Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Some thoughts on universal healthcare...

For those of you who do not have, or perhaps even know what universal healthcare looks like, let me share my experience. Just for the record, I am fine.
Monday as I was walking up the hill to Tai Chi class, a couple of heavy trucks came by spewing diesel smoke. Being the absent-minded professor, I realized that I had forgotten to do my inhaler (A voice said it’ll be fine, you can do it when you get back from the gym). 1/2 way thru Tai Chi, I said to myself,
“Self, we are NOT fine nor are we going to the gym after class, we are going to the University Health Clinic”
I ambled, back up Rua Alvarenga then down to HQ, with a big knot in my chest – asthma does that, but this time… hmmm.  I did my inhaler took a shower and had Milton make damn sure I didn’t fall into a lump on the road as we walked very slowly up the hill (again!) to the bus stop and then he made sure I went into the clinic on campus.
If you tell the nurse, you are having trouble breathing, they take you in quickly. (mental note) She did, and as luck would have it, my Dr, was there and took me in, listened to my breathing, my heart. As he was talking to me, and writing a perscription, the knot really got knotty, as it were. I told him, and immediately he decided to send me to UPA (Unidade de Pronto Atendimento) to get an EKG. I was so flummoxed, that I forgot to tell them I had UNIMED… but no problem. 
They called a university car, and a nurse went with me to UPA (by HQ), and got me settled in. The EKG got done, and then the Dr. decided I was probably fine, but a blood test was in order… so they checked me in. As the test they needed to do was a 3 blood test series, 6 hours apart… I was sentenced to 20 hrs.… of hard resting (the beds are like plywood).
Thank the gawd/ess I had my trusty iPad w/Kindle app and no wifi… so there I was… a tech cleasning, as I waited. I hunkered down and began reading. In a room (frozen… as the night went on, it became colder and colder, and by the time I was discharged at 2am, it was 6c). As I settled in, I realized there were just two of us, the other was a severely disturbed and confused schizophrenic and his elderly mother. Not ever having witnessed such, I decided to try and read and observe.
The poor guy had been having an episode for more than a day, his mother was exhausted, and he kept getting confused with the noises that occur in hospital, clinic, emergency places. He had a number of incidents, some loud, mostly confused, when he came over to a newly admitted guy in pain on another bed and began going thru his pockets, that was it. A nurse came and went, and a guard told him he had to settle down, then they realized he was a handful, so opened a separate room for him. As his mother was picking up, I asked if I could hug her, she came over and I hugged her, and she burst into tears and I gave her my love and blessings. Intense.
By then an other young guy came in and settled in on the other side of the guy who was in pain. Now there were three of us… I was ¼ of the way through my book. The guy next to me, soon was visited by family who let him have it, as I think he was weaseling for pain killers. The UPA folks checked him out and the family gave him an ultimatum to come with them… he wanted to stay… finally he left. The guy in far bed kept asking for morphine, finally about 10pm a nurse gave him a shot with a short lecture. The guy kept sneaking into the bathroom for a smoke, I finally had to ask him to keep the door closed… as I was there for asthma.
“Oh, sorry”. The universal reaction when smokers who seem to think its ok to share their cancerous inclinations with all of us, even in a hospital.
The poor schizophrenic left me alone the whole time, I was doing heavy METTA work by that time, but he kept making a scene, soon they discharged or sent him somewhere else. Containing a serverly disturbed guy with white light seemed to work... but I digress.
Somewhere in there, I begin musing about films I had seen – things like, oh... One Flies over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and various war and prison films, etc.… as time seemed to fly by me…
By this time it was past 11pm, and I'd had dinner and lunch (simple and on the house), and the morphine kid was taken to the hospital.  I turned out the lights and almost dosed off when on came the lights, and another really nice guy was shown a bed and given oxygen as his asthma was far worse than mine. Soon I turned off the lights, and finally dosed, and then it was time for my last bloodletting… dosed some more and then about 2am, the doctor came in and let me know that my test results were negative, my heart was fine, and I could either stay (oh hell no) or go.
Somewhere during this, a handsome nurse came by to say he was leaving for the night, and to ask if everything was OK. “I am fine, obrigado”, and then he asked me what I thought about UPA, how it compares to the USA. He knew a lot about USA health care, that it’s not free or universal. We had a nice chat… he apologized for the craziness, as that day was busy, with a number of cases brought in by the police.
Healthcare is universal and free here in Brasil and for everyone… UPA’s are everywhere, some very simple, and send you to the next more sophisticed one (like this one in my neighborhood), and if they can’t fix you up, if not, off you are sent to the Santa Casa (local hospital), like the poor bloke with the morphine need for his back pain. 

So what do I think?
1.     In contrast to the universal healthcare I had seen or experienced in Denmark or Greece, it seems at first glance a bit shoddy and threadbare, but in reality, the tech and treatment is every bit as good as in Europe or for pay at Kaiser in Sacramento. The building (and beds) could use some love, and will get it asap, as a new improved UPA is almost complete in between UFOP and the Santa Casa.
2.     The doctors and nurses are as great as great could be – I have so much respect for folks who work in these places, and then can just go home every night. How they dealt with any and all of us, was nothing but top notch.
3.     There are few things Brazilians are proud of, but the nurse, colleagues here at UFOP, and others I know ARE proud of UPA’s. They are universally spread out over Brasil, and give everyone, rich poor, confused (in my case) free quality care… viva!
I can’t complain, I am glad that the worst-case scenario, if something radically bad did occur for either of us, that we would get good care and be sent on our way.
So yes, its universal, and yes, we pay for it through our taxes, but its good, and everyone gets the care they need. You can in our case get private care to supplement it (if you remember to in my case). 
So USA, get with the program… no one I know here goes into bankruptcy when they get cancer. You might get bumped up (think triage) to the next place, or a doctor you want, may not be there for you the next day. Or as the guy I left to sleep, who was in for a far worse asthma attack than mine, and got oxygen, you might just need to get away from home, get some care and rest – Brazilians are used to a far higher noise ration than I am to sleep. But there you are – it works, and it works for everyone.
If the corruption and graft and political confusion hadn’t distracted this great country.... both public education and healthcare could be all that much better, no one is asking for anything special here, just respect and care. But alas, or as folks here say “pois é”.
Life is good, damn good! (and can be somewhat breath taking at times)


O Bodhidharma foi um monge budista que viveu durante o quinto ou sexto século e é creditado como o transmissor do Zen para a China. Bodhidharma era um Homem Preto de Tamil Nadu, um estado no sudeste da Índia, e nasceu como um Príncipe na dinastia Pallava. Bodhidharma deixou seu Reino depois de se tornar um monge budista e viajou pelo sudeste da Ásia até o sul da China, e posteriormente mudou-se para o norte. Os registros diferem na data de sua chegada. Bodhidharma é creditado por levar as artes marciais para a China. A Antologia do Salão Patriarcal identifica Bodhidharma como o vigésimo oitavo Patriarca do Budismo em uma linha ininterrupta que se estende até o próprio Buda.

Esta é uma estátua de porcelana da dinastia Ming no "Victoria and Albert Museum", em Londres.

Texto e fotos de Runoko Rashidi.
#PovoPreto #Espiritualidade #Spirituality #CienciaEspiritual #SpiritualScience #Buda #Budismo #Zen #Bodhidharma

Via FB:

Via FB

Via Daily Dharma: Making the Journey to Refuge

A spiritual practice can be an island, a place where opening to uncertainty and doubt can lead us to a refuge of truth.

—Joan Halifax, “The Lucky Dark

Via Ram Dass: Words of Wisdom - August 28, 2019 💌

The first step of karma yoga is to get free of the attachments to your own life, to develop a witness. We have thousands of me’s and there is one me that watches all the other me’s, right? That’s the only game.
It’s not trying to change any of the me’s. It’s not the evaluator, and it’s not the judge, it’s not the super ego. It doesn’t care about anything. It just notes, ‘hmmm, there he is doing that.’ That witness, that place inside you, is your centering device. And that begins to be the work one does on oneself.
Once one understands that this place exists, the cultivation of non-attachment can begin.

- Ram Dass -