Tolg/My Turn: My stroke made me think

A few minutes before the start of Christmas, I had a stroke.

I was up late waiting for a phone call from my son, asking me to pick him up. I thought my right leg had gone to sleep and just sat there at the dining room table, reading, waiting for it to wake-up when I realized that I couldn’t move my right arm as well. That got my attention, big time. Luckily I could speak and so called out to my sleeping wife.

She got dressed and was ready to drive me to the hospital. I tried to get up, thinking, maybe with her help, I could get to our car. It didn’t work as I fell to the floor. I croaked, “better call 911.”

Now if I hadn’t been able to speak, which sometimes happens with a stroke, I don’t know how long it would have been until I received help. And they tell me the longer it is before you are helped, the greater the likelihood of additional damage.

And what if my son had phoned earlier and the stroke hit me while I was driving to pick him up? Lord knows what kind of accident that might have entailed.

An ambulance was at my house in about 10 minutes. The care I received was excellent. From Franklin Medical Center, to Branson Rehabilitation Center at Noble Hospital in Westfield, to twice-a-week visits at home from an occupational therapist, a physical therapist and a nurse for two months and finally once-a-week with a physical therapist at the Body Shoppe for about two months!

I should also mention that we got free loans of medical devices, such as a tub transfer bench to sit on while taking a shower, from Walker Funeral Home. That’s a wonderful service to the community that I didn’t even know existed until I had my stroke.

This event has had me asking a lot of questions: What if my ability to speak had also been affected? What if I had been out on the road, on my way to picking  up my son, when the stroke happened? Would I have gotten the same quality care if I had been younger and had no Medicare? Could I have been able to afford the care I got?

The answer to that last question would probably be “No!”

And that reminds me of the presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain where Obama said that health care should be a “right” and McCain opted for it being a “privilege.”

I agree with Obama.

A recent article in The Recorder noted that strokes are increasingly happening to younger folks; folks who wouldn’t have Medicare. And if they were poor, but not poor enough, in about half our states they wouldn’t qualify for Medicaid through “Obamacare”!

This situation is ridiculous! The Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is a step in the right direction but leaves much uncovered. There’s a Bronze Plan, a Silver Plan, a Gold (or is it Platinum) Plan! So if a child is sick and his well-to-do parents have the most expensive plan he gets top-notch coverage and treatment. If another child has the exact same illness but his parents are poor, it’s ”Good luck kid.”

We should have socialized medicine and be done with it.

Tom Tolg is a Greenfield resident.

If the affordable health care plan was a good plan, it would not have the problems that has encumbered it. The question should be why are strokes happening to younger people? If there were not doctors or nurses would health care still be a "right"? The only rights one has in this country are in the constitution.

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