Today was Nora’s first dentist appointment.
She was a rock star: super brave and happy to let him do everything he needed for a brief tooth counting and cleaning session. Being able to truly communicate with her does wonders; whereas a year ago an unknown man talking to her or a strange place with new expectations would have completely freaked her out, today none of those things were a problem.
All it took was some talking about how fun the dentist is (maybe more than a little bit of an exaggeration, but can you blame me?), and she was excited to climb up and ride in the chair, and do what she needed to do to earn herself a brand new Cinderella toothbrush. Yes, being able to talk, understand, and a little bribery goes a long way. (Her teeth are perfect, by the way, just like the rest of her.)
Both Nora and I had cleanings today, and I once again found myself incredibly thankful for the state that we live in and for the support that it has given us. I’ve mentioned once or twice in passing that we were on Commonwealth Care health insurance, a subsidized state plan with income-based premiums, but I’ve never specifically addressed it. Way back when, when Chris accepted his job at The Brotherhood, he was promised a family health insurance plan. But after we moved to Nantucket, health insurance was one of the promises that didn’t materialize. Thank goodness for Commonwealth Care. If not for low-cost government-subsidized health insurance, we might have had to make some very tough choices over the past three years — about whether someone was really sick enough to warrant a visit to the doctor, whether yearly physicals were important enough to try to squeeze out of our very tight budget, etc.
I’ve been grateful for affordable health insurance the entire time that we have lived here, but never more than now. At the beginning of this month, Chris received one final paycheck before joining the ranks of the unemployed — just two days before Zara was born. I can’t imagine what life would be like if, on top of losing our income, we had also lost health insurance. Though our home birth was generously paid for by family and friends, new babies require lots of routine check-ups. It’s so wonderful to have one less thing to worry or stress out about right now; to know that if we need to go to the doctor or dentist we can.
I’m glad to live in a place where neighbors support one another in this way, and I look forward to the day that our family can contribute to the pot and help provide this piece of mind to another family (although we probably won’t be doing it in Massachusetts).