Monday, October 14, 2013

El Hombre Propone y Dios Dispone ~ Man Proposes, G-d Disposes

Room with a View
I'm sitting bedside at St. Joseph's Hospital in downtown St. Paul. Seems that Grandpa Sieg was having a bit congestive heart failure overnight on Friday, but didn't mention it until late Saturday morning. We ended up taking a little trip to the ER at Woodwinds where he was promptly admitted. One can certainly say life is never boring over at the Minnesota House of Blues, Bagels and occasionally Bialy. 

Yes, they were bought at Jack's
in Saratoga Springs
Knowing he was safe and in the best possible hands, I decided I could make it to the Misha Siegfried Band gig. Which woulda been just fine if, as I was walking out the patio area, I hadn’t caught the toe of my single-owner vintage 1973 Bass Weejuns on a piece of broken pavement and tripped. I did the windmill dance, propelling myself forward, heading for a table…missed the table and realized, in that split second, I was really goin’ down. I managed to arch up and turn, prepping for a slide. I saw people leaping up trying to get to me, but I was too fast. I hit the ground precisely right and skidded to a halt. Misha was yelling, “Do you have a concussion? Do you have a concussion?” and I’m like, “Just get me up.” He wants to examine my head, and I’m going, “I didn’t hit my head; I jammed my shoulder.” 

The “audience” applauded and a really cute guy (a touch too young for this old person) said, “That was the most graceful fall I’ve ever seen! You were brilliant! Your feet actually left the ground and pedaled, just like a cartoon character!” Unfortunately, I don’t think he meant Jessica Rabbit.

I took my bow, announced the floor show was over, but must confess I enjoyed the momentary adulation. It’s how real ballerinas feel…but without the roses.

The gig was terrific. The house was pretty full….with lots of strangers, not just our friends (which is nice) And they want the band to come back. With Grandpa in hospital, the band decided to crash at our house instead of at the junior son' the kid a break. And I was happy for the company. Band Breakfast, however, was scaled back to Misha making scrambled eggs since they were all still sleeping when I left the house for the hospital.

Would that I had better things to report. Today, we had to move my father-in-law over to St. Joe's because that's where they keep the gastro guys, and FIL has developed some bleeding issues. He was transported via ambulance, me following close behind. The intake did not go as smoothly as I would've liked. After the seamless, wonderful experience at Woodwinds, this was a bit disconcerting. We're working on getting that fixed. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the government is still shut down and the CongressClowns are still carrying on about defunding the Affordable Care Act. Now, all things considered, I'm sitting here in a hospital worried about all sorts of things, including how much insurance covers. I have no idea but I suspect I'm about to find out. As a retired fed, my father-in-law should have good coverage, but.......

I keep thinking about what would've happened if he didn't have insurance. First off, I probably wouldn't be sitting here. Without all the telemetry, tests, meds, and adjustments, he wouldn't be snoring away on the bed behind me. There wouldn't be nurses coming in and out of his private room with ice chips, vital sign machines, and assorted moments of good humor. Without insurance, what would I have done? Would I have had to leave my job (which allows me to take Intermittent Family Medical Leave) in order to care for him because I would not have been able to afford to hire nursing care? Would I have sat by, holding his hand, unable to help? How would I live with myself if those were the choices? And I know there are people out there making exactly those choices. 

In today's NY Times, Bill Keller wrote a column titled, Obamacare: The Rest Of The Story. He's talking about the reality of having an affordable care act that isn't perfect, but it's better that what we currently have, which is nothing. His opening salvo:

Unless you’ve been bamboozled by the frantic fictions of the right wing, you know that the Affordable Care Act, familiarly known as Obamacare, has begun to accomplish its first goal: enrolling millions of uninsured Americans, many of whom have been living one medical emergency away from the poorhouse. 

This is the reality of life...and death... for way too many Americans. And there is nothing stopping a whole lot more of us from being in that queue but for a stroke of luck or karma or magic or G-d's good graces. Working hard is no longer the guarantee it once was. Pensions are pretty much gone, 401k's and IRA's are not guaranteed. One serious illness and you, too, can be facing bankruptcy. Lonegan, the clown running for the senate in New Jersey has come right out and said he sees no reason why he should pay for someone else's illness. At the Hudson Valley Debate Union, Mr Lonegan said,

“Well, I’ll go one step further. I’ll be as callous and uncaring as you can imagine. I have no interest in paying for your health care. I’d hate to see you get cancer, but that’s your problem not mine. I’m going to pay for my health care, I’m going to take care of my children’s health care and tend to my wife. And when I stand for charity care [inaudible], you no one else has the authority to infringe on my right [inaudible] dig into my pocket and my ability to pay to pay for your health care or anybody else’s.

His opinion is far from being the only one like this. Anyone who doesn't take this as a personal affront to the idea of We, the People, needs to move elsewhere. This is the total antithesis of the idea of UNITED States. Anyone who votes that line had better be prepared for the end of Social Security and Medicare because as entitlement programs, they are totally on the block. Has anyone ever heard a GOP plan for what would be replacing the ACA? I'd really like to hear what these guys are thinking!

Sitting in that darkened room, I thought a lot about the government shutdown. The number of people being denied essential services. The number of people who now hover on the cusp of having any sort of coverage (including my musician son.) The number of people who will die because medical services are not available. Do we have a responsibility to even provide health coverage? 

The concept of UNITED States seems to have disappeared from the common lexicon. If we are not united for the cause of public good and welfare, what's the point of being united? The House of Clowns done have more damage to the idea of UNITED States than the Civil War. At least in the Civil War there was a real-time ideology fight taken to the streets. Where is the compare and contrast part of the debate?  The House seems to be in possession of a collective conscious that believes it's free to do whatever it wants without regard to law, vox populi, or even common sense, when, in fact, it is not.

Speaking of COMMON SENSE, Thomas Paine wrote:

“Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”

The GOP has made this fight personal in all the wrong ways. The only thing We, the People have left to decide is on which side we stand. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Just because a guy is  retired vet, 
it doesn't mean he cares a whit about cats. 
Ask him about chickens and cows, and you've got a new BFF.


  1. Yes! I second that and I love your ending quote -- a subject I have been discussing a lot with my husband. "They" are different! "They" call themselves public servants. That's a euphemism for "I need power and money, more, more, more; how can I fleece these peons?" Servants work for free!

  2. Wifely you said "as my late husband Ziggy would say: It is what it is. Get used to it.'

    Your fatalistic attitude toward the lack of privacy does not take into account the attitude of people like me. What is happening in the House of Representatives is a mere side show compared to how your complacent world will come crashing down when we are done with it. It maybe what is it is but it is NOT what it will be!

    1. Good grief, that sounds ominous! I wish you would've elaborated.