|Have a Heart...
I guess I should have listened to the president's solution to health care"just don't get sick." Easier said than done. And besides, tell that to Dick Cheney, his vice-president, who has a group of five heart specialists at his beck and call each day for a bad heart condition. If you by chance read the last issue of Letters, you would have found out that I'd come down with some heart issues myself. And I told you I'd give you an update, since I was on my way to Dallas for some testing.
Well, now, I don't have any real results just yet. When Nick drove me to Baylor Hospital, I really didn't know what to expect. Nick had set up everything beforehand, so they were expecting me. Once I'd filled out my life history, I was immediately brought back and the work started. I went through three tests and it was determined within the hour that I had a weak heart. They still had no ideas what was causing the malady. They called me at the Dallas condo to see if I could come back in for an Angiogram the following Wednesday. Yikes! Well, that was nearly impossible because Nick and I had tickets to come back to Delaware that Monday as both of us had full schedules here. And we were leaving Thursday for New York gay prideeverything was set. So they decided that I needed to return for the week of July 11-17. Oh boy! Buy more airline tickets!
So, they really didn't find, just yet, what is going on. They think it might be a clogged artery. They said if that's the case then they would operate immediately. Oh, joy!
And talk about your bad timingthat following weekend was the photo shoot for Butch Bear Media in Las Vegas. We put that off until Augustwith their ok. Whew!
But Nick and I did New York gay pride this year. We stayed with his sister on the west side of Central Parkit was nice. And did I walk? Great exercise for the heart. I even got a blister on my left foot. I think I did pretty well for a bad ticker. And Nick and I have some great memories of New York Gay Pride 2005.
So there you have it. Nothing concrete yetstill looking for the cause and a solution. I shall keep you all updated as things progress.
And here is an update on a heart-felt issue I saw in the news just recently. It involves a two-pound titanium and plastic artificial heart called the AbioCor. It is in a trial run, the first artificial heart that is totally implanted, and it is used to completely replace a diseased heart.
Only 14 men have gotten the trial run of the new artificial device. On average the patients, who all had heart failuresevere at thatlived 5.2 months. Without the device they would have lived just a few weeks.
The AbioCor marks the latest development in "mechanical support" devices for people with serious heart failure. Abiomed (the maker), says that if it gets the FDA go ahead, it would initially move slowly, making the device available to up to a dozen hospitals in the US. That would mean a few hundred patients in the first 18 months, with numbers rising over time. Then there is the AbioCor II, which is smaller and could be used by women as well as men, but it is still under development as of now.
Doctors have long envisioned advanced technology that could repair or replace the heart, especially for the patients with severe heart failuremeaning they have 30 days or fewer to livebut development has been slow. Abiomed sees the AbioCor as a permanent replacement for people with severe heart failure, though the company sees possible temporary uses by patients who have to wait a long time for a transplant. The company's goal is to prolong life by around 20 months with the AbioCor and give years with the AbioCor II. And you are probably asking yourself, well just how much is this gonna cost me, right? Well, the price tag is just $250,000 per patient. Hey remember when the microwave and the computer cost thousands of dollars when they were first introduced? And look at how much you can buy one for now. A microwave can be had for 39 bucks now. Hopefully, the same will happen with all the artificial heart technology and their devices.
And speaking of costs, I've already started to receive the bills that come with all of the poking and prodding that comes with my new condition. Now I know why nearly 85% of Americans who file for bankruptcy have to because of the high cost of medical care. My "new" policy (every year they review my policy and chop away at my benefits) has gone up again by $50 a month. It is my largest monthly expense. I'm paying much more again and receiving much less.
They will cover 20% of the billings up to $10,000, I pay the 80%. Then after $10,000 they start paying 80% and I get to pay the 20% up to my life limita set price they have calculated as to how much my life is worth. More and more companies have shifted their health care costs to their employees. I know of some friends who were looking for jobs and health care issues were their main benefitnot the wage! Now, let me get on my soap box again and ask our congressmen and women a questionthey get the best health care offeredit's free and paid for by us. They can't complain about thatwould you? But instead of concentrating on issues like stem cell research, steroids, abortion, the 10 commandments in government buildings, and gay marriage, why don't our elected officials do something about the health care crisis?
How much money has to be wasted on non-issues when people are confronted with a live or die situation because they can't afford health care? It makes you think, doesn't it? Speak up people, or it will only get worse. I do my best thinking at the beachsee you there!
Rick Moore is a personal trainer certified by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates. Visit him at www.ricksfitness.net.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 8 July 1, 2005