Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tonight's Health Care Story

While at the drugstore tonight I found the usual cashier in the back of the store, sitting on a chair. He looked like death warmed over. Truly awful, and his temperature was high enough to heat the air around him.

We started chatting (well, I butted in and he's too polite and charming to tell me to fuck off). He has rheumatoid arthritis all along his spine, no health insurance, expensive (but pretty useless) pain-killing drugs and a job in which he is not allowed to sit down but must remain standing even while using one arm to load customer's heavy purchases into plastic bags. He needs much more intensive treatment than he can afford. He needs health insurance. He needs a stool to sit on and a more suitable job.

Living with chronic pain is living in hell, and it's not much good for your family or friends, either. Neither is it good for the employer, because they might lose an excellent and intelligent worker in their short-sighted chase for immediate savings.

I left feeling useless, angry and guilty. I shouldn't have left him there like that, but then neither should this country have done that to him and to so many others.