The CareNow Free Clinic Saved My Life

Vern Bowman attended the CareNow free clinic in Los Angeles. After working for 41 years, he lost his job two years ago, as well as his access to health insurance. He went to the free clinic to see a dentist, but while under the care of volunteer physicians, learned he had a much more serious problem with this AICD heart defibrillator. Here is his story.

Posted on | By Vern Bowman

Life without insurance had left me feeling empty. The inability to not be able to go and get health care when it is necessary is to deprive yourself of what is due and expected. When asked or told by others that I should get a new medical issue taken care of right away, I just answered them by agreeing and thinking to myself, “I wish it was possible.” Without insurance or income, this isn't possible and just becomes another wish-list item. My medical situations with coronary artery disease, AICD, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, and high cholesterol are foremost my biggest health worries.

The times that I have postponed my health care has affected my mental state, leaving me frustrated, irritated, with a lack of self- respect. I kept my thoughts bottled up inside, knowing that everyone has their problems and nothing changes.

On the morning of October 17, 2011, while watching the news, I saw a report that hundreds of people had been lining up at the Los Angeles Sports Arena to pick up wristbands for a free health-care clinic. The wristbands were going to be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. There would be volunteer doctors and nurses available to provide medical, dental, and vision services to uninsured and underinsured people without charge. Hearing this news got me excited and I did not want to miss this opportunity. I had a cracked tooth and needed my vision checked. So, I headed out to join the now growing line of people. I kept hoping every minute that my place in line was the right place so I would be eligible to get one of the 5000 wristbands to be handed out. 

Article written by Vern Bowman