Daily prompt: A skite, not a conversation

I am going to have a little skite. Not about me, but about my country.

In the last three weeks, I have:

Had a chest x-ray (appropriately assessed)

Spent 9 hours in A&E hooked up to BP and oxygen monitors, having blood tests and attended by fully qualified medical staff (and with non-stop access to free tea and coffee. Yay!)

Had 2 CT scans (both appropriately assessed)

Spent a night in hospital (in a single room!)

Had appointment respiratory specialist

Had a PET scan.

Had a biopsy (performed by specialist respiratory oncologist).

Spent another night in hospital (this time in a 2-bed room with a dear lady who watched TV until midnight, snored and had the ta-ta’s, life is full of interesting experiences.)

And today I start chemo (oh what jolly fun!).

ALL THIS AT NO COST TO ME!!! Which is more than lucky, because otherwise I’d be stone motherless broke by now, and trying to organise a mortgage to cover the chemo (also free) which we know won’t cure me but without which I’d be dead in about two months.

Furthermore, everyone I have met on this journey has been so kind, caring and patient that I am blown away by it.

So rise up and revolt, dear Americans. If good old non-event, ‘backward’ Australia can do that for me, then the richest, most powerful, prestigious and iconic country in the world should be thoroughly ashamed of the money-grubbing elitism that would refuse to do it for you in a similar situation.

You probably can’t see that. We all accept our own version of ‘normal’. But here’s a truth for you. To the rest of the developed world, having politicians and billion-dollar corporations decide who lives and who dies is not only Orwellian, but plain disgusting.

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26 Responses to Daily prompt: A skite, not a conversation

  1. I don’t know where to start in the comment department.

    Wait, yes I do.

    I am grateful that you live in Australia, and that you, like I do here in Canada, have access to medical treatment… wait, let me re-phrase that – FREE medical treatment. And that you, in spite of all that you have been through seem to have retained your remarkable spirit.

    Best wishes, Helen.

    And citizens of the United States? LISTEN TO THIS WOMEN! Rise up!

    • We are indeed incredibly lucky – but also, I think, far more likely to demand ‘a fair go’. I find it fascinating that despite our similarities, Australia’s national character is fundamentally different from America’s (and probably far more similar to Canada’s) in ways that Americans don’t begin to realise. We are pretty easy-going most of the time (not to say lazy!) but don’t push us too far or we will devise ingenious ways to outwit those things we consider unfair!

  2. Like Maggie, it’s hard to know where to start. Perhaps, like Maggie, with saying yes, we are indeed fortunate to have only the illness to worry about and not how we are going to pay for it. A friend who is on a very modest income is alive today because she got a free heart transplant and free drugs to keep it going.
    Will be thinking of you, Helen, in the months ahead. Chemo is no picnic.

    • If I survive this, I’ll have to work out ways to give back all that I’m being given. At the moment I am doing it for my kids, who are worth every less-than-stellar moment involved. Should start to lose my hair in about a week!

  3. I think we ALL see it. I can’t believe we haven’t fixed it yet. I was lobbying for universal medical care when I was 19 and now, I’m closing in on 71.

    Try to remember that being treat for cancer is like entering a tunnel. Once you are in it, you can’t go anywhere until you get to the other side. I’m glad you have compassionate care available to you. So many of us have been there and done that … but we got through it. Maybe not cured, but still functional. You hang on in there! Eat well. You will need the strength.

    • My children are determined I will get through it, my eldest daughter already threatening to stand over me and make me eat the nutritious meals she’s already planned.
      I can’t see how you can possibly win on the universal medical care with so much corporate money involved, but I do think somehow you have to for the sake of America’s standing and reputation in the rest of the world. Don’t envy you at all!

  4. Don’t underestimate (all of) us. Many of us DO see this. Your health care isn’t free; you pay taxes for it. Many of us are totally happy to have that chance and wish we did.

    Certain elements in the US are devoid of morality. They call things like “Medicare” (“free” medical care for people over 65) and “Social Security” (a pissant retirement plan for people 65+) “entitlement programs” and want to cut them to save the government money. Gone is the illusion of “government for and by the people”. The truth is, we pay from the first day of our employment, into those programs. We pay a lot, too. But there are people in this country so STUPID that they apparently don’t look at their fucking pay stubs or W-2 forms and see the words “Social Security” or “Medicare” and realize it is THEIR money that is being deducted for their future use. Not only that; lucky people like me who found a job with good “benefits” pay roughly $1000/month in their working years to have EXTRA health insurance after they retire. It’s expensive; more expensive than it needs to be. 😦

    I think it’s pretty unlikely anyone in this country will rise up and ask to pay more taxes. They are too short-sighted. The recent bullshit lying mother-fucking (sorry) tax bill that was just passed by our Congress should prove that. For a MINUSCULE break of reduced taxes for ONE YEAR the lower and middle class of this country will accept a $trillion addition to the deficit and PERMANENT tax breaks in the BILLIONS for the rich fucks. I’m sorry about my blue language but it’s a blue language situation.

    AND people in my country are so STUPID or so optimistic that they don’t realize tax dollars invested NOW in their future health care could save their benighted lives. I’m over this country, but I don’t have the money to emigrate. I would. Australia is number 2 on my list. Switzerland is number one. Iceland is number 3.

    IN more important news — I’m glad that going through this was only difficult (advised use of “only”) in the medical ways and not any other way for you. I’m glad you were met with kindness, compassion and consideration throughout. I wish so much there were more than all this medical care. I wish there were a magic wand that could just fix it. ❤

    • Don’t apologise for the language – I’m pretty sure mine would be worse!
      Yes, we do pay for it, but a few years ago the then-treasurer tried to gut what you’d call ‘entitlements’ and found himself out of a job. I suspect we’re more egalitarian by nature, being descended from horse thieves and poachers instead of idealists.
      It makes me genuinely sad to know that you are ‘over’ your country. One thing for me to be glad I don’t live there, but it must be deeply depressing to feel like that about your own homeland, particularly when, from what I can see, patriotism plays such a huge part in the American psyche. Does it interfere, do you think, in the ‘average’ American’s view of national reality? Are they too willing to believe that the American way is by definition the ‘right’ way?
      As for the magic wand – I know it sounds bizarre and disgustingly Pollyanna (whom I roundly despise as a nauseating brat) but I really am incredibly lucky. All my children and grandchildren have been up here for the last 10 days (they went home today) and I have been surrounded by love and support which they are on a mission to convince me I deserve (quite hard for me to grasp). And whatever happens from now on, I know that I will be looked after superbly well emotionally as well as medically.

      • I think you probably deserve all the care, love and attention you’re getting. I’m very happy that you have it. ❤

        Most people never leave this country and many of those who DO never actually LEAVE, if that makes sense. They remain in their "Best Country" cocoon. People don't learn "foreign" languages, either so that periscope into another world and culture never rises above the surface of their patriotism. I can't call them patriots when all they are is unfledged and unexposed, and some with the idea that there is no better place to go, not even anywhere that has anything good going on.

        That doesn't make them bad people, for the most part. It's just how it is on a big continent that's done really well for itself and derived its national identity from its government. That is a unique feature of the United States. The ONE thing we have in common is our government and that's been true since the Revolution.

        I can be over my country but not over my country at the same time. I love the San Luis Valley in Colorado where I live. I have wonderful friends. Ultimately we live in a pretty small area, but if I could emigrate, I would. Thankfully, I'm in love with the mountains, sky, altitude, light everything here, too. AND I don't have to decide. 🙂

  5. rugby843 says:

    I posted this on FB, so hope more people see it. Best wishes for your completion of your treatments, and a healthier future.

  6. Embeecee says:

    As an American I have a couple of points to make.

    First: America is no longer “then the richest, most powerful, prestigious and iconic country”. She might be richest (maybe..but we’re in hock up to our red, white and blue underwear, so China and the far East get that title now I think); powerful…weeelllll. When you have a nut behind the wheel who is driving, powerful can be dangerous, not a good thing at all; prestigious? Oh puleeeze. We shut the door on prestige when we as a national allowed that pile of crap with the bad toupee and the unhealthy attitude sit in the Oval Office; iconic? Maybe that’s it. We’re iconic. Given all that and the fact that we, as a nation, cannot come together enough to throw fascism from our government and find someone with morals and a conscience who is honest to run things; are you really that surprised that we can’t agree on socialized medicine? The morons (of which there are a LOT) seem to think it’s allowing in communism or something of that ilk, while they sit there soaking in fascism. To people like myself, who think socialized medicine is fine and dandy (because I’m going stony broke trying to manage diabetes ffs); but thinks also that certain groups of people who are here without paying any toll for their ride should NOT be eligible and should go back where they came from (I don’t hate aliens, but illegal ones get on my last nerve big time). Thus dear Helen, do you see why America wallows in 1950s thinking towards an idea that’s as advanced as socialized medicine? We have a misogynistic, stupid and blind leader…and many have followed him like the sheep they are. If I could I’d emigrate to your country. Or to Canada. But I’m pretty sure neither wants Americans. Especially not the hoard of us that want to leave here and go somewhere sane. And I apologize most humbly for the diatribe on your comment section. Americans can be loud-mouthed and opinionated too, did you notice?

    • lwbut says:

      Well Said!

      The underlying key of course is the love of money as the main driving factor for those who truly run your country and who put people like Grump into office to divert the flack (or flock – whichever).

    • Feel free to say what you like on my comment section, the more the merrier! How to reply is another question, which is why it’s taken me so long.
      It would be nice to blame it all on the orange nut, but it seems to me that as long as America is owned by big money and corporate power, nothing is going to change. And there’s no sign of big money or corporate power giving back one iota of their stranglehold anytime soon.

  7. Pingback: Worthy of a nod | sparksfromacombustiblemind

  8. Hi Helen, I’m sorry for what you are going through but happy that you don’t have to worry about paying for treatment. I’m from Canada so I know what that is like. While we do pay more taxes and our health care does have its issues, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I had a daughter 22 years ago who required open heart surgery when she was only four days old. She spent two weeks in the hospital. The only thing we had to pay for was parking (and a minimal fee to stay at Ronald McDonald House). I can’t imagine what that would have been like had we had to pay for it. Probably would still be paying. Take care and prayers for you for strength, courage and health.

  9. Oh, Helen, I am so sorry to read this news. Sending you admiration and support from afar.

    • Thank you, Barbara. If it had been even ten years ago I probably would have been beside myself, but I seem to be taking each day fairly philosophically. The biggest danger is that I let myself off the exercise hook and sit around reading! Not advisable as I intend to confound those who nod sagely and talk about finding alternative accommodation to my 2nd floor unit. I think not!

  10. So True, Helen. To be honest, I for one didn’t know Australia had that kind of medicare. As good, or perhaps even better than what we have in Canada. At any event, I’m glad to read you are getting that level of excellent care. The last thing you or anybody with cancer needs is the added stress of worrying about going broke. Warmest, best wishes are coming your way from the frozen north.

    • It makes my blood boil, actually, every time I hear one of those pompous, self-satisfied US politicians extolling the virtues of the ‘greatest country on earth’,and all I can think of is US citizens needing guns to feel safe and dying of treatable illnesses because they can’t afford the treatment. Why aren’t they ashamed? But then I guess in their terms, I’m too naive and unsophisticated to understand.

  11. lwbut says:

    With you all the way on our brilliant health care of which i too have been excessively blessed by and could never fully repay (or afford if i lived in the US!)

    With such a system and your wonderful family to help my wishes towards your full recovery and long healthy life might seem insignificant -but you have them none-the-less. 🙂

    Never under-estimate the healing qualities of a good gripe! 😉

    • Thank you. I did think of hanging around until my youngest grandchild is 18 (he is now 4) but have come to wonder if I can tolerate the state of the world for so long. I do think nature is very clever. We reach a point where we recognise that the world is leaving us behind and it’s time to go.

      • lwbut says:

        Nature is very clever…. Humans? Not so much! 😉

        It’s a lot easier to tolerate the state of the world if we focus more on the good things close to us than the bad things further away… and if we don’t look too far ahead but live for what is here and now. 🙂

  12. bkpyett says:

    I’m impressed with your positive attitude, Helen. You’re half way there if you can remain so.
    Blessings and love on this difficult journey. I’m so pleased you have a caring family to support you. ❤ ❤ ❤ Barbara

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