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Disturbing the Universe

The musings of author Christina Knowles

Month

November 2014

The Ten-Second Sage by Christina Knowles

Quotation-Kalista-Miller-life-live-Meetville-Quotes-181803Lately I’ve been reading a lot of life advice on Facebook, and a huge majority of it centers on living for yourself, doing what you want, letting people go who don’t improve your life, forgiving others in order to move on with your own life, and not letting others determine how you live your life. It seems selfishness is the new black. Of course, all of this can be good advice under certain circumstances, but it struck me that taking this literally as a mantra by which to live your life is a good way to be alone for the rest of your life.

There is nothing wrong with being alone if that’s what you choose, and if you really feel like you can’t compromise in the details of your life, then it’s probably a good choice. But if you happen to fall in love, you may need to rethink the whole “living for yourself” thing.

I am a very independent woman, who does not like to be told what to do. I consider myself a feminist. When I divorced my first husband, I reveled in the freedom to do whatever I wanted, make choices without considering what anyone else thought, and being able to completely change my life if I wanted without worrying about how it affected someone else. I was happy, and I vowed never to tie myself down with anyone again. And that is a valid choice. It didn’t make me selfish or shallow. However, “living for yourself” while in a relationship is selfish and shallow and is guaranteed to end in disaster.

Even before I met my current husband, I realized that the secret to a good relationship with anyone is unselfishness. When I fell in love with him, I decided I would always consider his needs above my own because I love him. Of course, if he did not respond to me in the same way, we would have had problems, and eventually, I may have felt differently about him because of it. But he does put me before himself. I believe that when someone you love puts you first, it’s a natural reaction to reciprocate in kind, and when this happens, both people’s needs are met and both people feel loved and valued. In contrast, acting out of self-serving motives and without considering the needs and desires of your mate leads to arguments, resentment, and eventually a break-up. When someone who is supposed to love you, cares more about himself, you feel unloved and unimportant, and then the tendency is to react by protecting yourself, becoming selfish in response. When you protect yourself from someone you love, you lose intimacy, and eventually love.Take-Care

Sometimes it is necessary to act selfishly. Sometimes it is survival. As I said above, under certain circumstances, taking care of yourself first is good advice, but it is never good advice for making a relationship work. Sometimes you need to leave people behind, let them go, but adopting a permanent attitude of self-protection and complete independence means choosing to be alone or in constant conflict.

forgivenessAs far as forgiving others so that you can move on, I think this is terrible advice. If you merely forgive others for your own sake, you probably haven’t really forgiven them at all. You’ve just moved on, and put whatever they’ve done to you out of your head. Forgiveness should always be a gift to someone out of love. You love who hurt you more than you dislike what they’ve done, and you love them enough to give them a clean slate. You love them enough to be vulnerable to the possibly of them hurting you again in the same way. You don’t hold it against them, expect them to repeat the mistake, or ever bring it up again. If you can’t risk it, don’t forgive them, but let them go and forget about it. You don’t need to forgive them for you; they need it if they want to stay in a relationship with you.

When I fell in love with my husband, I knew I had a choice to make. I knew I had to give up making all the decisions myself; I had to give up the freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I decided that what I was gaining was better than anything I was giving up, and I’ve been lucky because being unselfish is easy with him. He treats me with such concern, such unselfish love, that I automatically care more about his needs and desires than my own. Sure there are times when I want my way, and it’s not the same as his, but all we have to do is realize how important something is to the other, and then it’s easy to compromise. That is love, and love is unselfish.

So I don’t think I’ll be utilizing any ten-second psychology from Facebook any time soon. These sage-sounding aphorisms make good memes, but not good relationships. There is enough selfishness in the world; I don’t want it in my relationship with my husband or anyone else I care about.—Christina Knowles

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Existdentalism: I Think; Therefore, I Am Confused by Christina Knowles

Existdentalism: I Think; Therefore, I Am Confused by Christina Knowles.

All Grown Up by Christina Knowles

IMG_2659We buried our mother today, my family and I. She was a wonderful mother—loving, strong, kind, principled, and dedicated. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her.

Losing a mother is a unique kind of pain. It’s different than losing a father, a spouse, a sibling, or a child. I’m thankful that I haven’t experienced all these different types of devastating loss, but I just know that it has to be different. I’m not saying it’s worse, just different. In fact, I’m pretty sure losing a child would be the worst.

But losing a mother is the ultimate severing of the umbilical cord. When you lose a mother, you feel lost, insecure. I haven’t depended on my mother for many years, but I guess I knew she was always there if I needed her. Knowing she is gone makes me feel all alone in the world even though I know I am not. I feel a primal need for her. I wake up in the middle of the night calling for my mommy, and I don’t care that I am a grown woman, a grandmother even. I want my mommy.

Losing a mother makes a person grow up instantly. You are no longer the child, and having already lost my father, I am no longer anybody’s child. That’s a strange feeling. I am the mother now. I feel this more now than ever, even though I have been a mother for 26 years. Not being someone’s child is a lonely feeling. It makes me want to pour myself into being a mother to my children. Unfortunately, they’ve grown and left home, and I don’t see them as often as I’d like.

Being without a mother makes me feel different. I am different. My husband warned me that losing parents changes a person, but I didn’t really understand before. Losing a mother leaves a void that nothing else can fill. Really losing anyone you love does, but to whom will I go for advice? Who will be proud of me for absolutely no reason? Who is capable of unconditional love besides a mother?

That’s what’s really missing. It’s knowing I will never be loved unconditionally by anyone again. My husband loves me almost that much, but I know I could make him lose his love for me if I tried. Of course, I won’t. My brothers, my sisters—that’s close. They have loved me through everything so far. My kids—I’d love to think that they love me unconditionally, but even though some part of them may need me or love me no matter what, it’s just not that same I’d-die-for-you kind of love. I know this is true because the only people in the world that I would love under any circumstances are my children, the only ones I could forgive anything.

My pain sounds so selfish. It’s all about what I will no longer have. But isn’t that what grief usually is? We miss the people we lose; we will no longer enjoy their love, their presence. My mother was a wonderful person. She left the world a much better place than she found it. But even if she didn’t, today I would still be an orphan. I suppose her goodness just intensifies it.

So today I said goodbye to my mother and to a love I will never experience again. At 49 years old, I just grew up.—Christina Knowles

“Music” by Christina Knowles

music-thinking“Music”

Music wraps his arms around me

And tells me he knows what I’m about

He shows me I’m not alone and speaks to me

In ways you couldn’t even shout

He squeals and strums and screams to me

And then quietly whispers he accepts

All that you could never see in me

And all that you reject.—Christina Knowles (2007)

“Bareback in the Meadow” by Christina Knowles

My beautiful mother died last night, so here is a poem I wrote about her precious life. She always told me about a horse that she loved when she was a girl. She didn’t have a saddle, so she would ride bareback.

Scan 51“Bareback in the Meadow”

Softly in a meadow, brushing back his mane

Bareback rider, farm girl among the golden grain

Growing in her faith, overcome with dreams

A vision of a life, within her eye it gleams

She swears her vows one cold December day

Knowing there’ll be struggles that will come their way

With only hope and true love to keep her warm

With strength and poise, she faces every storm621463_4574897504609_1222784935_o

Raising up a family, five to call her own

Colorful blocks of fabric, lovingly she’s sewn

A close-knit mosaic, a family replete

Heirloom of a mother, a priceless quilt complete

Ever she is working, sacrificing to provide

Surrounded by her progeny, life is simplified

Always she is faithful and takes the time to pray

For cares to be forgotten and blessings for the day

920495_10200633337269994_1850806278_oWhen days are long, but time grows short

Together they support; they quietly exhort

A heritage of devotion she continues to convey

Her lasting legacy, a magnificent array

She says farewell to her love until they meet again

Until that day that she will go and meet her love and when

She’ll live forever with her Lord and pain will go its way

No worries to escape and all burdens fly away

She struggles through the seasons without him at her side

And when it’s time to join him, all before is justified

She leaves her clan with memories of her tender heart

Tears she shed in worry, prayers said when they’re apart

And many more of joyful days, her love they testify

Of birthday get-togethers and stories of days gone by,

Christmas mornings filled with love, baking just for fun

And homemade ice cream on the porch in the summer sun

So, she says farewell to her loves until they meet again

Waiting for the reunion, when she will be with them

She spends her days with her groom and her Lord by her side

And softly in the meadow, her dreams are realized

Among the golden grain, they ride side by side

Bareback in the meadow and across the countryside.—Christina Knowles (2014)

Must-Read Books by Christina Knowles

Snagged from freecomputersonline,com
Snagged from freecomputersonline.com

As a teacher, my students often ask me what my favorite book is, and I easily reply, “Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah,” but after that, it gets tough to narrow it down to a list of essentials. I would love to just list ten, but I find it impossible to limit it that much when I begin to write. Here are my absolute must-reads:

  1. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah: I love this book because it is the most beautiful novel I have ever read. It’s about regrets, misunderstandings, and relationships—relationships between sisters, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, and husbands and wives. It is thought-provoking, poignant, and reads like poetry. Within the contemporary story, lives a fairytale, so sweet and tragic that it captured my inner child, and I fell in love with this book. Hannah understands the dynamics of our closest relationships and how the ones we love most, have the most power to wound us, but also have the power to heal. I could read this book a thousand times, and I just might.
  2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Ray Bradbury is a genius of the written word. This book is probably my favorite science fiction novel because the dystopian world Bradbury creates is startling real, dark, and symbolic, and yet it is written like poetry, each word carefully crafted with the next; its evocative beauty remains with the reader long after the cover is closed.
  3. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut: This strange and tragic novel blew my mind. It is weirdly surreal and unique in its delivery of the horrors of war and their effect on the human psyche.
  4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: This was my favorite book for many, many years because its dystopian world is not only filled with scientific and sociological predictions (two of my favorite subjects), but it is also filled with Shakespeare (another favorite subject). One of the novel’s main characters constantly quotes Shakespeare, and the book parallels one of my favorite plays, The Tempest. Incredibly deep, insightful, and startlingly accurate in many of its predictions.
  5. The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King: This is my favorite of the Dark Tower series. Stephen King always amazes me, but this novel (and the series) transports me to a surrealistic world filled with danger, magic, and loyalty, an epic quest on the scale of The Lord of the Rings, but modernized and on steroids!
  6. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: This book is heartbreakingly beautiful, about pain, suffering, mercy, and forgiveness. This book contains the secrets of life.
  7. East of Eden by John Steinbeck: This book was my first experience with real literature. I first read it in middle school, and I was enchanted with the discovery that a novel could be so filled with symbolism, allegory, epiphany, imagery, and the meaning of life. I think this book is quite possibly the reason why I became a literature major, and it began a life-long love of John Steinbeck novels.
  8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: This book is not just another angsty teen novel. It is a masterpiece of Existentialism, and like Brave New World, it is filled with allusions to my favorite literary works. This book is intellectual and emotional, and it had me hooked when the main character, Hazel Grace, started quoting from my favorite poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by TS Eliot. See my full review at: https://disturbingtheuniverseblog.com/2014/06/06/book-review-the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green/
  9. The Complete Poems of TS Eliot: His modernist outlook is deeply cynical, anti-traditional, heartbreakingly poignant, and most of all, lyrically beautiful. My favorite poet. Dare he disturb the universe? Oh yes, please.
  10. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Not just a Christmas classic, this story is symbolic and meaningful, and in Dickens’ style, blunt in its message of charity to the poor and the necessity of prioritizing in life. It never ceases to amaze me that even the most staunchly anti-Socialist people love this work, even while they continue to hoard their riches and look down upon the poor.
  11. The Pigman by Paul Zindel: I love just about any story concerning a friendship between teenagers and the elderly, but this one is the cream of the crop. I think I love this book so much because I lived this experience when I was young. Two teenagers accidentally befriend an elderly widower when they make a prank phone call to his house one day. They never imagine that he will mean so much to them or change their lives forever.
  12. The Crucible by Arthur Miller: Every time I read this play, I am hanging on every word of John Proctor. Miller creates a protagonist that grows from a selfish, lying adulterer to a heroic, self-sacrificing man of integrity in four dramatic and realistic acts, and manages to make a political statement at the same time. Brilliant.
  13. Walden by Henry David Thoreau: Elegant and Transcendent words of wisdom to live by. Enough said.
  14. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: Haunting, creepy, and beautiful written.
  15. Lord of the Flies by William Golding: Horrifyingly realistic. This book takes a look at the horrifying social behavior of children left to their own devices on an island, which is a microcosm of all of humanity, and it isn’t a pretty sight.
  16. 1984 by George Orwell: A quintessential sci-fi novel at its best. Full of dark warnings against Totalitarianism and the importance of words to thought.
  17. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer: These are moral tales that accurately cover just about every type of personality, virtue, and vice with both humor and severity.
  18. For One More Day by Mitch Albom: This book is a magically transcendent exploration of a mother’s love through a bizarrely surreal visit with the other side. I love all his books, but this one is definitely my favorite.
  19. On Writing by Stephen King: I love everything about this book. It’s not only sage advice given openly from the guru of suspense, but packed with personality and real life stories along with the lessons on writing.
  20. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Lee has wonderful voice, creates characters you won’t be able to forget, and addresses issues of racial prejudice, justice, and moral integrity.
  21. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: I love this tragic tale of friendship, fate, and the harsh realities of life.
  22. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley: I never had a horse, but I could relate to this story of a boy and his horse, their love, and their loyalty because it reminds me of having a wonderful dog. I love books about the love between humans and animals, and this one is one of the best. Full of action and adventure too. I read the whole series.
  23. Strangers by Dean Koontz: Koontz expertly weaves the lives and experiences of several seemingly unrelated characters into one crazy and unexpected plot. You’ll never believe that it could be rationally explained in the end, but it is! My favorite Koontz novel.
  24. Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory: The one that started it all. This is considered the definitive King Arthur story. I love the Knight life.
  25. Paradise Lost by John Milton: Milton makes Lucifer shockingly relatable, or maybe it’s just me. I think I’ve said too much.
  26. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: Chivalry, knights, quests, love, and friendship. I love this tale of knightly adventure.
  27. The Shining by Stephen King: King at his best. This novel masterfully uses a malevolent ghost-filled hotel as a metaphor for the almost demonic hold of alcoholism. If you’ve only seen the movie, you are seriously missing out. For more check out: https://disturbingtheuniverseblog.com/2013/10/21/review-the-shining-by-stephen-king/
  28. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult: An engrossing story-within-a-story combining the strange but brilliant combination of the Nazi holocaust, a bakery, and a vampire in small village. Heart-wrenching, realistic, and superbly symbolic. Read the entire review here: https://disturbingtheuniverseblog.com/2013/11/23/review-the-storyteller-by-jodi-picoult-2/
  29. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Dark, poignant, and unique. Death is the narrator, a neutral observer, telling the story of a young German girl who loves to read as things fall apart around her in Nazi Germany.
  30. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier: Creepy, gothic, and suspenseful with a scary head housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who tries to sabotage the happiness of a young bride. Who can Mrs. DeWinter trust? Certainly not her husband, a widower whose wife, Rebecca, died under suspicious circumstances.
  31. The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells: I love everything by HG Wells, but this one is particularly good. It’s science fiction, bordering on horror, and makes us question all kinds of scientific ethics.
  32. The Complete Works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Observation, logic, and reasoning are paramount to a very flawed, ego-maniacal protagonist, Sherlock Holmes.
  33. Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes: Mind-blowing philosophical theory, questioning the very essence of reality.
  34. Beyond Good & Evil by Friedrich Nietzche: Brilliant thoughts on mankind, the origin of evil, and the purpose of life.
  35. The Giver by Lois Lowry: A classic dystopian novel, written for children, but with such depth, and done so well, everyone loves it. Many layers of meaning and unforgettable characters.
  36. Bag of Bones by Stephen King: Haunting, mysteriously beautiful, romantic, and creepy. I love this book. Again, don’t judge it by the movie.
  37. Duma Key by Stephen King: I loved this book because it combines three things I find interesting— a haunted house, a stormy ocean setting, and an artist. I couldn’t put this one down.
  38. The Street Lawyer by John Grisham: This book will renew your belief in the goodness of people. It’s quite different from Grisham’s other legal thrillers, but still a page-turner.
  39. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: This book is hard to read. A difficult look at the oppression of women in a dark sci-fi story in a not-too far-fetched Totalitarian and faux-religious future. Definitely worth a trip to the dark side.
  40. The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright: Fullbright hooked me on the first page with her intricately woven plot and complex characters. The novel is a combination of historical fiction and mystery, wherein, Fullbright manages to use multiple first person narrators and jumps around in time without losing the reader, connecting all the times and characters seamlessly and hurtling them to the insanely climactic ending. Love this book.
  41. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Shocking and powerful, this book will open your eyes to another culture and draw you in. This book touched me in its gripping portrayal of tortured minds, one by guilt, and another by tragedy, cruelty, and betrayal.
  42. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin: Graphic, complicated, shocking, and pure bliss! Martin is a master of complexity in both character and plot. One minute I despise a character, and the next I am masterfully manipulated into sympathizing with him.
  43. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke: This book about an alien race helping the human race evolve, unbeknownst to them, is magnificent! Clarke explores numerous themes such as history, art, and what gives life meaning, just to name a few.
  44. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar: This book is lovely and poignant from beginning to end. It’s a beautiful and heart-rending look at friendship and love in a world of inequality, addressing the issues of religious difference, poverty, and caste systems in modern Bombay.
  45. A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron: See life through a dog’s eyes. It’s a tear-jerker, but you’ll never look at your dog without imagining what he’s thinking again.
  46. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: Beautiful, poetic, and profound. “Song of Myself” and “O Me! O Life” are some of the most quoted lines of wisdom still today, and it is no wonder. He could be writing about the world right now. Like Walden, these are words to live by.
  47. Symposium by Plato: Wisdom from the ancients. I always love Plato, including The Allegory of the Cave.
  48. Metaphysics by Aristotle: I really like Aristotle’s reasoning about learning through experience and the physical world. He could be a modern-day scientist.
  49. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. An intellectual argument on why there is probably no god and how the major religions of the world are flawed. Dawkins breaks down the basics of evolution and punches undeniable holes in theology and philosophy.
  50. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan: Sagan convincingly destroys all illusions about the supernatural world in this book. It’s fabulously done, but at the same time, being disillusioned is kind of depressing.

So that’s where I will stop. I could literally continue writing about my favorite books all night, but I won’t put you through that. If you read all the way to the end, I wish I could give you some kind of reward, but why not pick up one of these fabulous books and enjoy? That will be a reward in itself.—Christina Knowles

“Tossed” by Christina Knowles

Snagged from liveknowledgeworld.com
Snagged from liveknowledgeworld.com

On a blue-green marble

I wander without knowing

A fervent explorer

Observing this

And wondering about that

What is truth?

I’m a paper caught by the wind

Struggling to put my feet on the ground

To give chase

Rolling and tumbling ‘round each bend

Farther away, always

An inch or two out of reach

Always the truth

Tossed high by the wind

Of this conviction or that

I miss the meaning of here

Dipping low across

A viridian blue sphere

I never quite land

Before the need again

Rises up in me

Flinging me across

An alabaster sea

A desert of need that

Predates me

Just a spot on a blue-green marble—Christina Knowles (2014)

Healthcare Hell by Christina Knowles

Snagged from watchdogwire.com
Snagged from watchdogwire.com

It seems that everyone in America continues to be in an uproar about The Affordable Care Act or as it is derogatorily known, ObamaCare. Especially, now that the Republicans control Congress, there will surely be an attempt to overturn it once again, and if not repeal it, at least modify it as drastically as possible. I, personally, do not care for much of the healthcare law myself—as far as being affordable, it is a disaster. The free preventative care visits and the mandate against exclusion for pre-existing conditions has undeniably been the most beneficial aspect of this healthcare act, but overall, it does very little in addressing the problems of medical care today. We are in dire need of healthcare reform, and I believe that means instituting a single-payer national system and regulating healthcare costs.

Socialism, you cry? No more than free K-12 public education, which we are all, parents of school-age children or not, required to pay for through our tax dollars.

Yes, yes, I know, the government has made a shambles of the education system. Won’t they do the same to the healthcare industry? Yes, probably, if they are allowed to make the rules. Just like teachers should govern education, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals should govern healthcare.

But first, let’s discuss the absolute necessity of having affordable healthcare. Of course, there are the homeless, jobless, and the working poor who frequent emergency rooms. Let’s get real for a moment. If a homeless man gets hit by a car and taken to the emergency room, he’s probably going to get treatment. The costs are then absorbed by the system, which passes it on to us in higher cost healthcare as well as draining an already in-debt Medicaid/Medicare system. We pay for it anyway. The whole idea behind everyone having coverage is that at least most people will be paying something of their share, and if they have access to preventative care, there will be less high-priced emergency room visits, saving money and lives in the long run.

The problem is that we can’t force people who cannot even pay their rent to buy expensive medical insurance, and the tax credit is a joke. How does that do them any good now?

But it’s not just the poor who have to worry. I know a woman who has worked her entire life in a professional but middle-income job. She has never been irresponsible with her money. She has a small savings and her house is more than half paid off. She drives an old car. She planned on retiring soon, and has put in more than enough years to do that, but after attending a retirement benefits meeting and looking into buying her own private health insurance, she now has to work years longer, just to get to the age to go on Medicare because she can’t afford to quit or be without insurance. The astronomical costs of healthcare are causing middle-income Americans to work until they die of old age. Is that what we really want?

The notion that a single-payer nationalized healthcare system means lower quality care is a myth if it is managed correctly. The idea that American healthcare is superior to any other first world country is also a myth. According to The Commonwealth Fund, America’s healthcare is nothing to brag about. They report that “given the absence of universal coverage—people in the U.S. go without needed health care because of cost more often than people do in the other countries. Americans were the most likely to say they had access problems related to cost” (Davis, et al).

They go on to say that the “U.S. ranks last overall with poor scores on all three indicators of healthy lives—mortality amenable to medical care, infant mortality, and healthy life expectancy at age 60. The U.S. and U.K. had much higher death rates in 2007 from conditions amenable to medical care than some of the other countries, e.g., rates 25 percent to 50 percent higher than Australia and Sweden. Overall, France, Sweden, and Switzerland rank highest on healthy lives” (Davis, et al).

Their final conclusion was that the “U.S. ranks last of 11 nations overall. Findings in this report confirm many of those in the earlier four editions of Mirror, Mirror, with the U.S. still ranking last on indicators of efficiency, equity, and outcomes” (Davis, et al).

One major problem with our “premiere” healthcare system is the superfluous promotion of expensive preventative testing suggested at specific ages as if we were automobiles ready for our 75,000 mile flush. An example of this is the colonoscopy. How many times have we heard that we must have this test as soon as we turn fifty and every ten years thereafter? According to John McDougall, MD of the McDougall Newsletter, a medical research publication, colonoscopies are an extremely dangerous procedure that is not even very accurate in detecting cancer and does not warrant the risks. The most common result of a colonoscopy is that it detects polyps, the polyps are then removed, and this is also a dangerous and useless procedure because removing precancerous polyps can spread the very cancer they are trying to prevent. He goes on to say that cancerous polyps make their appearance most commonly in people over fifty-five, and then usually take twenty years to metastasize. Do the math. You will probably die of something else before that anyway. But the real problem with our preventative testing is that there is a much cheaper test done on stool samples that is much more effective in detecting cancer and poses no risk to the patient. But that wouldn’t be as profitable, would it? And don’t even get me started on the greedy and irresponsible pharmaceutical companies peddling drugs with side effects much more dangerous than the maladies they seek to treat.

Then we have the opposite extreme–greedy insurance companies who put saving money above patients’ needs by denying necessary, life-saving preventative testing because it costs too much–and the costs are exorbitant. I have a family member with a rare form of aggressive cancer who absolutely requires a PET scan. The insurance company denied it as unnecessary because it costs upwards of $7000, so a CT scan would have to suffice. Well, this form of cancer spreads through the body quickly, and the microscopic cells cannot be detected on a CT scan. The scan could come back normal, and the doctor would have no idea where it spread until it grew into another tumor that the CT scan could see. Scientific progress is available, but even with insurance, we are denied it. But here, have a colonoscopy.

The other major problem with our healthcare system is blatant and obvious corruption in the industry in the form of Medicare fraud, millions of dollars each year paid for bogus claims and criminally inflated bills. This is another are where we need to focus our attention to lower healthcare costs.

An unintended consequence of this upheaval of the insurance industry has also been the shameful actions of employers, choosing to reduce full-time employees to part-time, choosing to stop covering employees altogether, or refusing coverage of family members, attempting to pass the costs on to their already underpaid and struggling-to-stay-in-the-middle-class workers while unethical insurance companies and medical and pharmaceutical companies continue to roll in the profits. And for some unfathomable reason, people blame the honest attempts of healthcare reform for the greed and lack of compassion of the medical industry, insurance companies, and employers. Obviously, these companies don’t care, and this is why we must go to a single-payer, coverage for all model. And if you think this will lower our already terrible quality of care, you need to do some more research on countries that have this model that score much higher than the United States in quality and effectiveness of care.

Regardless of how we choose to deal with it, health care must be reformed if we are to have any kind of quality of life or security in our old age. Instead of coming up with half-measures like The Affordable Care Act or dumping healthcare reform altogether, we need to apply ourselves to finding a realistic solution that does not cower before the dictates of the greedy for-profit corporate healthcare raiders. Our very way of life is threatened in a way that is more tangible than any terrorist threat to which we are so willing to forever indebt ourselves. Let’s drop the partisan B.S. and embrace the necessity of the situation. A professionally run single-payer healthcare system won’t make us any more Socialist than the public school system did.—Christina Knowles

Sources:

Davis, K. Stremikis, C. Schoen, and D. Squires, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally, The Commonwealth Fund, June 2014.

McDougall, John, MD. “Colonoscopy: A Gold Standard to Refuse.” McDougall Newsletter: August 2010. Web. 7 Nov. 2014 https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2010nl/aug/colon.htm

“Reversal” by Christina Knowles

Snagged from Pinterest
Snagged from Pinterest

 

 

Gazing thickly through the mist

Vagaries fade into the impassable

Tracing ambiguous signs, I persist

In foolishly pursuing the intangible

 

Finally awake, I see the irrational—

The loss of something that doesn’t exist

Arming myself, I’m intractable

I ready myself to resist

 

Oddly, I mourn the infallible

A loving mirage is dismissed

Reality is not compatible

With the spikes in your wrist

 

Light exposes the actual

Meaning of which it consists

Accepting that which is substantial

Disillusioned, I desist

 

Following the path of the rational

Another paradigm shift

Reversal, a practical

Undertaking adrift

 

Hanging on to the palpable

The evidence I enlist

Stoically casual

I betray this fantasy with a kiss—Christina Knowles (2014)

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