Survivor Talk

Don’t tell Congressman Kennedy this, but I was actually in the neighborhood, working at the high rise on Roosevelt Avenue across from the congressional office. But I’m still a concerned citizen, even if it only took a step across the street to leave a message begging him to keep working on health care reform.

Columnist Cary Tennis is surviving cancer, undergoing treatment with good prospects of recovery. He’s writing about it in Salon.com. I’m excerpting a big chunk of his latest post because it is so true…

…we learned that Tom had died. He had gotten a toothache. He had gotten a toothache but had not gone to the dentist because he didn’t have health insurance to pay for the dentist. He lived with it. Then he got sick but thought he was OK. Then he collapsed and the emergency medical people came and they told him he should go right into the hospital. But after reviving he said he’d be OK and he went home and made himself some soup. He lasted a couple of more days like that. Then he got really, really sick and they put him in the hospital but by that point the infection that had begun in a tooth had spread massively throughout his body and despite the doctors’ best efforts Tom could not be saved.

He died because he didn’t go to the dentist and didn’t go to the doctor because he was trying to be an artist and didn’t have health insurance and didn’t think it would kill him.

I ran into lots of people at the Town Hall health care meetings who said that anyone who didn’t do whatever they had to do to get health insurance had made a bad choice and it’s no big deal if they die. This is bad morals, but also bad economics. It’s actually very expensive to raise a child to adulthood. If they are productive adults their premature death is a loss to a whole circle around them as well as the nation.

I wonder how much of that ‘bad choices’ talk is coming from people who opted to lock themselves into a benefits-paying job right out of school whether they liked the job or not. I could imagine a volcano of suppressed rage, and envy of someone who started their own business, (which is what artists basically do), or otherwise took a chance for freedom.

So Congressman Kennedy, you have a few months left. Are you going to play it safe, or take a chance on the Americans who still believe we are a great nation? You had an uncle who did not take halfway measures. He didn’t say America would put a man ‘sort of near the moon eventually’.

I hear the Canadians are ahead of us on health care. Are we going to stand for that? Let’s make America first in longevity and last in infant mortality. Let’s win the Health Race. Yes, we can.

One thought on “Survivor Talk

  1. Yes, the “they made bad choices so let ’em die” folks are, doubtless, the same ones screaming about “death panels.”

    Dontcha just love clarity of thinking that leads to intellectual consistency?

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