The Slow Murdering of a 94 Year Old Lady

Sounds dramatic, and yet, to me, it is the truth of the matter.  It is exactly what our Government is doing to our Seniors, thanks to the Conservative mantra of ‘Business Can Do It Better Than Government’ can.

Personally, there is some ( note the word SOME ) truth in that saying, but in many instances it simply isn’t true. Least not when it comes to things like Health Care, or Education, or Social Services.  Those areas, can benefit from Business but ONLY (not that word – only ) if there is full and complete Government Oversight, with authority.

  1. Being Old, 94 years old, isn’t easy, is filled with a whole slew of complications, that can make life, at best, difficult to endure.

Unfortunately, instead of attempting to make those twilight years bearable, our society is moving towards simply abdicating its responsibility towards those who are aged.

Whether it is in Food Safety, transportation, or health care, our society no longer values the past contributions of our Seniors, but instead, is driven by the concept of  ‘what have you done for me today‘.

Truth is, being old is a burden on society, but it should be one we gladly accept, because you know, tomorrow we are the elderly of today.  So in a way, it is self-serving to put into place, systems to aid the transition from life to death, to make the twilight years bearable, because in time, we are ALL going to be in that same boat, as my 94-year-old Mother is today.

By allowing private agencies, such as Beacon Community Services to exist, to actually control the care of home support for the citizens of Vancouver Island, we are slowly murdering our elderly.

Oh it isn’t quick, by any means. No gun to the head and pulling of the trigger, no forcing a massive amount of pills down their throat, no turning on the gas, and leaving the room.  But just as deadly as those are, so too is the way we have allowed Home Support to exist today.

Sending unqualified personnel into the home, who haven’t a clue as to how to lift a patient up out of bed, how to engage them in conversation, or just how to simply maintain a simple and easy routine, is just as deadly to them.   Only worse, because unlike a gun to the head, this method makes their remaining years painful.

It puts stress on an already weakened vascular system, it puts added stress on an already fragile mind, that eventually puts them over the age. BUT, before they go over that edge, they suffer.

There are no Checks & Balances, because Business is better suited to handle them, than the Piper who is paying the shot.  VIHA will gladly take your complaint, but then passes it on for resolution, directly to the organization you are complaining about.

No different from CIFA, that knows food-producing plants are unclean, are not sanitary, but can only wait until that plant notifies them of an issue, before issuing a recall. It does nothing, because it isn’t allowed to do anything, to prevent and control the spread of disease, of bacteria, until AFTER it gets into the food chain.

One more example of how Government is joining with private enterprise, to MURDER our Seniors, and us too. You see, old people have a weakened immune system, and unlike days long gone, today you can buy expired food, at a discount.  Now when you are on a fixed income, have to pay for medications you shouldn’t have to pay for, you need to save wherever you can.

You are old, you may not realise that the discounted food is expired, or about to expire, because you grew up in a society that didn’t allow such things to happen. But, that was before Stephen Harper and his mantra of doing whatever business wants.  Today, even he, claims expired food is okay, has a longer shelf life and not a threat.

Tell that to the people who have died from Maple Leaf Foods.

It is a simple fact, that when you allow someone to do whatever they want, without any controls in place, you are simply putting a gun in their hands, to fire at will.

Oh we all hold up how much longer people are living today, thanks to our wonderful society, and all of the advances we have made.  But perhaps it is more of a testament to their strength, to their grit & determination than it is to Science and Society.

Old people need routine, need support. Instead of making them free of stress, we add more by sending in people who know nothing about caring for an old person. We acerbate their tenuous hold on reality, by altering schedules without notice, and worse, we force many of them to make choices, that no one should have to make.

Look around, at the wealth we have as a nation, at the natural resources we hold, and then look at how we make 94 year olds choose between institutional living, versus independent living, based solely on their income.

Someone said, well if they didn’t plan for it when they could, tough shit to them.

And that is how Stephen Harper and our Society works today.  Thing is, back in the 60’s and even the 50’s, our society held that no matter your wealth, your income, old age would be looked after, thanks to a caring, compassionate Government and Society. They were fed a line, that their old age would be secured, through Government support, and until the advent of the New Conservatism, it was basically true.

Now suddenly, they are being penalized because they believed in their Government.

Be honest too, how can you afford to put aside sufficient money, if all you are earning is $10 an hour, and your partner is earning the same?

Can you manage to feed your family, to house them, and sustain them at today’s minimum wage level, and at today’s high cost of living?

Business can do what it wishes, can show high profits, and yet gets even bigger tax benefits than the average persons does, but puts back PITTENCE as compared to the average wage earner.

Now perhaps being in your 20’s or 30’s it doesn’t seem so important. You dream that one day you will be the CEO of that company you work for, even though more high paying jobs are being sent overseas. How you can realistically expect to advance your income, under those conditions, is truly the real dream.

Instead of how it was, where business used to put aside a large percentage of its profits, into infrastructure, into replacing old equipment, today that percentage goes toward new chalets on the coast of France, to new corporate jets.

Employee loyalty is a thing of the past, because our Government sides with Big Business, gives them our tax dollars, in return for cutting jobs and moving plants overseas.  Somehow, the concept of “BUYING LOCAL” is swearing, and unacceptable.

And who winds up paying for this change in direction?

Why the older members of our society. They are the ones who are given the burden of choosing between food, or medicine. We no longer cover this medicine, this medical procedure, because it isn’t cost-effective.

When did human life become so cheap, so unimportant?

The values that my Mother grew up with, instilled in me, are gone. Today it is no longer about doing what is right, but what is more profitable. Today we let the Oil Industry set how fast our economy can grow, or rush headlong into a depression.

We see how Stephen Harper’s continue to rule, not because they are the best for the job, but because they made more people afraid of the other guy, than of them.  Neat trick, that is only now starting to further destroy what few values, principles, were left from a dying generation.

Instead of nurturing those people, their standards, we systematically work to make their lives unbearable, stressful, and complicated. We make them weaker, rob them of their dignity, and eventually, we kill them off because we need to own a new car every two or three years.

We do it, because it is more important to have an iPhone, iPad, and 300 cable channels in high-definition, than it is to have a Senior live in moderate comfort.  Much more important that we have food producers who can hire untrained staff to clean their equipment, than we can put inspectors into the plants, to makes ure our food supply is free of bacteria, of disease.

This is the new society, given us by the New Conservatism, that our Country, and others, have embraced. We’d rather be scared into voting for someone, than in actually voting for someone who will do something we need. 

This is the New Conservatism of Stephen Harper, and it is slowly killing our Seniors.  This is what happens, when one votes out of fear, instead out of reason.

And it will be people like my 94-year-old Mother, who will pay for all this, with her life.

Bribery or Inducement?

The United States Senate passed the $700 Billion bailout wanted by George Bush, Secretary Paulson, Big Business and the Financial Markets, opposed by the majority of average American Citizens. The reason, simple, ADDED PORK for the Senators who were on the fence, or opposed. Kind of says it all doesn’t it, that YES VIRGINIA YOU CAN BUY A GOVERNMENT CHEAP.

Their opposition appeared to be easing after the Senate added $110 billion in tax breaks for businesses and the middle class, plus a provision to raise, from $100,000 to $250,000, the cap on federal deposit insurance.

They were also cheering a decision Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission to ease rules that force companies to devalue assets on their balance sheets to reflect the price they can get on the market (source – CBS News)

So let’s see, the solution to this mess is to add to the already unbelievable price tag of $700 Billion by an added $110 Billion? Like call me crazy but frankly I just don’t see this type of reasoning being of any help to anyone, and that includes Business & the Big Banks. Seriously, they talk about it easing credit for loans, because many Middle Class citizens are going to be feeling the crunch.

Are the average person this stupid and naive? or just Greedy?

If you can’t afford something, where is it written that someone  should loan you money to buy it? Where is it written that you need two cars, a summer house, a vacation to the Grand Canyon every six months? Does every family need two or three television sets, computers, and cel phones for every member of the family? Do we need Cable with 200 channels, because the Jones’ next door do?

I like shiny new things, and the wife and I have spent a bit lately on some toys, like a laptop for us both, a scooter for the wife so he can save gas money. We have two desktops as well, and yes, we have a video camera, two digital cameras, and the wife even has a nice color laser printer. Do we need them? Not really, but the only thing we financed was the Scooter.

We saved for our toys, and yes, things got cut to afford them, and NO we didn’t buy them all at once, though it feels like it. The point is this, we have one payment to make, for one toy, that really isn’t a toy but is practical. It will, and already has, saved us gas, to the tune of about $75 in the three weeks we have had the scooter. That savings is paying for the cost of borrowing the scooter, and buying it.

We do have an RRSP and no, we don’t earn a lot of money either. That’s the thing, if we were to go by the standards set by Government, we are at the poverty level for a family, perhaps sightly above, but not by much. Yet we have money saved for retirement, we have nice things, and our food shelves aren’t empty. We eat good quality food, maybe not Porterhouse Steaks, but then we aren’t steak type people. We have fresh Halibut, and that happens to be a bit more pricey than Rib Eye Steaks.

It is called Money Management.

Now if a fat gay fiction writer, a skinny little gay wage earner can do all that, while also looking after a 91 year old women, how in the hell can’t a major bank like CitiCorp do it, or Fannie Mae? Explain to me how these financial geniuses can’t manage to watch what they spend their money on? Explain to me how anyone can loan money to someone who can’t afford to pay it back, then claim they need help from the very people they put into the poorhouse?

To begin with, the idea that it is necessary to make granting of loans easier, is exactly what got everyone into this mess. It is the giving away of mortgages to people for houses they simply could not afford to own, at the time. They used trickery to fool them, to convince them, and now they expect the Taxpayer to bail them out. And the two candidates, McCain & Obama are lining up to agree to it? I can see McCain, but Obama? That is a disappointment.

My Grandmother used to call buying on credit as using the ‘never never plan’ and frankly that is what it is. We pay and keep on paying, until there is no more money, then they, the banks, take what we have. It is indeed the NEVER NEVER PLAN, because you never truly own what you are buying, or if you do, it is way too expensive to ever get your value for. Houses were the security blanket, but thanks to the insane credit even that has fallen by the wayside.

The solution may hurt, but to give out more credit, is like giving a kid suffering from an overdose of candy, more candy. That isn’t how you cure the upset tummy. Yet the US Senate, with some trinkets, have bought into that line, and now it is up to the House, to decide, just how cheaply can a government be bought.

The Middle Class & Poor aren’t the winners in this bailout, they will simply be the cannon fodder used to further the nests of the Corporate Elite. Instead of taking back their country, they are having it sold from under them, by the very people who were chosen to represent their interests. Supporting failed banks, supporting failed financial tactics & markets, isn’t going to help. The answer isn’t to loosen credit, but to tighten it, to make people come to their senses.

Economies need steady growth, not spurts that end up in a bust. Tax cuts are bullshit, they haven’t worked since they were first devised, and giving more credit to people who have extended themselves too far already, is just stupid.

Think of this. It would cost approximately $60 Billion to insure that every single American Citizen had full health coverage (per year). That is about what, Half of the added on tax cuts & benefits being put into this bailout? Think of it, spending half that money, and all the extra money individual people would save, along with piece of mind, makes a bit more sense, than giving banks the money.

Safe Injection Sites

Once more the Harper Regime shows why it should be sent to the trash heap. First we had our Illustrious Industry Minister granting Mining Companies the right to dump toxic waste into our lakes and streams, all because it is cheaper for them, than to build proper storage containers.

Now our Health Minister is on the warpath against Safe Injection Sites, questioning the ethics of Doctors that support this controversial procedure. Yes, it is controversial, but at times one has to bow to the supposed knowledge of those who deal with it, than those who are in the hip pockets of Big Business, and Special Interests.

“Is it ethical for health-care professionals to support the administration of drugs that are of unknown substance, or purity or potency — drugs that cannot otherwise be legally prescribed?” Clement said Monday in a speech at the Canadian Medical Association’s annual meeting in Montreal. (source – CBC News)

As usual, the Harper Government seems unwilling to get the whole point here. The Doctors and Nurses that supervise these sites are NOT condoning the use of Illegal Drugs, nor is any Health Care Professional saying it is the only answer to the growing problem of drug use. What the Harper Government is FAILING TO ACCEPT is that it saves lives. It also helps in the PREVENTION OF CONTAGIOUS DISEASES LIKE HEPATITIS & HIV, because these PROFESSIONALS are supervising, WITHOUT MAKING JUDGMENTS.

This whole assault against those who disagree with the Bush Conservative Mantra, the HYPOCRITES who decries science, who denounce anyone who dares have a different opinion, is becoming tiresome. We, the People truly need to get rid of these DICTATORS and return to doing what we know is right, what we know is the Canadian Way of doing things.

I totally accept the right to have a different opinion, but I do not believe that gives anyone the right to attack the ethics of an entire group of people, who we depend on, simply for political gain. Seriously, debate the issue, instead of attacking the people who disagree. The plain and simple truth is that this program SAVES US MONEY, because it reduces the risks many IV Drug Users take, for their fix.

It isn’t about condoning their actions, but of insuring that we aren’t adding to the growing epidemics of diseases like Hepatitis, HIV, and other contagious viruses. By monitoring these sites with professionals, we are at least saving millions in possible health care costs. The question from the Health Minister shouldn’t be about the ethics of Doctors, but about how the Government can help to open up more of these sites.

These sites also create a better relationship between the drug users and health care officials. It does help in the case of Overdoes, but that is the more dramatic aspect of these sites. The simple truth is simply that it helps in the PREVENTION OF SPREADING DISEASES.

Surely that should mean something to our elected representatives? Course, I guess the answer is that as they don’t have tons of cash to donate for campaign funds, or can deliver good job opportunities once tossed out of government, they aren’t worth saving. Least that is the impression one gets from the Harper Conservatives, just as from the Bush Republicans.

Robert Ouellet, a radiologist in Montreal, said safe injection sites are an important point of entry for addicts into the health care system. He said the goal is harm reduction — by lowering the risk of disease transmission through dirty needles — as well as by providing education about drug addiction.

“We doctors think that we need to take care of patients and this is quite different. He’s doing politics, we’re doing health care,” he said. (source – CBC News)

My wife commented earlier tonight, about how it seems Politicians are only out to grab a free ride. He was totally pissed off with Politicians in general, whether it was Harper, Dion, or Layton. And to a point he is right. It seems today that our elected leaders are looking for the wedge issues, to gain election, instead of facing reality, instead of telling us the truth.

Sure, drug use sucks, and yes, it is illegal for a reason. That doesn’t mean we ignore those who are drug users, it doesn’t mean we let them loose to spread harmful killer diseases on their families or friends, or does it? According to our Health Minister is does, which is one important reason I can never support the Harper Party of Conservative. I believe in a lot of the principles that Conservatives believe in, but those aren’t what Stephen Harper and his group offer us.

It isn’t about fiscal restraint, it isn’t about less government interference, nor is it about being open and honest. It is about graft, about feeding their own and about turning their backs on those who aren’t of their kind. That isn’t what I call being a leader, nor being a Conservative. We don’t live in an ideal world. Still, is that any reason to ignore the health and well being of those who we don’t accept, such as Drug Users?

I know the arguments that they brought it on themselves, which may be true. Frankly I don’t think so, but the issue is that if we truly believe in God, in his precepts, how can we ignore them? I don’t get it, or understand how on the one hand, Harper claims to be a Good Christian, yet at the same time, he ignores people who are in need, who are different, or who don’t believe in the same God he does. That just seems so wrong, so anti God, that it is very hard to fathom.

Safe Injection Sites saves lives, saves money. It may not be pretty, but the bottom line is that it works. Until Harper & Clements can come up with a better solution, other than increased prison terms, harsher sentence guidelines, this is what we must have. Least this way we stand a chance at saving some lives.

The Search Continues

No, not for a running mate for Obama, but for a Doctor for Mother, and I suppose for myself and David as well. It is strange, to have to fill out an ‘application form’ from someone you are buying service from. And let me say, the forms are a lot more intense than if you are applying for a job, and I simply don’t understand it.

It makes me wonder at what has happened to traditional family values. Seriously, there is so much talk by the politicians about ‘family values’, about ‘traditional values’ that I have to wonder, just what values do they refer to? Is it the value of who can make them the most bucks, who can give them the better leg up on the competition, or is it about compassion, charity, respect?

I used to believe that Doctors and Nurses were about healing, about caring. I feel that is no longer a consideration among many of these so called professionals. I mean I got more sympathy or understanding perhaps, from the secretary of our local MLA[1. Member of Legislature] than I did from our own family doctor’s nurses, and that just seems wrong to me.

I mean we were a ‘customer’ for 13 years, and it seems that even that doesn’t count. And you know, why should we even be looked at as a customer? I know, they call us ‘patients’ but somehow it just seems all too commercial. For example, no one told me that if we don’t get our medical records from our old doctor, that they put them into some medical storage firm, and it costs about $200 per patient to get them out.  Now, I mean come on, like that is really nice of them, to keep that little tid bit hidden.

They don’t say how long they keep our records, just to call them and get them ready if we find a new Doctor, not if we have 10 days, 30 days, or whatever. Then to not even tell us that if we don’t get them out by a certain date, they go to storage and there is a fee to get them out. Now I am not objecting to there being a fee for storing them, just that NO ONE TOLD US THAT.

So it looks like more ‘paperwork’ and I wonder, isn’t this all costing someone something? Maybe we are so afraid of what might be, we try to cover our asses so much, we forget our purpose. I mean, okay things can get out of hand with lawsuits, but one of the principles of Universal Health Care, is protecting the Doctors and Nurses from unreasonable legal exposure. Yet it seems, that in doing so, we are adding to the financial cost, and forgetting, that irrespective of age, people are entitled to care, to respect, and when you look at the world around, at Burma and how inept the Government is, you wonder if our own political leaders aren’t wishing they too could just ignore the sick and the elderly.

Health Care Follow Up

It constantly amazes me at how callous and unresponsive government has become, to us, the people.

I have been trying to get some medical help for my 91 year old mother, and without a family physician, let me say that is not easy. Worse is how it seems that Government hides all the help programs out there, as if they hope the problem just goes away. I mean to have to call my MLA [1. Member of the Legislative Assembly] to get phone numbers is unreal, and unbelievable. Yet that is what it takes.

Just what is happening here?

It isn’t like she has a cough, she is 91 years old, and is extremely weak. She also doesn’t want to go to hospital, which is the only place an ambulance will take her, other than that, forget it. Now how in hell am I supposed to get her to a walk in clinic when she can barely shuffle to the bathroom with a walker, and me holding her? Yet that is the advice from our Ex Doctor, and from the various Senior Health Centers, which is like, what if she can’t? Is medical care in British Columbia simply for those who are mobile, or not too weak to move?

I believe that if someone is sick, you treat it now, not when it becomes a crisis, or life threatening. Surely there are others who believe this, or do we simply shrug our shoulders and say, well they are old, they’ve lived their lives. If that is the case, then where do I go to RESIGN FROM THIS HUMAN RACE? That to me is just unacceptable, and just plain WRONG.

We have worked hard all of our lives, and I sometimes wonder if it was worth it. I look at how my Father was treated by so called ‘health professionals’ and how the system really isn’t about providing health care to Seniors. How UNPROFESSIONAL they really are, and it cost him his life. He isn’t around, not because he was sick, but because of the Hospital, and its inability TO CARE.

I am determined to not let that happen with Mother.

Yet, when we rely on Doctors, on Nurses, and they fail us, what is there left for us to fall back on? Is it about the money? I mean does being rich somehow entitle you to a better life at the Senior Level? Does it get you the treatment you need? And how can any person be so heartless, so uncaring, as to accept that? How can people like Gordon Campbell or Stephen Harper or any of our leaders, be so unsympathetic, so unfeeling, when it comes to administering health care for all of the People?

The whole concept of Universal Health Care, is about making it easier for all of us to live, to administer to the health needs of ALL PEOPLE. Instead it has become merely a cash cow for some, a boon for some, and I don’t know, but making profit off of people’s misery, it just doesn’t seem right. Seems to be wrong on so many levels, and yet all of our leaders talk about re-establishing core beliefs, core values.

I guess I just want to know, when did having family values, having core beliefs, mean we IGNORE THE ELDERLY?