A couple of Sunday’s ago, when the air was thick with heat and moisture, our AC gave out….

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…



8 Responses to A couple of Sunday’s ago, when the air was thick with heat and moisture, our AC gave out….

  1. Anne W. says:

    Very thought provoking – and a good reminder about keeping people in mind – that doesn’t happen way enough these days.

  2. barbara says:

    my first visit to your blog. via DU. best to you for the long hot summer and beyond.

  3. Beautiful post. Thought provoking and truly needed as we head into summer. My best to you, Chris.

  4. In our area, they do set up “cooling centers” for people. Besides the mall, don’t forget my favorite government-sponsored public space, the library– most have A/C. Big bookstores can be good too.

    I agree with you though–people often take things for granted and forget that they are government-sponsored. I often wish the people who were so upset at government had the opportunity to go to places where there isn’t a strong government– no paved roads, little to no infrastructure for things we take for granted, like EMS services, potable tap water, education, etc.

    Those against government-run healthcare… Perhaps those congressmen/senators might give up their own government-run healthcare, get sick, and see what it’s like to suffer symptoms and try to swim through the morass of private insurance as an illness jeopardizes their job. sigh. I’m getting off of my soapbox, because it only gets grumpier from here…

    • Of course those cooling centers exist, but often times people who are isolated by circumstance can’t get to these Centers. I just really wanted to point out that people should look around and see if someone in your area is in need…

  5. Debbie says:

    Chris I support you 100% in all you say. I am one of the lucky ones who have health insurance and am barely able to work – but I can and do. There are many – my dad falls into this catagory while the temps in AZ climb to 115* almost everyday – who have no family or no one who cares enough to stop and ask “are you ok?” What can I do to help you right now, tomorrow…? Many, many shut-ins in FL – without a/c. Our heat index was 115* today with temps over 100* tomorrow and heat indexes over 120*. So very many poverty stricken elderly and ill folks down here. Lots of them walk the streets where I work. I do what I can but my transplant meds are extremely costly. We’ve been ‘given’ a paycut of 3% by the State of FL starting July 1. No COLA in 7 years. People with lots of money and many, many lawmakers and bill sponsors have no idea how the rest of us live. I too am stepping down from my soapbox or I will get worse as I write. One more thing – why do aliens get medicaid for illiegally coming to our country to have a baby and then expect us to cater to their language and offer government benefits for nothing in return?

  6. Ed Boyle says:

    Take care my friend. We still have a lunch in the works but Nancy, Eric, and I can hold off until Fall

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