Posts Tagged ‘health care reform’

Not dead yet

I am in haste, Gentle Reader, but let’s just say I have missed you.  I had a decidedly Not Amusing Near Death Experience which I will describe in future posts.   It involved being in a hospital, and all the joys attendant thereto, including a hospital provided drug overdose and a week long stay for what is usually an outpatient procedure.  But I am thankful for all of you, and truly.  This will be an amusing story, I promise.    What, after all, is funnier than the opiate/stool softener regime they want to put you on (even if and especially when you are allergic to the ingredients in both of those things) in such places as SOP while acting as though you eat babies raw for breakfast if you smoke marijuana?  My sense of humor is intact, if dented, at least.

More to come.  And thankyou for reading!

sands of time

To do, or not to do?  That really is the question.  So much has happened and it seems that unlike Ren and Stimpy we ARE affected by the journey.  Our heads did appear to explode.

Everyone I speak to  is exhausted, barely had the energy to crawl out of the pajamas they’d been in for days when it was time to Go Back To Work, Now.  Planning?  Not so much.  Control? An old idea that popped like a soap bubble.

It takes a fair amount of fortitude to keep riding the wave, Gentle Reader.  It is true that we’re here to learn.  Understanding that means we don’t take things as personally as we used to: either you pass the course or you retake it, no harm no foul in the INCREDIBLY LONG RUN.  In the RIGHT NOW SHORT RUN? Well, St. Augustine, who I’ve never much cared for, said the reward of patience is patience, and that is where we find ourselves in the short run.  Being patient.

At times like these all you can do is keep breathing and paying attention.  Unlearning a lifetime’s dictates takes a minute and when one of those dictates was keep moving! all the time! something IS gaining on you! it can be quite the endeavor to sit still.  Still, the Partner always says that if everyone would just stop for a while, things could change.  I think he’s right but the stopping bit is not as easy as you might think.  The constant endeavor to make things “better”, to “fix” what’s askew, to keep dust and clutter at bay, to remain above water…..it becomes habitual to the point where one may not see that in fact, progress is not occurring but the hole one is in is definitely getting bigger and filling with an uncongenial substance.  The cognitive uproar creeps in (they’re saying it’s white but really? it’s black) and you just might start to realize that since you aren’t asleep or anywhere close to it, it is time to stop believing in the..er…American Dream.

We saw Three Days of the Condor yesterday and I found it rather deeply disturbing.  Not only did I wonder just what has actually happened to Robert Redford’s skin, but?  For a movie made in 1975- a long time ago no matter how you slice it- it was about as up to the minute as it could be politically.  In short- it’s been the same old shit FOREVER.  It’s about oil and power and even in that hoary old chestnut of a movie the US was invading Venezuela and middle eastern nations.  JUST LIKE TODAY.  Not about cooperative world progress or even, heaven forfend, proper THINKING ABOUT THINGS, you know? Thinking? Problem solving? Who said the entirety of everything has to be about making the world safe for petroleum?  The people who have been making the decisions for the world turn out to be not much smarter- if any at all- than you and me.  They just had a higher spot on the legacy totem pole.

Notwithstanding the personal stuff of our lives which for many is larger and more challenging than ever, there’s this other gargantuan thing taking up all the air in the room.  Namely, what appears to be an epic, titanic looming struggle to the death, between those who operate on the sole basis of capitalist self interest and those who do not.  I have to wonder how such an aggregation of seeming morons as we have at the top of the world could have done what they have, in fact, done.  No regard for truth or compassion.  Lying and hypocrisy are the order of the day.  When you hear the talk about unemployment and job creation?  What do most people think?  There’s no way on earth enough jobs could be “created” in this country to meet the needs of its people.  An aging population gets shoved on the conveyor belt to poverty as the upcoming younger group realizes there is no future for them, either.  Free trade? means free for the interests at the top and prohibited for the small person at the bottom.  It leads to the expansion of “black” markets and segregated communities.  The health care situation in the US is completely ridiculous and the new “affordable Health Care” act is just another way to make the world safe for insurance companies even above and beyond how it was before.

So, yeah.  It’s January and I’m depressed.  But hope springs eternal, and I have an excellent stash of duck fat now. Hope it lasts.

Real Life

Things are swirling around us as per usual, Gentle Reader.  An example, you say?  How about a friend taking her special needs, tube-fed, sister in law to an emergency room (the one that didn’t say the only good time to come was at 3 a.m.  I found this interesting- where we lived before, 3 a.m. was prime time in the ER and if you went then you added at least three hours to your wait- those hours between 3 and the 6 a.m. shift change- where the ambulances came in non-stop) The feeding tube became dislodged from the abdomen, which happens, but does require certain tools to reinsert.  And the doctor at this particular ER spent two hours poking this poor creature in the navel trying to re-insert the feeding tube piece.  Which was, as you might guess, not in the navel to begin with.  Fortunately there was another physician there who knew what to do and obviated the surgery which was being scheduled.

There’s a lot of that going around, let’s just say.  At times it seems as though we’ve woken up in some completely other, not even parallel, universe.  I’ve stopped listening to the news for the nonce, because seriously.  It has become too stupid to believe.  Now the President can’t have an umbrella held for him?  The U.S. spends well over half the government’s budget on the military.  Which is to say, on killing.    There are lots of people right here in this country who don’t have enough to eat, can’t make a living,  the environment IS in fact toppling on the edge of irreversibility, and we devote time to A FRIGGING UMBRELLA? Because we certainly can’t do our jobs, can we?  That would be way too easy.

Having sworn off, or so I thought, thinking about politics and all that, I had one of those giddy and short lived moments where I thought, OK! I can do this! Get through a day and live life and all the rest of it!  But as I watch the reality of daily, real life erode around me of course it is clear that not only can one not think about politics, one has to also think about how to engage in the situation in a way that will accomplish something positive.  I heard a TED talk on how people don’t do “good” things because they’re hoping to accomplish  something great, so something small doesn’t register as mattering.  It was followed by a man discussing how philanthropy doesn’t really work because of how it’s managed:  Those great six figure incomes Stanford MBA’s have come to feel are their god given right are only in the high five figures if you work in the sector of public good- say, fighting hunger or looking for cures for diseases.  So those same MBAs get their great jobs because of course what matters??? MONEY!, donate some and come out ahead because of tax breaks and keeping more of their income, have positions of influence in the philanthropy world…and, what?  This is just applying that great old capitalist paradigm to yet another place where it does not work.    So how exactly can one engage with a system that is, in my opinion, hanging on to itself with a death grip with one hand and extending all the fingers of the other one fully in a giant rude gesture?

At times I despair, especially lately when all of my best laid plans have not only gone sideways but disappeared into the wild blue yonder.   Still of course one cannot do that and constructive engagement must happen, somehow.    This place we live now is, like everything else, a macrocosm in a microcosm.  There are a lot of poor people here, and although the job market is apparently better than it is a couple of hundred miles west on the north coast, it isn’t easy to survive.   The division between people with their eyes open and those with their eyes closed seems to be ever more stark, and we were wondering this morning, the Partner and I, how that can be.  How can we all close our eyes to what goes on all around us every day?  And every night? And pretend that everything is just fine?  When it really would be so simple- not easy, but simple- to change things so that everyone would be in a better condition.  Compassion for others would indicate that we do not poison their neighborhoods with pollution or left over weaponry or bad food.  Or that we wouldn’t lie about inadequate levies and nuclear power plants.  We wouldn’t lie about how many people don’t have work.  Simple compassion.  However that seems always to be massively overridden by what appears to be at bottom stupidity and greed.  So we have to keep on warring, keep on putting people in prison, keep on fouling the food supply up to the point where one hardly knows what one is eating, keep on denying the people of the world access to the most basic things they must have (water? how about adding and subtracting? how about THINKING? not to mention health care.).

It’s mortifying, in a way, to be an American at this point.  The actions of this country are so often reprehensible and I still don’t really believe the average American would really support them if the truth were known.  Things get complicated and stuff happens.  But the final decision about what’s right cannot be made from the point of view of what benefits the smallest number and is spelled P-R-O-F-I-T. ( Shall we take a moment and ponder the swimming success story of Iraq? For whose benefit was that?)  The whole issue of health care in the U.S., alone, could be a poster child for what is happening.  There have been, indeed, marvelous advances in health care.  But those are, and believe me we’ve seen this up close and personal, only available to those with the very large amounts of money necessary to pay for them.  Always supposing the insurance company decides it’s OK for them to get the treatment in question.  Since when does an insurance company get to tell you what to do when you’re sick?  But this dollar dollar dollar thing infects everything and half the doctors one sees are only parroting what the insurance providers allow them to.  And heaven help you if you don’t have insurance.  I finally realized why it’s such a problem when people want to pay cash- there’s no clear, delineated and explained format for what things cost when you go to the hospital or clinic.  In short, what the hospital charges you for say, a hip replacement or cancer therapy or even basic appointment, verges on being a figure they pull out of you know where.  I heard it on NPR!

Anyway.  This feeling of an approaching tsunami is not one I’m adjusting to very well.  However, our garden seeds did all come up, the onions look really good and we can hardly wait for the salmon-interiored watermelons.  And dragon tongue beans……it’s all about focus, perhaps.  Love is, for sure, the way.  But it for sure ain’t easy.

Curving out the straights….

Or, possibly, straits.  What with one thing and another it’s been a few minutes since last I wrote, Gentle Reader.  We’ve had, for example, no internet for some time, on and off.  Weather.  It would seem.  Then again it could just be the veritable fabric of the universe rending itself into intergalactic tidbits.

The Birthday went well, even if it was cakeless.  I made creme brulee instead.  The following Slough of Despond had mostly to do with technical issues, like the aforementioned no internet, although there was the usual amount of Disturbing Personal News.  Also with what I discovered when I GOT internet, which was that once again some body hacked into my website.  Another password change, then I couldn’t get into it myself.   We decided the sensible thing was to watch Pirates of the Caribbean again.

These are all minor things of course although massively irritating- the price one pays for participation in a virtual reality.   People will hack, apparently, no matter what. (Even if, as according to my Web Host, there’s “no reason why they’d hack YOUR site.”) They will also leave strange comments on blogs in Afrikaans.   I’m amazed and happy that people read this blog, and I do thank you all for commenting and following!  It’s astonishingly heartening to see that people are looking, and paying attention, and reading.  It’s just hard, sometimes, to tell what is a comment and what isn’t, so SHOULD YOU leave a comment that revels in ambiguity, perhaps ending in numbers,  please don’t be upset if I don’t get it and thus do not approve it.  If you’re a spammer of course you’re not paying any attention anyway, so no worries.  Thank you all, in any event.

Meanwhile I continue to view the ever widening gap in this country between rich and poor with open mouthed incomprehension.  We’re in a world now where you have to pay for television for God’s sake, get an unbreakable contract for that same television service or a phone, and be fed a constant stream of pabulum (“news”, commercials, ROBOCALLS!) which is supposed to be taken as honest truth through both mediums.  You also have to have health insurance.  Which is even more astronomical in cost than television.  And which, if you are not covered by same, means you get no care if you become ill.  The provisions for non-insured health care in this country are: None.   I hate to be the one to break this news, but not everyone can afford health insurance.  Not everyone feels it prudent to spend $600 or more a month on something they don’t use because they are healthy.  Not everyone wants an insurance or pharmaceutical company to be telling them what care they can receive.  Or a bunch of politicians for that matter.    Yes indeed, many scam the system.   Many more, however,  do not.  But care still needs to be given and attention paid to everyone, whether or not the prevailing review boards think they’re worth saving or not.   I laugh every time I hear the ridiculous assertion about the new Health Care Law- that it includes “death panels”.  Really?  What do you think they call it now when someone who is elderly or disabled or has the “wrong” sort of cancer is refused treatment?  Even if they have insurance?

I really, really wish we could all…stop for a day.  Stop and look.  Then make the changes we need so desperately.  I, for one, am very tired indeed of watching people I know and care about,  as well as those I do not, suffering, dying, because…why?  Because the overweening greed that runs things now has not been served.  Maybe Shakespeare would add bankers and insurance agents to his list in, I think, Henry VIII- if he were still around?

 

 

Chop wood, carry water

The Partner is doing the chopping; I did the water carrying.  Soon, we have to go down off the hill, which I figured costs us a minimum of $5 in gas each time, because our phone is out of order and there isn’t any cel reception up here to speak of.  It’s all in the exhausting nature of life here which does have the effect of keeping one FLEXIBLE.  Gumby-esque, you might say.  I had things planned for Monday, for example, but now I have to be here all day waiting for the Phone Company to show up.  So that means I need to do something else on my list Monday.  Which means the errands I had planned for Tuesday need partly to be done today.  And so on.  We couldn’t do laundry while the sun was out because….hahahaha!!! there wasn’t any water.  And so on.

The Business Issues continue but with my new Carefree, Relaxed Attitude, do I care that I have orders to get out that are waiting for the New Size Jars since these are all custom things?  And that the label issue, much as I tried to do an end run around it, required certain large purchases to be made.   At least we got a “free” shredder thrown in. ( It says “LIGHT DUTY” on it; the Partner asked what that meant, and I figure it means this shredder is not for corporate use, right? ) However and, with my excellent New Design and Brain Consulting Staff, I think that while there will certainly be lots of cursing and stepping on the Screaming Doormat (which last uttered a spontaneous and un-stepped upon scream as we were walking out into the eclipse to drive to the Christmas Fair), ultimately it will all be better.

It finally snowed in the mountains and at last, there is snow on both Lassen and Shasta which glows spectacularly in the sunsets.  The other mountains had snow, and were wreathed in fog and clouds which gave them the appearance of floating, until the snow largely melted.  The frogs are coming out to sing, and the gray squirrel was out front this morning, first facing us eating an acorn so that his white stomach glowed like a beacon.  Then he turned around and we watched his little head and ears as he padded around foraging.  The manzanitas are blooming, too- the pink ones always come out first.

You could almost think everything is alright.  But in the words of the songwriter Tod Snyder, everything is not alright.  As in the song I heard, wherein he described being about to crash his car.

I spent a whole day last week with a friend, going to the doctor first and then to the lab where in theory lab tests were to be done.  The high point was seeing the miniature donkeys on the way home, besides getting to hang out with my friend of course.  The low point?  All the rest of it.

WHICH.  We will summarize because really?  I’m starting to see how things really are intimately connected even though the Average Citizen is doing their darndest not to see it.  And it’s really exhausting.  But the medical establishment in the country?  The war on drugs?  The prison system which has been privatized?  All connected.  Directly.  And it is all about profit, Gentle Reader, not to put too fine a point on it.  We were told, point blank, that surgeons in particular and physicians in general in this area will not take on patients who do not have health insurance.  Because why?  Because their insurance carriers have determined that people who don’t have insurance and pay cash are more likely to file malpractice suits.  A get rich quick scheme we were told.  Which told me off the top that nobody knows their right from their left here.   Lawsuits are no longer “quick” in this state with the budget cuts to the courts.  There are caps on malpractice settlements.  Then we were told that these same individuals (lowlifes was the implication) were “no better off financially twelve months later” than they were before because they “can’t manage money”.   Apart from the fact that if they did manage to get a settlement, a pretty large portion of it would go to their attorney.  And to taxes.  But, hey!  It’s all about money management, right?  So, if you don’t have insurance FOR WHATEVER REASON?  and you get sick?  Sayonara, where’s the airport.  Also, if you refuse the Pharma Platter suggested to you, no further assistance will be rendered.  If they think you’re too sick to benefit from said Pharma Platter, even if you have insurance, you’ll be let die- and I personally witnessed this with a client.  It blew my mind, really.  I was shocked that in a society where many people seem to think abortion is wrong, adults are let die because….because,  it seems, they are no longer profitable.  So, in essence, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries control the sort of medical and health care you get in this country.

The war on drugs? Links directly to the Prison issue, and they both go directly to: Profits for Corporations, Pharmaceutical, and now, “Corrections”.  People can be as loaded as all get out on vicodin, xanax, oxycontin, whatever their doctor will prescribe.  But smoke marijuana and you’re in the slammer for a long time.  You are depriving Pharma of their due profits, after all.  So then you go to prison, and the prisons? Are largely for profit corporate entities now.  The simple math:  More prisoners mean more money coming in.  Fewer services for those prisoners means the more money can be turned into profit instead of used for the betterment of society by educating prisoners and helping them improve their lives.  I mean, really.  Explain to me how you can throw somebody in jail for ten years and they come out worse than when they went in.  Plus they can’t: vote, rent a place to live, get a job.  And for extra fun they’ve got a mountain of debt for their jail term.  Nelson Mandela got a huge bill from the South African government for his term of incarceration, and so do many of the spider web tattooed guys you see on the street from time to time.  It becomes a revolving door situation: There’s nothing for them to do on the outside and they’re money makers on the inside.  Adam Gopnick has written an excellent article in the January 30 issue of THE NEW YORKER on the subject of prisons, and it is something everyone should read.  We have, apparently, more people in prison than were in Stalin’s gulags.  The racial composition of prisons is another, sickening, subject.  And the War on Drugs, which when you look at it goes pretty much directly back to not only the Pharmaceutical industry which militates against anything they aren’t selling themselves,  but also the endemic corruption in law enforcement (they can get money for broad swathes of drug arrests, for example).

So, as much as we’d all like to deny that we’re sitting on top of a mountain of excrement which is about to sink under it’s own nasty weight, it’s still the actual case.  It doesn’t seem like it would be all that difficult to undo either….but that would mean a restructuring of things and profit would have to go, as it is currently understood and manifested.  Surplus ? To be used consciously to improve whatever the purpose of the initial means of production?  A more workable concept.  (the Partner, again.)

We’ll be back to recipes next time I think.  All this tough sledding has made me cook like a maniac.

woolgathering part “n”

Yesterday’s big excitement concerned the local donkeys.  Three of them made a break for it and walked about a mile up the road before their humans toddled after them and attached leads to their festive red halters to walk them home.  They were having quite the time, chatting and laughing, and making errant digressions on the way back.   Just one more thistle, please.  One donkey walked back with the lady of the house, the two others were herded by the gentleman, perched on a (matching?) red small offroad four wheeler.  We watched them all go up the hill, taking their small flashing steps, and it seemed pretty clear they were in high spirits and planning to do it again.  Copper, one of the resident horses here, was a bit more glum about the whole thing and seemed to be saying, they didn’t make it! they tried! but they got caught! drat!!!

Today, so far, two white tailed deer stood motionless at the foot of our driveway for about half an hour.  Motionless.  The frog is back, too, and that’s about the extent of the news around here.

It’s cold and dreary today in the enchanted forest, Gentle Reader, low clouds and invisible mountains beyond them.  The oak trees look like something out of a fairy tale with their myriad little branches curling out in the air.  Sometimes it really looks as though they are moving, dancing almost.  It rained last night and the stones which abound here are glittering in the ground like rainbows.  It turns out we have all kinds of agates and jasper and quartz just laying around.  Chalcedony, serpentinite, slates in myriad colors, volcanic rocks and petrified wood, some of it with resin running through.

Meanwhile, the outer world seems to be ever more in uproar.  It is very hard to survive, if we’re honest about it, and the lack of constructive activities across the board leads to a lot of bad things.  Shootings in shopping malls in Tucson because someone didn’t get the help they needed, a young man in Tunisia immolating himself because he simply couldn’t make a living.  Meaningful work is hard to find or see.  I wonder if the corporate interests running the world really are just THAT STUPID- just that stupid to think that it doesn’t matter if people have work to do that sustains them, just that stupid to think it doesn’t matter whether the ocean dies or not.  Just that stupid to think the only thing that matters is them.  It’s pretty scary for this bear, let’s just say.  I heard a politician- a leader in the House-  in an interview saying he knew what “the American people” want, need, this that and the other, concerning health care.  They want what they’ve got right now, in essence, he said.  What I’ve got right now in that regard? Is nothing.  Not terribly desirable.  I didn’t think he’d know what the American people really need, or care, if it hit him in the face. It was infuriating to listen to the glib nothings coming out of the radio.   People need services that work, infrastructure that functions, education, and something to DO.  They need a functioning medium of exchange.  They need leadership that focuses on the common progressive good and not the needs of the few.  They don’t need what they’ve seemingly got, to my mind, which is completely uncontrolled growth at the top.  A cancer that threatens to take our society, our world, our earth, down, in the name of …what? Profit for some, apparently.

As The Head Spins

AS promised.  I  can’t tell you how much fun we’ve been having lately.   I really can’t.

The Partner has a painful, chronic, and apparently undiagnosable “project”, as we say in Jin Shin Jyutsu, instead of saying problem, or disease.   Since we have no health insurance, this most recent episode forced us to go to the County Hospital Emergency Room.  With modest hopes of pain, nausea and vomiting, sleeplessness and other issue relief.    I used to work in an Emergency Room, and I am not naive about what they are like, and what their purpose is.   However, Gentle Readers, I confess I was beyond flabbergasted, beyond stunned, beyond offended and outraged, just….BEYOND THE BEYOND at what I beheld and endured there.

Firstly…well, what is the firstly?  I found it quite fascinating that they were quite willing, nay even eager, to give out as much morphine as anyone wanted.  Seriously.  The Partner is allergic to opiates, however, so for him, out of the question.  It’s always fun to tell a doctor you are seriously allergic to something, and have them say, what happens? Well, an allergic reaction, Doctor. Or Nurse. Or Whoever.  You know, LIFE THREATENING ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK?  ‘MEMBA THAT FROM MED SCHOOL? Ahem.  Excuse me.  So then they are not terribly interested in you.  Granted they can cross “Just for the drugs”  off their list of reasons why you’re there.  But then it’s a problem for them.  What to give you.  So, just as an aside here, I sat there thinking, hmmmm.  Morphine.  Opiates.  Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world right now.  Pharmaceutical companies benefiting from the War on Terror? Maybe?   Because I was truly astounded at how loaded they got every single person around us.  But, onward.

So, there we are, Day One.  At the so-called “Triage”, where first you meet a Latino Guy who barks at you to stay behind the line while he asks you questions.  But of course he can’t HEAR you from behind the line so you have to step forward and he barks at you and…you get the picture.  Then, on to either the guy with two hearing aids or the woman who is cruising the music downloads on the hospital computer to get your temperature and blood pressure taken.  Then, after a wait whose length there is no way of knowing, on to the person next to Mr. Hearing Aid or Ms. Music, who is supposed to figure out where you should go.  The “Triage Nurse”.  After that, again time being the unknowable quantity, you get to go the the REALLY charming administrative people who set you up for the major screwjob  billing portion. It’s really fun, because they call your name, see you react and walk toward them, then they say: What’s your name?  The first day we were there for over four hours.  After which time, because the Partner looked as though he were about to die, I went up and asked where he was on the “list” to get into the actual treatment area.  He was number seven.  Out of a roomful of people, none of whom were in any acute distress to judge by the potato chip munching, walking around, laughing and general drollery going on.  This meant, functionally, that it would be at least another four hours before he even got SEEN.  Then another five to seven after that.   I took him home where a long, long horrible night passed and then, hooo boy, there we were back at  Fun Central at 6:20 a.m., vomiting in front of the Cambodian dentist’s office on the way for extra fun.

Well.  Shift change at 7 am so they just couldn’t do anything.  Go through the whole “Triage Nurse” thing again although it was all theoretically in the computer.  Although perhaps it got mixed up with the downloaded music?  I handed the “Triage Nurse” the paperwork from the day before, there was some conversation of the general eff you eff off  if you’re in here you’re dog doo variety that transpires in that room from the “Triage” staff, and Then She Said, huffily, Well, I’m sorry you had a bad experience yesterday.  You should have stayed.  We were busy.   The whole tone, the whole everything, the lack of sleep and worry and all of it..well, Gentle Readers, I was polite but I was not Nice.  I said, Please.  You don’t give a S— about what happened to us.  Can you just do your job today?  I realize there are ambulances coming in the back but at least put him ahead of the people with the hurt finger today, OK?  Perhaps vomiting all over your floor isn’t as important as the undocumented individual’s arm in a sling from the weekend’s revelry but nonethless.  So, we sit down.  Then, on to administration, where this time? The young woman would only allow the Partner in.  Well, he was too sick to talk and could barely articulate his name, which I told her, but she stuck firmly to Trollop Mode.  OK.  So, I find a seat and within moments she’s calling me in, because, Jeez, he can’t answer the questions. Fine. She asks me some things, I answer, and then she says, in this astonishingly snotty way- I thought for a moment I was back in Junior High- I don’t need you here now.  Strangely enough, I said, I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU NEED. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I DON’T CARE. So, that went well.

Moving along some interminable time later, they actually call The Partner’s name to go into the bowels of the treatment area.  Which turns out to be something like Hitler’s Bunker, but who knew?  So, fine.  He can’t stand by himself, we totter over, and they say to me, Oh, No, YOU can’t come back here.  This is the first, and only, emergency room I’ve ever been in where that happens.  So they took him.  Not surprisingly, some time later an actual ER Nurse comes striding out looking for me.  You have some medical documents? he said in a cross between a bark and a psychotic croon.  Patient can’t remember blah, and blah, and blah.  So, I explained it all to him in proper English for the umptieth time, and asked when I could see The Partner.  This is where it went completely sideways.  When it’s appropriate! he barked.  Achtung baby!  I said.  I don’t appreciate your tone, especially seeing as how I am an Actual Taxpayer.  I need to see him.  I need to know what you’re doing to him.  This is unacceptable.  Go get some coffee, he said, backing off and narrowing his eyes at me.  We’ll call you.  But of course if I’m where the coffee is, I can’t hear them if they call me.   So, after sitting in the room with a locked bathroom,one drunk in a coonskin hat, another- female- with acites wheeling around a stroller in for a “pregnancy checkup”, a woman wearing a tshirt saying “YOU KNOW I’M NO GOOD” who gets wheeled in by paramedics, then moments later jumps up, hitches her britches up (thank GOD) and dances right on outta there, and various and sundry other members of a seething and roiling sea of irretrievable damage, and after practicing letting go and sending a prayer for all to enjoy the root of happiness, even those I currently wish to KILL,  I go outside to call my client and explain why I won’t be there today, and my elderly mother who is all alone all week which is not the ideal scenario.  Then, I do the mature thing.  I burst into tears.

At that point, as fate would have it, the Hospital Chaplain was outside, heard me, and got it handled.  She is a wonderful person and they are lucky to have her. She also, apparently, straightened the nurse out because he was eventually very nice.   It turned out, of course, to be a good thing, because as I arrived the Doctors didn’t know what meds to give him and were about to do the anaphylactic shock rag again.  Also, when someone on the next gurney got up and walked out, I was able to tell them what happened and get them to stop looking in cupboards.  Meanwhile, ten hours, multiple gunshot wounds and an expensive scan later, guess what?  In essence, they said: Your tests are all normal so there’s something Wrong With You.  And sent us home with a prescription for motrin.  I am not even kidding.  I asked for some Ativan, which helps, and they said, oh, gee, no, that concerns us.  It’s addictive you know.  Unlike, say, Vicodin.   Or Morphine.  So we are just where we were, and maybe even worse.

For all of you who question the necessity for health care reform?  WAKE UP RIGHT NOW.  The cost of the way things are being done now, both in money and in human woe, is insupportable.  Nobody is getting what they need unless they have an awful lot of money or an extremely good job.  But heck, the morphine is flowing at the bottom.