30 May 2014

Public "Health"

Been there done that

I consider myself the possessor of what you might call rude good health. Did about 8 miles today on the Rusty Steed (Schwinn) through temps in the high 80s.

That's good, for me. Couldn't have done that 5 years ago, when I was coughing up a pint or more of blood per day. 'S called TB, it still exists. Not pleasant, but I presented myself at the ER of the local charity hospital (Ben Taub) got quick confirm of the Dx, moved to the front of the line, and got really quite good treatment, which included among other things one year of quarantine – house arrest.

Couldn't work, of course. Sold the truck for living expenses and then ended up being busted for non-support and spending too damn many weeks in jail for not showing for a hearing due to being a public health hazard.. (Different, bad, story).

I did have a small revenue stream from writing and research, but I found that I was going more and more frequently. I had been diagnosed with incipient cataracts before the TB Dx, but when I emerged from the cave, I discovered that I was blind. 20/800 kinda vision. One hand on the girlfriend's shoulder while going through the grocery store. Refractive problems which did wonders for the Christmas lights.

So I took myself with 1.5 lungs back to Ben Taub to see about cataract surgery. Dear reader, I spent 2 years trying to get on to the waiting list. Realio, trulio. TWO YEARS TRYING TO GET ON TO THE WAITING LIST, Never did get on the waiting list. My wonderful and generous parents ponied up for one eye for my birthday and the other for Christmas. The world is fuckwonderful, and girls are just as beautiful as I remembered.

Fast forward a couple of years to me catching up with the x and the boiz. Concert on the Green in downtown Houston (the Fab 40 doing Abbey Road, IIRC). We share comestibles. Was I to know that there was a toothpick in the French fries? Can you say “peritonitis”? 14 inch incision closed with 9 staples, 2 of which pulled out at my first sneeze. The scar's about 11x2 inches of pink puckered ugly.( A neighbor's dog had a pin installed to re-inforce a broken leg. 7 inch incision, 35 staples. Can't even see it. We have comparable levels of furriness)

Now, here's the question. Why the various levels of treatment, the levels of priority?

Case 1 – the TB. Obviously it's a matter of public health. Don't want me going and sharing the good news, y'know.

Case 3 – the toothpick. Well, don't want him dying on our shift. (Abdominal surgery is painful. But they set me up a morphine drip. Never primed it, mind you, so it never worked). (Demerol Rawks, and I never want to have it again. I know me ). Walked out under his own power, so it's a success!

Case 2 – blindness. Well, this is just a “quality of life” matter. Worst case he stays blind and becomes a welfare case. No biggie. Look at Helen Keller! She got all famous and all! This is like, elective surgery, innit?

Public health? Got the scars. They charge extra for the t-shirt..

I' gonna add some stuff here. Say I have some liver damage from too much of the drink. Are self-inflicted wounds covered? But then I'm a 16 year old female cutter (self indicted wounds indicative of suicidal tendencies) do I get same stupidface? Sober driver pushes through a yellow light (legal) hits guy taking right on red (legal), who shows positive for marijuana (let's posit it being legal, but it shows for 30 days in testing, with no way to tell if the driver had smoked 20 minutes ago or 20 days ago).

Okay. I admit to whiskey and Marlboro. In the socialized medicine scenario, I am unworthy of treatment. I deserve everything I get, or rather, don't get. Let's look at bank records. Do you pay cash for all of your groceries? Didn't think so. And there you are trying to justify BACON? Come on , no-one NEEDS bacon. And not that much at any rate. You must prove that you have offsetting lettuce consumption. Do you have receipts for every salad you've eaten in the past year, and can you prove that they weren't bought for your girlfriend? And that mushrooms variance? Eaten raw, or sauteed with a steak? Really? You can prove it? Because if the mushrooms were cooked in butter or animal fat you don 't get the drugs for hypertension, but if they were in a salad then you do.

This is not an exercise in hyperbole. This is a reflection of the reg dealing with the UK's National Health System. They have attempted recently to deny health care to smokers, to drinkers, and to those more than 2 stone overweight. (One stone equals 14 pounds. I clock in at 185 cm in height and a little under 15 stone. (You do the math, it's easy for me).* I hope to get back to 14 stone with the use of Rusty Steed (a 1980s Schwinn 5 speed. Some days 3 miles, yesterday, 22 miles. YMMV. But OTOH, I do see lots of wildlife on the bayou banks. Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Anhingas, Coyotes, Foxes, Racoons, shoals of Cod, Black Crowned Night Herons, Yellow Crowned Night Herons, Louisiana Herons, Red Shouldered Hawks, Red Shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks and once I swear to god a real Bald Eagle. Only once, but I have witnesses.

*a little over 6 foot and, 210 pounds. I used to do about 40 m/day. I'm such a mess. But then I also used to run as much as 17 stone. I still look fat, but I don't feel fat, if that makes any sense to you. But dear sweet Jesus if I were to get back down to 13 stone the girlfriend would either set out a protective group or (more likely) just put a hit on me. At 182 I can't walk the streets. The women riot. And I can't let that happen again. 12 stone and I have my own political movement, 'coz I got better ink than Ted Cruz. Well, more tasteful, at any rate. Plus TEXAS on the left bicep


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