Why We Need Universal Health Care...

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I've learned a lot from my cats over the years. Play hard, sleep often. Nothing is so important it can't wait until after a nap. When you are really comfortable, purr loud. When someone ignores you, purr louder.

Well, I'm beginning to learn another series of lessons from one of our cats. Abby is quite ill. As I write this, we are waiting for the results from a battery of tests that can result in Inflamed Bowel Syndrome to any type of feline cancer.

For a period of ten days, Abby has slowly declined. After three days not eating, we rushed her late one Sunday night to an emergency medical clinic, open nights and weekends (yes, there is such a thing). Blood tests and x-rays showed her intestinal tract thickened and irritated. Yet everything else in the blood test was relatively normal, with the exception of indications of hyperthyroidism.

Our vet started her on a steroid pill treatment that should have relaxed the intestinal tract and allowed her to eat again. No such luck. Abby still would not eat. Each day we watched her sleep more and more, and interact with us less. Yet with a reserve of strength each night, Abby would follow her normal routine of curling up next to me until I fell asleep and then she would wander off. She has been doing this for years, and I can tell no matter how sick she feels, this is too important for her to give up.

When she wasn't improving our vet referred us to a specialist veterinary clinic in Portland, where they could biopsy her intestinal tract to test for possible lymphoma or verify IBS. My wife spent a very long day with Abby in Portland while the tests were run, and both were exhausted when they got home late yesterday. Abby was given a large dose of steroids to relax her intestines and we are waiting this morning to see if she'll start eating on her own again. Meanwhile, we await the test results.

And the cost of all of this? Lots. As any pet owner knows advances in human medicine has led to advances in animal medicine (we humans are just animals, after all.) Those advances have led to prolonged lives for our pets, as well as ourselves. But at what price?

If there is one thing I've learned through all of this from Abby, it's that we need universal health care (for humans -- the univeral pet health care will have to come later...) With the economy in a mess and a possible bailout looming to financial institutions that don't deserve it, we can't lose sight of this need to give the best health care possible to those who need it, not just to those who can afford it. We can not run business as usual when it comes to our health care. Good people die every day that might have been saved, but for one underlying reason -- they couldn't afford the medical costs. All because of greed. We need universal health care, and we need it soon.

As for Abby, we'll do what we can to get her better. We made a commitment when we rescued her from a shelter to take care of her, and we will. But that'll cost us. Losing her before her time would cost us even more. What are we losing as a society when we lose good people every day because the rest of us can't commit to the need for universal health care?

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This page contains a single entry by JeffAdminist published on January 20, 2009 11:58 PM.

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Is GPS a Good Thing on the Back Roads of Maine? is the next entry in this blog.

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