Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lack of Affordable Health Care and Health Insurance Killed My Husband - 2

"One of the most unpatriotic things I can think of is the callous disregard so many of our fellow Americans seem to have for their uninsured fellow citizens. They are comfortable leaving millions in the hands of insurance companies all citizens know already "come between you and your doctor". And we ALL know that if you serve the corporate bottom line (our current system of health "care"), instead of being accountable to voters, you're going to chose profit over actually providing for someone's health. So many 1st world countries have successful ways of providing health care for their citizens. We should learn from them, and improve on their examples. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" should read "let me provide aide to your working-weary, your too-poor-to-get-health-insurance, your having-trouble-to-breath"... Your HMO and your insurance company already stand between you and your doctor. Don't use that as a lame excuse to prevent the uninsured from having an access to a doctor at all. The public option is compassionate patriotism at it's best."

Sort of looks like those "death panels" everyone is afraid of are already in place and thriving, don't it?

Keeping an eye on the soybean seed being unloaded.

James had worked since he was 6 years old on his family's share-cropped acres.  One year, when he was 13 or so, his Dad worked for a dairy farmer.  James got up at 3:30 a.m. every morning to help his Dad do the milking before he went to school.  After school, he ran or hitched a ride the 3 miles home so he could help his Dad finish up the cleaning and do the milking again.  He never received one dime of pay from that old dairy farm owner, hell,,, back in those days his Dad barely received enough pay to feed his family. From the day James graduated from high school until the day he died,  the jobs he held could be counted on one hand.  Anyone who knew him could tell you what a wonderful, hard-working, man he was, no matter what sort of job he did on a farm,  and he became an excellent farm manager.
This was James's school picture during the year he worked with his Dad at the dairy barn.

The thing is, farming feeds the mulitudes, but farming in the delta region doesn't provide many perks, including health insurance for the employees.   There is still a lot of "good ole boy" mentality floating around down here in our part of the Mississippi River delta, left over from the days of slavery.  Many of the farm owners feel that "ya gotta keep em hungry and in debt to ya,  pay em too much and they won't work nearly as hard."

So, why didn't he work somewhere else? I guess he was one of those folks who still believed in the American Dream and honestly thought that hard work would eventually pay off.    Also, even when you divided his salary by the hours he worked, and it showed he worked for much less than minimum wage for many months of the year, the truth of the matter is, his salary was high enough that we could actually eat and pay our basic bills at the same time. And one of the farm jobs came with a house and utilities. I helped by working  as much as I could too.   We raised 3 kids who had as much as they needed although probably not as much as they wanted. We paid for their births and other medical needs without insurance by paying as much as we could one month at a time.  But back (our last child was born in 1980)  then the highest hospital bill for giving birth was $1100 for 3 days in the hospital (the fees had doubled from the year before cause they built a new hospital).

Kinda makes you understand why I'm pretty damned mad right now,  along with having the worst heartache (even worse than some of the things my kids have said and done lately and in the past) I've so far ever had to endure in my life.  My husband didn't deserve to die at age 59.  He still had an awful lot of lovings to give to his grandbabies and  a lot of farming to do. Dammit, I miss him!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Long Nights

I've always disliked this part of the year; when the days get shorter and the nights take over so early in the evenings, but the nights are the worst now.  There's too much time to think, to remember, to wonder what if,,,
The doc gave me some sleeping pills last week because I am only sleeping in short spurts. So far they've not helped.

So here I am, waiting for daylight, again.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lack of Affordable Healthcare and Health Insurance killed my husband.

My great, big, strong husband of over 40 years worked a 14 hour day in the field just 28 hrs before he died. He had called to say that he "thought" he might need to see his doctor on Tuesday morning so would I make an appointment.   He refused to let me take him to ER or call an ambulance when I could tell how out of breath he was... I know he was trying to hold on because of our not having health insurance,,,  I stayed in the chair and he in the recliner all Monday night after he'd come home from the field because I was afraid he'd stop breathing. On the way to the doctor Tues morning (the 6th) I was afraid he was having a heart attack and detoured to the hospital.  After the morning in ER, EKGs, cts, electrocardiogram, they decided it was early stage Congestive heart failure and admitted him into ICU so they could drain fluid built up in one of his lungs.  All the tests showed he had not had a heart attack.  He was stable, the doctor had been by to see him and said he'd do the drainage the next morning,,that he needed to rest that night, that he was going to be OK.   I left at 6 to get home to Zach and homework, etc,,,with plans to return early the next morning to wait for ICU visiting hours.  I got the call at 12:46 a.m. and our life fell apart.

At 12:20 a.m. on September 7, 2011 my husband, James, at age 59, became one of the 45,000 Americans who will die from lack of affordable health care in this great country of ours this year.

to be continued,,,,