The Cambrian

Lady Tie Di: On compassion and care

I have been incredibly fortunate in my life as have my children — exceptionally healthy, no on-going maladies or broken bones. There were moments, however, where there was need for medical assistance (antibiotics, extreme help for extreme poison oak, just-incase x-rays, Zachary has had a couple of concussions, etc.) where we actually had to break down and see a doctor.

Until Zachary’s dad and I got married and Miles and I came under his Post Office insurance, it was out-of-pocket. As I said, we were fortunate to be so healthy. When Miles was an infant, I was on welfare for less than a year. I was/am ambitious, motivated and conscientious but was unable to work enough to contribute to the household and cover his new-baby check ups and all. I was grateful for that public assistance which I got only because I had a child.

My normally hardworking older son (unemployed since just before Christmas) and I chatted about the whole public welfare issue.

“Yeah, I really had a problem with chronic abusers of the system, but I realize I’d be out on the street without it right now. It is just really tough out there and the system has been so screwed up for so long, that doesn’t help.”

He keeps his fingers crossed he doesn’t get sick or injured because as a 23-year-old male, he qualifies for diddlysquat other than his unemployment check.

Further, we discussed the new health care law, which we are happy to see enacted.

“While we will be required to pay for health care, I don’t have a problem as long as it’s affordable and I know I’m not getting ripped off by the insurance companies.”

I agree. We both feel a little more secure knowing he may have an option for care.

Under or uninsured people dependent on emergency rooms for care is

not helping us as a citizenry— or as taxpayers. Health education, proactive health care, regular care for ongoing conditions, will save countless dollars for the general population. Think about it with the bigger picture in mind.

Taking care of injuries in a timely fashion could possibly keep more people off disability. Being able to get well from simple infectious diseases keeps the majority of the work force healthy and able to work, thereby keeping the cogs in the wheels turning more easily, effectively. Not to mention it’s simply inhuman to live in a “civilized” country and not be able to afford to get lifesaving medication or a pain-reducing operation because we fall in between the financial guidelines of “having enough” and “not having enough.”

Doing chair massage at the old pharmacy every week, I see countless people coming in struggling with insurance coverage for the medications that keep them somewhat comfortable (or, in some cases, alive). If it weren’t for government run

Medicare, many of them would go without. As it is, others are dealing with the “donut hole” of cost and I can tell you the added stress is not helping their conditions.

If you are yelling about the new healthcare law, I suggest you step into someone else’s shoes for a day and know the dread and sometimes panic of not being able to get healthy.

E-mail Lady Tie Di, aka Dianne Brooke, a member of the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees, at tiedi@att . net, or visit her Web site at