Politicians are at times misunderstood. I cannot emphasize enough that there is a lot of very hard work that is unseen. The concerns and problems we discuss in meetings and learn through correspondences, weigh heavily upon many of us in this at sector at times. It is a hard and varied job, but it is worth every moment in which we can improve or help a situation. I believe in listening before deciding, and talking with others to better understand a problem. Every vote I am given is a gift. I can help, speak and change the life of those I serve and the course of future changes and development. Women’s health care has become one of my priorities, by birth, chance and need. It is only by studying, understanding and speaking up about the services and health needs of women that there will be a greater sense of equality.
I grew up acutely aware of the needs of women in health care and women’s services. My father is an Ob/Gyn and my mother a nurse, who often speaks of her time working on a neonatal floor. Women’s health was part of our life, and the numerous issues that it involved, a part of our daily routines. My father delivered thousands of babies, and in a rural county that meant that the hours were often 24 hours a day and 7 days a week year round. Holidays were celebrated, but could be interrupted at any moment. I learned quickly that babies to do not wait to be born. Physicians, particularly surgeons and first responders, understand the reach they can travel within the radius of a hospital.
There were Christmas mornings when a phone would ring while our eyes were still wide with excitement of the day, and gift opening would be stopped immediately so my father could leave immediately for the hospital. Birthdays and graduations were significant, but sometimes any celebration would be rescheduled when coverage could be found, or after a newborn’s birth. My family understood without complaint. Life is meant to be prioritized and women’s health is the half the key to all future generations to come.
I understand the situations that some women deal with. The hospital closest to my home, closed its women’s floor. That meant for the delivery of my son, I had a choice of traveling to a different state or driving nearly forty minutes to the closest hospital that could accommodate my health and insurance coverage and needs.
So I left my state and crossed the bridge to give birth. I am a lucky one. I have transportation, I have a healthy child, and I am strong. I am not afraid to speak up, I can read bills and paperwork and make the phone calls necessary to fix mistakes which need to be corrected. Not everyone is as blessed. Some in the county where I live and work, have stopped me and shared their stories. It is a serious issue and a hard conversation to hold and hear. Transportation to far away hospitals make visiting the sick sometimes an impossibility, and emergencies that must be transported to where rooms and facilities that can accommodate them is a reality. As a person, as a woman, as mother and as a politician, it is my job to listen and speak.
Health care is bipartisan. We must work together to ensure that particularly women’s health issues are not forgotten or taken away from hospitals. Health matters. Time matters. Hospitals need to fully serve their communities. It is important to remember that some health situations require immediate attention and all health issues deserve care. It is by speaking up and urging women’s floors to remain open, that we can ensure better health to future generations.