Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Well, I do declare!


I, Kathleen Kimball-Baker, being of sound mind
(well, at least I think so)
and heart (according to my recent pre-op EKG),
do solemnly swear that after the age of 65
(maybe, 67, or 70, depending),
will no longer surgically repair worn-out parts
(be they joints or a ticker or somesuch)
unless I can afford to pay for said operations from my own funds.

I am deeply concerned
(and guilty about what it has cost to enable me to mush)
about the growing national deficit, rising healthcare costs,
and the burden that unchecked spending on Medicare
will create for my children and grandchildren
(not that I have any yet, but who knows!)

It vexes me greatly that in our affluent nation
we spend so much money
on extreme tertiary care (research and delivery) 
or the benefit of a few people
while billions in the rest of the world do not even have
the most basic public health resource: clean water.

Because I agree with the statement,
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world,"
and because I'm unconvinced that there is any political will
(or chutzpah)
to make the tough decisions that need to be made
(like not having an open checkbook approach to healthcare spending),
I choose to do my small part to reduce Medicare costs.

As a gainfully employed (at least for now)
American citizen,
I consider it my civic duty
to publicly declare my intention and willingness
to forgo outrageously expensive medical procedures
during the last quarter (or so) of my life.

In the meantime, I will make careful decisions
about extending the warranty on certain moving parts
(left and right knees, in particular)
so that I can continue
to live a joyful, physically active lifestyle
(mushing).
I will also vote,
eat small portions,
drink lots of water,
refrain from consuming anything with refined sugar,
only use the emergency room for emergencies,
wear a bike helmet,
wear my seat belt,
not develop substance abuse problems,
not text while driving (I swear!),
use cloth bags when purchasing groceries,
turn off lights in conference rooms after meetings,
try composting again,
help old ladies across the street,
show up for my political party's caucus
(even though the silly resolutions make me want to bite someone's hand),
attend my block party every August,
and generally be a good egg.

Perhaps you'll consider a similar declaration. I hope so.

(I realize that I also declared 6 years ago that I would never pay another dime for gasoline and that I stood by that declaration for only 5 years, at which time I fell head over heels madly in love with mushing and couldn't figure out how to load a sled and two decidedly not "service" dogs on a bus and thus I broke down and rescued a lovely little 2000 Subaru Forester -- which has seat warmers! --  from a salvage yard and paid for it with cash rather than adding to the national debt. But that's another story.
Besides, it's all about progress, not perfection, right?)

The fine print: I reserve the right to change my mind. Thank you in advance for your understanding.



5 comments:

Finding Pam said...

Good for you Kathleen! What a great declaration you have made.

I am mad that Congress can't handle their money. You know we have to and I take pride in the fact that I can manage money so well. Isn't is about time that the fat cats stop all of this insane spending and robbing from SS to pay for other programs.

Stay healthy and keep mushing.

Hilary said...

Much (mush?) to declare here.. but I'm glad to see the fine print, too. ;)

I feel for you regarding health care concerns. Being Canadian, that's something about which I've never had to worry. Being sick won't kill us financially here.

One of the best ways to stay healthy and young is to live your passion.. so keep on mushin'!

Rudee said...

What troubles me about medicare waste is the fraud involved and the greed of some practitioners. I try to be a good steward of resources in my work, but I'm deeply troubled by extreme expenditure, not in the last quarter of life, but in the last few weeks of life. One week in an ICU can cost a quarter of a million dollars, and possibly more. If great grandma, at 94, is not a good candidate for aggressive medical care, perhaps the physician should declare this loudly, and not allow for aggressive care just because it's what the family wants. I've seen it over and over and over again in my nearly 30 years of nursing. Sometimes such care is, frankly, futile. Someone has to have the guts to have courageous conversations with less than willing patients and families.

I think it's OK, Kathleen, to seek care in emergencies, and not to suffer needlessly. I'm glad you reserved the right to change your mind.

becky said...

Hey Kathleen,
I applaud your efforts to "be the change-" happens to be one my favorite quotes & is on my fridge.I try to do my part where I can & try not to feel too guilty where I fail... as I am human, too. I work in health care, and the system is a mess. I do agree w/ Rudy on some points... especially the expensive futile efforts. But as a culture, we have an extreme denial of death as part of life, and often the system is taxed by these futile efforts. Oh, and for people going to the ED to get drugs- but that's another story. I believe we all need to take some responsibility, too, not just in terms of our health, but our over consumption in general. That said, do you know how much a surgical procedure costs??? Don't limit yourself... you have likely paid into the system your whole life! ONLY 5 YEARS car free?? That is more than most (including myself) would be willing to give up- so I think you are doing great!!! (though i like to take comfort in the fact i get hi mileage & keep my overall consumption low.) Please don't feel guilty about the cost of mushing... look how much JOY it gives you! And you ARE being the change! Forgive my long ramble, Kathleen... I often come by & read your posts, but have not commented for awhile... (now you see why- I ramble!)
Thanks for stopping by & leaving such a lovely comment, too.
:) Becky

Janie said...

That's quite a declaration, Kathleen. I especially like the parts about taking good care of yourself physically so you won't need all those expensive medical services. If everyone did that, health care would be a lot cheaper.

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