October 2005

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Awards Show

Happy Halloween! Today I recognize my two biggest all-stars with action photos:

Mom at work Dad at work
Here my Mom sweeps the kitchen after doing a round of dishes. I have to admit I don’t sweep the kitchen much even when I’m 100% healthy. Here my Dad carries the recyclables to the curb. I also made sure to include in this shot the lovely white van my neighbors keep parked directly across the street from my house (and haven’t moved for six months).

I’m on an email list for people with lung transplants. This group of people is very supportive but it’s about as diverse politically and otherwise as a list can get. You can guess that things get heated once in a while. This email I sent out probably needs no more introduction…

I have a few thoughts on this national healthcare issue that I can’t restrain myself from adding to the discussion:

  1. I think this topic is entirely appropriate to this list. Health care as it exists in this country is a huge mess. Nobody wants to think about it but we as a nation need to think and talk about it. If we — people on the front line of Medicare, hospitalizations, etc — don’t talk about it, who will?
  2. I’m thankful for what I have and I’m thankful to be an American — and I don’t want to move to Canada or Sweden or anywhere else. But none of that is at issue here. The question is whether our current health care system could stand some improvement. And I think the answer is clearly that it could.
  3. We need to ask why health care costs so much. We seem to be focused on how we are going to pay for health care. Shouldn’t we also be asking where all the money is going?
  4. Thomas Jefferson quoted (in effect) as a neo-conservative! That’s a new one. So you’re okay with government overseeing a transportation system but you’re not okay with government overseeing a health system? Well, guess what. It’s too late. Government already oversees a health system–the one for really sick people that’s too messy for private business.
  5. Big business is part of the problem–the pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and hospital systems. Tort law is part of the problem. Government intervention in the market is part of the solution.
  6. We do need to fix health care. We need a uniquely American solution. We need to make it a goal to provide every American with a minimum of health care. Forget the argument over whether this is a “right” or not. Can’t we do it because it’s the right thing to do–like public education?
  7. We need to ask whether Americans are by-and-large over-medicated and over-doctored — and why.
  8. What do we do? We need two things. One, a bipartisan commission that looks at health care thoroughly and honestly and makes concrete recommendations as to how to fix the system–as if we were building it from the ground up. Two, political leadership with the courage and determination to make good on those recommendations. (Don’t hold your breath on that second one.)

It appears my presence on the Angels bandwagon has not exactly been good luck. They are currently three outs away from being down 3-1 in the ALCS. Sorry Adam!

Now for something completely different, a joke:

A Harley mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a motorcycle when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop. The surgeon was waiting for the service manager when the mechanic shouted across the garage, “Hey, Doc, can I ask you a question?”

The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag, and asked, “So, Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take valves out, fix em, put ‘em back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?”

The surgeon paused, smiled, leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic, “Try doing it with the engine running.”

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