Last weekend, Hong, Sophia, and I drove to the home of the Wu family. For our fundraising campaign video, we spent the past week interviewing and filming nurses, hospital administrators, and Health Bridges coordinators to highlight the importance of what we do at Health Bridges. What we (and our intended audience) needed the most, however, was testimony from the patients themselves, so that’s why we were going to interview the Wu’s.
When we entered the house, we were greeted by a chorus of screams. The Wu’s had four little boys with boundless energy. They ran around, jumped on the piano, and climbed onto anything that was climbable. Since they couldn’t sit still by themselves while we interviewed the mother and father, I babysat the boys and made sure they didn’t injure themselves. As I watched them run, I was hit by a wave a nostalgia. The entire atmosphere reminded me of my childhood, from the rapid fire Chinese being spoken, to the aroma of Chinese spices in the kitchen, to the boys who looked and acted as I did.
During our interview with the Wu’s, we learned more about their situation. As recent immigrants from China, they spoke limited English. They met Hong in the emergency room in the midst of a family emergency. From their emotional accounts, it was clear that the anxiety from their emergency was exacerbated by the difficulty of navigating the American healthcare system. It was, simply put, frightening when you have trouble understanding what the doctor is saying and not knowing how much you will be charged. Thankfully, Hong was able to alleviate some of that burden and the Wu’s were grateful for our help.
My experience with the Wu’s reminded me why I was a part of Health Bridges. As students, we are so caught up in our schoolwork and our own problems that we sometimes can’t fathom the frustrations that arise from inadequate access to healthcare. But that is their reality. I hope that as Health Bridges expands, we are able to help more families like the Wu’s.
Jerry Lee, a senior at Pomona College from Irvine, California, is currently pursuing a major in Molecular Biology. He is a Community Engagement and Relations Coordinator for Health Bridges. He is also an active scientific researcher at Pomona studying the biochemistry of extreme microbes. He is interested in science and healthcare, and intends to pursue a career as a physician.