beach

I took this about a month ago, on an evening walk with my daughter. She is airborne: her feet are not quite touching. I have pictures of both my kids airborne at the beach. Water, wind, air, sky: I think that is their effect….

The new health care bill would cut medicaid by billions. That is our poorest Americans and most disabled. Is that how we make America great? Great for whom? Call Congress and say no….. Call again and again and again. They listen to money but in the end they need votes.

the unwashed masses

I don’t have any of THEM as patients. The unwashed masses. All of my patients are smart.

There aren’t any unwashed masses.

I have a gentleman who is overweight, obese, diabetes. He is not stupid. He is not unwashed. He is not exercising or controlling his blood sugar right now because the temperature is below freezing. He has a hole in his trailer floor and no heat. So he huddles under the electric blanket.

I have a gentlewoman, also diabetic. She too is not stupid. She is not unwashed. She lost her husband to cancer and then everything else and then was homeless for a period. She has a small house but she has no heat. She stays in bed to stay warm. Her contractor quit before he put in the furnace and he’s gone bankrupt. She is cold.

I have veterans. They are not stupid. They are not unwashed. One was homeless for a long period and pooled his resources with another to rent a section 8 house. I am so proud of them. They are having trouble living together, each would rather live alone. Only sometimes they would rather not be alone. It is hard.

I have a massage therapist. She started to train as a counselor. To be a counselor, she needs a certain number of supervised hours and was getting this through the county mental health. “I didn’t know.” she says. “It is taking twice as long as I thought because half the time they don’t show up. They don’t show up because they don’t have gas, they don’t have food, they have been evicted, their son is in jail, they are in jail. I had no idea. My massage clientele is so different, they pay. I thought poverty was in third world countries, but it is here, in my county. I didn’t know.”

I know the people who live in the woods. A schizophrenic who comes once a month for his shot. He was losing weight. “Why are you losing weight?” I demand. “I am only eating once a day.” he says. I nag him to go to the community meals. He is shy, he is afraid of people and he is hungry. He is not stupid. He is not unwashed.

I have opiate addicts. Six years ago one expressed concern. He is 6 foot 5 and big. “I am afraid of some of the other people. You shouldn’t be doing this! It’s too scary and dangerous!” My opiate addicts are not stupid. My opiate addicts are not unwashed. Sometimes they relapse. Sometimes they die, in their 50s, 40s, 30s, 20s.

One in six people in the US is below the poverty level. They are not stupid. They are not unwashed.

And when someone talks about the masses, the people, the stupid people, most people are stupid, the sheep….

….I am beyond angry….

….my heart hurts….

Poverty in the US: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-tps153.html.

More: http://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty.html.

The examples are taken from 25 years of practice, details changed for hipaa, but I can list dozens at any one time. The photograph is during the sunset after clinic, when I walked down town, the view across the sound.

 

Cold homes

For the Daily Prompt: float.

Float… but some of my patients are not floating. They are sinking.

It has been clear and below freezing for a few days now. I have more than one patient who is not exercising or not taking care of their blood sugar or not eating adequately…. because they don’t have heat. They are staying in bed with an electric blanket or staying in one room because they have an electric heater plugged in. My house has 1930s wiring and I am told that it is a fire hazard to plug one of those heaters in.

I went home yesterday and my house felt cold. I checked the monitor: 49 degrees. I had cleaned the heat pump filters two days before and then had forgotten to restart the heat pump. It was up to 57 degrees by this morning and will be warm tonight.

Prayers and donations for the people in all our areas who do not have adequate heat….