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Not the week I was expecting, but when is it ever?

So, my pal Grace has suddenly started falling down. That's not so good, but what do you do?

If you're Grace's neighbors, you call 911 and head to the ER. I got the phone call on Wednesday afternoon to pick her up at Touro. Grabbed another friend of hers and did just that.

Picked her up at the ER, got her back to her subsidized apartment and called her public health nurse. A badminton match of phone calls later, I've got the instructions to get her to her doctor at the public health clinic at two this afternoon for a walk-in appointment.

Since the problem is falling down, I figure it's going to take a while to make this happen, so GF and I get to her apartment at noon, get her dressed and down to the car (a much more involved process than it reads) and hit the clinic at 1:45, get logged in and settle down to wait.

Not bad really. I've got a book, GF's got her sketchbook and Grace has got a hankering to sleep, which she proceeds to do for three and a half hours in the house wheelchair, as a seemingly endless procession of people shuffle in, complain to the poor woman at the desk and settle down to watch Judge Joe and the like on the TV.

Around sunset, we finally wheel Grace back to another stint of waiting in a hallway in the back of the building, some more waiting in an exam room and a confab with her doctor, who concludes, like the ER staff, that her legs and abdomen are unnaturally swollen. Unlike the ER guys (who actually have some shit to do, thank you, Mr. Romney), he knows the right person to call at the imaging center to set up the process of waiting for an appointment for some ultrasound at CT scans, a prospect which may come to fruition next week sometime.

And all this time, I'm thinking about these bullshit blowhard "Self-reliance" clowns who brag about how they've never asked for a handout while inking up their "Hands Off My Medicare" signs. You know, the guys who are always yammering about the freeloaders, the "parasites," the, um, 47% of people who won't take responsibility.

And I'm thinking, Really, fuckheads? This is the good life? This is the fucking gravy train?

For people who haven't been there, the so-called "safety net" in our country is not a hammock on a summer afternoon. It's about like life in a refugee center, complete with demands for documents you don't have, instructions you can't understand, the scorn of fuckheads who have no clue and, probably worse, pity from good people who do but can't do much for you, either.

If you enjoy anything close to middle-class security in this country, you should thank whatever god you think is listening for the boon. If you have it even better, then I don't care about your view.

Because I doubt Mitt and Paul, John and Mitch and all the yammerheads who fawn on their every move in the metro area bubble that boasts the highest per capita income in our land could last a fucking half an hour in the world the most of us inhabit, day in day out.

No real point to this. Just looking back over the day.

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