Sunday, August 23, 2009

Level of Care

My Mama died on August 11, 2009 - one week to the day after she fell and broke her hip. She had been to the doctor several time as she was having trouble breathing and felt she needed oxygen. However, her "level" was not low enough for insurance to pay for it. Her primary MD wanted her to see a pulmonary specialist, but she was unable to get an appointment for two months. She died before that. She received little rehab for the hip - just what they could do in the hospital. She was finally sent to a center for serious rehabilitation, arriving at 3:00 PM on the day she died. She complained of a pain in her leg and, in hindsight, it was probably a blood clot that killed her.

My Dad has been losing weight for the past 2 years. His "primary" MD told him he needed to lose weight. After several office visits, he was finally given a cat scan and diagnosed with primary liver cancer in April of this year - too late to treat the cancer by conventional standards.

This morning, I watched a segment of C-Span on health care in America featuring one of the many idiots who know better than we what is good for us. He stated that the majority of people in America were very happy with their health insurance and didn't want a change.

It has been my experience throughout this year (from the many appointments and hospitalizations of my parents), that there is no health care as we once knew it. The days when MD's were independent practitioners are gone. Hospitals in my area have an MD on staff who treats hospitalized patients. A primary MD is often affiliated with the hospital, but never sees patients there. One is only allowed to spend a finite amount of time in the hospital, dictated by the insurance company. It doesn't matter if you haven't been cured of the illness that put you there. My mother was hospitalized with pneumonia 3 time in 3 months. Each time she was sent home with antibiotics that didn't quite cure her.

While we are having the conversation on health care for all in America, let us not forget the quality of care the average American is receiving. We rate 37th in the world - behind Costa Rica.

I don't know how we got here. I suspect it is insurance companies and their strict payment policies. I do know that we must do something to change it. With the present spotlight on health insurance, it seems a good time to start the conversation about the level of care that insurance will provide.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Walking to Oak-Head Pond

by Mary Oliver

What is so utterly invisible
as tomorrow?
Not love,
not the wind,

not the inside of stone.
Not anything.
And yet, how often I'm fooled-
I'm wading along

in the sunlight-
and I'm sure I can see the fields and the ponds shining
days ahead-
I can see the light spilling

like a shower of meteors
into next week's trees,
and I plan to be there soon-
and, so far, I am

just that lucky,
my legs splashing
over the edge of darkness,
my heart on fire.

I don't know where
such certainty comes from-
the brave flesh
or the theater of the mind-

but if I had to guess
I would say that only
what the soul is supposed to be
could send us forth

with such cheer
as even the leaf must wear
as it unfurls
its fragrant body, and shines

against the hard possibility of stoppage-
which, day after day,
before such brisk, corpuscular belief,
shudders, and gives way.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Gee, Officer Crowley

Another shameless parental promotion of the many talents of my daughter and son-in-law. They are having way too much fun...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom

As things are not exactly going smoothly in my life, I find that reading some of my favorite blogs gives me the hope, inspiration and general good feeling that life goes on and it is truly a beautiful experience. It is with a never ending sense of wonder that I am able to find such wise, sassy, compassionate and sage women right when I need them, saying exactly what I need to hear.

From Goddess in a Teapot:
Lately I have also been thinking of the many people, places, times, and stories that have, like the tree, spoken to a deeper part of me. Every once in awhile I will hear music or see a performance, or read a lifestory, or encounter a country or a historical era that grabs my spirit and will not let go until I have come to know it as thoroughly as I can. I don’t just experience it, but it sets off ideas, insights, determinations, creative flurries, and changes in attitudes to myself and my world view, sometimes for years at a time.

Many, many people and places are inspiring because of the beauty or artistry of their work or the courage of their deeds, but these muses are different. The connection to them or their work goes beyond a recognition of achievements or a desire to be like them, but rather they are in some way a gateway to the symbolic, otherworldly aspect of my life. There is something about them that shows that a piece of art isn’t simply a creative work, but the entrance to a cave brimming with treasured insights; a lifestory isn’t only a biography, but an allegory about all our life journeys; a country isn’t just a geographical boundary, but sometimes an entirely new universe and way of looking at the world. For a long time I wondered why muses show up in dreams so much more often than people I love and talk to everyday, and then I realized that it is because something about them speaks the language of the inner world.

From Aquila ka Hecate:
In Other News, I have surprisingly only just discovered that Breath can treat physical ailments.
Yes, I know, I'm slow.
The phlegm travelling down the back of my throat into my windpipe was causing me to bark furiously last night, and wake up the rest of the household, to boot. Slow and deep application of Breath, carrying the life essence into every cell of the physical body put not only the cough to sleep, but myself as well.

And, finally from Song!
The ancient song sings again and again, body, heart and soul. And cup and cross where for all the giving, love in those hours made the future, worth the loss. For what lies behind you, is always within you, and before you, so say the sages and lovers for all times.

To believe for a moment that there are no tomorrows of love, is to say the heart has its limits, the sky is a tent, and the sea is a pond with ragged humid shores.

Not your heart. Not your sky. Not your sea. No matter what you believe.

I would live a thousand lifetimes to say to you again and again. ”Life, you are”

Blessed be.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The words of God do not justify cruelty to women by President Jimmy Carter

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status ..." (Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

I have been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when th e convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths.

Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries. The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses.

Read the rest here