Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hot Docket- Jon Stewart Clip

Some Personal Thoughts on Healthcare

It's been hard to get a chance to sit down and write. Life has become all that more challenging for my mom, and now I have to expand my vast medical knowledge that I refer to as my internet doctorate degree even more to include matters of kidney issues, pneumonia and respiratory therapy. These areas of specialty were unknown to me as my nighttime reading veered toward Transverse Myelitis, Cerebral Vascular disease, and urinary tract issues. I do my best to keep up with information, so that I can take a proactive approach. Pay attention to what drugs she is getting, and make note of the care that she is getting so that I know someone is paying attention, and I can anticipate or recognize problems.

I share this personal information because at this very moment someone is raging about the alleged Evils of "Obama Care."  Fox News is making it an almost obligatory battle cry 24/7 by politicians wanting to beat the drumbeat for their base. Of course I doubt any one has read the entire Affordable Care Act or can justify very much of their outrage other than they are pissed off that everyone would be forced to pay for insurance. Changing the system will not be easy. But it is a must.

I haven't read the entire thing either, to be honest. I've been a bit busy trying to deal with the massively expensive, completely incomprehensible healthcare system we have now. Which, if any Republican has a suggestion about how to improve it other than "tax cuts" and "defeat Obamacare" I sure would like to hear it.  All I hear are crickets. And an an oxygen tank behind me, but that's another story.

Medicaid/Medicare is the biggest "problem" out there. I say problem because it is the most costly of all. I hear all the blame thrown around at the bottom feeders who run their child with sniffles to the emergency room. I see on TV the gunshot victims on life support after gang shootings who have no insurance and are clearly costing the system millions. But I also see the elderly who worked their whole life and now, through no fault of their own have found themselves living on social security alone, and after their savings are exhausted, they are accepted into Medicaid, and live out their lives in nursing homes at a cost of 72 thousand dollars a year. In Eldercare it's called "spending down to Medicaid." And our population is getting older all the time. Baby Boomers are retiring. It is going to be an even bigger drain on the national coffers.

My mom is home for now. It is expensive to keep her here and requires a lot of sacrifice by family. It is exhausting her savings and at some point she won't have the money to stay at home because she can no longer afford the care she needs. And at that point, she just may join the ranks of the Medicaid people. In a civilized society we have the obligation to care for the elderly, ensure that they do not suffer needlessly, and have a life with dignity. This aid is important, because it is a safety net. I don't think people understand just how necessary it is.

I'm sure the Affordable Care Act needs a lot of work. But don't just criticize and walk away. Find solutions, find alternatives, try to help people the best way we can. Or the future will be very bleak for us when we are old, and our health is failing. And we didn't go to bat for ourselves when we could.

Here is great column from Reg Henry on the health care debate, I find him spot on with his gentle humor and  his way of stating the obvious.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, March 25, 2012

This Sunday morning is cloudy, gray sky, and the day seems impossibly sad. Mom is back in the hospital. Took her to the ER last night. The ER experience is like visiting another world. It was a nightmare of screaming babies, dirty people, sniffling, coughing people, and tattooed people with red alarming looking hair. 

I don't know why people work there, but I'm glad they do.

It's hurry up and wait. For rooms, for paperwork, for phone calls, for test results. And people just keep lining up down the hall. No more chairs.

And me, looking for a drinking fountain, and then really not wanting to use it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hitchens: Why Fight Religion?

The Reason Rally is going on in Washington DC today. Made me think of Hitchens. In this clip he makes some very good points.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

On Raglan Road

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

What a St. Patrick's Day!  It's a beautiful 70 degree day with crocuses, mini irises, and even some daffodils coming up in the yard. Big change from the snows of last year, with spring no where in sight. It makes a huge difference in my outlook. Despite a dreaded spring sinus infection, I'm inspired to at least plant a few types of flower seeds today inside in my trays, and make a list of what it is I actually want to grow outside in the side vegetable garden this year. This may be the year to move the raised beds and get serious. 

"Everyone is nice till the cow gets in the garden."  Irish proverb.

In my case it's the deer. But I've got plans. Tore down the old fence, and plan to put up netting over some old metal frames salvaged from past election campaigns. They are great to use for this purpose. And portable, so you can open up the netting anywhere to get into the garden to do work. Two smaller 4 by 8 beds in this case make it easier than one big 12 by 12 foot square garden I had before. I know the math doesn't work out. but I have the room for space between them, too.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, March 11, 2011

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
- Jack Kerouac

It's Sunday Morning and it's joy and it's fun and it's Seasons in the Sun. Today, a sunny, warm 62 degree day in March. Even the 40 something degree weather yesterday was nice. It's the kind of a day that makes you want to go out and DO something. Even the cat was inspired. During our walk through the yard, she spotted her favorite tree about 25 yards away and took off running. Short of choking the cat to death, I had to take off running with her, which is difficult in a muddy yard with duck shoes on, and she got the best of me and managed to climb up a good 8 feet with leash dangling below her. Some burst of energy for an old cat. 

I looked up at the old Ginkgo tree and wondered why, of all the trees in the yard, she likes that one best. There is a ring around the tree as high as Coco can reach to scratch. My uncle Jack taught me as a kid that Ginkgos are the "oldest" tree. I wondered if that is really true. From what I discovered it is. It's the oldest living tree species on earth. Been around for four thousand years. Used in Chinese medicine.

It's been strange not having a long, cold, miserable winter. As I look at the crocuses coming up already in the yard, and see a few buds on the daffodils, I almost feel like we "got away" with something. Maybe this really is an early spring. Go do something!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Better Left Unsaid

Really tough to collect thoughts and put them out there lately. I've started typing countless times this week and ended up deleting everything. I keep thinking of Janis Joplin, who at one time was a half decent artist. Until she saw someone who could paint better than she could, and decided that perhaps singing was something she could really open up with and let out whatever emotions she was feeling inside. And the rest is history of course.

With me, in the narrow sense of writing, I start out with a noble idea, and then end up in doubt. I read someone who got there first. Where I wanted to be. Made the points I wanted to make.  Whether it be Tony Norman's column  about Rush Limbaugh on Friday, or the brilliance of Jon Stewart ripping Rick Santorum for his asinine remarks about Kennedy's speech and the "snobbery" of actually hoping your kids go to college. Are you kidding me? 

My frustration with all the rhetoric out there is dragging me down. I get emotional and partisan and want to use four letter words and really lambaste people and make my points in capital letters. Hardly conducive to writing a civil post and putting out thoughts worth reading.

But I'll keep working at it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, March 4, 2011

It's a sunrise over the cat's head as she sits in front of the window. It's all about perspective.

Numerous and massive tornadoes these past few days. Heartbreaking pictures on TV showing whole towns wiped out, neighbors pitching in to help neighbors, and emergency crews searching for survivors. And the obligatory interview with the person in front of a mobile home, alive, he said, thanks to "the Grace of God."

Others must not have had his grace this week. At last count 37 dead.

Which leads me to today's muse...does God really control the weather?

A quick search on this important question of course yielded several Bible references. The Great Flood, various droughts as punishment for something or another, and also the conclusion that weather used to be  "good" until  man sinned. Blame "Eve" and that apple again.

There was the Greek God Zeus interfering with the weather in ancient times. His nicknames included "The Thunderer" and the "Cloud Gatherer." Even though he was the most important God of his day, I never hear Zeus mentioned much by name anymore except on Jeopardy! questions. If he is still affecting the weather, he is not taking much blame for it these days.