Health care is in the news almost every day. Millions and millions of people are trying to learn better health care practices and how to take care of themselves. More and more health care professionals are being trained every year.
The need for them is tremendous and necessary. Great progress has been made in the last 50 years in the delivery of health care. It has been slow but continuous. We are the beneficiaries of that work in progress.
As you who have been following my columns know, I had a dramatic experience on June 21 of last year, which put me into the numbers referred to above. I had a lacunar stroke that did quite a bit of damage to the right side of my body. It affected my ability to speak, to write and to walk.
I am appreciative of the notes, emails and cards that have been sent to me. Recently, a letter was sent via email that included the titles of several books about stroke for me to read. I regret to admit that the names and authors of those books were lost in my email for unknown reasons. If the sender reads this and would care to send the titles again, I would greatly appreciate it.
I have been making slow but sure progress, and I expect to continue. It has meant a lot of practice and repetition over the months.
Lest anyone think that I did this all on my own, I will disabuse him of that thought. Many people have provided their professional knowledge. Others have given moral support, encouragement and love on a continuing basis. I hope they know I appreciate it and thank them very much. People are good.
There is one person more than all who I am indebted to for her love, patience and hard work. That person is Sally, my wife. Without her, I would not have made the progress that I have made.
Like my beloved wife, my two children, Richard and Alice, and my grandson, Alex, have been of tremendous help in dealing with this situation. Alice cannot be as readily available, as she lives in Philadelphia, but Richard lives in Johnston and has proven time and time again his resourcefulness, steadfast hard work and problem solving ability. Thank you.
This is a wonderful time of discovery and invention throughout the world. If this trauma had occurred to me 50 or even 25 years ago, it would have been a different story. I take 19 pills a day, about half in the morning and half in the evening. I suspect most of them were not available in years gone by.
Insurance now covers many situations for which there was no insurance a number of years ago. I have had four or five CT scans, MRIs and X-rays, all covered by insurance.
Thanks to such technology, diagnosis is much quicker and more accurate today.
Even more important than the development of medications, equipment and techniques has been the willingness of the people of the United States of America to organize the delivery of services. The genius of people who put together organizations, administration and financing is breathtaking.
Early in my career, I visited an elderly lady who spent most of the day by herself. She had multiple sclerosis and was bedridden. My agency was called to the scene because she had terrible bedsores, among other problems. The ulcers seemed to be big enough to put my fist into them.
From the smell and sight of her environment, it was readily apparent to me that the quality of her life was nil. I immediately found another place for her to live and facilitated her move. As our population has grown, there are so many families who cannot take care of their sick, disabled and elderly members. Public and private organizations step in and do the best they can.
In our area we are most fortunate to have access to fine local hospitals and those in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Social service agencies cannot be overlooked. They are essential, too, and we have many fine ones right here in our own backyard. We are the beneficiaries. Thank you.