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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

THANK YOU HOSPICE

whitehead

With so much talk on the news about health care reform, I don't listen to the news during this time. It's something I'd like to hope about, but dare not hope so much that I can't listen, because I don't believe anything I hear, for starters. And what I do hear is so absurd I turn it off. The last time we had a President who represented hope, he was killed. Hope has no place on Capitol Hill. It's like betting on a rigged race.


I got my learning in the time of the 1968 march on Washington about the Vietnam War. The next day's papers, all the corporate papers, told absolutely false reports of what happened. Consistently. I looked at the NY Times, AP, Washington Post, Time and Newsweek. They all told the same story and all of it was lies. At the time, I subscribed to the Village Voice, an independent paper. Their reporter told it like it happened. He also told that LBJ held a press conference before the event and told the reporters what to report. Like the good little anti-Democracy corporate sheep that they are, they all reported it the same.


It said a lot to me about journalism at the time. It's worse now. I've taken none of it seriously since. That was as good a learning as I needed in my early years of political awareness to cause me to invest no energy or hope in anything to do with politics. Plus, knowing the attack by NVietnamese patrol boats was a lie from the start, many years before the government admitted it was a lie, I lost all confidence in our government having anything to do with the will or the rights of the people.


From then on, I've only seen it get worse. After well over half a century of insurance corporations and pharmaceutical corporations buying laws by legal bribery called lobbying, the laws are all in their favor, against us, and the rights are theirs, not ours. I'd like to be able to hope that the mess can be ironed out, but don't see it anywhere near likelihood. Though the R-obstructionists keeping out of it gives me a little hope that I can't help but think of as a false hope. This is Newt Gingrich's style, the man who secretly divorced his wife while she was in the hospital dying of cancer in Atlanta, and married a babe in DC, at the same time he was busy nailing Clinton to the wall with lies. It's failed before. I'd like to see it fail again. Keep their nasty fingers out of it, and maybe something, at least something, might happen of a fairly positive nature.


What I've seen of Health Care over the last couple of years is so discouraging it caused me to write the two previous paragraphs. Maybe Health Care would be better called Health Production. The technology is incredible, even inconceivable. Technicians are good. Nurses are good. Office staffs are good. It's in a belief. When I'm in those environments I feel like so much attention is given to the empirical data on computer readouts, the source is of little to no interest.


It's science that got us as far as we are in the medical fields, and science will get us farther. Science, for it to work, for it to be science, is objective. It addresses the objective only, keeps subject out as much as possible. Doctors and nurses and nurses aides are educated by the scientific approach. I've no argument with that. Just looking at it. As we've advanced in science in the medical fields, the subject aspect is forgotten, lost, not a part of it. Nurse comes into the hospital room, says something cheerful, fills out forms and charts and leaves. Objective. The feelings, the inner needs of an individual, are peripheral. That comes under psychology. Which, also, is a science. Again, I'm not down on science at all. How else do we get photographs from the Hubble telescope? Science made it and put it there. Science believes the evolution process and science is in process too, moving ahead remarkably fast. In it's evolution, I'm believing that some time in future the subjective will be allowed its due and people in nursing homes won't be treated like stacks of lumber anymore.


I come from the subjective side where emotion, spirit, mind are important parts of who each one of us is, even more than the skeletal frame. I'm more interested in the activity of the soul than names of all the body parts. What we ultimately believe informs who we are. Like I believe the soul is the most important aspect of who each one of us is. I don't know how science accounts for the soul, because it's all so far past anything I can understand, it doesn't matter. But from my way of seeing, which, I suppose, is right brain way of seeing, the body is like a glove puppet the soul wears to give itself physical definition to help it function in this physical world. It doesn't mean the body isn't important. It's like a car is important for the body to get around in like the soul gets around in the body. It's good to keep the car running well, tuned up, fresh oil, like it's good to keep the body running well.


It wasn't until I found Hospice that I found respect for the subjective, for the patient himself, his being, as important as the illness. He's not just the illness in a body. A girl working in the nursing home told me one day she loves helping old people, but you get to know them and really like them and then they die. She said it made her not get to know the people anymore, because it hurt so bad when they died.


What I saw in the nursing homes was that, denial of death, people working there with their emotional lives doing the best they can to help people and not be affected when they die. In Hospice they get to know the people and care about them and love them and nurse them comfortable as possible into their next life with a feeling of fulfillment you've helped somebody through the hardest time of their life when they're helpless and dying.


Hospice has what I found missing from all the AMA approved experiences I've had. By not denying death, they want to help people move on comfortably and, as much as possible, on the person's own terms, and supporting them in it, believing the individual's life is worth something. Go into a nursing home and you have no rights, but to quit eating. You're not even a consideration except as a file number. They're overcrowded, understaffed and overworked. If they weren't so needed, they ought to be outlawed. If we're going to have realistic health care reform, nursing homes will be operated by Hospice guidelines. The nursing homes would be hospices.

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