5 Patients

I must first apologize for the lack of posting lately, taking 3 online classes and working full time has taken its toll on me wanting to read or write anything. I tried to do NanoWrimo this year but only managed about 5k words and then had to focus back on trying to keep up with my Homework, I am officially up to 55k words on my novel now so that is encouraging. But the semester is over and I pulled out an A in pre-calculus so for the moment all is good. It also didn’t help that 5 Patients is probably my least favorite Crichton novel ever. It was very technical and boring to read and it took me forever to make myself slog through all 5 of the patients.

This is my first non-fiction novel in the Michael Crichton experience and even though this was one of the shortest books I have read so far in my journey, it has taken me the longest. Not to say that 5 Patients didn’t make some extremely valid points. Crichton looked at 5 different patients that he experienced while he was a resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, or MGH, while attending Harvard Medical School. He used his own and the patients experiences to give a rundown of the medical profession, not only in the United States but often times of the practice of medicine throughout human history. Crichton did an excellent job of showing just how much medicine has changed and how humans and society as a whole has viewed the medical profession throughout time. Crichton also, again, seems to almost predict the future and gives lots of facts and figures on how medicine will change more in the future and on multiple occasions he calls out for the need to reform the system because it was already starting to get out of control back in the 60’s and 70’s. One of my favorite parts of the book was a new intro that Crichton wrote in the 80’s where he talked about how much had changed and almost spot on predicted the need to change the system somehow because costs were so outrageous.

The medical debate is a huge topic of discussion in the United States in the 21st century and even though some of you may not agree with me I think the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction for the United States. Is it a perfect system, absolutely not, but something had to be done to reign in outrageous medical costs and stop many of the ridiculous practices such as denying patients care because of pre-existing conditions and having lifetime caps on coverage. Crichton in his new updated introduction from the 80’s calls out a point that I often make to my more conservative friends on the issue of healthcare, the United States is the only “first world” nation to not have some form of socialized medicine where everyone has access to medical care.

The overwhelming theme I am running into so far in my re-read of all of Crichton’s works is that he is almost able to predict the future with many of his thoughts and ideas and his predictions on health care pretty much came true. Personally I think it is insane that people can bankrupt themselves and their families because they get a disease that requires special treatments or care. Especially when every single year I see corporations and businesses pulling in record amounts of profits and yet they still complain when they have to pay some extra taxes to keep the nice health care coverage options for their employees. The greed of corporations and people in the United States and the world as a whole sickens me. I have a real life example for you on this point; I have a friend who works for a giant multinational mining company, him and his family had what is referred to as a “Cadillac” plan, or a very nice health care package with lots of perks and benefits. Because of the ACA, businesses that offer their employees these “Cadillac” plans are required to start paying an extra tax for it in 2018. So many of these companies have dropped these plans now, not in 2018 when they have to start paying the tax, and given their employees’ health care plans that offer significantly less coverage. On the surface you would think well this is all the ACA’s fault if not for this new health care law these people would still have their nice plans. But to me it just shows how greedy and ridiculous a lot of these companies are. This is a business that pulls in Billions in dollars of profits every year, not hundreds of million, not tens of millions, BILLIONS. But because of a tax they have to start paying 4 years in the future that would cut into some of their profit margin, they decide to make their employees pay the price and cut their health care coverage drastically. To me it seems like a political ploy, if it was me and my healthcare benefits were being gutted I would probably blame the administration and the ACA too and might vote accordingly in the next election.

And there is where the problem lies. Money is so dominant in the United States and in the world that having to pay some extra taxes in the future so you may make a little less profit is so unbearable to even think about that benefits have been cut for thousands of hard working families. Money controls so much, even politics, that if you mess with the profit margin of these billion dollar corporations even a little bit you can expect a fight to the death.

Now I must confess that I am not an overly religious person, I was raised as Jehovah’s Witness and I stopped going to church when I was about 12 and haven’t been back much since. I most identify with Reform Judaism and Buddhist philosophies but I think that the current leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has some excellent thoughts on money, capitalism and helping those that need it. I am going off on a tangent here and my liberal is showing so I will wrap this up but if you haven’t read about many of the things that Pope Francis is preaching then I would recommend that you do so. I really hope that I can travel to Rome in the near future and see the Vatican and the Pope in person, my wife has been several times and said that she had amazing experiences while there and I hope I can experience something as well.

My next post will be on the very first Bond movie, Dr. No, in my wife and I’s James Bond 50 watch extravaganza and I will try and convince her to write a few paragraphs on the movie as well so I will hopefully have a guest blogger appearance by my lovely wife who has a far superior writing ability than my own. I will be redoing my MCE timeline once again because the re-released all of the old Crichton crime novels that he wrote under his pseudonym John Lange back in the 1960’s and I need to fit them in somewhere. I have purchased all of them and they were all under 10 dollars so it was a relief to not have to pay hundreds of dollars to get my hands on some of his older works. So I will be taking a mini break for the MCE and reading some other books until I get it figured out. I am currently reading another novel my wife has been asking me to read for years called Merle’s Door about the relationship of man and dog, I will have a post-up for you when I finish it. Until next time keep on reading, writing, and watching I know I will. Allons-Y!