Waiting can be bad for your health


My bathtub when I look at it without my glasses. Photo by TONY WOOD

With apologies to Jagger/Richards, today’s deep thought: It’s OK to wait for something you want, but not for something you need — health care, for example. Sometimes there are no jobs, and money you were counting on simply doesn’t come through, and neither does decent health insurance.

Then you have two choices: Avoid doctors as part of your effort to save money, or spend your savings on health care and hope that novel of yours becomes a hit before you go broke.

Sooner or later, your body makes up your mind for you. One morning last month, I woke up feeling like someone had driven a nail through my jaw. Waiting was no longer an option. I made dental appointments I couldn’t afford. At the first, the dentist, a good fellow, stopped drilling and asked me if there was any pain. “Only in my bank account,” I said.

It began to rain that day as I was biking home, a problem because the raindrops on my eyeglasses made it hard to see. I stopped to clean the glasses and realized, not for the first time, that I need to replace them — not because they’re steel-rimmed and severe and make me look like a defrocked priest — but rather because I need a new prescription. Even when my glasses aren’t rain-spattered, I can’t see through them as well as I did two years ago, and when I take them off, I see double.

My point again — and this is a breakthrough for someone in denial — is that unmet needs turn into big pains, or worse. You can move up or down, but you can’t stand still, not for long.

The risk is that, in shoving off, you’ll plummet to the bottom. As Barbara Ehrenreich noted in December, “… Where other once-wealthy nations have a safety net, America offers a greased chute, leading down to destitution with alarming speed.”

Actually, it leads to a big gray office staffed by overworked bureaucrats at the mercy of corporate-sponsored politicians such as PA. Gov. Tom Corbett, whose accomplishments include helping eliminate health insurance for low-income workers and, more recently, stripping 88,000 PA children of Medicaid benefits.

Eventually, we’ll have to change the corrupt campaign financing system that gets Corbett and others like him elected. But first — and here’s that deep thought again — we have to take care of our health, by any means necessary.

Footnote: Tony Wood can be reached at http://www.anthonywoodphotography.com

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2 Responses to Waiting can be bad for your health

  1. Pingback: Waiting can be bad for your health

  2. Pingback: Tinted windows (a pre-debate rant) | Odd Man Out

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