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Perhaps it is as Aji has suggested, the time of year when ghosts walk the earth. The sky feels heavy today. Or perhaps it is the article in TPM about Mitt Romney’s insensitivity when talking about not letting the uninsured die in their apartments. Apparently we let them die in the Emergency Room instead.

Because by the time they make it to the ER it is usually too late to save them. My brother tried. He learned that the best time to visit the Emergency Room at Highland Hospital in Oakland was early Thursday or Friday morning, between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. It didn’t do him much good though, as he was repeatedly sent home with a handful of Vicodin. Which of course, has never been known to cure lung cancer.

By the time he was admitted, his life was saved on the floor of the admitting area of the ER as his heart finally gave out. He called her the “ninja nurse,” the young trauma nurse who saved him from that death on the floor.

But a ninja nurse could not save him from the price of the long neglect of his cancer. From the initial missed diagnosis to the referral for treatment that could not be filled for four long months. He was admitted, finally, and treated for atrial fibrillation first, and then cancer. It didn't take long for him to die at that point. Just a couple of pain filled months.

You see, Mitt, (hope you don’t mind if I call you Mitt, I know it may sound overly familiar and demeaning to those who don’t realize you feel so free to speak of my brother as if you were on a first name basis) Americans don’t get their health care from Emergency Rooms, because ERs are not set up to provide health care. They are geared to treat emergencies. Lung cancer is not an emergency until it is ready to kill you. And by then the ER can no longer help.

So yes, we do let people stay in their apartments and die. Not in your world, I’m sure, but in the reality that most Americans occupy, yes, we do let them die. A little over a year ago that was shocking when it was first suggested at a primary debate. Today it passes with barely a murmur.

But your words hurt me. I haven’t forgotten. And when I walked outside today and felt the first hint of winter in the air I thought of my brother and his annual Thanksgiving visit that once again, he will not make, leaving me with that much less for which to be thankful.

And I know too many of the 47% who go to work every day, praying that they will not become ill because they have no health insurance. They work hard, these waitresses, hair dressers, landscapers and construction workers, whenever work is available. It is hard physical labor for which they earn just enough to keep food on the table and clothes on the backs of their children. There is no extra money for healthcare so they must remain well.

I don’t understand a society in which healthcare is denied to its citizens by those who profess loudly and repeatedly a reverence for life and for the teachings of Jesus Christ. He healed the sick. He did not let them die in their apartments or in emergency rooms.

The anger that I felt last year is gone. It has been replaced by a soul crushing grief and sadness. I miss the anger. It gave me strength. Is that what you are counting on, Mitt? That those of us who grieve the early loss of loved ones due to unequal access to healthcare will just give up? That we will stop caring about strangers who face the same fate as those we loved?

Today is one of sadness and tears. But tomorrow or the next day, Mitt, I will find some remnant of that anger again. And I will again refuse to believe your lie, no matter how often or how loudly you repeat it. Americans die every day because they lack access to health care. Alone. In their apartments or in ERs.

And that is just wrong.

Originally posted to Susan Grigsby on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Amen. n/t (8+ / 0-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 03:32:52 PM PDT

    •  Mitt Romney is not a Christian. No way. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kmras, Susan from 29, Catskill Julie

      Not by thought, word, or deed apart from well documented efforts with charity.

      Corporate press are willing to cover up lies, false documents, and much worse. The Dan Rather scandal frightened them, both the on-air talent and management:

      -- We know for sure that Romney killed a woman on the 16th of June in 1968 with simple bad driving. Her name was Leola Anderson, 57, a mother of four. Most likely with his vision obstructed, Romney drove out of his lane at an intersection and slammed head-on into a Mercedes 180.

      -- He has blamed that accident repeatedly on a a fictitious person, a "drunk priest named Albert Marie, age 46." That lie is supported with a claim to have verified that this "Albert Marie" was assigned to the parish at Serieul, north of Bordeaux, plus having paid an imaginary "settlement" to another Mormon missionary, David Wood.

      -- In fact, the other driver was Bishop Jean Vilnet. The collision point was in the southbound Left Turn lane of N524 across from the Beaulac post office. No one was drinking. No one was speeding. Romney had been driving north, when he misread an intersection. He was the driver at fault. Here is the bishop in hospital at Bazas France, the morning after that 1968 accident:

      -- Equally seriously, Romney had a bogus news article created in 2006/2007, a forgery, allegedly from the French publication Sud Ouest in Bordeaux. Then he had an English language version spread around to mislead the world press.

      -- This forgery, predated to 1968, includes an impossible account of the collision. It misstated the site and also purports to back up the "drunk priest" slanders.

      -- His authorized biography, "The Real Romney" on pages 80-83 contains a claim that Romney was in a "three day coma" in the Bazas hospital at the time this story of the "drunk priest" was first circulated.

      How many Catholic bishops are observed drunk while driving two women home from Sunday Mass ??? Blood of the Lamb by the glass?

      This slander has been repeated over and over for Mormon missionaries serving in France. It is a prime anti-Catholic motivational tool. Mitt Romney is portrayed as a hero for surviving the crash.

      -- Mrs. Anderson's next-day obituary from June 17, 1968, in the evening edition of the Ogden Standard-Examiner contains eye witness reporting that Willard (Mitt) Romney "suffered minor head injuries and torn ligaments to one elbow. He was expected to leave hospital in about two days" as reported by Andre Salarnier, reporter/photographer.

      -- Romney's campaign web site contradicts all of the prior tales. This account would have Romney suffering "a concussion." Details and the "drunk priest" slander are omitted. Romney, of course, is the hero.

      Photographic evidence, including a readable image of the Anderson obituary, are up here at Daily Kos. Here are the main diaries:

      -- Mitt Romney's Driving Killed Leola Anderson. His Cover-Up Tale is Proved Dishonest

      -- The obituary:


      Willard (Mitt) Romney, 21, son of Governor George Romney of Michigan, who is serving as a missionary in France and who was driving the car, suffered minor head injuries and torn ligaments to one elbow. He was expected to leave hospital in about two days.

      -- Text as reported by Andre Salarnier, reporter/photographer

      -- The false claim of a "three day coma":

      "The Real Romney": Authorized Biography Echoes Fabulist Inventions

      That includes a nice photo of Romney in a standard ward bed, the Monday morning after, talking to Salarnier while getting photographed.

      For pro-democracy people, he makes Nixon and his felonious Dirty Tricksters look like children doing Halloween pranks. No wonder the tax returns are hidden.

      •  No joke: the Anti-Christ. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29

        Since he was at prep school, Mitt Romney has said that he is the one to fulfill prophesy and become President of the United States.

        This is the White Horse Prophesy from Joseph Smith in 1843. In it, Smith rewrites and updates the Book of Revelation, Chapter 2, from the Christian Bible. The hero of WHP is the rider of the white horse, then the whole of the Mormon people who are his followers.

        Romney repeated this view of his destiny in France while he was a missionary. When he came back for his third draft deferment, going to school at BYU, his nickname was "OMS," pronounced like the Spanish "hommes." That was short for the Mormon honorific "One Mighty and Strong." His wife Ann also believes it and has said so quite openly.

        Problem, to begin with, that Chapter 2 is the story of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Smith fell in love with Verse 2:

        2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
        This is Smith's departure point for the prophesy. He misread what is happening. He did not understand that the Lamb opens the Seals that bring on the end of the world. Between these events, Satan's four horsemen inflict the terrible power of his hatreds on humanity.

        For Smith, based on his writings, the white horse is a charm. It is magic.

        It protects the lies told by Mormon prophets and counselors when they mislead the "Gentile" world. Lies are cast as the most powerful weapon to obtain political position and power.

        Worse yet, it took hold. Brigham Young boasted that Mormons would have the "smoothest liars.":

        ...the White Horse Prophecy has been embraced by Mormon culture... Glenn Beck has referred to this in his own crazed rants over and over. The White Horse prophecy is embedded into the very fabric of Mormonism."

        -- Renato Wardle, Happy Valley, Utah

        First Rider is identified in The Revelation as the final anti-christ, the Anti-Christ.

        Mitt Romney does not read the Christian bible. He has never read the Christian Bible. He has never read any part of Christian explanations or annotations, related to The Revelation of St. John the Divine.

        Mitt Romney is not a supernatural being. His successes at politics have applied his intelligence, but also have relied on criminal acts such as slander and perjury and forgery, repeatedly. Not magic. His sense of his own destiny has been modeled as he has said for 50 years on the Mormon "White Horse Prophesy." (He denies it.) At its core Smith's work reverses the meanings of scripture to make the Christian Anti-Christ into a conquering hero.

        You folks thought Nixon and Bush43 were bad ????? Romney is 50 years into the cult belief "White Horse Prophesy." He might as well see himself as Sigfried in Wagner's "Ring" or a mad gunner in a video game.

        "Robotic." "Machine like." America should be so lucky.

      •  Thank you. First I'd heard . . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, bontemps2012

        Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

        by Catskill Julie on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:51:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Beautifully written elegy for your brother... (14+ / 0-)

    and an indictment of Romney. My condolences!

  •  I'm so sad for you and your brother. (12+ / 0-)

    So terrible. If you can, if you feel up to it, you may want to send a version of this in as a letter to the editor -- people need to know whom they are talking about when they are dismissive of what some of the benefits of Obamacare mean in real life. Too many people don't understand how broken our health care system has been and will continue to be for some time. I believe your sadness and anger will come and go and switch places, but every time you talk about what happened to your brother, you honor him.
    {{{Susan from 29}}}

    "I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards any one." (Edith Cavell)

    by Southcoast Luna on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 05:03:00 PM PDT

  •  Powerful important story, Susan. (8+ / 0-)

    So sorry to hear about your brother. That is just so cruel and terrible, it should not happen to anyone.

    I wish you were going to be at the town meeting debate so you could put this to him in the form of a question.

    It would be a terrific op-ed piece.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 05:06:54 PM PDT

  •  A Bake sale isn't health care insurance either (13+ / 0-)

    There isn't a week that goes by that I don't see a notice for a bake sale or a BBQ or some kind of fund raiser for a community member who needs help paying his or her medical bills. I know at least three people who died because they didn't go to the doctor for treatment for suspected cancer until it was too late because they were afraid of bankrupting their family. It makes me angry and it makes me angry that many of these same folks think Obamacare is socialism and that there are death panels when they are dying by the death panel called neglect and fear of bankruptcy. They somehow can't see that asking their neighbors to pitch in and pay for their care is the same thing as asking their neighbors to pitch in and pay for real health care, preventative care, community care by the greater community. Not on,y that these fund raisers never some close to paying a tenth of the bills. Oh I get crazy about this. I actually confronted the last person who came in to ask me to donate to a fund for a local's health bills. I asked her if she thought Obamacare was socialism? Answer: yes. and then I said wasn't she asking me so socially contribute to someone I didn't even know? I asked wasn't that socialism too. I felt mean but jesus. What are they thinking.

  •  Thank You so much for speaking up for us.. (12+ / 0-)
    They work hard, these waitresses, hair dressers, landscapers and construction workers, whenever work is available. It is hard physical labor for which they earn just enough to keep food on the table and clothes on the backs of their children.
    I'm so sorry about your brother, I hope he rests easy tonight.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 05:24:06 PM PDT

  •  I remember your diary about your brother's death (8+ / 0-)

    It was so very powerful, so very memorable.  Once again, your eloquence on his behalf (and for all the others who share that situation) lays bare the heartlessness behind the GOP's operating philosophy.

    Thank you for once again speaking up.

  •  Wonderful diary, Susan from 29. I am so sorry for (8+ / 0-)

    your loss.  May your brother rest in peace.

    I don’t understand a society in which healthcare is denied to its citizens by those who profess loudly and repeatedly a reverence for life and for the teachings of Jesus Christ.
    Yes, "reverence for life."  Right.  They're such hypocrites.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 06:15:24 PM PDT

  •  Peace be with you, Susan from 29 (5+ / 0-)

    I've been seething mad since Romney made that statement; I've had my own emergency-room experiences (four of them in the past two months) and it is just as you described in your brother's case. Check in, monitor vital signs, get interviewed sometimes by an MD, sometimes by an intern, and leave with a prescription.

  •  Romney's callousness confounds me. He and Ann" (3+ / 0-)

    "brag" all the time about her cronic condition of MS, yet they would deny continued care for other cronic disease patients and would relegate them to Emergency Care only when things get bad enough to make another costly run to the ER necessary.  You would think they would at least have some vague idea of how helpful continual care is to improve things for MS patients. Their lack of empathy shows poor civic character to me.

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