Monday, August 17, 2009

Is This A Great Country . . .

Of all of the ruthlessly despicable things that right wingers have said and done in recent years, nothing can top the lie that President Obama's health-reform legislation contains "death panels" that will determine who among the elderly will be denied medical care and be euthanized.

It is bad enough that an alarming number of
people believe this to be so, but it breaks my heart when I look back on the last days of Jane Page Snellenberg Mullen.

Jane was everything you could ask for in a mother and then some. She was something of a Type A in that she was out shopping for next year's Christmas cards the day after Christmas and always kept her personal affairs in order. This, thank God, included an Advanced Health Care Directive that stipulated that when she was ready to die she would do so on her own terms.

As it turned out, Jane's life was cut much too short by a progressive neurological disorder that robbed her body of function but not her brain, and owing to the neolithic health-care system in this great country of ours, we had to bankrupt her so Medicare would pay for the nursing home care her condition demanded.

After a year in a nursing home, she decided that it was time to go bye-bye. This she did by starving herself to death with the full approval of my siblings and myself. The nursing home's staff doctor and nurses were not quite so sanguine, notably a Mormon nurse, but there was someone at her bedside 24/7 to hold her hand, give her ice to suck on and make sure that her wishes were honored.

She lost consciousness within a couple of days and died within a week, while 10 years on this great country of ours not only is no closer to providing its Janes and Joes with the medical care they need, earn and deserve, but thanks to those right wingers we actually seem to be moving backwards.

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