As in a tasty mix of talk

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Rant from the Evil Pre-Dead

After six weeks of bullshit medical reassurances that I didn’t need an “expensive” (doc’s emphasis, not mine) MRI to diagnose my escalating hip pain, that it probably was just a regrettable consequence of aging, I finally pitched a big enough hissy-fit to get the friggin’ procedure scheduled.

And the MRI revealed that I have metastatic bone cancer.


I am now a member of the evil pre-dead, and I am pissed off.

By pre-dead I mean that, unlike you, dear readers, I am no longer immortal. That’s right. I am going to die some day. But since I am told that my cancer is slow-growing and thus highly treatable, I assume that I still have time to publish my novel, buy a home with a city lights view, and fall in love with a man hung like Seattle Slew (1977 Triple Crown winner).

Oh. And also to vent as only the evil pre-dead are disposed to do.

With the full force of my evil, cancerous rage, I ask: Why, after trillions of dollars and billions of man-hours have been devoted to cancer research, are the children of today as much at risk of getting the disease as the hapless victims of Polio before Dr. Salk found his cure?

Where is my cancer cure?

Where is your cancer cure?

Where is our children’s cancer cure?

I don’t believe that a group pf lecherous old billionaires with skin tags and palsy is hiding in a bunker somewhere chanting “greed is good,” thwarting a cancer cure because they’d rather keep making their obscene profits. But I DO believe that greed and unenlightened self interest have created a Byzantine medical bureaucracy that is eating our flesh and bones with no clear goal except to perpetuate itself.

Picture Keanu Reeves in the original Matrix, waking in an infinite maze of tubes, fluids, poisons and hopelessness. Yep. Our American Health Care system is a lot like that. And I can say so, because I am the evil pre-dead.

Medicine, however, isn’t the problem. Rather, it is the corrupt, intertwined bureaucracies of the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries that would rather see us dead than lose a dime. And just because you can’t see my laser pointer doesn’t mean I can’t back up this claim with examples. For example, as my oncologist wrote out prescriptions for the high-contrast MRI, radio-isotopic bone scan and PET scan that I needed, she said: “You’re lucky that you have Medicare… patients with private insurance, even when their need is critical, can’t get these tests without the written consent of their insurance companies, which can take four to eight weeks to process.”


The Mephistophelean rot of any system that operates in this manner must be overturned by the most revolutionary means available. (Single-payer care, anyone?) Otherwise, we are heading for a health care system that sends the terminally ill to the nearest ice floe to drift away in whatever is left of our oceans.

Our health care crisis is part of a pernicious continuum of greed that includes global warming, environmental degradation, the extinction of some of the most beautiful creatures to emerge from the eye of God, and acceptance of whatever bullshit excuses we are handed for a world in which cancer cannot be cured.

In this matter we are all brothers and sisters. Our socio-economic status, skin color, religion and beliefs are all leveled by the need to survive. And in our nation, the richest in the world, how can we not reject the concept of health care as a privilege, how can we not embrace it as a willingly shared resource for all? How can we not demand that our politicians promise a cure for cancer as they once promised… and delivered… a man on the moon?

So, from the foul pit where the evil pre-dead dwell to all the rest of you rosy-cheeked skateboarders, hootchie-mamas teetering on seven-inch platform heels, corporate lions plundering without thought of consequence, and Moms and Dads who want your sons and daughters to soar in this life:

Demand a cure for cancer. Now.

To be continued…