guest post: a kick in the pants
I have just had my annual physical examination (I passed, although some of the parts that have gone out of warranty are getting a little creaky). What? You haven’t seen a doctor in ten years? Are you, well, nuts?
My parents were children of the Great Depression (not this little blip we are currently living through). The prevailing attitude of that generation is that you went to see a doctor only when you were about ready to die. It’s a stark commentary, but it’s largely true. A part of it is cultural, but a part of it is a distinctly human trait that encourages us to avoid hearing bad news, and having to act on that news.
A decade or so ago my mother took my father into the hospital emergency room, for his first time in 40 years, because he could no longer stand the pain of the cancer that infiltrated his body. He lived for a year and a half afterward, although I can’t call his quality of life anything to write home about. For the last several months, he was delirious and bed-ridden.
While we decry the state of health care in the United States, at least in comparison with nationalized programs in other countries that the media describes (all of which have their downsides), the fact of the matter is that if you are fortunate enough to have a decent employer-sponsored health care offering, and are not taking advantage of it, you are a fool who is taking unnecessary chances with your life and livelihood. Despite the costs, paperwork, and general confusion, it is largely the best program in the world.
I recognize that there are those of you who don’t have access to such a program, and in my older years I have been an advocate for a drastic change in how the US delivers health care. Yet even so, it is more important for you to find a way to obtain the care that is the privilege of living here, because you likely need it all the more. Without good health, you can’t fulfill any of the goals that Steve describes as the cornerstone of his postings.