by Christopher Green
Those who know me well know that my condition, advanced respiratory deterioration, does not play well when temperatures get as high as they did last Sunday. And, with the humidity close to the dripping level, it was a disaster bordering on an emergency.
Not only for me, but also for the millions of people all around the country who are dealing with chronic respiratory disease or conditions.
Since the first heat wave of the summer went on for the better part of a week, I was in a very uncomfortable and yes very vulnerable state. Thankfully, the temperatures and humidity finally dropped to bearable levels as the new week slogged on.
I called a friend of a friend who had installed my new furnace three years ago. But he could not make it over until later in the week. He made it bright and early, the Thursday morning after the AC went on the fritz. By that time, the heat/humidity danger zone had passed.
To cope while it was just too darn hot, I had three fans on me and when it got too much, I went out to Costco, driving in my van that has no a/c and just sat in the food court for an hour or two.
The reason I write this is to not only complain or gripe about my problems, which or course I am, but to let people know that there are tons of people who are much more at risk than I am when the thermometer rises and the moisture thickens. They are literally going through hell when the weather turns this kind of hot and muggy.
If you know someone who is old and infirmed or simply someone who, like me, is in a bad situation, give them a call to see how they are doing.
A lot of people in this situation can’t just jump in the car and head out to Costco or hang out at the Mall. And that is getting harder to do since someone deemed it necessary to start ripping down enclosed malls to make way for open air shopping. Only this time, they have surrounded the islands of retail by seas of asphault that hold the heat in and so raise the temperature higher than it naturally should be.
It is hard to admit when you are 53, like I am, that my capacity has so diminished to deal with the outside world. I sometimes lay awake, deep into the evening and wonder how I would survive a prolonged natural disaster like a Katrina or a deadly blizzard.
Sure, they tried heroically to save all the at risk people, but at some point, the survival instinct of the care givers will kick in and they will have to make that awful decision; should I stay or should I go?
I also wonder what would happen if we had an economic meltdown that was worse than the one we supposedly just came through. I depend for a good chunk of my care and survival money on government programs that my survival would be at risk if something happened to the economy that would shut down governmental payments.
But I suppose United HealthCare, our health care program, would evaporate quickly if the government hit hard times.
After I get my lung transplant, what will happen if the rules of the game change when I am a bit older and depending more on Medicare? What about all the people now in their 60’s and 70’s who have had transplants under the Medicare program?
United Health Care will pay for a lot of my costs even without Medicare. But what about those people who are solely dependent on Medicare?
If the government gets out of the medical industry like so many in this country want, what would happen to research? Remember, research is subsidized through tax deductions and the ability to spread the costs over years due to amortizing the cost of that research. It would take an altruistic businessperson to embark on that kind of research if the government walks away.
The point is not to bitch about the current political climate in this country, but a plea to look a little further than the headlines or the scroll on the bottom of the screen as you watch breathless coverage of yet another congressperson’s peccadillo. People’s lives are at stake like they haven’t been in this country since the Great Depression.
Decisions and actions are made all the time without people thinking things through to the end.
Remember that the next time it gets so steamy out you can see the heat waves undulating off the streets and sidewalks. Remember that there are people on the fringe who dread the extremes. What most of us would consider as being a string of uncomfortable days, for far too many of us, those days could easily turn life
Well, that’s my two cents, for what it’s worth…