Saturday, June 25, 2016

Just saying...

Just saying...  I scanned in some more paper today (love my paperless system!), and I noticed a feature that counts the total pages scanned to any folder.  I've been using this system for just under 18 months now, and I have scanned 266 pages of medical-related stuff.  The vast majority of this is either Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) from our insurance company, or bills from medical providers.  That's about one page of paperwork every other day.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit ... excessive?

We're still receiving EOBs and bills for Debbie's latest injury, a month ago.  But so far, we've received stuff for:
  • paramedics who treated Debbie at the fairgrounds
  • ambulance that took her to the hospital
  • emergency room
  • three different labs for blood and urine tests
  • four different X-rays and CAT scans at the hospital
  • evaluation for surgery
  • medical ward (while waiting for surgery and recovering from it)
  • transitional care unit
  • physical therapy at the hospital
  • physical therapy at home
  • surgeon who did the knee repair
  • anesthesiologist
  • surgery room
  • drugs from hospital pharmacy
  • followup exam at the surgeon's offices (not at the hospital)
  • X-rays at the surgeon's office
Surely there's a better way than subjecting everyone who needs medical care to this sort of paperwork avalanche.  It's as though you took your car in for repair, and then got 40 “Explanation of Repair” forms, along with bills from the oil wholesaler, the mechanic, the lift, the billing department, the guy who cleans the place up, the spark plug manufacturer, and the other 35 parts they used.

Just saying...

All men are created equal...

All men are created equal...  While I cannot recall either mom or dad ever using that particular (famous) phrase, I'm certain they'd both have agreed with it.  I've written before about one particularly memorable example of my dad's lack of racial prejudice.  Mom was of one mind with dad on that subject, and she showed it in her daily behavior.  My younger readers may not realize that such blindness to race was far from the norm back then.  It certainly wasn't a rare thing to have a family free of outright racial or religious prejudice – but it was, I think, a minority of them.  I remember that most families I knew (neighbors, friends', etc.) had adults who didn't hesitate to express, forcefully and perhaps vulgarly, their own racial prejudices.  This wasn't restricted to white families, either – I recall a Chinese friend whose father hosted a burning hatred of black men. 

My own family, thanks to mom and dad, contrasted sharply with these experiences.  Mom and dad weren't militant in any sense.  Even during the civil rights movement in the '60s, they were quietly unprejudiced, but not really trying to change the world outside their family.  But they were sure determined that their own children would not be raised as unthinking racists.  We kids saw this through their actions.  Some of mom's actions I remember:
  • Gertrude Ames was the mom in the black family that were tenants on our farm.  I remember mom swapping cooking tips and recipes with Gertrude, entrusting Gertrude with babysitting us (including my youngest brother as an infant), and just generally treating her exactly as she would any other woman.  It's not so much that mom did anything special with Gertrude, it's that she didn't.
  • One of my friends in junior high school was a classmate named Matthew G. who lived a mile or so from our house, along a back road.  I had been over to Matt's house a number of times before he ever came over to ours.  On that first visit of his, my mom invited him in to have lunch with us.  Matt's family was Jewish, and they kept kosher at his home – so the lunch my mom had prepared, with sandwiches and milk, Matt knew he couldn't eat.  He was very embarrassed, literally turning red.  Mom gently asked him if she could call his mom to find out what he could eat, which made Matt feel better – and then she called Matt's mom and got the first lesson in her life on making a kosher meal.  Her good-humored and open-minded approach soon had both Matt and his mom laughing, and it wasn't long before the mom's came up with an acceptable meal for Matt, served on paper plates and in disposable cups.  We kids saw that mom didn't care if he was Jewish, that she respected his religion's beliefs, and had no problem with accommodating them to the extent she could.  Something that made a particular impression on me was how easy it was to talk something like that dietary conflict out with an equally open adult (Matt's mom).
  • When I was perhaps 7 or 8 years old, someone knocked on our door on Halloween evening.  We didn't get a lot of trick-or-treaters, but we did get a few most years, and mom always had some nice treats ready.  On the occasion I am remembering, when we opened the door there were three cute little kids in homemade costumes (the norm back then!) on the porch, and a teen-aged girl just behind keeping an eye on them.  All of them were strangers to us, all of them were black, and when my mom opened the door, the girl immediately started to round the kids up to leave.  Mom then said something like “Now which kind of treats would you like?”, making it clear as could be that they were welcome to choose some treats out of the bowl she was holding out.  There was some hesitation, but then the kids came shyly forward and picked out some stuff while the girl looked uncomfortable and worried.  Mom was being as nonthreatening, cheerful, and smiley as she could possibly be.  Finally the kids left, and even the girl had a tentative smile.  Mom shut the door, sat down, and started crying.  My dad heard her, and came in to find out what was wrong.  I remember her saying how awful it was that these little kids would think they couldn't come to our house on Halloween just because they were colored (that was the then-proper term).  This incident sticks in my memory, I'm sure, because I started asking questions about what was going on – and both mom and dad tried their best to explain racial prejudice to me.  That's a surprisingly hard concept to get across to a naive kid with no experience of it.
Mom's absence of prejudice wasn't perfect, though.  In recent years – mainly since 9/11 – she was afraid of Muslims, and in particular of Muslim women with covered faces.  This fear led rather directly to the kinds of prejudicial behavior that she so abhorred in any other circumstance.  For instance, there's no way that mom would have gone through a checkout stand with a clerk she knew was Muslim.  The first time I encountered this in her, around ten years ago, I was shocked – precisely because it was so counter to every prior experience I had with her.  On that occasion I went to WalMart with her, and when she saw a woman wearing a hijab, she abruptly abandoned her partly filled shopping cart and left the store, with an open-mouthed me trailing behind.  I didn't know what had happened until we got back to her car!

I'm so very thankful that I was raised by parents that set such a fine example of racial and religious harmony.  My life would have been much poorer had I instead been taught to fear and loath those different than myself...

Now here's an interesting idea!

Now here's an interesting idea!  CANZUK.  And maybe Brexit made it more likely...