I’m dreading April 12th this year. It has nothing to do with me turning twenty-fly. I’m fine with that. Who doesn’t want to save money on car rentals? What concerns me is that unless something changes between now and that day I will officially join the 47 million Americans without health insurance.

No offense to any one currently a part of that group, but I’d much rather stand with the people who can cough without fear.

Should I fail to score benefits through marriage or domestic partnership, I’ll have to join the people pushing their creativity levels to new heights through do-it-yourself health care.

While I already know to secure the essentials – Jesus, BC power, Robitussin, and orange juice – there’s still a lot us uninsured folk can learn to get by.

Until Obama and the ultra-combative Congress push through some legislation for real universal health care, we’ll have to start fending for ourselves. Here are a few helpful hints on how to get by until you can go into an Emergency Room without being pushed out the door fifteen minutes later.

1. The Lord Jesus may not be able to set your broken bone, but if you pray enough, maybe you’ll get spared of doing whatever it was that broke it in the first place. In times of uncertainty, faith can help you carry on. Just to be safe, I recommend praying to Yahweh, Allah, Big Buddah, and maybe even Beyonce for good luck. You need all the help you can get.

2. Start Eating Healthier Do you remember Big Mama dying from complications with diabetes in Soul Food? What did the Negroes she left behind do after that? Eat the exact same food that put her in the grave. I love catfish, too, but it wouldn’t kill people to try grilled tilapia (salmon is not recession friendly) and a carrot every now and then.

3. Drink Water The liquor store may be having a sale, but the hospital won’t accept coupons for a liver transplant.

4. Exercise Running around the block like the police are chasing you is a good way to reduce stress, sleep better, and boost your cardiovascular health. Or try yoga. Russell Simmons does it and I haven’t seen him frown in a decade.

5. Be Careful Around Children Children – not including bad ones – are full of life, which also means they’re full of germs. Remember Lysol is your friend, not every child is. That may not sound nice, but hey, they can get Medicaid. Can you?

6. Find a Free Clinic But don’t eat at the Chinese spot selling General Tso’s, subs, and steak and cheese egg rolls near it. There are clinics that provide the young and uninsured free or cheap medical assistance. Do your research.

7. Google It It’s not as fun as playing doctor as a kid, but sites like WebMD offers medical news, descriptions of various diseases and drugs, and discussion groups. Note: Internet diagnosis and self-medicating can be potentially dangerous. A good example of this would be treating an ear infection with bunion cream. It might make sense to hang outside the hospital and make a friend just in case. Or look up a free clinic.

8. Contact your local representatives Gov. Patterson of New York has proposed allowing parents to claim young adults as dependents for insurance purposes until they’re 29. Other states have already done this. If AIG can get $30 billion more in federal bailout money, the least the government could do is let my mama continue claiming me until I can get my own insurance.

9. Organize a prayer group for health insurance We need it.