My family, Our family
Last edited Mon Jan 29, 2018, 09:52 AM - Edit history (1)
In 15 and 20 years, I hope to have my brother visit me at a house on a lake, sit on my porch when we are old, play cribbage or cards, and remember our parents and growing up together in the 60s. I want my son to still have an uncle then, and my future grandkids to have a GREAT-uncle, one who can tell them about resourcefulness and self-sufficiency and working hard and being honest. He has many good traits.
If that happens, we will occasionally look back and remember last week, when his heart stopped twice in the same day, the second time while I sat beside him. That was the week that the nurses and doctors rescued him and tormented him and encouraged him and put an expensive little device in his chest, all paid for by Obamacare.
We dont know why this crisis befell him. He eats healthy, exercises daily, and has never smoked. His heart got big and ineffective, or sparks flew where they shouldnt, or he caught a virus, and in a span of just a few months he went from daily 5 mile walks and chopping down trees, to two horrible days on a ventilator.
This week, he is home walking, talking, working on his computer on his road to a full recovery. His focus is on getting better, not on paying a flood of unexpected and indecipherable medical bills. What might have cost $250;000 will instead total only $600. There was PLENTY of fear last week, but no extra layers of fear consisting of how will this get paid for? Or how deep in debt will we go?
Politics dont enter into love for a family member facing a health crisis. We united in pulling for him, taking turns at his side. Our circumstances are different. One of us gladly pays a couple thousand dollars a year in extra Medicare taxes to support Obamacare; one of us pays none of that, but pays a lot for their own company-sponsored plan; and one of us benefits from Obamacare. We are children of the same parents, and it is a no-brainer that we look out for each other now. Among other reasons: the important and perhaps most meaningful last gift that I can give to my long-dead parents is to be there for their son or daughter when they cannot be. It is a privilege.
We will argue about politics on that porch in twenty years, and I will be grateful. A grand-nephew yet to be born might get taught the game of cribbage and hear stories about my own father by a great uncle, who will enrich that childs life in subtle ways that will only be appreciated decades later. We never know where our later lives will lead.
We are all family. The doctors, the nurses, the researchers, the patients not only now, but the ones that came before us contributed to the evolution of life-saving technologies and to the bank of knowledge on which modern medicine depends, and in most cases they did it for the sake of humanity, not just for the sake of a paycheck. We share in that human legacy, regardless of who has since purchased the patents or cornered a market. We all need that human legacy.
Oh, to all of my brothers and sisters in the great extended human family, I hope your lives are treasured, long and healthy. I hope you all grasp that life and health are bigger than theoretical ideologies. We owe it to ourselves, to each other and to our long-dead ancestors to fight to defend the compassionate spaces in our public institutions, to not fail in preserving and nourishing our basic humanity.