Sunday, May 2, 2021
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Healthcare is big on the news circuit these days. Every news channel and every newspaper will focus on healthcare – some days less than others but it’s there. And, for us normal consumers it’s that ‘big elephant’ in the room. Whether I am sitting with the wife or speaking with the parents, it’s like a cloud on the Tom & Jerry show, following my every thought without relent. Saying that my mind is literally saturated with healthcare conundrums is an understatement – it is at times overflowing with the tenacity of boiling water in a kettle. The whistle just a reminder that the time is always running out. Making the matter sadder is the unsatisfying context that I happen to work in the healthcare industry. That fact seems to have no bearing on my own personal ‘healthcare’, as it should.
One beautiful day, with snow, I went out for a walk in the famous South End section of Boston. Healthcare again was a looming factor in my sudden desire for a distraction from my own mind. It was futile! Health care was inescapable. I saw something in an alley way. Something that made me flash back to all the conversation that I had with clients/patients about why they don’t have enough health care coverage. The dreadful moment, when I have to tell a patient that they cannot get oxygen because the government can only pay for you to breathe for 36 months. Then I remember a client tell me a story about how his neighbor where the VA disposed his brand new hospital bed at a junk yard instead of donating it or reusing it because it was their policy. Another patient who spent months trying to get a scooter but was waiting for the claim to clear the red tape so he could leave his room. He was an amputee and was stuck in the room/house for more than 6 months. All these thoughts went through my head in a flash. The serenity that comes with snow was immediately replaced with a sickening and gut wrenching feeling, like I was re living those feelings again. Somehow it was very personal. What I saw might mean many things with many reasons but that’s what it meant to me. The symbolism was too monumental for me to ignore so I promptly took out my phone and took a couple of pictures.
want NEED to know what goes through your mind when you see this image, so please take a minute and if you can comment on this picture. Tell me I am not alone; tell me this makes you sad, angry even while fully understanding that there are plenty of valid reasons for this. Share your thoughts, your stories, and your anger!
Here is a picture of what I saw that day. It is a Oxygen concentrator half buried in the snow. Obviously discarded. It still has the tags on there and labels as if it was just purchased. The phone number of the company is clearly listed with indications as to how to dispose or recycle it. This could have been re used for someone that doesn’t have health coverage. This could be extending someone’s life somewhere
It makes me think that if the person didn’t really need it then why waste the money? Why waste the tax payer’s money? The healthcare dollars at work… in the snow! Can’t there be any oversight to prevent this?
The same night I went down the street to the drug store. On the way there I saw ambulances with screaming sirens stop at a building. 3 minutes later the paramedics come out of the building, and drive off. Surely the medical emergency didn’t only take 3 minutes to handle– the time it took me to walk down to the end of the street. By that time the fire department first responders arrive and were waived off even before they stopped. This presents a whole new perspective on health care. Reading about it and realizing it when it happens are now apparent as being two different things – so is working in the industry for that matter.
It was enlightenment at work! I was noticing things about healthcare every day. Things that, in all probability happen every day, and I just now see the connections. Still don’t know how this helps extradite my own elephant out of our room but at least now I have some real world experience / firsthand knowledge to back the idea of how the elephant got in the room to begin with!