Last Saturday night around ten o’clock I got out of my comfortable lift chair to do my last walking routine with my walker and get into my power chair in preparation for bed. For the past several years, I have always leaned forward while walking but just as I was within a few feet of the power chair, this time I decided to straighten upright and unfortunately lost my balance and began falling backward. Realizing that I could not correct the backward movement, I decided to just relax and fall in a sitting position where I rolled backward and bumped my head lightly on the hardwood floor.
Cheryl came running from another room and found me on the floor. Wanting to know if I was all right, I told her the best I could that I was okay but now the task was in helping me up off the floor. I knew that was impossible so we finally called 911 for assistance. They came and helped me up while checking for any injuries and offered to take me to Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Fontana if necessary.
I told them that we would go to Kaiser to make sure no bones were broken or that there were no internal injuries. My son Hardy, who had just arrived to help, noticed a slight bruise on my head so we wanted to get it checked out.
Once at Kaiser, the emergency room doctor decided they should do a CAT scan of my head and x-rays of my pelvic area to be sure nothing was wrong (after all I am 69-years young). After the first scan, he wanted to take another one a few hours later and have a neurological surgeon read the scan for certainty. In the meantime, I laid in bed, talked with the nurse, and waited for the results while hooked up to monitoring equipment.
I could not help but think of my first few years of employment at Kaiser Fontana when there were few employees of color. Now, here I was being cared for by an Asian doctor, Latino nurse and a White female administering the CAT scan. This in my estimation was what the Equal Opportunity Employment laws and Affirmative Action Programs at Kaiser helped to produce.
Around 5 a.m., the doctor came back into the room and said everything was all right and the CAT scan indicated I still had a brain and everything was just fine.
That is when the thought occurred to me and I told Cheryl my mama had always told me I had a hard head when I was growing up. Now there was empirical medical evidence to say ‘mama was right’.
As a boy I was always doing things that they told me not to do such as leaving the yard and playing with cousins down the street without permission. I would get punished every time and turn around and do it again just as soon as the pain went away. Now one lesson I’ve learned from this incident is I am not going to try standing tall while walking but will forever lean forward. That sounds like a political statement from one of the presidential candidates.
Now the one I have to listen to is my wife, Cheryl when it comes to not trying to do something different without assistance. My mother also told us, “A hard head will make a soft bottom”. Mom was always right. I am doing just fine and in closing will refer you to read Rev. Larry Campbell “Moment in the Word” this week to be able to understand the role of humor in times like these.
The Political Conventions Are Over, What Are You Going To Do
When I was issued my discharge papers from the emergency room early Sunday morning, I also thought of this political season. I had been in the emergency room for seven hours, which is the most expensive area of medical care and where most people arrive from accidents or medial emergency.
It hit me when the discharge staff told Cheryl that will cost you five dollars for the visit. I had two Cat Scans, pelvic X-ray, lab work, doctor visits, nursing care and housekeeping services and it costs us five dollars.
Many seniors do not go to the hospital to be checked out when they fall because they have no medical insurance and Romney wants to repeal “The Affordable Health Care Act” which gives them coverage. Maybe I should say Romney wants to repeal parts of it now that the public is in favor of “Obama Care” and the benefits it provide many Americans.
Now I don’t know what the actual cost of my visit last Saturday night was, or the political persuasion of the people who cared for me, but $5 for the visit and the peace of mind it brought to my family is invaluable.