Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Let them know what you think

I want action.

I'm tired of all this back and forth about health care reform. I want a vote — whether through reconciliation, deeming or a rule action. I'm not sure what all those terms mean and I don't think half the broadcasters, reporters, bloggers or Congressional leaders do either.

There are lots of nasty buzzwords being used to describe these procedures and to discourage the use of them. There also appears to be historical data showing that each party has used these procedures in the past.

I don't care about the politics. I just want to see a few things accomplished.

I want to see lifetime caps disappear in insurance policies. It's really easy for a catastrophic illness to cost a million dollars in a short period of time. Those benefits run out way before the life of the individual with the illness, disease or stroke may end.

I want to see an opportunity for every person to have access to health care. I'm not talking about having access to the emergency room for a sinus infection. I'm talking about the ability to see a family doctor for preventative health care issues as well as infections and colds.

I want to see the health care bill streamlined. It would be nice to have it come in a smaller package, but I also understand it is trying to deal with multiple complex issues. It sets out some pretty lofty goals to be in place immediately and phased in over the next few years.

I want to see those kickbacks removed. I don't know what the Senate was thinking when they approved some of the perks for Nebraska and Louisiana. Who knows what other states benefited from these crazy deals? The deals need to go! They are not fair to other states.

I want to see Senate and Congressional leaders pass health care reform. If it's a legal method that has been employed by Congress in the past to approve legislation, then I think it should be used today.

I sent e-mails this morning to my Congressman and my Senators. It took longer to fill out the contact information than it did to ask them nicely to support the passage of health care reform.

I know there are a lot of people who hate the idea of health care reform. That's fine. You need to let Congressional leaders know how you feel, too.

It's easy, go to this Web site and you can find the people who represent your district and state. Let them know what you think. Let them know if you are for it or against it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Don't judge, just help

This morning, I was reading about Sen. Harry Reid's wife and daughter's accident. In one of the articles, it noted that Reid did not stay at the hospital. He returned to the Senate to continue negotiations about health care reform.

I cringed, because I knew things like this would happen. I found this Tweet: "Harry Reid, a sure loser in the 2010 election, would rather be in DC forcing Obamacare thru, than to be with wife in hospital."

Forget the politics of health care reform. Forget that Reid is a Democratic leader.

Think about how each individual deals with medical emergencies differently.

When my late husband had a catastrophic stroke, I was able to stay with him at the hospital. I didn't return to work for four or five weeks. NOT everyone can do that. I had a supportive employer, co-workers and family.

When he was able to communicate with me, he said he didn't remember 99 percent of what happened in that ICU unit. He doesn't know what was said, done or who visited. It's a fog, because of his precarious condition and the environment. It's difficult for many to keep their days and nights straight. The machines and tubes often create noises that muffle and alter reality as well.

While Mrs. Reid has a broken back, nose and neck — all very serious — I understand why Harry Reid did what he did. It's what he needed to do. Once you observe a few medical emergencies, you'll see how each person deals with it differently. Think about it — some people cry and fall to pieces. Some people find an inner strength that no one has seen before. Some people become numb from the experience. Some people let the medical professionals do their job.

People will criticize you no matter what you do. Some people felt like I stayed at the hospital for too long. I was encouraged to leave and to begin moving ahead, but I couldn't. While I wasn't the crying, weepy type, looking back, I honestly needed that time in the bubble of the ICU waiting room to adjust to my new reality.

Money also plays a role in how many react. Some folks can't afford to buy gas for their car to visit loved ones in the hospital. Some can't afford to miss a day of work. After all, the ICU is taking take of your loved one — technically you are there for support.

Don't get me wrong. I strongly believe family contact is important for recovery. But, I don't want to judge a person for how he or she reacts. It's ridiculous to do so. That individual has enough stress. There's no reason to pile it on with snarky remarks.

My mom had a serious neck and back surgery last August. She's recovering nicely, but she has mentioned on more than one occasion that she doesn't remember my visit with her during the post-surgery phase. I was there. She knows I was there, but she can't remember it. It's just another example of where your loved one — may not even know what you're doing to help them.

Unfortunately, there will be nasty comments made about Mr. Reid and how he behaves while his wife is recovering. I think the best thing is to simply offer up a prayer or a nice thought for the family. Medical emergencies are difficult and often devastating. The last thing a family needs is a bunch of nosey folks butting in. Each family needs to make its own decision on what's best. No one else.