Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tempest in a Teapot
I have been watching the town meetings over health care reform with interest and I am amazed that so many people are talking so loudly they can't hear the very people who have come out to gather information and to provide answers about the proposed changes in the way health care is delivered in the United States.
I grew up in poverty, and when I was a child my folks would wait until Death came knocking, take me to the local doc's and he would thump my chest and give my mother a little envelope of pink or white pills for me to take. I got better and Dad paid the doctor $3.00 if he had it. If not, the doctor put the debt in his ledger and hoped for the best.
My parents did everything within their power to see I got through high school. After that, I was pretty much on my own. Dad said I could do anything, and I believed that was true. Eventually I worked my way through college and published a whole armload of books.
But that isn't why I decided to blog today. I can't see anywhere in the Constitution that says that the citizens of the United States are entitled to free medical care. Don't get me wrong. I am on Medicare, and I do appreciate the services and care I have access to since I can no longer work. I wish I could, but everyone comes to a point where they need to lean on others and I think our government is doing a good job trying to take care of everyone.
I want to believe that health care will be better after this tempest in a teapot. I want to believe that routine care won't cost more as time goes on, since routine care fends off catastrophic care. Choosing the former makes sense.
As for end of life care counseling, BRING IT ON! I do not want to be kept alive an extra day if I am so unwell I can't recognize the people taking care of me or ask that my needs be met. I have completed my Five Wishes and people know where it is in my house. I have someone to make the decision to pull the plug. I have someone to take care of my possessions. I wouldn't want it any other way, but I know a lot of people never give these things any thought.
We live in a society that somehow thinks death is not a natural part of life. It is, and when I am ready, I want to sleep away, free of pain, and without a lot of people arguing about what to do with my failing body.
I hope we can get through this touchy discussion with all hands intact -- if not, I'll see you on the other side. In the meantime, keep on the sunny side!
Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"