The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Most of us have heard this phrase from the famous folk tale “Chicken Little.” After an acorn strikes his head, the startled bird flutters about frantically, trying to warn everyone of impending doom. Versions of the story exist in numerous cultures and go back centuries.
The 2016 United States presidential election has been rife with Chicken Little claims, from both the candidates and their passionate supporters.
“If (insert candidate) is elected, then surely (insert calamity/tragedy) will happen.”
I’ll admit, I’ve had my moments of anxiety throughout this presidential campaign. I am both incredulous and dismayed that the best our electoral process could produce is the two candidates we have to choose from.
A flood of fresh tears flowed as I thumbed through the twenty-eight page document. The Medicare “Summary Notice” coldly spelled out the amounts paid to the mile-long list of medical providers. I couldn’t help but re-live the experience of dad’s final days as I moved chronologically through the papers. The final ER visit. Multiple blood draws. An electrocardiogram. Numerous ex-rays and a CT scan. The chest tap and chest tube. The ambulance ride back to the nursing home. The physician’s final visits.
Perhaps what stood out most was the ER doctor’s description: “Emergency department visit, problem with significant threat to life or function.”
Dad was, indeed, gravely ill when he landed in the emergency room in mid-November. His white blood-cell count was sky-high, indicating something was seriously wrong. When I arrived at his bedside, I couldn’t help but look at his frail body and think that we might not be there had it not been for a snap decision made by a physician a month earlier. Continue reading →