Angry Birds

I have no idea what that game is all about. I just like the title about now.

I think most of you can understand the turmoil of calendar, responsibilities, and personal life travels and such that an impending surgery entails. Just coming to the final decision to do the deed (elective, but unavoidable as it is) is gut-wrenching.

But one, in the end, having no other recourse, comes to terms and accepts the weeks of discomfort, disability and disruption and builds an imagined life pace and schedule around it.

Until the coverage is changed. And then, until the date is changed. AGAIN. I am as angry and frustrated as I have ever been, knowing it is not my health that dictates the where-when and who of its care. I am merely a malleable and powerless statistic of profitability for The Corporation, and so I must bow and kowtow and genuflect and jump when they say co-pay and say yassah to their People, and hope that the actual care-givers on the ground still have some of that left to give away.

According to the call this morning, my finally-firm March 15 surgery date only sticks if we pick up the tab. THEIR facility can do it on April 1 and we pay less. How many thousands less I am trying to ascertain. So we can pay now, or we can pay later. And we all pay far too much for the damage to our mental health in a simple effort to take best possible (or best available in your carrier’s coverage area) care of this frail pot of clay we live in.

I think I’ll go split wood. Lots of wood.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Just think how helpless people must feel who have no work related contact with the health care delivery system to help them, at least a little, to understand what the heck is going on with that system. At least I hope your years as a physical therapist give you some insider’s knowledge, keeping you from some unnecessary confusion and anguish. But I know that knowledge can’t help much when the system is as evilly twisted as it has bcome. Boy, do we need a single payer system.

  2. In all the discussion about health care reform, I’ve seen no discussion of how nonsensical it has become. The whole system makes absolutely no sense. I am growing increasing concerned for those who work in the “industry” for I believe most are committed to caring for their fellow human beings but the adminstrators and decision makers who have not come from a clinical background have neither hearts nor understanding for that kind of care. (Can you tell I made my living in the health care “industry” for many years?)

  3. Likewise, so did I (physical therapist) and so does my wife (hospital pharmacist). I tossed in the towel in 2002 finding there was little care left in healthcare. I have pretty much managed to avoid being one of what-now-passes for healthcare, but have stood by countless victims who were denied prompt or adequate PT, among many other travesties. We really have reason to be ashamed of our nation–in this regard, and a growing list of other miserable failings of action or character. Sad.

  4. Two words: Single Payer.

    Three words: Medicare for All.

    More words: Call your Congressional representative and ask him/her to cosign HR676, a bill reintroduced into every Congress by John Conyers which would create a single-payer health care system.

  5. There should be no profit in health care. The very notion of profit means that someone somewhere will make decisions based on how much money they will or won’t make.

    Corporate raiding of everything in America is at an all time high. We let them into the war business and we have constant wars for twelve unnecessary years. We let them into agriculture and food prices have doubled inside of 5 years (30% this last year alone). We let them into the health care business and our health care system has gone downhill ever since.

    It’s time we took this country back. No more lobbyists. No more corporate gifts of any kind to anything in government. No more corporate control of every walk in American life.

  6. Fred, your articulation (in prose if not currently with the digit that needs surgery) hits home, and with a vengeance, despite you seemingly being among the least vengeful people imaginable.

    But what you say strikes at the heart of the catastrophe that is our healthcare system. For insured households dealing with any sort of larger-than-deductible problem, catastrophe is never more than a “policy/premium/permissible” review away.

    For those of us with no health insurance, it’s closer than that, always.

    For anyone — insured or not — dealing with mental illness and attendant costs, and the resistance of any program to covering much of any of it, things are pretty much hopeless.

    That’s a terrifying trifecta, and one that shows little promise of effective resolution in this political and corporate climate.

    We have gotten ourselves into circumstances that leave us at the mercy of a rapacious insurance industry, increasingly corporatized medicine, and a legislative (I use the term loosely) environment that no longer know the meaning of “mercy” in any sense.

    Splitting wood, man, is the only sensible response — just don’t let the maul slip and strike anything that might require medical attention.

  7. The points made in the previous comments are well taken — money talks and speaks loudly for those who have it while the rest of us are ignored as inconsequential.