“Thanks. I’ll turn in your form to an intake worker, and you’ll be called in soon.” Cindy thanked the woman at the desk and returned to the seat she was occupying in the Health Department waiting room. She caught a glimpse of herself in the glass window as she sat down. “Not too bad for an old woman of forty-one,” she thought to herself. The grey hairs splashed throughout her blond ones disturbed her some, however. Next week, she would invest in a box of hair color if she had any money remaining from her unemployment check after buying Carol’s costume for the school play. If she could just get some pain medication for her carpal tunnel syndrome, she was sure she could find work again as a secretary. Her thoughts were interrupted by a squeal of glee from a Hispanic toddler, seemingly unaware of his impending shots, playing with blocks at the nearby kids’ table. She shared a knowing smile with his mother.
Cindy heard her name over the intercom and made her way to the cubicle. “I’m sorry,” a young woman with downcast eyes told her, “but, since you aren’t eligible for Medicaid, we can’t take you as a client right now.”
“Thanks anyway,” Cindy replied. No longer smiling, she glanced at the baby boy playing and walked out the door to her car. Maybe they would give me some pain pills if I weren’t a legal citizen, she thought bitterly.