This entry says about half of what I’d like to say. I’ve got it in my head but getting it on paper is a problem sometimes. Oh, well, enter rant, stage right.
I know Lisa and I knew just a little of what her family went through during her dad’s final illness. Damn little it turns out.
In a twisted way, a very sick twisted way, what happened with her dad makes perfect sense. When our fellow Americans are referred to in the media it’s usually as consumers, not citizens and our mis-named health care system is not set up to deliver health: as if you could buy five pounds of health at so much a pound, but tests, procedures and surgeries. When Lisa’s dad was sent home, he was no longer a consumer of tests, procedures and surgeries.
At that point what he needed was human on human care. And when it comes to face to face, hands on interaction with another human being you have to fight like hell to get it. And the people who provide that care are lucky if they make a little above minimum wage. No reflection on them, the men and women in the trenches do the best they can with the little they get.
Dean Ornish made the comment in one of his books that a patient’s insurance company was willing to fork over at least twenty five thousand bucks to pay for by pass surgery but wouldn’t pay for office time for a doctor to counsel the patient on diet and exercise changes he/she could make to avoid needing the by pass in the first place or to avoid needing another one five years down the road.
“Reforming” health care won’t work until we rethink how we see the other human beings who live within the lines on the map labeled the United States. And that rethinking goes far beond the cost of an office visit. It's everything from access to clean locally grown food to cleaning up the toxic left overs that don't appear on corporate balance sheets. We’re human beings, not "consumers" and we have the right to be treated as human beings and to take the time to be human simply because that is what we are whether we choose to consume what the corporate culture wishes it could sell us or not.
The system, as it exists now, doesn’t support our humanity. So ladies, how do we remake the world?