Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21: African Hercules Beetle, Health Care, My Daughter

Take, for instance, the African Hercules beetle, which is so big, according to Edwin Way Teale, "it drones over the countryside at evening with a sound like an approaching airplane."  Or, better, take to hear Teale's description of South American honey ants.  These ants have abdomens that can stretch to enormous proportions.  "Certain members of the colony act as storage vessels for the honeydew gathered by the workers.  They never leave the nest.  With abdomens so swollen they cannot walk, they cling to the roof of their underground chamber, regurgitating food to the workers when it is needed."  I read these things, and those ants are as present to me as if they hung from my kitchen ceiling, or down the vaults of my skull, pulsing live jars, engorged vats, teats, with an eyed animal at the head thinking--what?

Another passage from Dillard about insect miracles.  Beetles as loud as B-29s.  Ants with stomachs the size of melons.  Weird alien mutant insects.  Except they are not mutants.  They are adaptations, products of an evolutionary process hell-bent on survival.  The roar of the beetle frightens away hungry hawks.  The honey ants pregnant with food enough for squadrons, platoons, or workers.

My daughter told me tonight that she is planning on taking vocational classes in the health care field when she's a junior and senior in high school.  It's the first time I've heard her express interest in medicine.  I know that she always looked up to my sister who was a surgical nurse.  I know that she likes watching those reality shows onTV, like True Stories of the ER and Blood and Vomit.  "I just think it would be really cool to be an ER doctor," she said to me as she was doing her homework.

I have not had a great experience as an employee for health care systems.  I've watched a slow erosion of medicine.  It's no longer about getting people better.  It's all about money now.  That corporate mentality has been in the driver's seat for a long time.  The reality is that people can't afford health care these days.  Pharmaceutical drugs are too expensive.  Medical treatments lead to bankruptcy.

Medicine is simply big business (higher education is not far behind).  Say what you want about President Obama, but he got one thing right:  health care is not a privilege; health care is a right.  Of course, my daughter doesn't understand all this yet.  She's simply floundering around, trying to find her own path in life.  I'm not going to try to discourage her interest in medicine.  I may simply suggest viable alternatives:  teacher, artist, poet, Las Vegas showgirl.

I am trying to be one of those African Hercules beetles or South American honey ants.  Adaptable to all of life's challenges.

At least Saint Marty's kids think Donald Trump is a flaming asshole.  Saint Marty is doing something right.

It's all about the money

No comments:

Post a Comment