Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Leaving it all on the ... table

My office is all a flurry with the upcoming deadline for folks to get insured. (hint, hint) We are following a mantra of "leaving it all on the field".  Last night, I fear I took it all a bit too far.

I was at a friend's house (Mike) about to have dinner, noshing on bread with super delicious olive oil (from costco, by the way), I used one of his super sharp bread knives (also from costco) and amputated what is known in some circles as my LI-01 in others the side/tip of my left index finger.  Oddly enough, as it was happening, I felt this feeling that it was happening for a reason.

Mike left to get bandages, then returned for more, only to finally admit the need for an ER.  During that time, I hung out with the pain.    Hanging out with pain is interesting.  Not the easiest friend, but sure teaches me a ton!  This pain vacillated between a super hot burn, throbbing, that horrid "bending your fingernail back" pain, severe paper cut, and a weird hand contraction.

We rushed up to Washington Hospital Center, the hospital nearest my house.  With a flesh wound like this, I thought better because their MRSA rates have been higher than other hospitals.  But decided that I didn't want to trouble Mike too much and it is "just right there".  Well...

We were diverted due to the construction of McMillian Park construction.  I took us 10 minutes just to get back on track towards the hospital.  Then due to unfamiliarity and because the signs are ridiculously unhelpful, we ended up at 4 different no ER entrances, before I got out at the ER. What I saw was terrifying.

It was a crush of people.  At least 100, probably more.  Heaps of children. People just looked so in pain and sick: miserable.  It felt like a den of agony and despair.  I felt compelled out and literally ran out calling out to Mike to stop him. (Big flesh wound.  + MRSA = please bless never me!) I told him I what I found and we went to Sibley.

The flags are the perimeter of the property
and the rusted metal roofs are the slums.
The hotel's water wasn't potable, but
a waiter with top-hat and gloves would bring bottled water
Addis Ababa, PEPFAR Annual Meeting 2005
90 minutes after the accident, I'm in the Sibley ER and its like violins are playing. Oh wait, there was classical music playing.  It was a completely different experience. Even just the smell upon first entering the building smelt completely cleaner. Wonderful care, happy pleasant staff.  I was in a fixed up in less than an hour and I never once felt anything other than care.

Any ideas on how these stark differences are allowed to exist in a moral society?

I've written about the staggering inequality I experienced in Addis looking out the Sheraton Hotel across my 7-Star balcony to the slums.  Well, it isn't so far away.  Its blocks from my house.

Witnessing the inequality in such an intimate way has been the most painful part of this whole thing.  It is the only part that makes me cry about it.  There is something really immoral in our society if this is how things are.  And it is so.

In acupuncture the point I amputated has been described as:

Large Intestine 1 Merchant Yang
mike took this photo and is owed a medal
for being such a good friend last night!
Merchants know the value of things. Their success depends on their acquisition and sale or exchange of things people want and need, as well as the elimination of what is old, stale or unnecessary. A "yang" merchant is one who is vibrant and active. There will be no accumulation of rubbish in this merchant's shop. What will be found there will be of the highest quality, impeccably fresh and clean.
Many patients have accumulated so much rubbish – physically, mentally and spiritually - that they have lost touch with what is innately pure, incorruptible and eternal. Using this point on the metal-imbalanced patient in such a state is akin to cleaning layers of debris from a stone and revealing a dazzling diamond beneath.   
My my diamond be dazzling!  :)

In the meantime, I will be visiting a hand surgeon to get the nerves healed up.

Please, make sure you have health insurance.  I believe that everyone having insurance is the first step in getting things more humane.  (Next is disconnecting insurance from employment ... a-whole-nother story.)

closer look at slums.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Conference Call with President Obama with Faith Leaders on Health Insurance

Friends –
The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships invites you to join President Obama for a conference call on Monday, March 10th at 1:30pm ET.

President Obama wants to thank all of the faith and community leaders across the country who are working hard to help millions of Americans access affordable, quality health coverage.  As you know, one of the President’s top priorities is to ensure that Americans get covered by enrolling in the health insurance marketplace before the March 31
st deadline, and he looks forward to discussing these issues with you.

Thank you for your work and continued support. Please feel free to share this invitation with other community contacts who would be interested in this work.  We hope you will be able to join us.

*This call is off the record and not for press purposes. 

Date: Monday, March 10, 2014

Time: 1:30pm ET
To accept this meeting invitation, please RSVP to AT&T Executive TeleConference.
When can I RSVP?
- You can begin registering upon receipt of the invitation and up to the scheduled start of the call.
How do I RSVP?
- Phone: 877-471-4350; 402-516-0110 for international callers
To RSVP, what do I provide?
- Conference ID: 321632
- Name, Organization, and Email Address
To participate on the call on Monday, what will I need?
- Dial-in number provided when you RSVP to AT&T. Please print or write down the call-in number for your records.
- Conference ID: 321632