Thursday, November 30, 2017

Health Care

The Mystery within...
I decided I couldn’t let this month of November pass with only one blog post for the entire month.  It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write more often, but I have been preoccupied, stressed and flustered, in an almost unbelievable process of hoops, circles, harassment and errors from my health care plan that has literally consumed multiple weeks of my time, and way too much of my energy, as I attempt to get legitimate reimbursement for Occupational Therapy following my bump on the head earlier this year.  (See Body/Mind Connection post.)  I have now decided to befriend my past head wound, which led me to need therapy, for it now allows me to highlight and share with higher authorities my seven page documentation of America’s current health care mess as I am experiencing it, and demonstrate the critical need for universal, single payer health care insurance for all.

I have had some experience with universal health care.  Back in the 1970’s, when driving across Canada with my husband and three young children, our daughter became seriously ill.  Early on a Sunday morning, we drove into a Canadian gas station and the attendant asked, “How is your holiday going?”  His kind voice, and genuine concern brought me to tears.  We told him about our daughter’s high fever and that we were from the United States and didn’t know what to do or where to go.  He told us where we could get medical care for her nearby, and not to worry where we were from.  A few blocks away, on that early Sunday morning, our daughter was seen by a pediatrician, prescribed medication, and we were directed to where to go to pick it up. When we asked how much the bill was we were told not worry.  It would be mailed to our U.S. address.  When the bill came it was $5.85.  Everyone we encountered on our trip across Canada was genuinely pleasant and helpful.  Perhaps that is a side effect of a good health care system that promotes happy, healthy people.

Currently, in America, there is a TV commercial showing a frustrated mother on the phone, on hold, with her “health care” insurer, while her children are acting up in the background.  I wish someone could calculate the loss of productive time spent with family, or other genuinely positive endeavors for the good of others, because they are dealing with our current multiple health care systems impose on us all.  I know the statistic for nonproductively would be staggering.

America will only become great when we American’s realize we all share a role as Good Samaritans to those in need.  Quality universal health care for all is a good place to start us on that path to becoming great.

What if we all shared our frustrations with our current health care systems?    

Thursday, November 16, 2017


The Mystery within...
My daughter and I went to see the movie LBJ.  I was twenty years old in 1963, and my daughter not yet conceived, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson became America’s 36th president.  The movie did an excellent job of depicting Johnson’s rough character but smooth political skill in getting Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for which I am forever grateful.  Although I was sympathetic to black American’s struggle for freedom and equality, I will confess in 1963 my immediate life was my primary focus.  In no way did I comprehend back then how indebted I would feel someday to those who spoke, marched, and even lost their lives advocating non-violently for equal rights. 

From 1962 to 1965 I worked for the USDA Forest Service in clerical positions, and then left to become a stay at home mom and had three children.  I returned to the Forest Service in 1975 after my husband’s depression incapacitated him and then became the sole breadwinner after his suicide.  It was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, particularly Title VII, that allowed me to participate in upward mobility training as the Forest Service worked to advance women and minorities to be in compliance with the legislation.  The establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to oversee implementation of the Civil Rights Act also helped protect and advance my career. 

Given the opportunity to work my way up from clerical positions, first to a Human Resource Specialist in 1963, and then a Public Affairs Specialist in 1990, had a direct impact on my children’s and my life.  We were able to afford to stay in our home, have adequate food, clothing, transportation, education, and even take a vacation now and then.  After I retired in 1994 and struggled with my aging parents’ care, my economic independence allowed me to keep some distance from my father’s abuse.  I wrote in my memoir, “I came to appreciate the sense of paralysis anyone economically dependent must experience in an abusive relationship.  My economic independence became more precious to me." 

Watching the movie, LBJ, returned vivid memoires of my personal employment struggles and the help I received from the EEOC.  Political conservatives saw the EEOC as a violation of their belief in fewer government regulations and fewer federal policies.  To them, creating a strong economy, free from government intervention, would produce gains that would benefit the historically disadvantaged.  I know that to be a laughable premise. 

Though not depicted in the movie, Johnson went on to promote his vision of America’s “Great Society” with his “War on Poverty.”  Millions of Americans rose above poverty during his administration.  Many historians rank him favorably because of his domestic policies and the passage of major laws affecting civil rights, gun control, wilderness preservation and Social Security.  I believe America will only become great when we realize we all share a role as Good Samaritans to those in need.

Realizing the brave souls who made my life better because of their civil rights advocacy makes me want to be able to give something back.  I am also painfully aware there are so many more souls who have yet to be treated equally.

What if we all understood how indebted we are to others for our life’s gains?