Tuesday, June 28, 2005

should I stay or should I go now?

Apparently, I am the textbook definition of bad indian daughter. I do not go home to visit my parents nearly as often as I am asked. Furthermore, as my grandfather pointed out to me yesterday, his youngest brother has great grandchildren, while my grandfather has not even been granted the favor of a marriage amongst his grandchildren. Guess who is the oldest in that mix? And then, of course, the icing on the cake, the coup d'etat- my mother wanted to buy me a pair of diamond earrings and I declined. I don't believe in diamonds for various reasons that are not even worth belaboring at the moment. Worse yet, I don't wear an appreciable amount of jewelry. Let's just say, if there had been any doubt in my mind (which there never really was), my mother favors my brother over me now for all of eternity.

All of this must sound ungrateful though, I know. A few months ago, my grandfather had quite a health scare, and that was really the impetus for this quick sprint to the land of humidity and granite. He was in good spirits. I can tell when my grandfather is feeling well, because he goes on campaigns, he wages war. His latest battle is with Medicare. Just from talking to him this weekend, my disgust with our current healthcare system compounded. Apparently, the new Medicare prescription coverage program does cover medicines; the problem is it only covers three prescriptions per month. My grandfather has ten different meds he has to take right now. Interestingly, some of the doctors and pharmacists have found loopholes so that my grandfather does not spend his social security check on prescriptions; for example, they fill 3 months worth of tablets at once. Others are not so flexible. My grandfather is covered by Medicare in one state, but he's visiting my parents right now. In my parents' state, while he can get prescriptions filled, he has a $10 additional charge he has to pay for each prescription. The $10 charge was the last straw for my grandfather. He started writing letters, calling the various insurers and doctors. I have seen my grandfather do this over the years, and usually, his perserverance beats the bureaucracy. But I can see how the machine has become unstoppable now; the bureaucracy is such that his attempts at arguing his case are simply tossed aside as part of a standard operating procedure.

Being at home has always been difficult for me, for as long as I can remember. But it started me thinking about the strange things that happen when you exert stress on a system. I think about those bacteria that grow under anaerobic conditions. This weekend, I felt that X-men-esque potential, that possibility that evolution might be uncharacteristically leaping forward. Amidst the chaos and failed expectations that always come with a visit home, a plan was hatched in my head. The seed germinated, the sprout finally poked its head above the dirt. Now I have to decide if I truly want and whether it's worth the risk to leap.

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