Brother Chuck

26 Jun

I … am an only child with brothers and sisters.  My parents were both married before.  They both had children.  When I came along they were between the ages of 14 and 23.  Consequently, I don’t have a recollection of growing up with brothers and sisters.  (Yes, I know.  Technically, they are my half brothers and sisters while they are steps to each other.  But they’re all that I have.)

The family story included Brother Chuck.  He left school early to join the Navy.  I always heard that he was a Seabee and was headed for Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  I never heard how close he got to seeing action during World War II, but I do know that he made the acquaintance of a malaria-infected mosquito somewhere in his travels.

CE Fisher Navy

After being separated from the Navy, he joined the Air Force and became a military policeman.  Mother always thought that this would be his vocation until some incident occurred in England and Brother Chuck came home.

SSGT Charles Earl Fisher USAF

He had a variety of jobs.  He was a police officer for a while, then the trucking business, and eventually he owned a service station. He was active in the American Legion and the Jaycees.  I think he held offices in both organizations.

There were 23 years between us.  We didn’t have many conversations.  I do, however, remember one.  It was during Vietnam. It wasn’t a popular war.  There was draft dodgers … war protests … Kent State … civil rights demonstrations … riots … and the Democratic Convention in Chicago.  Brother Chuck didn’t talk about these things but about his military service and life in the United States.

Much of this conversation, I don’t remember.  I was 18 and knew everything; e was my brother from a different generation.  But one theme continued to repeat in my head.  He wasn’t philosophical; he just made a simple statement.

Brother Chuck mentioned the rights, privileges, and benefits of living in the United States and added that each of us are obligated to do something for the country in exchange for those rights, privileges, and benefits.

It got me thinking.  Eventually, I followed his lead and joined the Navy.  It continues to haunt me.

Today it seems that those rights, privileges, and benefits are taken for granted.  They are just freely given.

Just think about it!

Managed Health Care

4 Jun

I don’t think I like managed health care.

“Managed [health] care is any method of organizing health care providers to achieve the goal of controlling health care costs and managing the quality of care” (Tobin, January 1997).

It strikes me that the medical profession is no longer concerned about getting the patient well but rather managing the illness.  Each entity must get their “pound of flesh” (Shakespeare):

  • the doctors;
  • the physician assistants;
  • the nurse practitioners;
  • the billing networks because physicians, since the Affordable Health Care Act, have generally affiliated with health networks for billing purposes;
  • nurses;
  • technicians;
  • the labs;
  • the pharmacies;
  • the pharmaceutical companies; and
  • the health insurance companies[1].

The system encourages providers to keep patients within the system instead of getting the patient well.   I just don’t understand.  Perhaps the following examples will explain.

  1. An acquaintance had a mastectomy. Before she could be fitted for a prosthesis bra, she needed a prescription from her general practitioner and not the oncologist which, of course, required a visit to the general practitioner.
  2. An acquaintance is diabetic. The family doctor made a referral to a podiatrist because of some recurring foot problems.  The podiatrist recommended some special shoes for diabetics; however, the podiatrist could not write a prescription for the special shoes.  (Why not?  Who knows?) My friend returned to the family doctor for a prescription and referral to another podiatrist who handles the special shoes.
  3. I’ve had both knees replaced. Before the replacements would be approved, there were X-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans.  Anti-inflammatories were prescribed; blood work ordered.  Fluid drained.  Cortisone injected.  Fluid supplements to help lubricate and cushion the knee joint were tried.  Physical therapy ordered. I can’t recall how many appointments there were before the knee replacement was approved, but each and every one required a fee.
  4. I’ve had some reactions to medication. Fortunately, these reactions have just been minor irritants.  Instead of wanting to address the underlying problem, the physician was eager to write another prescription to address the symptoms associated with the drug reactions. Why take two medications when adjusting the strength of the first addresses the problem?
  5. An acquaintance had edema. A hospitalization addressed the condition but not the underlying cause.  After discharge, the problem reoccurred.  Now, there are four or five doctors involved.  They seem to admit that Lasix should have been continued when he was sent home from the hospital.  There seems to be no idea of the underlying cause as each doctor continues to poke, probe, and order tests.

Why don’t doctors work on getting people well instead of just managing the disease or condition?  Oh, I forgot, as they sang in the musical Cabaret “money makes the world go around” (Kirk & Mallinder, 1998).

Just think about it.

References

Kirk, R. H., & Mallinder, S. W. (1998). Money [Sang by L. Minilli, & J. Gray in the musical Cabaret].

Shakespeare. Merchant of Venice.

Tobin, C. (January 1997). What is Managed Health Care? AADE News.

 

[1] These are probably in inverse order since the health insurance companies like to call the tune.

My Criminal, Part 2

29 Apr

About ten days after the gun thieves visited me, I was again the target of crime.  These were different criminals; the gun thieves had been caught and were in jail.  My second visitors got a Kindle, about two thousand dollars in money, and my passport.

The Kindle had been a gift from a friend.

The money … ah, that’s a different story.  The older coins were passed from grandfather to father to son, and I had planned to pass it along to my daughter and grandson.

1876 Half Dollar

This half dollar was minted the same year that the Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes were attacked by LCOL Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Greasy Grass aka the Battle of the Little Big Horn aka Custer’s Last Stand.

1881 Liberty Dollar

This silver dollar was minted the year that President Garfield was assassinated.  This is just one of probably twenty silver dollars that were stolen.

1895 Indian Head Penny

This 1895 Indian head penny was one of the first coins I recall receiving.

I had spoken with professional coin collectors about these coins; but, because they were neither proof nor uncirculated coins, their opinion was that they were only worth the value of the silver and/or face value.

Silver Certificate

A dollar from when paper money was backed by silver instead of just a promise by the federal government.

There were also baggies of half dollars, quarters, Mercury dimes, and various Canadian coins that my father had accumulated during his life.

I was not optimistic when I reported the theft.  Cash is easier to dispose of than guns.

A theft report has been made to the State Department when I obtained a replacement passport.

It’s been four months.  I haven’t heard anything.  The money, the Kindle, and my peace of mind are long gone.

 

My Criminal, Part 1

21 Apr

I have spent too many hours representing criminal defendants.  While on active duty at Great Lakes, I represented sailors who were charged with

  • wrongfully using of a controlled substance,
  • being absent without leave,
  • having deserted,
  • appropriating property of another sailor or the United States government,
  • failing to obey a lawful order, and
  • assaulting another sailor.

My civilian legal career as a defense attorney concerned traffic violations, assault, and drug cases.

My criminal practice focused on damage control.  Given the potential sentence, what was the minimum sentence that I could achieve for my client.

Personally, I am fortunate. It’s taken over 60 years to become a victim of crime.  In early December an individual entered my home and stole three .22 caliber rifles, a .22 caliber revolver, a .410 shotgun, and a .38 caliber revolver.  All of these firearms had been inherited from my father.

The perpetrators were caught.  The story I heard was that an older man was teaching his perspective son-in-law the business.

I have frequently made the argument that my client shouldn’t be severely punished because of his or her circumstances (damage control).  However, hearing that argument being made for the person who stole my firearms, i.e., the perspective son-in-law, irritated me.

  • Yes, it’s too bad that two months before entering my house to commit a theft offense you had made friends with heroin, and it had taken control of your life.
  • Yes, it’s too bad that your two daughters under the age of 5 will be without a father for a while.

Perhaps those are things that should have been considered BEFORE committing these offenses.

For some strange reason, incarceration and restitution just didn’t seem appropriate … it wasn’t enough.  I wanted more.

When the victim’s advocate asked what I wanted to happen, a number of options flashed through my head:

  • pillory
  • branding
  • lashes
  • loss of right hand

In the end, I admitted that I had many thoughts about what would considered an appropriate punishment; however, all of my thoughts would have violated the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Have we become too soft on crime?

Just think about it!

Disgusting Ads

12 Apr

I came across the website for Seriously Disturbing Vintage Advertisements.  It is an accurate description.  The advertisements push the boundaries of decency by today’s standards.

  • Physicians smoking cigarettes.
  • A child playing with a revolver that claims it cannot accidentally discharge.
  • A soap purporting to change a black child white.
  • Protein cereal portraying a woman’s “ideal size.”
  • A kneeling women serving a man breakfast in bed.
  • Using household appliances for auto-erotic purposes.
  • Getting an instantaneous cure with cocaine toothache drops.
  • Children selling adult products.

What I find disappointing in this menagerie is the dates of the advertisements are absent.   Wouldn’t it be insightful to know when these vintage advertisements were considered appropriate?  Perhaps they wouldn’t be as disturbing when viewed within the context of their publication.  I imagine at some point in the future Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad allegedly trivializing Black Lives Matter will be included in this collection.

I’d also like to understand the relationship between the product and the ad.  For example, there was an ad for a Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter with the million dollar question of “Is it always illegal to kill a woman?”  Perhaps I’m just dense, but what does the question have to do with a postage meter?  For some reason I can imagine discussions involving this concept on Bewitched (Television series from 1964 to 1972) since Darrin Stephens was in advertising or Mad Men (AMC series from 2007 to 2015), a drama about a New York prestigious ad agency.

Racism, sexual innuendo, and blatant sexism run rampant throughout this vintage ads. I’m not sure things have changed significantly.  Perhaps the racism has been toned down a little but sexual innuendo and sexism continue abated.

Take a look for yourself.  Review the advertisements.  Ignore the comments that have been added.  The comments represent someone who is simply looking at these ads today without any historical context whatsoever.

Just think about it!

 

Watching People

11 Apr

Mother loved to watch people.  In the 1950s, she would park the car and watch people as they walked on Main Street in Findlay, Bluffton, Bowling Green ….

Dorothy Funk2

Personally I couldn’t imagine her fascination.  It was boring!  I wanted to be doing something other than simply sitting in a hot car and looking at people.

As I’ve gotten older and my legs don’t work as well, I find myself sitting on a bench and watching people.

Yesterday, while waiting for my grandson at the Toledo Zoo, I may have discovered mother’s motivation.

The first was a man in his late 20s.  He had four children in tow with the youngest in a stroller while the eldest was probably in First Grade.  He wore khaki shorts and a blue T-shirt.  The shorts were worn so low on the hips that even standing upright plumber’s butt was clearly visible.  Apparently he has been able to repeal the law of gravity to keep his khaki shorts in the neighborhood of his hips.  There were no visible means of support — no suspenders, no belt.  Since plumber’s crack was clearly visible while standing, bending or reaching pulled the T-shirt upwards and gave the entire world an unimpeded view of his ass.  I just don’t understand.

The second was a woman who was probably in her 40s.  She wore a tank top and shorts.  She apparently has come late to the concept of body art but has embraced the idea wholeheartedly because there were numerous, bright tattoos on her arms and shoulders. It was simply a jumble of body art since no particular image captured my attention. A quick glance confirmed that the tattoos were not limited to her shoulders and arms but included her legs as well.  However, I was mistaken.  When she walked closer, I noticed that her legs were not tattooed but prominently covered with varicose and spider veins. Oh my ….

I could hear mother’s script playing in my head.  For her, this was a teaching moment — don’t dress like that when going out in public.  Somewhere in that lecture there was sure to be the comment about “just what are they thinking?”

I’m not ready to park my car on Main Street to simply watch people, but, perhaps, I understand a little of mother’s motivation.

A Call to Mercy

31 Mar

About a month ago, I read A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve by Mother Teresa and Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.

A Call To Mercy

Two things continue to haunt me.

First there was Mother Teresa’s childlike faith.

Yes, there were daily devotions and prayers.  However, I didn’t get the impression that there was a litany of wants/needs.  There seemed to be basic prayers — Our Father or Hail Mary or devotion to a particular saint — coupled with belief that the needs would be met.

Clearly, our world would be a better place if our beliefs were less complex and more childlike.

Second was Mother Teresa’s view on religion.

Yes, she was Catholic.  However, her ministry extended to Muslims and Hindus as well. Having attended a church while in college that refused to interact with other Christian churches, it was amazing to read about Mother Teresa’s service to not only living Muslims and Hindus but also those who had died to insure that their bodies were dealt with according to their beliefs.

Certainly, our world would be a better place if each of us could embody religious tolerance; after all the moment of truth is going to occur when each of us stand in judgment upon our death.  Let’s get out of the Dark Ages of religious intolerance.

Just think about it!