My mother and I never saw eye to eye on many things, actually most things. She was a lifelong Democrat, I became a conservative once I got out into the real world and saw how social engineering destroyed lives rather than enhanced them. Once, when she and one of my ex-wives got into a nasty argument I attempted to step in and calm things. That was like jumping into the middle of a dogfight between two pit bulls, big mistake. I remember my mother yelling at me that I was, “Nothing like your father.” I asked her what she meant, and she explained that my father would have never let anyone talk to his wife like my wife was talking to her. That was when it hit me, I was exactly like my dad, I was not going to let anyone verbally or physically attack my wife, and I would use all my abilities to protect the person I promised to love, honor, etc. When I told her that I was just like dad, and would not allow her to disrespect my wife, well that’s when my mother’s and my relationship went south for over five years.
It took five years and a divorce to finally swallow my pride, and quell my ego enough to reconcile with mom. It was something that I was glad that I did, as I only had a couple of more years with her before she died. Do I regret standing up for my wife? No, it was the right thing to do at the time. Was my pride and ego worth the strain and separation that occurred between mom and me? No. In retrospect, I should have been man enough to have sat down with her and discussed the problems, and somehow come to a solution. However, I did not, and I wasted five years of my life being estranged from mom. Five years I now regret.
Recently I read the phrase, illegitimi non carborundum and remembered that a variant of it, non illegitimis carborundum, was a favorite of mom’s. It is mock-Latin, and basically means, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” The history of the phrase(s) is interesting, but I shan’t bore you with it here. I bring it up for one reason, it is a motto that everyone who has any type of serious medical problem should adopt. I’ll explain.
My friend “George” is dying. He knows it, I know it, those closest to him know it, his family not so much – but they are in denial. Some days I want to call his sister Cleopatra, but that is another story. George faces the daily problems of peritoneal dialysis, battles with C. diff., peritonitis, along with other medical problems that crop up along the way. His best friend, “Martha”, does her best to keep track of what is going on with George, it is nearly a full-time job, one that she didn’t volunteer for, but took on because his family wouldn’t step up. The chore of keeping track of this appointment or that visit is wearisome to them both, and puts an emotional and physical strain on the pair. I watch as Martha has her monthly melt down, one that coincides with her other monthly problem, and as George feels weaker and weaker.
As I sit on the sideline watching the travails that George goes through, I think of my own personal medical problems, and empathize with him on having to deal with the all-seeing
eye of public healthcare. Since both of us are on Medicare, and he also on Medicaid, I understand the frustration in having to deal the varied levels of review and questioning that goes on when it comes to treatment. Due to the seriousness of his illness, George usually only has to wait a week or two to get to see his doctor if there is a problem. Or, he can opt for going to the emergency room to be seen. While the former is the optimal choice, it is usually not the one that he ends up using. One cannot predict when one is going to have a severe problem crop up, so it is off to the ER.
Granted, the ER is one place that you will be seen the same day. It may take eight to ten hours, but you will be seen. Unfortunately, even with the computerization of all medical records, the records do not show the intimate details that one’s own doctor knows about you. When George, or myself, end up at the ER for whatever reason, the first several hours are spent having to repeat to varied medical staff our histories, and current issues. The other downside to using the ER as a fall back is that it is much more expensive, not only to us, but to the system.
Like George, I am frustrated and pissed at having to go through all the hoops required to get treatment or answers. I was attacked and beaten in August last year; I called my neurologist for an appointment. I felt since much of my problems were neurological, and the ER docs instructed me to do a follow-up with my neuro, it was prudent. I did get an appointment for August 2013, a year after the beating. I did what I was supposed to do, and contacted my primary to see if the appointment could be moved up. I finally got a call from my primary’s office this past week. The appointment was moved to June 2013. Since it was not “life or death” and it had been five months since I was hurt, the need for emergent care was no longer there.
Back to the mock-Latin. There are many days where I feel as if I am being ground to a pulp by a system that is overloaded and out of touch with reality. I often sit and wonder how anyone gets treatment for anything within the public healthcare system. It is not designed for efficiency, but for bureaucracy. Fill out this form, again. Call this office, again. Answer these questions, again. Over and over, like the hamster on a wheel we run. Ground down! Ground down by bastards that are not at the mercy of others. Now, however, I have mom’s old phrase to help me through those times. It is not polite, but neither was my mom, nor am I. It is a point to remember, and a point to stand on for strength. If I, or others in my position were to simply throw our hands in the air and say, “Screw it!” then the bastards win. That is something I am unwilling to allow.
Anyone that has any type of serious or chronic or life altering illness, and is stuck in the public healthcare system needs to remember illegitimi non carborundum and keep in the fight. Not just for themselves and their own health, but to keep the medical bureaucrats honest. The war we wage against this unfeeling, unknowing, ungodly system is one worth fighting. If not for ourselves, then for those that come after us, our children and grandchildren. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is only making things more difficult, and will continue to make things harder and harder for those that rely on public healthcare. We will feel ground down, but we CANNOT let the bastards win.