Wednesday, September 23, 2009

There, but by the grace of God . . .

I learned recently that Wayne Watson, a friend and former co-worker, had suffered a serious and debilitating stroke. Wayne and his wife Donna own and operate Down By The Bay Cafe, a small restaurant at the foot of  Fairhope Avenue here in Fairhope as well as The Shack, an even smaller barbeque place that mostly serves carry-out.   Like a growing number of Americans, they do not have health insurance coverage so if you've been looking for the face of the health care dilemma in our country, look no further.  Here is a pleasant, hard-working couple with 3 children (2 grown and 1 still at home) who can't afford the cost of health insurance.

Without warning, a stroke takes Wayne down.  Donna sits with him daily for two weeks in the hospital and then brings him home to care for him.  Paralyzed on his entire left side, he requires around-the-clock care and Donna and their extended family provide that.  He's showing improvement but this is going to be a long road to recovery.  Because Wayne and Donna are the staff of  Down by the Bay Cafe, the main restaurant is closed, the other one has a limited capacity to provide for them and the income stream dries up.  Expenses mount and income dwindles.  It's scenarios like this that lead to the #1 cause of personal bankruptcy in this country: health care costs.

I don't know whether any of the various bills that are being bantered about Congress right now are the solution to Wayne's problem and the problem of many others but it's an undeniable fact that the health care industry in our country needs to be overhauled.  Yes, it will probably cost us something more to fix this but here's a news flash:  it's already costing us and without intervention, those costs are likely to continue to rise.  Regardless of your political inclinations, it's time to end the stalemate and come together with a solution to address situations like the one Wayne and Donna are facing.  We will all be better for it.  

In the meantime, if you want to help Wayne and Donna, there's a fund set up in his name to which you can donate at any location of Compass Bank.

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