This is a spontaneous rant of frustration at observing just how low the U.S. has fallen from having previously been a somewhat civilized nation of human beings to a corporate-owned plantation of steel and cement inhabited by brain-dead automatons who obey the orders of overseers even George Orwell’s nightmares didn’t conjure.
A friend of mine recently moved from the Bronx to Tucson, Arizona. Being quadriplegic, she suffers intensely from cold weather and decided to move to a warmer climate. After doing a little research online, she was led to believe that Arizona was one of the best states for disabled people to live in the U.S.
She packed a couple bags and spent a week or so looking at prospective apartments. She found a beautiful gated community in Tucson that rents nice, new apartments for about the same price as a crappy apartment in a shitty neighborhood in the Bronx. So, she signed a lease and stayed.
Warm weather, quiet, a swimming pool, a big gym, a movie theatre in the complex, friendly people – it seemed like the ideal place to live. She arranged for her belongings to be delivered from N.Y. and made the requisite phone calls to take care of all of her medical needs.
Then, the first glimpse of dark reality in her quixotic fantasy of living in a desert utopia of peaceful compassion. The usually bustling offices of her NYC doctors suddenly slowed to a quicksand pace when they were losing a source of income. Multiple phone calls led to e-mails and faxes, more phone calls and more e-mails and faxes. The sound of feet dragging on office carpeting was like a silent cacophony of “fuck you.”
The pain clinic she decided to use requested medical information going back more than ten years. She hadn’t even lived in NYC that long. She’s originally from Maine and moved to NYC in 2012 because the sociopathic tea party governor there decided quadriplegics needed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, get a job and take care of themselves. (Apparently, Governor La Page was under the impression that all families are wealthy enough to stay at home and work full-time taking care of a completely dependent family member). So, this presented a bit of a problem in getting all of the information demanded by the clinic and it became an exercise in frustration. Friends from NYC visited to help fill in the gaps of attendant care while the state of Arizona laid out the welcoming carpet of red tape sprinkled with an unhealthy dose of obstruction and procrastination.
After a couple of doctor appointments, she was coming dangerously close to running out of the medications she needs to prevent her muscles from constant spasming and her stage 4 pressure ulcer from causing a bout of dysreflexia that could lead to a heart attack. The doctors in Tucson refused to fill her prescriptions despite the fact that she had ample proof of what she was given legally in N.Y. So, to buy a little time, she cut down on the doses she was taking. She hoped this would allow enough time for the clinic to receive proper documentation of her condition to warrant filling her prescriptions. The days became a string of phone calls and e-mails. When told she was suffering tremendously from withdrawal symptoms, the people at the pain clinic gave this stunningly cold-hearted advice:
“Well, take her to the ER. There’s nothing we can do.“ Wow.
She went to the hospital and they told her:
“We can give you a shot for pain, but we can’t fill your prescriptions. Go to a clinic and get them to take care of it.” (At least these people showed some compassion)
When asked about natural treatments for her condition, the people at the clinic said that patients are not allowed to pursue both natural treatment and pharmaceuticals. Deciding to go natural means completely cutting off these dangerously addictive drugs regardless of the consequences. No gradual cutting back. That is definitely a result of lobbying by Big Pharma and shows who runs things in the medical field in the U.S. Doctors and hospitals more or less take their orders from pharmaceutical firms these days.
Her new primary care physician eventually gave her a weaker muscle relaxant. Apparently it’s either too weak or at a much lower dose than she needs. She can’t sit up in her wheelchair at this point and has no appetite. She hasn’t slept in two days and this morning she vomited black. Seriously, yellow and black vomit.
An ambulance brought her to the hospital for the second time in three days. One of the crew members gave me the impression of a Nazi soldier burdened with the unpleasant task of ushering an “undesirable” to her deserved death. She could barely contain her disgust for a disabled person in severe pain while asking questions about why she wanted an ambulance (as if the cost was coming directly out of her pocket).
There’s another interesting chapter in this story. After leaving a state that provided 24 hours a day in attendant care, she is facing the nightmare that Arizona considers anyone who needs more than 6 hours of assistance per day destined for a nursing home. Corporate tax cuts are too important to jeopardize by allowing disabled people to live comfortably.
Now, the poor woman’s legs are jumping on their own while she lays on a gurney waiting to be seen by a doctor who will probably tell her there is nothing they can do for her.
This is just another in a LONG list of symptoms in a society that’s gone completely nuts. A lack of empathy for fellow living beings is a definite sign of rot at the very core of an individual’s being. We are, at best, complacent in our own destruction as a society. The walls of respectability have crumbled all around us and we’re choking on the dust. Taking care of the disabled to conservative zealots across the United States seems to mean making their lives so miserable that they leave the state in order to improve “the bottom line” and let “the other guy” take care of the problem. Then, Corporatists are free to redirect spending from their constituents to their corporate overlords. And, of course, skim a chunk off the top for themselves. Hell, everybody does it. Right?
How long are we going to allow this cruel behavior to be viewed as normal? We can’t be satisfied with simply blaming sociopathic Wall Street executives and mindless tools who vote GOP. We all have to decide we’ve had enough and demand change. How can we go about our lives pretending this isn’t happening?
Just what is the going price for human life on Wall Street these days? Just wondering…