Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thank You, Supreme Court

The last day I really spent with my father was in a Bronx hospital emergency room.

He'd been having trouble breathing and they brought him there from the Nursing Home From Hell he'd been in. My mother had to go to chemo and my brother SAID he'd go with her, but never showed. And I stayed with Dad.

We spent 10 hours there waiting for them to get him a bed. He was feeling better in terms of his breathing, but his back was hurting him--a broken bone in his spine had landed him in the nursing home in the first place.

He wasn't hungry, but he kept complaining his mouth was dry. They finally let me have ice chips for him and I fed them to him spoon by spoon. His lips were cracked and hurt and I got them to bring me some gauze and I cleaned them periodically. Later in the day, they brought an air mattress that helped his back a bit. He kept complaining periodically that he was cold--he did that a lot those last months, and I got him extra blankets.

The nurses for the most part were not around--busy with other patients. Lots of other patients.

I spent most of the day standing. Someone did get me a chair, but eventually it had to be removed. Because as patients arrived, and arrived and arrived, their beds were set so closely together that by day's end I couldn't really even stand next to Dad--there was no space.

Patients filled the aisles. When my mom came (briefly, I made her go home) and I went out to get some lunch, I had to weave my way between stretchers. People were there, on stretchers, in the aisles, sitting and eating their lunches.

Thing is, a lot of those patients didn't belong in an emergency room. A lot of them had minor ailments that they  should have been visiting their family physicians for.

But they don't have family physicians.

A lot more patients were there with simple things that had mutated into much more serious ailments. A family physician could have taken care of them at the beginning.

But they don't have family physicians.

My parents have excellent health care insurance and everything for my father was covered. My mom's doctors, her chemo treatments--all covered.

I have Kaiser Permanente care through my job. There are advice nurses 24/7 and always a place to go. When I had the girls the only thing we paid out of pocket for was my private room.

But millions of people don't have any health care coverage and they end up in emergency rooms.
Or they end up going broke over bills.

The 10 hours I spent with my father were like being in a circle of hell.  And most people didn't have a family member there to get them through it.

Thank you, President Obama for the health care law.
It's not single payer/Medicaid for all, which is what we need, but it's a big step in the right direction.

And thank you, Supreme Court, especially Justice Roberts.
You did the right thing.

And if the 4 dissenting judges had been in that hospital with Daddy and me, or in a similar place for 10 hours of hell, they'd be hanging their heads in shame right now.

No comments: