“I’ve found there are people out there who can help you. And there’s no shame in it. People need to realize that some time you have to put that pride aside.” -- Paula Lauer
Racked by strong headaches, Paula Lauer knew the source of her ailment was poor eyesight when she fished out a flyer someone had given her with information about Michigan 2-1-1 and made the call. “I thought, what’s the harm in calling and talking?”
Unable to pay for an eye exam or glasses, she talked to a specialist at the 2-1-1 Northeast Michigan contact center and got some great news about an organization willing to lend a hand. The Lions Club, a civic service group, helped her with the cost of an exam and glasses and now she’s pain-free and seeing clearly again.
Neither Lauer, 42, nor her husband, of Midland County are working and the couple doesn’t have vision or dental insurance. While she has worked as a truck driver, home health aide and housekeeper in a casino, she’s been unable to find a job and has instead been helping take care of an elderly relative.
“I feel really blessed from the help I’ve gotten,” Lauer said. “I can’t say enough about nice they are down at 2-1-1. They’re so kind. They don’t make you feel shameful.”
Since her experience with securing help for her eye problems, Lauer has encouraged her husband to talk to the 2-1-1 specialists about where to find assistance for his dental problems. Due to serious medicines he took for a childhood illness, his teeth have been crumbling in middle age causing routine infections and a hit to his self-esteem, she said. There have been times his face has swelled up and he’s sought help at a hospital emergency room. At the very least, he needs to have some teeth pulled, she said
Thanks to 2-1-1, the couple has learned of a couple of clinics that specialize in low-income earners and they’re now planning to follow up with an appointment.
It’s so nice there are people out there who are willing to help people who aren’t doing so well,” Lauer said. “When I can, I want to pay it back so someone else can get help.”