Uninsured and in pain. Could be worse. At least, I’m in India.

I’ve been walking anywhere from two to 10 kilometers per day. It’s exercise, I see and learn the city better, and it beats the hell out of dealing with and paying for autorickshaw rides everywhere.

But in the last two days, my right foot — though it shows no external symptoms and I recall no major trauma — has felt like it’s on the verge of exploding with each step.

(Think jagged metal Krusty-O magically implanted between my fourth or fifth metatarsal. Sharp, stabbing pain when putting weight on the ball of my foot. Sometimes, the pain shoots up my leg.)

I’ve encountered this pain before: Then, I had a cracked bone and spent a few weeks in a ridiculous, clumsy half-boot. At the time, I was a college student and was blissfully insured. I am neither these days.

Given that, I am thankful to be in India, where the health care system is not warped beyond all recognition. I’m not saying India’s system is perfect, but I’ve spent some time in hospitals here in previous trips and I know costs are far more controlled without major rationing or delays in service.

(I will note here that many Indians are dirt poor and don’t have access to regular Western health care basics which could obviously be leveled as a criticism. But for the middle class, the system works reasonably well, something that can’t be said of the United States.)

So as the U.S. Senate is poised to open debate on health care reform, I pray for sensible heads to come together and work to fix a giant problem for America’s ever-increasing uninsured masses. And in the meantime, if my foot doesn’t get better (or fall off), I’ll be checking out a doctor here in Delhi.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Postscript: Still don’t have a working debit card — again, thanks, JPMorgan Chase — so one more reason I’m hoping for a cheap fix.

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6 Responses to “Uninsured and in pain. Could be worse. At least, I’m in India.”

  1. Royal Says:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Will bring painkillers–the good stuff–if you’re still hurting in March.

  2. Anna Says:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I’m glad you’re gonna see a doctor. Don’t be a cowboy with this. Get Mom involved if things take a bad turn. Just don’t take chances.

  3. Adam Jadhav Says:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    What, no reaction to the Krusty-O reference?

  4. Adam Jadhav Says:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    The loose translation of cowboy into Hindi, by the way, is gaiwallah. It doesn’t carry the same connotation but instead, for me, conjures up a hilarious mental image.

  5. Anna Says:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Krusty-O’s, in my brain, are shorthand for catastrophic intestinal malaise, so your reference conjured up a different hilarious mental image for me, entirely un-foot-related. What is the meaning of gaiwallah? Do I even wanna know?

    Incidentally, Mom is here and she’s pleased you’re seeing a doctor.

  6. Adam Jadhav Says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Gaiwallah is literally “cow-person,” loosely translated to one who takes care of cows. But it doesn’t have that romantic cowboy connotation of machismo and self-sufficience.

    I am always reminded of a very hilarious section of Midnight’s Children when Rushdie describes a movie titled Gai-Wallah, about a comical, meager, Indian Lone Ranger who rescues sets cattle free from Muslim ranchers and slaughterhouses. Rushdie sees it as a slightly askew Bollywood take on John Wayne.

    I’m not doing it justice and may be fudging the details.

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