Friday, October 29, 2010

Back to the Emergency Room for an Infection

Yesterday a bug bie on my arm swelled from an inch to four inches long in one day.  I made a doctor's appointment for Saturday, but the last time I waited with a fast-swelling infection, I had to get about a square-inch of skin cut out.  So at 11pm I went to the emergency room.

When I got there, one of the nurses walked up and asked me how I was doing.  She had taken care of me in May of 2007, the last time I was in the ER at Lancaster General Hospital.  I broke ten bones and spent 9 days in LGH on that visit.  This visit was over and I was on the way to the pharmacy by 1:15 am.  They did cut the skin and drain some of the swelling, but nothing like last time.  I'm glad I went early.  The MRSA bacteria work fast.

Now I am climbing onto my soap box.  I joined the Air Force in 1972 when I was 18.  After eight months of training I went to my first permanent base, Hill AF Base in Ogden, Utah.  At hill as an airman I got a two-man room.  Our chow hall served five meals a day.  The food was great.  We had almost every weekend off, extra duty maybe once a quarter.  And everybody bitched.

Four years later I was in the Army.  The food was bad and there was not that much when we were out in the field.  We trained on weekends.  We slept on the ground.  The soldiers I served with bitched much less than the Air Force guys.

I learned then one of the weird rules of human life:  the better a person has it, the more that person will bitch.  Who is most like to sue their doctor--the higher the family income, the more likely they are to sue.  Who sends their food back at restaurants, bitches about coffee temperature at Starbucks, people who have a great life.

So now I come home to people bitching about the government, the economy, health care, Hollywood, TV, and who knows what else.  People in America bitch about everything and live better than kings did two hundred years ago.  Clean water from the tap, medicines that really cure disease, safe food, surgery with anesthesia (versus none), vaccines against disease, effective dental care, antibiotics, and lifesaving surgery of many kinds--I have had several myself.

We have all this and an epidemic of bitching.  And those who cannot bitch enough themselves listen to professional whiners bitch for three hours at a time on the radio.

I am so thankful to be alive at time when I can break my neck and nine other bones and join the Army three months later.  A decade early I would have spent a year in a halo cast.  A few decades ago I may have been paraplegic.  I ate better in Iraq than 90% of the people in the world.  I flushed better water than a third of the world drinks.

This really is a great country.  I wish the whiners could see it.

The Philosopher of War and Terror and Politics: Hannah Arendt

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