Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Health Care Story

The Eastpointer

Your Health Care Story

By Richard E. Noble

I was "surfing" the web the other day and I hit onto this site that was asking people to tell them their health care story. I felt that I didn't really have a health care story, so I moved on. But since that time I can't stop thinking about my health care story.
When I was just eight or ten years old my favorite uncle, Uncle Joe, died. He had to have his appendix removed. It was supposed to be a routine operation. My Uncle Joe was a World War II veteran and he served in the Pacific. He came down with Malaria when he was in the jungles over there and as a consequence they discovered that he was allergic to penicillin. For some reason the folks at the hospital where he was having his appendix removed, missed that detail. A week later he was dead.
A few years after my Uncle Joe passed, my dad complained one evening of having chest pains. He was very worried. His father had the same problem and died before he reached the age of fifty. It seems that he was complaining about chest pains also. They found him laying dead in the doorway of a storefront that he ducked into on his way home from work.
My dad called the local Doctor. The Doctor came to your home in those days. He told my dad it was probably just indigestion. My dad bought some Rolaids but they didn't help. Finally he walked up to the local hospital. But, they weren't as knowledgeable about heart problems back in those days. They gave him a quick once over and he picked up another package of Rolaids on his walk home.
That evening I heard my dad talking with my older brother at the kitchen table. He felt that he was probably going to die and he was giving my older brother advice on what to do when he was gone. The next morning all us kids woke up to the screaming panic of my mother. We all got to watch my father take his last breathes before the Doctor and the priest arrived.
My mother was doing pretty well until she got into her sixties. She started to have some sort of heart valve problem. All us grown kids had a family meeting. My older brother had spoken to the Doctor. The Doctor told him that my mother would need a heart valve replacement operation or she would be dead within six months. My mother had no insurance and none of her kids could afford to pay for such an operation. We told my mother what the Doctor had said and she said that she would just have to take her chances. She didn't have the operation.
My mother was very lucky. The Doctor's prognosis did not come true. She took some kind of heart pill for the rest of her life but she lived well into her seventies.
My older brother was a unique case. He had plenty of insurance - maybe too much insurance. It seemed that he was having some new procedure done every year. Finally he had a heart problem. He had bad valves just like my mother. He managed to survive the heart operation, but like 94,000 other Americans, he caught something while in the hospital. He got an infection - septicemia. He died a few years back. He was sixty-six when he died.
My sister is still alive but she has had some big problems. She has always worked in the medical field and lucky for her she has always been insured by her employers. A number of years ago she had a brain tumor. They had to cut a section of her skull out. She survived and only ended up losing her sense of smell.
Next, her Doctor prescribed some type of cholesterol medicine. Suddenly she was a cripple in a wheel chair. There was a large class action suit against the drug company who manufactured the cholesterol medicine that she had been taking. My sister would not join the suit. She had worked all her life in the medical field for doctors and in hospitals. She felt that it would be immoral to sue the people who had provided her with a living all of her life.
A few years have now gone by and she is walking again and getting herself around. She just turned seventy.
I don't want to get into my wife and myself. I don't want to jinx us. We just go with the flow, think positive, and keep our fingers crossed. I told my wife the old Satchel Page story.
Satchel Page had no birth certificate. Consequently he never knew how old he was. He used to say; "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you really were?"
I told my wife that when we were fifty we were not worried about any of this stuff. So why don't we just be fifty once again. So that's my health care story. And my wife and I are both very happy to be fifty once again.

Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble, a freelance writer who has lived in Franklin County for over thirty years. Both books are available on Amazon.com. If you would like to stock my books in your store or business, contact e-mail me at richardedwardnoble@gtcom.net

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