Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sudden Death Syndrome

I like the way Mexicans ask how old you are. Margarita says, "Annette, how many years do you have?" I say mucho, more than Perla can count.

It's unusual for a person with these many years not to be on at least one prescription medication. The question is, am I healthy or merely undiagnosed?  Lately I've been convinced that I have at least one serious medical condition, maybe more.

That pain in my left big toe - gout.
Numbness and tingling in my right leg - diabetes.
Low back pain - kidneys.
Stabbing pain down my left arm - angina.
Neck pain - bone cancer.
Hip pain - bone cancer.
Dizziness upon standing or bending - high blood pressure.
Leg cramp - claudication.

Without medical insurance - and, therefore, without doctors' visits - who's to say? A couple years back a friend died suddenly (or he suddenly died - never sure which is correct). His yoga students went looking for him when he didn't show up for class and found him dead in his bed. It was a real shocker. Turns out he had a heart attack. Did he know he had high blood pressure? It'd been years since he'd been to see a doctor - a REAL doctor, not just our friend J. who ran across the border buying meds for everyone. "Can't get it up? Here, take these. Stressed? How 'bout these? Too fat? These ought to help." Self diagnosing, self medicating is common among the non-insured set.

I'd given up curmudgeon-dom for the last three days of Lent and it's kind of held on since then but today I woke up pissed that I don't have medical insurance. Even the director of CIMA hospital here in Hermosillo - an American, conservative, Mormon, retired military - can't understand all the anti-universal healthcare brouhaha.

I want medical insurance, damnit, and I want a public option. Because I tell you what, if I die tomorrow over something that could've been treated with a pill, I'm gonna be even more pissed off. And I have a feeling that a pissed off ghost is gonna be a helluva lot scarier than this 4'11" curmudgeon with a lot of years.

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