Today I took Rocky to my WIC application appointment. They had required that I bring both Rocky and her immunization records, which I admit baffled me, considering that WIC is a food assistance program. But I brought them both.
We went through the whole rigamorole, the waiting, the paperwork, and finally got taken back to what ended up looking like a clinic. They weighed Rocky. They measured Rocky. I started getting suspicious. Then the lady said, “come sit over here, Honey,” slapped on green vinyl gloves and pulled out a finger poker. I stopped Rocky with a gentle hand on her shoulder. “What are you going to do?”
“We’ve got to check her iron levels,” she said.
“In order for you to get the vouchers, we need to have her iron levels.”
“. . . um, what?”
“You can’t do that. I don’t know why you need to do all this.” Rocky, at this point, had read the woman’s intentions and began to whimper. She retreated to the other side of the room and curled up on a chair.
The woman’s supervisor came out to try to talk some sense into me. “Ma’am, we need to know how her nutrition is, so we know that she’s getting enough of everything in her diet.”
“I can assure you she is.”
“We still will need it in order for you to get the vouchers.” She then went on to explain that every three months, I’ll need to come in for a nutrition class, and every six months they’ll be testing Rocky’s blood. All required, to get $50/month food vouchers. “She’ll forget about it in five minutes!”
I looked at Rocky’s frightened face, and told them no thanks. It’s not that I’m opposed to getting Rocky tested, when we really need to. It just made me feel . . . icky inside. Like Big Brother was in the room. We walked hand in hand back to the car and drove home. I told Rukan what happened, and she said, “Hell no! Don’t go back!”
Actually, it sounds a little like the kind of Christian missionary work where you have to go to church to get clean water. No wonder I felt icky.