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Monday, June 1, 2009

Paging Dr. Nowatny

I spent the day today with a friend at the hospital. In less than ten years, a gazillion dollar state of the art medical center has grown up on the prairie near our home, with first-rate physicians and top notch medical care. My friend is gearing up for a new surgical procedure that makes use of technology and materials that have been created only in the last few years. We have got to the point of expecting, presuming to have this high standard of care. Of course, not all Americans can be so hopeful or confident. Or afford to pay. And this is a bad thing. We'd better get cracking and figure it out, soon. I can't imagine having to sit on the sidelines and watch, to see what is possible and not be able to touch it or get access to the life-saving surgeries, medicines, and treatments that are as close as the nearest hospital. It's infuriating, immoral, indecent. That's the way my Polish friends lived for a long time. On the outside looking in. So close, but not available. Medicine, food, homes, diapers, shoes. Socialism, Soviet style, didn't work. Life is not perfect now either, of course, but these same surgeries are as routine now in Warsaw as in Denver. I know a man in Warsaw who has the same kind of internal defibrillator - pacemaker as Dick Cheney. The hospital food is still terrible but the medical care is of the highest quality. When the Poles picked up their pencils on June 4, 1989, they set in motion the final phase of the revolution that changed their world and that of the rest of the Soviet bloc. I don't know if they were voting with pacemakers and CT scans and glucose monitors in mind, but these are just some of the benefits that have come along with the chaotic democracy and new economy. It's just not that far anymore, from here to there. Thank goodness.

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