She had worked all of her life, as most of my students have, in one of our local factories, and suffered multiple health problems because of it, include severe hearing loss. She also had no health insurance, although, because she had some Native American blood -- again, as many of my student do -- she was able to use what she called "the Indian clinic" in Tallequah.
Well, she was able to use it when (a) she could reach it and (b) it could fit her into its schedule. Since so many of our local impoverished depend on it, it was nearly always overbooked.
What this worked out to was that her high blood pressure (not to mention her hearing loss and bad vision and dental issues and other problems, but we'll stick to the blood pressure problem) went untreated for years. All last summer she kept driving over to Tallequah, trying to get her medication adjusted. Her car was ancient and unreliable, she had to sit for hours at the clinic, and often they sent her home unseen because the doctors were overbooked.
So: stress, poverty, illness, overwork, and she was a semester away from graduation, set to graduate this spring, so there's that too.
Now she's in the ICU, and who knows what she'll be able to do?
Nor was she that old -- late fifties. With proper medical care, she would have been an excellent English teacher in the public schools, a productive member of our economy. Now she's going to cost Arkansas a ton of money for quite some time.
Heck of a job, Blanche.