Sunday, October 4, 2009

Livestrong Failure

Usually when I screw something up, I feel like I should do something about it, but don't. I don't know how many times I buy a card for someone, then neglect to send it and feel bad about it - but not bad enough to send it late, or let the person know I was thinking about them. Even though it's not Friday, I'm still putting this up:

So, my favorite blogger POD had this great idea to write a post to support Livestrong Day on Friday, October 2. Sounded good to me, count me in. So this particular date coincides with Boy1's 10th birthday, and grandparents called to let me know that they'll be showing up too. Which is great news, but makes things just a bit crazier with cleaning, stocking, decorating, baking, preparing Sunday school class, dog obedience school, garage sale (some thing's got to give), etc.

So, I was running around all day Friday with last-minute preparations for the birthday and grandparents' surprise visit. I left my car keys in the garage when the neighbor's dog ran over earlier in the day, so when it was time to pick up birthday boy, I had no idea where I had put them and could not find them (no, we do not have a spare car key). I was late to pick him up for the first time this year ON HIS BIRTHDAY! Happy Birthday E! We then rushed over to pickup Boy2 from school and he came out of his class 20 minutes after school was over - the first time he was late leaving from class this year ever. He wasn't able to find a folder that he needed and his teacher was ignoring him when he tried to talk to her about it. I was trying to beat my parents home, but got a call from them needing our garage code so that they could get into the house. As we pulled into the driveway, one kid thought it was funny that there was a car in our driveway with a Union Jack license plate like Grandma's at the same time another realized what that actually meant. I barely had the car in park as they jumped out and bounded up the stairs to greet their grandparents.

We had Evan's favorite pizza and yellow frosted cupcakes to celebrate the big day. My Dad and I talked about Michael Moore's movies. Anyone not from the rust belt may not understand how real and true all of his movies are, but now even conservative are getting behind Moore with his latest two films, Sicko and Capitalism, A Love Story.

It is pretty funny that people complain about the notion that healthcare would make our nation a socialist country when we embrace our military, police, and firefighters for keeping us safe at taxpayer's expense. I don't want to go without their services any more than I think that the current healthcare system is working even for those with excellent coverage. What happens to your great coverage if your job is downsized, or your care is deemed too expensive? In Moore's Sicko, many of those charged with providing care to us are encouraged, rewarded, and forced to make the decision to deny policy holders with needed health care coverage. A husband with leukemia with a brother who's a match is first told that he's been approved for a bone-marrow transplant, then told that the operation will not be covered and he will die. A doctor charged with making decisions that favor the bottom line over human life was told, to assuage her guilt, that you're not denying medical treatment, you're just denying payment.

In this country, we stay in jobs that make us miserable because we fear the loss of health insurance, especially those of us who've had any medical problems. A boy I went to high school with died at the age of 32, a few months before the birth of his second child. He was in remission from melanoma and having severe stomach pain. At his checkups, they didn't find the reason for this pain, missed the elevated levels on renal function. He had just moved back to Pgh. from CA, and was waiting for the health insurance to kick in from his new job in January because his cobra insurance wouldn't cover tests to confirm what was gnawing at the back of his mind. He was treated like a hypochondriac for months (his doctor gave him Cipro, telling him that it would make him feel better) until just before Christmas of that year when he wound up in the emergency room. They gave him the tests he had been asking for and he found out that the melanoma had returned with a vengeance. Just before treatment was about to begin, he became too ill and the disease took him from his pregnant wife and daughter in January . Maybe an earlier diagnosis wouldn't have saved his life, but he might have met his son or given his loved ones some time to digest what was happening.

Our worth as a person and our right to good medical coverage should not be tied to what job we have. Want to help small businesses flourish? Take the responsibility of health insurance out of small business owner's hands - they can't afford it - so either they don't provide it, or they provide sub-par policies because it's the best they can do, or they don't go into business at all. Without the ability to negotiate for better health care costs, people with pre-existing medical concerns cannot afford healthcare when insurance corporations take it away from them, and people without health insurance have to decide whether they are sick enough to warrant the cost of medical care.

Caring for the health of our citizens shouldn't be consumed by profit, and by making it a cash cow for some attracts precisely the wrong people to those positions. Making profit the goal is the reason that our top scientists aren't paid to cure diseases, but to find ways to 'treat' them with pharmaceuticals. Please let's take our health back into our own hands and return this country into a Democracy where the people decide what is best for our citizens rather than a few executives with a vested interest in keeping us sick.

Even though I was a jackass and missed Livestrong Day, don't let it stop you from visiting and offering your support. Or Stand Up for Healthcare Reform.

By the way, these are my opinions, and not necessarily the opinions of anyone I've linked to in this post.

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