Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why Point to Canada and England When There's TriCare?

I encourage you to read the story about CSM Hubbard before continuing on with this post.

There are so many things wrong with this story it's hard to know where to begin. The three most glaring ones I see are the protocol for trash disposal should be reformed, we aren't properly equipping our service men and women, and Hubbard's health care was a travesty.

There are multiple mistakes in how Hubbard's care progressed. The author expresses outrage that
the DoD isn't forthcoming with their data, but not by the terrible care. The article is on the Huffington Post, which is a liberal organization. The real tragedy in this story is corners were cut in Hubbard's care. Actually, his doctors and nurses didn't just cut corners, they were plainly incompetent or too distracted to make good decisions. Where on earth did he get his care?

CSM Hubbard was treated under TriCare, which is the health care system for our service people. Who runs TriCare? The federal government. Who distributes TriCare's funding? The federal government. Who sets standards and practices and quality control? The federal government. While we're at it, who is in charge of Walter Reed? The federal government.

If you're wondering why the Huffington Post didn't sound as outraged about his care as they did about the data, keep in mind most liberals are pushing universal health care. If the author pointed out Hubbard's care occurred under government-run health care, it would only serve the argument that universal health care is a bad idea.

I have listened to stories from many friends who have TriCare. From what I can tell, it's acceptable for check-ups and shots. The problem is when there's a real issue. When something's really wrong or questionable, TriCare stinks. Hubbard's care isn't out of the ordinary for TriCare. Ask me about the friend who's pregnancy wasn't properly monitored and put her babies so far at risk they were delivered prematurely via emergency c-section and had to be rushed to the NICU. She had a simple problem to solve, normally found in the urine samples pregnant women routinely provide at their obstetric appointments. Ask me about the friend who was treated like chattel when she miscarried her baby. Ask me about the friend who spent months and months trying to get answers about the lump in her breast and was only seen "early" (months later) because her husband was being deployed. Ask me about my father who lost a tooth because the dentist couldn't stick around to fill the molar because his shift had ended. The stories go on and on and if you don't believe care can be that bad, I invite you to utilize Google.

If this is how the federal government runs health care for service people, someone please tell me: Why are many Americans positive that government-run health care for all Americans is the way to go?

From my perspective, we don't have to look to Canada or England to point out egregious errors and heartbreaking incompetence to prove the point that universal health care doesn't properly serve the health care needs of a country. We only need to look to TriCare. The Right's anxiousness about universal health care isn't just fiscal, but comes from a deep concern that everyone should receive proper care. The government isn't competent to provide it. Obviously.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The iPod Revelation

A couple weeks ago, I became the proud owner of an iPod Shuffle. It's tiny. It's pink. It was handed down to me by a darling friend who had just received her husband's handed-down iPod. Recycling! With new iPod in hand, it was time to load playlists compiled from the recently downloaded iTunes and uploaded CD collection.

Fast-forward to this past week when the house needed cleaning. (Oh, dear, did it need cleaning.) Plugging in to the iPod (with volume high enough for enjoyment, but low enough to hear the kids) offered excellent motivation for getting the job done. Two things were noted: One, after years in marching band the beat is still very easy to find and I found myself moving in time while vacuuming; Two, some of the music that spoke so deeply to my heart as a college student now falls flat.

I speak of the Indigo Girls. Oh, how I loved their music. It spoke to me. It meant something to me. A perfect song to match every moment of my life. I had all their albums and knew all the words. Each song served as a journey for me. Now? Well, ten years into marriage, three kids, a mortgage, two cars and a couple of cats and the music just doesn't speak to me like it did. Make no mistake - I don't have my life figured out, but I no longer have a heart searching for meaning and solace or pining over mistakes and old loves.

That revelation stumped me. Have I gotten boring and dull? Have I lost my sense of wonder and curiosity? No, on both counts. (Well, some might say I've gotten boring and dull, but chances are those people don't have much in common with me.) What does this revelation say about me and what does it say about the Indigo Girls?

At first blush, I'd say it means I'm settled. After the shock that the songs don't need to be on several of my playlists after all, I felt calm. Happy. Content. It's been ages since I've longed for a past love. It's been over a decade since I've wondered what I'd do next with my life. I'm married to my best friend. Yeah, he drives me insane in good and bad ways, but that man's my man. We make all our big decisions together. Even if I don't know what we're going to next, I know we'll talk about it and find the solution together. So, there goes half a dozen IG songs right there. I'm also mid-thirties now, so the constant questioning about who I am and what my purpose is (pay no attention to the blog entry two posts down) has become a non-issue. I'm a daughter of God, wife of a wonderful man, mother of (usually) charming children, and a chick who loves to laugh and say inappropriately hilarious things. I don't have it all figured out, but I sure don't have that crazed searching and frustration that I had fifteen years ago.

What does it say about the Indigo Girls? Well. It says their audience is the college crowd. They write music that's searching and soulful and hurting and seeking. What does it say about them? I don't know. Do romance novelists have slutty, torrid love affairs or are they using their imaginations? Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are artists. Their music saw me through about 6-7 years of my life - years I sometimes wish I hadn't been so hurried to leave. So, thank you Amy and Emily. Thank you for guiding me through my college years and into adulthood. Hey, because of you I paid more attention to Galileo in Philosophy 101.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Glimpses of Joy

Yesterday challenged the emotions, didn't it? Whew! Glad the first day of the new year is over. The pressure to manufacture joy or to bubble forth with glad tidings has ceased. Of course, if you read yesterday's post, you'll realize I neither manufactured joy nor bubbled forth with glad tidings. I moped and slumped in sadness. Although... a few glimpses of joy burst from under the clouds to brighten the mood.

So what happened? Ha ha! Well, at dinner, our youngest sat down and shouted, "eye!" "You? You need ice?" I asked. She squinted her two year-old eyes and yelled, "eye!" "You need ice?" She then poked herself in the eye and squealed, "EYE!" "OH! You have eyes?" "YES!" She commenced to giggling uncontrollably. Thank God for toddlers.

Other wonderful things that happened last night and today? Our youngest son snuggled with me. Our oldest son and I walked down the hall - and he held my hand! My husband told me he appreciated everything I do for him and our family. A son cleaned up his mess after (accidentally) dumping oatmeal all over the floor. And... tonight my husband and I have a date night where we only have to spend time with each other, no shopping or scurrying, just us being together.

Even when the big picture looks bleak, there are glimpses of joy. Or do I have it backwards? Is the big picture bright and joyful with spots of bleakness? I don't know. And... I don't know that I care one way or the other, but I am very thankful for the gut-busting laughter and the sweet, quiet moments.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's a New Year

Happy New Year to One and All!

Year-end recaps and New Year's Resolutions never held much draw for me. That's not true. I do love to read others' lists and promises, but I'm not a fan of making them. I'm more likely to get introspective on birthdays and anniversaries. The passing of a year is noteworthy in that I have to remember to write the date differently on checks and I need to get the lead out and put up the new calendar, but other than that, it's just another day. Ask me about life on my anniversary or one of the kids' birthdays and I'll navel-gaze to no end, but not on January 1.

All that said, the first day of this new year finds me sad. It's been a long haul for some of my friends. For some of them, it's going to be a long haul. It's a very grown-up list of worries: cancers of varying degrees of insidiousness, husbands who are not home because they must commute to far-away jobs, husbands who are deploying (or have deployed) to war zones, miscarriage, divorce, very real job worries, very real family worries, very real money worries... told you it was a grown-up list.

Then something caught my eye. A friend (who happens to have cancer) has a lovely little box on her Facebook profile that I love - love it so much it's now on my profile. It's daily Scripture. Today's verse is Isaiah 43:16-19:

16 This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,

17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:

18 "Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

Striking, isn't it? "See, I am doing a new thing!... I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." So despite all our sadness and all our worries, God's making a way. He can make a way in the desert - where no one deliberately wants to go. He can make streams in the wasteland... hold on... It's not that he can or that he is able to do it, He's DOING it. God says "I AM making..." He IS doing these things. He's not promising that He will do something - he is doing something. He's not promising that he can do something - he is doing something. This is God. This isn't someone making half-hearted promises to fix the faucet or go to the bank. This is God. He isn't making promises to do something. He *is* doing something.

Despite my sadness and melancholia, God's got it. I'm so fond of saying "God's got it. Even when it looks like He doesn't, He does." It's so easy to see that for other people. And for the list of friends' worries above, I can see glimmers of Him working. Today, even though I see Him working, my heart still aches for them.

My own life is a little different. God has to smack my upside the head for me to see Him! My list of worries is intertwined in the list above. We're healthy and my marriage is peachy (amen and amen), but I have money worries and career worries. I know God's got it and He'll work for good, but today I feel less like the Mommy who's holding a heartbroken child in her lap and more like the child curled up in the lap. Thankfully, God has a big lap.


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