My apologies for not updating our blog. For the last week and a half our family has been sick, all except for dad (incidentally, I think its because I'm the only one in the family who consistently eats Polish doughnuts--but Ginger disagrees). Ginger and the kids just haven't been getting better so today we bit the bullet and did something about it. I think this is a great time to give you a little insight into the Polish healthcare system. At the outset let me say, that anyone who is for an all inclusive government healthcare plan ought to visit Poland before they make any final decisions. Though government run healthcare is certainly better in some countries than others, there are always huge drawbacks. For an example that hits close to home just think about how much fun it is to visit the DMV each year to renew your license or get new plates, or think about the friendly and efficient customer service the U.S. postal system offers. Now think of that same government running the healthcare system. Yeah---you get my point. In Poland it is not uncommon for someone to come to the hospital with a less than life threatening condition only to be told to return after the new year when the hospital has more money. Once in the hospital it can sometimes be a struggle to get quick effective care because doctors have no incentive for expedience. All in all the healthcare system isn't terrible, but it could certainly be much better.
Missionaries and other foreigners are outside the system, which is a good thing for the most part. When we need to see the doctor or go to the hospital, we immediately pay for the services rendered, which usually aids in receiving timely and effective care. Some friends of ours were in Poland this summer, when the wife suddenly had severe pain from gall stones. Fortunately, since they were able to pay she had the gall stones removed via laprascopic surgery and she was diagnosed, under the knife, and finished with her hospital stay in four days. The bill totaled something like $600. Not bad at all. The way our international insurance works is that we pay upfront and then are reimbursed once the receipts have been turned into the Insurance Co. Today we called and had a Dr. visit our house. That's right, Doctors still make house calls here, though it usually costs a little more. After checking Ginger and the kids the damage was one infection of the ear, nose and throat, one case of bronchitis, one case of bronchial pneumonia, and one severe cold. The picture is of the boys standing in front of all the medication we bought tonight, even more medication than what is on my grandma's nightstand on any given night. We were suprised because the kids don't appear to be that sick, but I guess their lungs sounded a little rough. After the doctor prescribed the different medications I asked if any of it would make the kids drowsy and she said no. I told her I was bummed out about that and she got a good laugh.
Please don't mistake this blog entry for some type of cryptic statement about how we are suffering for Jesus over here or about how we are great examples of faith. The truth is, medical care on foreign fields is lightyears better than what it was for missionaries a hundred years ago and yet it is still one of the main fears for most people when they consider missions. I'd be lying if I said we didn't think about this while we were considering the move to Poland, and Poland's healthcare is better than most. If this fear has hindered you from going on a missions trip or from encouraging your child into missions, or hindered you from full time missions work---the question you must answer is "Is God any less capable of providing for, caring for, or protecting his servants in a country outside the U.S. ?" Your health and safety isn't a result of where you live, its a result of the God who made you, and His sovereignty doesn't change from country to country.