Then the phone calls start. The first one is a request for an interview from Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) who's doing an hour long special on health care Thursday night. A round of phone calls and emails to family members ensues. Then a call from KABC Talk Radio in Los Angeles. They want a morning drive time interview. Another round of communiques.
Susan watched some talk shows tonight to take a reading. Evidently we paddled at just the right time and have caught a huge wave approaching its peak. It feels awkward to be at the center of attention when so many are so much more devastated. There many families caught in the health care pinch much worse than we are. We (I) have been taken care of to this point. We got into this whole thing when Susan responded to a Kristof column about a couple devastated beyond belief. There are many responses to Kristof's column about us that were written by individuals in far more tragic circumstances. But here we are and it is our time to carry the torch. The most uncomfortable aspect is being the pawn of so much flamboyant rhetoric.
I do want to make one thing clear. When we agreed to talk with Nicholas Kristof, we did not anticipate being a focal point for national debate. The issue is a moral one and one that should be discussed and resolved with a minimum of grandstanding hyperbolic rhetoric. I hear a lot of talk and opinions thrown around without regard for the subtler issues of the nature of diseases and how they affect the lives of individuals, and what medicine can do to enrich our human community, if indeed human community remains.
While our family faced a crisis when it came to investigating the potential of Michael or Travis as a possible donor for myself, in the end insurance provided two successful years of dialysis and (so far) a very successful transplant. Without dialysis or transplant my life would have ended almost three years ago.
The substance of the current healthcare debate is how Travis and Michael will be taken care of in the future.