See, I started right out with full disclosure like a good blogger should. While I’m disclosing, I have to admit that my feelings about this movie are not going to be the same as fully insured Americans. They think they are insulated and safe. I am uninsured. When Tommy turns 18 in a year, he will be uninsured and uninsurable. Since TennCare reforms have taken place, he will be ineligible for TennCare. I try to avoid getting medical care for myself, which means I become a hermit during flu season. I lost enamel when I was given the wrong antibiotics as a baby, grind my teeth at night and now my teeth are literally rotting out of my mouth. I had a tiny bit of dental work done and refused to return until Doug had worked off the bill. Yet, none of the work he did for the dentist made a dent in the bill. Apparently, he worked on their computers and network in exchange for being allowed to owe them money. It’s ugly, I don’t smile and I frequently put my hand over my mouth when I talk. It probably won’t kill me. In the past year, my hair started falling out. I hate looking in the mirror. Based on family history and having less energy than I did when I had a newborn keeping me up all night, I’m sure my thyroid is misbehaving. I can’t get medical care because I can’t risk having such a major preexisting condition, I can’t afford the lab tests and I absolutely can’t afford the medications. I expect poverty to be written as the cause of death on my death certificate. I have sat on the patient review board at Lakeshore. I have encouraged people to lie to get their children psychiatric care. So, all that personal blathering aside, I went to see Sicko.
I know this movie is not a documentary. I see it more as a form of protest. Instead of getting arrested in Oak Ridge, Michael Moore makes films to try and make changes. He is a good storyteller. You would have to be a cold hearted monster not to find humor and sadness in the stories that are told in this movie. Do I believe the stories? Yes I do. I have spent days upon days fighting with insurance companies to get medical care for Tommy over the years. Every year his deductable gets larger, coverage gets smaller and he is allowed less doctors and services. I recognize that there are a million success stories about people getting saved by good medical care. I have also spent hours and hours in the emergency room, trying to get a sick person admitted and many times, having them sent away until they are worse. I recognize that the presence of the camera and lots of careful editing is used to make the story. I know that all of the countries that are glamorously praised for their medical care have problems that were completely ignored. I don’t believe for a minute that the prisoners at Guantanamo are getting good medical care. However, my mother lived in Cuba for much of her childhood and she doesn’t describe anything as scary as our government describes. If this was a completely fictional movie, I would call it very entertaining, but it’s not a flight of fancy. It’s thought provoking and frustrating and I want Britain’s Tony Benn to be my senator instead of Bill Frist or Bob Corker. Do I think I’ll see health care improvements in my life? No.
Doug took pictures of the evening. As always, people will have to identify themselves in the flickr comments, since some bloggers prefer a level of anonymity that our family doesn’t even attempt. Those of you unafraid to be recognized are welcome to use these pictures in your own reviews.