Category Archives: Healthcare

Dad

Mom, Dad and me

Mom, Dad and me

Not long ago, I was sitting with a friend of mine, surrounded by her husband and two daughters. Her father was in the center of the room, in a hospital bed, on oxygen. He looked ashen… He was dying.

It is times like these when I flash back to my own father’s life and death.

My father was a remarkable man. He was born in Georgetown, Guyana in the late 1920s, the youngest of 13 children. He immigrated to the United States in the mid-1950s, believing he had a track scholarship to Morgan State College.

Somehow, by the time he arrived, there were no more track scholarships. He slept on the floor of a friend’s dorm room and worked in a Tootsie Roll factory by day.

Dad taught himself to play tennis by swinging a used wooden tennis racket, hour after hour, hitting ball after ball against a brick wall—and earned himself a tennis scholarship. That’s how he went to college, and after he graduated he went on to medical school in Kansas City.

As I stand next to my friend’s daughter and we watch her grandfather breathe in … out … in … out, I continue to think back to my own father. He was up by 5 or 5:30 every morning and was showered, dressed (in a perfect-fitting suit), and had downed his two cups of coffee before 6:15—guaranteeing that he would be at the hospital by 7 a.m. He would do hospital rounds, then go open his office by nine, where he would see 30, 40, even 50 patients a day.

My father liked to “work hard, play hard” long before that became a bumper sticker. He wanted to expose my siblings and me to as much of life as possible. We traveled to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and even took a vacation to Mexico in 1973.

He was quick to laugh—and also a strict disciplinarian. When he knitted his eyebrows and told you to do something, he wanted it done.

He was also a man of wisdom, who told me on more than one occasion, “It’s okay to be right, but you don’t want to be dead right.” At first, I didn’t understand; with time, as with most of his sayings, it became crystal clear.

In Ferguson, Missouri, Michael Brown stood his ground. He wasn’t going to be hassled. He was going to be right. Perhaps if Michael Brown had had a father who had told him that being alive was more important than being right, he would be alive today.

In many ways Dad was the proverbial riddle, wrapped in an enigma, inside a mystery. Like many people of intelligence and character, he was a paradox. He loved being around people; yet he also needed time to keep to himself, and he loved being surrounded by family.

Holidays were always family time. Dad would cook something in a smoker, usually overnight. Those slow-cooked meats were always spectacular, and the following day aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews would descend on the house for a feast. We would do it three or four times a year, as predictably as the sun rising in the east. Of course, as I became a teenager, I wanted to be with my friends instead of family, but that was nonnegotiable. Family time was family time. I think what my dad was telling me was that when times get tough, friends can come and friends can go, but family will stay by your side.

My dad also believed in education, personal growth, expansion. He was all about doing more, doing better; he was all about the next thing. A couple of weeks ago, I took my 11-year-old grandson to see the Dallas Cowboys play the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium. We had great seats, and the Cowboys played what was probably their best game in the past five to eight years. We both had a blast. Yet … throughout the excursion, I could feel my father with us. He was smiling down upon us, but I could hear his advice: This is good, but expose your grandson to more.

My father was not a revolutionary. He was a hard-working man who was dedicated to his family and friends. Hard-working, dedicated, and determined. That last word’s probably the best description of him—determined.

Dad also had a gift for finding the right tone, the right story, the right witticism, to comfort or help or support a friend or family member in need. He was a doctor, and one of his gifts was knowing the right words to help others heal. In that hospital room a while back, after sitting with my friend and her family for a time, I turned to leave. I had a very strange feeling that Dad would have done a better job than I did at comforting them.

News Roundup – Andrae Couch, Stupid Articles, Oil Prices

The Great Andrae Crouch has died. He injected more soul into gospel in the mid-’70s and his influence can be felt everywhere there is music today.

From CNN: “Crouch was an innovator, a path-finder, a precursor in an industry noted for its conservative, often derivative approach to popular music,” Robert Darden wrote for Christianity Today. “He combined gospel and rock, flavored it with jazz and calypso as the mood struck him and the song called for it.”

Listen to the choir. It is a thing of beauty.

Andrae – RIP.

Under the heading of stupid articles we have this jewel from NYT. This is real breaking news on the relationship between George W Bush and Jeb Bush. Is Jeb going to run? Does GWB have the inside track? Do we care? Look, brothers are brothers. Some are really close and some aren’t. This article is a complete waste of electrons.

DSCC – I got a call from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee the other day. You know the pitch. “We need to fight hard to take back the Senate.” Yak, yak, yak. Guys, I’m so tired of Democrats running around in circles looking for a message, I could just spit. The core principles of the Democratic party have to be that we promote policies which benefit the average working American. It is that simple. Universal Healthcare. Living wage. Marriage equality. Strong Unions. Affordable high quality education. This isn’t rocket science but in this last election cycle Democrats were running away from President Obama and ObamaCare. They had no message for the most part, except vote for us because we ain’t them. Until the Democrats get their act together, they aren’t going to get any money from me. They (we) have to do better.

PTSD is a bear. We need better therapies. We need better access for those who can help. We need to remember that everyday Americans who are in traumatic events can have PTSD also. It is not just those who have been in the military.

The average American should benefit from lower oil prices.

News Roundup: Lies, J.P. Morgan Chase, Best Quarterback in the NFL and More

Dana PerinoWhen I first started this blog, I thought it was very important for me to combat all the lies that are told in the public sphere. That proved extremely fruitless. Yet, there are some lies that we clearly need to call out. George W. Bush’s former White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino, decided that she would tell a little fib on national television. While on Fox News she said, “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.” You don’t have to be a genius or know how to use Google to know that 9/11 occurred while George W. Bush was in his first term as president of our United States. Yet Rudy Giuliani, who was thrust into prominence by those same attacks, repeated the claim only a couple days later. Besides the multiple failures of 9/11, which I will not go into, there was the anthrax attack in which several Americans died and several others became sick. This was a terrorist attack. It happened on George W. Bush’s watch. Frank Rich has more. Look, I really don’t mind you having your own opinion. If you believe that George W. Bush was the greatest president since George Washington, good for you. I do mind when you pretend to have your own set of facts. The facts are clear. The failures of the George W. Bush administration led to 9/11. The failures in the aftermath of 9/11 led to our taking our eyes off the ball and focusing on Iraq instead of Al Qaeda. This allowed us to go into Iraq with too few troops to secure the peace. Now, let’s return to reality.

It would be nice if we had some fairy godmother who could wave a magic wand and change the world for good. Wouldn’t it be nice if corporations would be penalized for gross negligence? If you have a security breach in which 76 million credit card holders have their data exposed to thieves, isn’t that gross negligence? Why can’t we, as Americans, form a class action and sue J.P. Morgan Chase for gross negligence? Oh, that’s right, it’s illegal for us to do it.

It appears that a gay teenager was beaten. Unfortunately, this isn’t news. What is news is that he was hospitalized for the beating and is being charged by police for… I don’t know what exactly. It’s crazy.

Google is working on a really large TV which will fit together like Legos. Sounds cool. Hope it works.

Deaths from heroin overdoses have more than doubled over the last several years.

Conservatives are all up in arms because of voter suppression. I can only laugh. It is conservatives who have pushed voter suppression. They pushed ID cards and several other gimmicks in order to limit the young, the poor and some of the elderly from voting. Now one of their own, Leslie Rutledge, has been kicked off the voter registration. One of the things that I find amusing is that conservatives continue to say that this is a right-leaning country. If so, wouldn’t conservatives push to have more people vote instead of fewer? Continue reading