For the past several weeks, you may have noticed that I haven’t been writing.  That is because I am sick.  REALLY sick.

I am currently on Disability due to Acute PTSD that was a direct result of 9/11.  I am also bi-polar.  This, you guys have all been familiar with as I write about them all the time.  I manage my life around them slowly and surely, and have also overcome alcoholism over the past three years.  That was of my own disastrous choosing, but with a lot of help and Grace and Redemption, I overcame that as well.

Years ago, I used to climb mountains…literally.  I would use ropes, hike trails, hang out on ledges…all because it was the most incredible high I ever have gotten without the aid of any drug or drink.  On one of those climbs, I injured my back and had to make an arduous trek down Mount Mansfield.  Luckily, we were near a trail that the CCC had paved out in the 30’s, and instead of going back blazing our own I slowly descended using what normal, sane individuals used to go up the mountain.  I eventually got over my injuries after lying flat on my back for a day or so and drinking lots of vodka accompanied by Tylenol #4 with codeine that the campus infirmary so graciously gave me.  The damage to two of my lower vertebrae in my spine was done, however.

Throughout my 20’s and into my 30’s, my back would give out, and I would be shuffling around like some Quasimodo for sometimes up to two weeks at a time.  The last time this occurred prior to my recent bout was in my mid-30’s, and for years nothing else happened.  No pain.  Nothing.  I thought that perhaps somehow my back had corrected itself and I was out of the woods.  Then one day last year on a late May evening, I saw stars.  Galaxies, in fact.  The pain came from nowhere, and it was more intense than ever this time…and it happened for no good reason.  It just HAPPENED.  I made the emergency call to my Doctor who called in a prescription to get through the weekend before I could see him on Monday.  Next thing I know I’m going through a set of X-Rays, and an MRI and seeing an Orthopedist.

Yup, those two discs had returned to haunt me.  We tried traction, exercise, everything over the course of the year…nothing worked.  The latest MRI showed what indicated a loss of the spongy areas that separate the vertebrae in my back in several other spots this time…in other words, my back was getting worse.  I’ve had a blood test taken, and I’m waiting for my results to be officially told to me by my Doctor (although I know that the anemia indicated doesn’t represent anything fatal like it could have).  But all of this happened, suddenly and out of the blue without warning.

It can happen to anyone, it can happen to YOU.

I’m covered under my wife’s insurance policy, and I’m also covered by Medicare because of my disability.  Had I been employed and somehow changed jobs, my new insurer could have refused to cover me for any of these conditions.  In other words, I’d be broke and suffering…just like so many Americans are.  Now, I’m just suffering; and at least I’m getting through this with a modicum of expense.  Between co-pays my office visits and drugs run about $200 a month.  That is STILL a nice chunk of change, but I estimated one time how much that would have cost me without insurance or Medicare, and I figured somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 A MONTH.

And people say we don’t need Universal Health Care in this country?

How many others are in the same boat as I and are left untreated?  How many others are shelling out full price for services and have to choose between eating, a roof over their head, the power being on, or medicine for their ailments?  How many people in this country have absolutely no insurance and are refused care because they have none?  Why is it that the most powerful nation in the world, the richest and most generous, cannot be generous with its own people?  Follow the money, folks…it’s all about insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, lobbyists, and elected officials beholden to these special interests.  SHOW ME THE MONEY!

And we come to a point in this country’s history where we are at a crossroads; where we must START down the road of Universal Healthcare.  The President is asking Congress to develop a plan that would allow affordable health care for every person in this country.  Not only that, you could not be denied coverage and if necessary the government would pay for you (we do already with those who go to the ER and skip out on the bill) if you could not afford it.  A Government run plan would COMPETE with private plans…you know, like a basic capitalist principle that the Republicans and Democrats who oppose even the CHOICE of a Government option don’t want YOU to have.  Because it’s all about the money.  It’s all about how rich people can get off human misery and suffering, how we are reduced to numbers and filed away somewhere so that the rich get richer, and the divide grows even more between those who have and those who have not.

All we need is a CHOICE for a Government run plan or a private one.  No one wants to take away your existing plan if you like it.  No one wants to deny you services, or doctors, or operations.  What WE need to do is make it clear to our Elected Officials that enough is enough…that it is time we are treated like Human Beings and with dignity.  It is time to end this barbaric practice of parasitic politics at the expense of the suffering.  Say it loud, say it strong, and say it clear…


“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own.” – Number 6 from “The Prisoner”