My seventeen-year-old niece is feeling out of sorts--she's diabetic and so she's a little worried. My dad has gotten up from his nap to check her blood sugar on his glucometer. They are having a soft discussion--this is part of their everyday lives. She's being characteristically bossy: "Be careful, PaPa," "Make sure it doesn't really hurt me, PaPa," "No this is how you do it, PaPa." He's saying, "Child, you bout to have to do it yourself," "Quit messin' up my strips, girl!" "Hurry up!"
And she's immediately apologetic; she wants him to help her. My sixteen-year-old niece is standing behind her, holding her hand, so that she doesn't jerk it when my dad uses the lancet.
During the course of the conversation, we've discovered that she has no kind of insurance. She was covered by my brother's (her father's) health insurance until recently. Then, some one in the payroll department called him in to ask why he didn't pay child support for her--when he does for her other siblings. He revealed that she is not biologically his. And they told him that he could be in trouble for fraud because his insurance had covered her all these years since the divorce. Isn't that bullshit? And her mom, who's a nurse working 70-80 hours a week at two jobs, makes too much for her to get medicaid. We've had this child since my brother and her mom got back together (they had one child, broke up, she had another child, then they got back together, got married and had two more kids); she wasn't even one. She's most emphatically ours--and I resent BCBS taking it upon themselves to accuse him of fraud.
But anyway, she's not getting the checkups she needs. And she knows it and worries about it. That is why she got my dad out of bed--she takes comfort in his knowledge, even as they argue over the best way to check her levels and types of insulin and if he really knows how to use the glucometer.
Sharing, apparently, makes it better.