This is my friend Ed. He has a business called Pedal Roaster and he roasts coffee beans and delivers them by bicycle. He recently lost an argument with Willamette Boulevard, and this is the result. You’ll have to take my word for it that prior to his attempting to use his face as a brake, it was quite lovely, and no doubt will be again. But right now, his body is his temple, and his temple needs renovations.
I never ground up my face to this extent, but I’ve taken plenty of spills on a bicycle, due to the sheer number of hours I’ve spent on a bicycle and my casual relationship with the vertical. One time I landed on my face, too.
I was in Boston. I was riding my bike home from work in a snowstorm. The rule in Boston is you get five cars minimum through the intersection on a red light. If you actually stop for a red light you will get rear-ended, even if the person behind you could have stopped in time, just so as to acquaint you with the rules. Two or three minutes into rush hour this results in a total citywide turgid clog with everyone reaching into the glove box for the flask and honking lavishly.
The other rule is that you approach all such intersections with confidence and blinders and never, ever let the other guy know you see him.
I was coming up on one of these chicken games and applied my brakes and immediately went flatways and I entered the icy intersection in a slow, graceful, balletic spin, chin first. It was dreamlike: the flakes coming down, the street swirling 360 degrees, once, twice, the various frictionless car tires approaching sideways, and by the time our little Swan Lake episode was over, I was gazing into the tread of an automobile tire a yard away, and the driver was peering down at me.
“What’s your medical insurance?” he said.
“Harvard Medical,” I said, politely.
“Cool,” he said. “I’m a doctor in that plan. My office is in the next block. Let’s get you fixed up.”
He helped me up and we walked my bike over to his office, leaving his car in the intersection, where it wasn’t due to trickle out for another half hour anyway, and we went into his office, where he got out some instruments and began to pluck gravel out of my chin. He hummed happily. He clearly loved his work, although all Bostonians get an extra spring in their step when they’ve left their cars in the middle of the road.
“Looks like you could get by with a butterfly bandage,” he said. “But I could make it perfect with a couple stitches. Do you want some stitches? I love doing surgery.”
I was already feeling queasy about his gravel extraction efforts, and a little nervous about his enthusiasm. I declined. I have a thin scar now.
I don’t remember ever being billed. Maybe I wasn’t. Two years earlier I was living in London and waltzed into a clinic with a much more serious condition that was also related to my youthful indiscretions, and I got fixed up and sent out the door without a bill then too. It was slick. This is what it would be like if we had single-payer health insurance here.
I know Ed has insurance because he, like me, is a retired letter carrier with a decent benefits package. That’s the sort of thing middle-class people used to have before unions were revealed to be a plague on humanity during the Reagan administration. We’ve been duly educated in that regard, and also are up to date about the horror of socialized medicine, so there’s no danger the insurance industry is going to have to give up a ton of our money anytime soon.
I can see why the insurance industry preaches that "socialized medicine" is a scourge on society — after all, they would lose a substantial amount of money if it came to pass. But why, oh WHY, does the citizenry believe this crap? I have online friends in Canada who don't have to think twice about going to a doctor, even though they aren't exactly rolling in dough. AND they get seen right away, contrary to the propaganda that the insurance industry would have you believe. In the meantime, thanks to Obamacare (and his caving to Big Insurance), I MUST have insurance or else. But we can only afford what amounts to catastrophic care, even with the help of the government in paying for it. A policy that covers anything else would mean we would have to change our entire lives, giving up doing anything we enjoy doing, and working to support the insurance industry. So basically, I am still without insurance, as I possess it in name only, and hope to god I never have to use it.
Apparently if the only news you get is designed to pound ridiculous ideas into your head, it works according to design. And apparently, the ACA is as good as Obama was able to get, and it IS caving in, and he had to fight to get that much. The whole plan was basically the original Republican plan but they turned on it once it got Obama cooties on it. And apparently there's NO cure for Obama cooties.
I've had a fall or three in my lifetime and I somehow always manage to keep my face off the ground, once even turning my head awkwardly as I landed.
Our health scheme out here isn't too bad, everyone has Medicare available and many people also have private health insurance. The difference comes at tax time, if you don't have private insurance, you're required to pay extra tax.
I have insurance that my daughter pays for me, since I can't afford to, it covers me for hospital admissions and extras such as dental and optical.
As every Murrmurrs reader knows, I have fallen on my face a number of times. And I don't get the protective bounce out of my boobs that I used to.
P.S. out here, when you go to a doctor, their first question is "what can I do for you?" NOT "do you have insurance?" If you then need further treatment, for example a reference to a specialist, they will then ask if you have private insurance before writing a referral letter so you can make that appointment. If the doctor visit is all you need, then you sign the medicare form if you're at a bulk-billing clinic and go home. If you're seeing a private practice doctor, you sign the medicare form, then make the required co-payment, which is usually not very much.
I've got Kaiser insurance and have for years. It's really not so bad, and about as close as you can get to one-stop medical shopping. You go in, they fix you up, usually, and then stick you with a flu shot and schedule a mammogram because it says right there on the screen that you're due.
Where are you, Canada?
Oops, that was supposed to go with River's comment.
Yeah, they pile 'em up at the bottom! Don't worry, we're all used to hooking things up to the proper threads.
whimsy2, I'm in Australia.
As a retired federal employee I, too, am lucky enough to have decent health insurance coverage. I do wonder at times, though, if it's worth the annual premium just to ensure that I never have to worry about Medicare co-pays. It feels weird to be hoping to have multiple doctor visits just so I don't end up feeling ripped off by BC/BS collecting my money and never giving me anything in return. I've never understood why so many right-wing politicians and so-called conservatives rail against the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) when it was a massive giveaway to the insurance companies. Only in the U.S.A. would the populace be dumb enough to confuse subsidies to big business with socialized medicine. Or at least I hope it's only in the U.S. — I don't want to believe there are other countries on the planet where the people are comparably stupid.
I'm not in Medicare yet and so (as is my habit) I haven't even begun to look into it, and I kind of haze over when people start talking about their Part Ds and stuff. This, even though we JUST got done signing Dave up for Medicare. Okay, just for you, I will officially hope you get just sick enough and no sicker!
Nan; yes it's worth it even just for the peace of mind. Imagine one day you're in a huge accident,and in need of much medical/hospital assistance, you'll be thankful then.
Murr, does this mean Medicare is only available there once you're a certain age? Like pensioner age?
Here it's for everybody. Each person over 16 or 18 has their own card and dependent children are listed on a parent card. From birth. If this is what you call socialised medicine than I'm all for it.
Yup, we only tip into socialized medicine when we're 65. The administrative costs of this program are something like 3%. Nevertheless, no matter how popular this is, it is widely considered unthinkable for it to be expanded to, like, everybody.
We'd rather have spotty or unavailable health insurance for way more money.
Ed's face has made me queasy for the day. I'm glad you survived the Boston incident; it could have had quite a different ending. And, being a rather flimsy human, I have availed myself of our socialised health care numerous times, and was glad to have it! We have to pay privately if we want dental or other coverage such as podiatry, physio, eyeglasses, etc. but anything medical gets taken care of for everyone. I have gotten quite emotional at times realizing how lucky we are. Yes, I know, we are taxed to provide it, but we don't have to ever make the choice between having a sick child taken care of and eating.
And, you don't pay nearly as much as we do for the whole works. People here get way more upset at being taxed for services than for paying directly (and through the nose) for them.
I have done a face plant or two in my time. And wear the scars from the most recent one.
And yay for socialised medicine. I don't think it goes far enough here, but love what we have.
Dental. Medicare here doesn't cover dental and optical. There are plans to include them, but so far, plans are all we have.
Dental is ridiculously expensive. I don't get that. (I don't get Dental, either.)
I don't know how, why, or when I fell away from reading you — I guess I just fell away from blogging in general for a while. Reading this made me think of that thing they say —"It's not the destination, it's the journey." My journey from the first word of this to the last comment was a verbal treat! I especially loved (though it was only one of many)the phrase about your boobs not having the cushioning properties they once had! And Ed's temple being in need of renovations. See what I'm saying? A treat!
And though it sounds un American to say so I'd be all for socialized medicine. One son lives in England. If they're sick they go to the doctor. They never have to choose between that and putting food in their childrens's mouths! Disgraceful is how I'd describe access to health care in the US.
Was that you falling away? I knew I felt something! Welcome back. Most of my posts are exercises in meandering and trying to find my way back to my point.
I spent my entire retirement saving on "deductibles" in the last five years. I just started medicare and my boss pays the supplemental. It all costs less than half of what I paid two months ago and there is very little out of pocket. As long as I am working I can stay in the U.S. After that, who knows?
I HATE THIS. Can we get something sensible going? Like, for starters, getting rid of the Republicans?
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