"I don’t know how it could be better."
My name is Ethan. I am a Seattle resident and I will turn 50 in April. I live on my own and work as a cook at a mental health care facility. I’m also an artist. I make and sell etchings, teach an etchings class and play in a bluegrass band. You could say I have four part-time jobs. I earn about $20,000 a year. I am a recovering alcoholic. I have sleep apnea and high cholesterol.
When I was drinking, I would think, “That’s a nice grove. That would be a nice place to have a whisky.” Then it came to me. I don’t have to drink. I can try to capture it. I was 40 years old and I had struggled with alcohol most of my life. Sometimes, I thought about what I would do with a billion dollars. I would want to learn how to draw. I realized I don’t need a billion dollars. I just need a pencil. It was an epiphany.
I have Apple Health and I’ve been a patient at International Community Health Services for about 10 years. No one likes going to the doctor, but I like that it’s efficient, friendly and reputable. I don’t know how it could be better.
About a decade ago, I was working full time and felt I should save for retirement. I saved $5,000, more money than I ever had in my life. I also had bad health insurance with a high premium that I switched to an employer-based plan. One night, I started to cough blood and went to the emergency room. I was in horrible pain they could never explain.
A month later, I went to talk to the billing person, who asked if I had an IRA. I told her about my account and then I got a bill for $5,000. The administrator at my work had forgotten to sign me up for health insurance. There goes my life savings. I started drinking again. The amount of stress it caused created a lot of health problems. No one would help. They feel contempt for people like me.
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