Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Fault

"Can I ask you something personal?" That's how many of the conversations about my heart transplant start. Of course, is my reply. Believe me, it's hard to surprise me with a new question.

Every once in a while, though, someone will surprise me. I've actually had several conversations with people in the "personal responsibility" school. Someone who will say to me, "but don't you think maybe you are responsible for this happening?" That throughout my life, I've made a series of choices which have lead up to this critical event. Seriously? Yes, that makes perfect sense. Juvenile fibromatosis is every three-year old's dream.

I firmly believe that we need to take responsibility for what is ours. We can control certain factors that can worsen or even cause our own health conditions. I put this into practice myself. Both pre- and post-transplant, I've made sure to eat right, exercise and follow my doctor's orders and recommendations. I have always been proactive about researching every drug, every medical procedure and even track my lab results. I am a patient who, as one of my doctors says, requires more information before making a decision than any patient he has ever had. I am my own best science experiment.

But even under all this surveillance and care, I still had to have a heart transplant. Not the cheapest of procedures to have. Not the cheapest of conditions to maintain. Not the cheapest of health insurance policies to need.

That stupid argument that all our health issues are a direct result of our own choices is bull. I have had that discussion with several friends but I could've had it with John McCain. Here is what he has to say about health and mental health care:

I have stressed the central role of personal responsibility in leading to lower health care costs. Personal fitness and better lifestyles, especially reduction in addictions of all types – food, narcotics, or cigarettes – can yield dramatic improvements in the cost of chronic illness and high‐cost medical care. We can do a better job of treating addictions, but we also have an obligation to do a better job of teaching our children the benefits of good lifestyles and the perils of addictive activities.

Compare the candidates views on health care and the priority of mental health care in their campaigns. The choice is clear.

Obama/Biden 2008. Vote.

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