My wife has been telling me that, as of late, I have been “cussin” more than usual. My response to her is that it is only natural and to be expected in times such as these. There are so many things that seem to upset me these days and going with the idea that when it comes to stress and aggravation it is better to let it out than keep it in… I see myself with little choice. As the saying goes, “some artists work in oils, others in clay”, but, as of late at least, profanity is my medium of choice.
I’m getting old and the old are not as patient with nonsense and foolishness as the young. I’m not anyway. It doesn’t mean that I am not a pleasant person to be around, it just means that my fuse is shorter. I find that I don’t laugh any less than I always did… and that’s a lot. It is the in between time that seems to have lessened. The time when you are not amused and you are not pissed off either. The in between time I call that. Those hours seem to make up much less of my waking hours than I remember they used to. Those hours that used to be in between time all seem to be made up of pissed off time now. I seem to fluctuate perpetually between laughing and being pissed off at something or somebody. I don’t know what it means. Perhaps I just feel the need to pay more attention.
A little over two years ago a kidney stone got my attention. I was laying in bed reading a nice book and a strange pain began in my right flank. It began as a feeling of pressure and progressed steadily to the point where it became impossible to stay unmoving in one place. The pain made me move. I had never had a kidney stone before, BUT, I knew exactly what it was!
This morning I was reminded of that unpleasant experience by a TV news personality discussing how hard, nearly impossible, it is to “get a handle” on skyrocketing health care costs. BOY!… Did that get me cussing like a sailor.
It brought back memories of my visit to the emergency room on what I like to remember as “The Night of the Stone”. After practically crawling into the emergency room at 1:00am on a sunday morning and being subjected to a battery of indignities I am finally given a place to recline. My wife is told that a doctor will be along soon, but, first there are a few things that need taking care of. As I lie there, flipping around in much the same way that fishermen are accustomed to seeing newly released trout or bass flip around in the bottom of the boat, my wife and I both are informed that they will be unable to do ANYTHING for me without a CT Scan and, before they can do that, my wife will have to write them a check for $1000. Our health insurance has a deductible that was unmet and, well, this was their policy. (I), we, were in no position to argue with the nice lady. She had the drugs. I wanted the drugs. I wanted the drugs FUCKING BAD!
You know, now that I think about it, it was around that time that my “cussin” increased, but, I digress. I passed the stone the next day, but, that isn’t the point. The point is that in “Civilized” places so called health care professionals don’t get to hold people hostage like that. They don’t get to charge what ever they like for things like CT Scans & MRIs. They see all this health care business differently. They see themselves all in it together. They don’t see other people’s misfortune as a golden opportunity to skin them alive economically. We are trained to hate them for that. We call them names like “communist” and “socialist”. Those words are almost “cuss” words here in America.
So here is the deal. It isn’t “hard” to find ways to reduce health care costs. We can use me and “The Night of the Stone” as an example. The grand my wife had to pony up before they would agree to help me down at the kindly hospital was only a fraction of the cost of the CT Scan. It was more like $2000 in the end. To get to the hospital that night we had to drive over a bridge that spanned a river. Crossing over the river, on the bridge, was free. We built the bridge and maintain it with taxpayers money, so, when we need it we have it.
So now imagine this. Imagine you are flipping around like a trout, in pain, and you have to cross a bridge to get to the hospital. Your wife is driving and when she stops to pay the toll on the bridge the man says… “What’s up with the guy moaning in the back seat?” Your wife says, “That’s my poor husband and it looks like he has a kidney stone, won’t you please let us through?”
What would you think of the system (and the man) if the toll booth guy says…. “Nothing doing lady, write me a check for a grand and THEN you can pass.”
That’s how we do things in America.
In no other country in the world are CT Scan and MRI machines owned and operated for PROFIT. Operating rooms are owned, like the rest of the modern machinery of health care, AND BRIDGES, AND AIRPORTS, AND HIGHWAYS ….. BY THE PEOPLE!
The one simple action of admitting that it is WRONG to make huge profits from the suffering of others is how it must begin. It isn’t rocket surgery. It’s common sense. I have come to understand that few people in America have any. That’s probably the root of all my cussing if the truth be known.