function amazingly well.

"So what does this have to do with social work," you ask?

It causes me to think about how the other half lives. And I am talking about our nation's poor. What does a woman without insurance do when she gets a perimenopausal migraine every month? How does she manage her pain and get through the usual three-day cycle of a migraine?
As a social worker, I will refer this woman to Medbank or a local clinic to get the medicine she needs. Unlike me, she will need to jump through lots of hoops and when she finally gets a medicine, it may not work for her. She may just head to the emergency room when she gets a debilitating headache. Of course, this will be said to be a financial drain on the hospital.

What is the answer? This physical and social dilemma can be applied to every illness from depression to lung cancer.

I believe every American should have equal access to health care. Plain and simple. I don't have to present all the research that supports the positive outcomes of socialized medicine and health care. This isn't a term paper, and my thought process is a bit challenged today.

I wish for all people the ease with which I can access the health care that I need. Wow. Wouldn't that be the greatest holiday gift of all?

--Ms. T. J.


  1. Oh, T.J., that would be a gift. I hope you feel better. Putting on another one of my hats (as therapeutic musician), have you tried listening to some soft, soothing music? It could help you feel better (along with the meds!).

  2. Migraines. :( I hope it passes quickly.

    Have you read One Nation, Underprivileged by Mark Robert Rank? I just had to write a review for for my Social Welfare History/Policy class. It was fascinating. He talks about why all of America needs to care about poverty because it, indeed, affects every one of us...

  3. Thank you, Ash.

    I will check out Rank's work.

    --Ms. T. J.