Friday, March 24, 2017

family emergency = plea for health care

In the emergency room six months ago, my husband and I learned he had suffered an "R-Triple A": Ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. His first response: "I want a second opinion." The surgeon shook his head. "Buddy, you don't have time for a second opinion. You're going to die in thirty minutes. If you have surgery you might survive, but there's only a 5% chance." 
I'm writing this today for three reasons:
1 -- The insidious debate about health care in the United States. What Speaker of the House Paul Ryan proposes is scurrilous. Millions of Americans will be forced to chose between seeing a doctor and putting food on the table. People will die.
2 -- In the ER that dreadful night, my husband asked for a second opinion because he worried this medical emergency would bankrupt our family. I foolishly had driven him to the hospital instead of calling 911. Ambulances are expensive.
3 -- I recently found my ER notes, jotted in between calls and texts with our sons, and questions to the medical staff. I'd begun a list of stuff used, to double-check against our future bill, having experienced double charges in past care: "...nausea meds, painkillers, IV, barf bag, cotton swabs, urine container, "robe", blood tests..." 
      Looking back I see a frantic couple married 35 years, terrified of losing each other but more so, terrified of the financial hit. We are fortunate and grateful. A skilled surgeon, Dr. Christopher Alessi, saved my husband's life.
     Short of having a single-payer health care system, we need the ACA to be improved and expanded, not repealed.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ada, the neighborhood elk, her bittersweet story

Idaho cares about wildlife. I love this bittersweet story.

Feb. 27, behind Boise Co-Op
From Sitka Koloski re Ada the elderly elk:
"Ada was blocking traffic so the BPD were trying to feed her and give her water and she drank once but couldn't hold it down or leave the road so they sent traffic around her waiting for F&G to come assess. She was bleeding out both ends and went down on her own and was just at the end of her life so F&G put her down to end her suffering at this irreversible point where her digestive system shut down and they took her to the foothills since not diseased. Feeding her clearly just eased her final days. All positive and caring."
Boise Northend, Fort Street


Thursday, March 16, 2017

letter from an immigrant 5th grader

Kids who love to read are a breath of fresh air in these turbulent times. This fan letter from a fifth grader arrived yesterday and really touched me. She created art on both sides of the envelope and on her two pages. Then she wrote, "I've only been in America for half a year. I left my family in China, I am here with my mom." In the margin she drew a sad face with tears. Oh gosh. I wonder about her story.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

hope is in our youth

At the Idaho State Capitol, listening to senators debate SCR 108, which called for a Constitutional Convention -- thankfully it was defeated 24-11. I was inspired to see students from 3rd grade to 12th learning about our democratic process. My hope is in our youth.

civics lesson
Idaho Senate floor
at the Capitol with my buddy Tracy Olson

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

mem fox, new revolutionary

Mem Fox described her experience with LAX custom agents last week. Her finally comment resonates: “I wasn’t pulled out of the line because I was a revolutionary. But now I am.”

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/an-australian-childrens-book-authors-harrowing-interrogation-at-lax?mbid=social_facebook

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ada, the neighborhood elk

Yesterday morning I watched what I thought was a baby moose behind the Boise Co-Op, chewing the bushes at Dr. Bodily's dentist office. She was scruffy adorable. Seeing wildlife in town however, may become a joy of the past, with no more stewardship of our environment. The president's new puppet, Scott Pruitt, says eliminating the EPA "is justified" -- that Americans look at it "much like they look at the IRS." Words fail. http://abcn.ws/2lW3kPS

Fortunately for now, Idaho Fish & Game is on duty. They've been out to see her and have determined she is an older elk they call "Ada," but because of her age she can't be sedated and moved. Most likely she'll forage in the neighborhood and eventually make her way back to the foothills. The best thing is "to give her space until she's ready to leave on her own;" and especially NOT to feed her, so she won't become dependent on humans. Thank you, Idaho Fish & Game for checking on "Ada."

Sunday, February 26, 2017

boys who read

Josh, Joel and J.D. Frees, now college graduates
One summer day years ago, friends from Colorado drove through Idaho and stopped in Boise to visit us. During our lunch of BBQ'd hamburgers we somehow got on the subject of books so I showed the brothers to our shelves. After an hour the adults realized the house had grown quiet and the boys had vanished. We found them out front in the backseat of their van. Seeing them engrossed in reading warmed my heart then and does to this day. This photo [ABOVE] is still on our fridge; their books: Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, 1847. These brothers obviously kept reading and reading because they're now college graduates -- and happen to be married to lovely, smart women. I'm so delighted for them!