We share a similar sense of humor and ironic detachment when it comes to politics. Dr Ritter no longer prescribes narcotics owing to new Florida laws aimed at pill mills which he is decidedly not. Ritter knows what arthritis pain is and he is reigned to the fact that his patients who really need relief can't get it from him. He sends them to pain specialists. As they discussed treatment options for a relentless evolving disease I looked out the window into the South Miami street below.
What does the flower seller do for his arthritis, without insurance? Does he rely on a home remedy? My wife tried those in her struggle to evade side effects. She tried them all when we lived in California: Indian, Chinese, diet, massage, herbs meditation on and on and on, every new age treatment that never worked. So it was back to chemistry and expense and side effects.
Thank god we have insurance. As messed up as the system is between us we can navigate the torturous paperwork, we find the co-pays and my wife keeps her government job. As discussion moves in right wing circles toward repealing Obamacare, as it is called dismissively, I wonder how many people with incurable expensive non terminal diseases would like to let insurance corporations cut them from coverage? Obamacare isn't much but has helped. Call it socialism, but for my wife who is uninsurable it is a lifeline.
There's money in medicine and for specialists in low demand fields like auto immune disease there aren't enough doctors, so there's too much work and money enough to expand the offices to try to cope with the flood of patients seeking relief from endless, crippling pain. I read about cancer drugs now going generic that are unavailable in hospitals, about drugs not being shipped to Greece in bankruptcy and I wonder how long before we start an adult conversation on these issues. Rationing? We have it already. Ask the flower seller, if you can stoop to speak his language.
We have tens of thousands of children not eating right, or not eating enough, deprived of access to health care and still expected to shine at school on empty stomachs. My wife and I have neither aging parents nor needy children and we are left to imagine the stress of those situations. We just have to live with Art and his impositions. Exercise daily in the gym and laughter daily with her husband help keep the joints from seizing up. And expensive drugs.
And if like this scooter rider I take to lane splitting (illegally) I run the risk of...well you name it. In any event the biggest risk is unmanageable medical bills if I survive the wreck. We're all an ambulance ride away from joining Greece in debtor's prison. Obamacare? Not enough, but you won't know till you get the diagnosis. Then you join the flower seller at the botanica.
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