by Kevin Stoda
This is the third in a multi-piece-series on my family's holiday adventures, 2017-2018 here in Missouri. In prior pieces, we talked about the school-to-grave prison system in USA and then about religious persecution. In this piece we must deal with families and the cost that the current health care system places needlessly on families year after year, i.e. with the example here being of my own household. Can we put up with more of the health-care neglect that the GOP held Congress and executive branch in Washington DC handed us in 2017?
As was the case with my friends, discussed in Part 2, who to move from San Antonio, Texas to Ballwin, Missouri to take care of aging parents full-time. After the mother had passed away in August last year, the family decided to stay and support the father. The 6 of them live in their parents home and support him full-time. My friend works from home to be able to do this.
After leaving my friends in Ballwin, my own household drove from there to Carl Junction, Missouri in order to support my very own mother who had had her second knee replacement surgery on 21st of December.
My youngest sister had been staying with my mom since the day of the surgery, and by Christmas Eve, it was my family's turn to do a week's shift. (My brother, who has had to drive about 1600 miles in the past month, arrived back to Carl Junction twice in this holiday season in order to help mom and to relieve my sister and I of help at the hospitals and around the home.)
Naturally, all of us siblings are all happy to live close enough to be of help to mom. As a matter of fact, I had moved from living and working overseas to within a 150 mile radius of mom this past year, in order to be of more help to her in her late 70s. Likewise, both my younger sisters have moved to the Kansas City, Missouri area to support mom in this same decade. However, the medical system in the USA--as expensive as it is--makes the entire process of recovery for mom and her family extremely strenuous, and it is more expensive and strenuous than we see others in developed countries enjoying these days.
Let me explain.
This whole process of having a knee replacement surgery is a shift from my mom's first knee replacement nearly a decade ago.
At that time, mom spent a week after her surgery in a clinic doing rehabilitation and physical therapy. This time, mom was back home within 48 hours. That means that in 2017-2018 in a country as wealthy as ours, most middle class to lower class families cannot afford full-time maids, health assistants, or nurses. In our wealthy supposedly Number One Country, the family carries an enormous burden in assisting with recovery after such joint replacements.
The situation we face in America today contrasts with the sort of private and public health care one would expect in a country like Germany--where I have lived 6 years of my adult life. Germany and Germans take social contracts seriously. Further, holistic health coverage is increasingly being taken more seriously.
For example, German health care (which is largely run by private companies) provides full-rehabilitation treatment in the form of both government-run and private health spas across the country. It sees the burden of the elderly as a societal burden--not just one for the family to carry.
Other countries with great commitment to a social contract, like France or Scandinavian lands, provide moneys and services for trained health care professionals to come and visit the home and undertake physical therapeutical treatments or other nursing needs at the recovering patient's own home on a daily basis.
In other developed lands, money is also set aside for a maid or part-time assistant or aid to look in on the recovering patient and to help with household needs or chores.
Soon, my sister, brother and I will have to go back to our employment. We will then have to ask aunts and uncles as well as other relatives and friends to step in and help my mother over the next few months. We may cough up a lot of dough to help out too.
We will all chip in what we can financially, but what should one expect from our culture? our society? our country? our healthcare system?