(Follow up to Breathing’s “Gas Drilling : Sullivan County’s Hazards Mitigation Plan.” You have until March 31, 2010 to download, complete and return your Sullivan County Hazards Mitigation Questionnaire!)
Occasionally, it’s borne in on me that breathing really is political — that my private values and public choices require a decision; that those decisions are not entirely separate from yours; and that corporate policies are not distinct from their impact on my neighbor down the road.
Tuesday March 9, 2010.
Time Warner Cable informs me that my most recent payment was misapplied and that they are unable to correct their mistake until next month’s billing cycle.
I tell them to discontinue my television service and miraculously, they find a way to apply the credit immediately.
I tell them I’m fed up with having to threaten them in order to ensure good customer service and reiterate that I want my television service canceled.
They reply that I will have to drop off their cable box at some “convenient location” and I suggest they come and get it.
They agree but say they will continue to bill me for television service until they can retrieve the box at some future date. I say, “Bill away. Bill to your heart’s content. Not only will I not pay for TV service beyond the date I requested cancellation, but I am forwarding our correspondence to the Better Business Bureau.”
It’s a day of miracles: they promise to back-date my credit to the date of my cancellation request.
Benefits: $50 saved per month and more time for reading, writing and sitting on the river bank.
Dare I admit, that like David, I am looking for other Goliaths to slay?
Wednesday March 10, 2010. Verizon Wireless informs me via email that my new bill is available for payment.
Coincidentally, a promotion from CREDO Mobile has arrived in my mailbox. It promises that CREDO will not support war, torture or deforestation. Chortling with glee, I plunge through page after page at their website. If I sign up for their service, they promise to support Greenpeace, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, The Center for Independent Media, Earthjustice, Physicians for a National Health Program and Code Pink, for Pete’s sake. (There’s a ton of others but those were the first to dazzle my cynical eye.)
“Steady on,” I tell myself. My heart has been through the socially-conscious corporate grinder before. I take a break. I make some toast (homemade) and tuna (dolphin-safe). I stare down at the River and decide that whether or not CREDO’s service area blankets the nation as widely as Verizon’s, I’m tired of complaining while walking hand-in-hand with a corporate marauder.
In a state of near-spiritual transport, I dial CREDO and tell the helpful woman on the other end that “I am dawning with the day!” Not only does she understand (or say she does) but she’s heard of “hydraulic fracturing” and wishes us well in our efforts to re-establish control of our local resources.
And joy of joys, CREDO will reimburse me up to $200.00 for incurring Verizon’s onerous “early contract withdrawal” penalty. (Savings: approximately $25.00 monthly.)
(I’ll report back after using CREDO’s service for a month but by way of disclosure, for each person who enrolls with CREDO Mobile and mentions my name and cell phone number, CREDO will send me a check for $100. That’s not peculiar to me. It’s CREDO’s standard operating procedure. Apparently, CREDO is not only a responsible corporate “person,” but they’re savvy, too.)
Thursday March 11, 2010 (afternoon hours.) As I unpack groceries, there’s a frantic pounding on my front door. “My friend’s sick,” gasps my neighbor. “She needs insulin but she’s got no insurance and she can’t afford to buy the medicine.”
Apparently, my neighbor’s friend had been to a hospital a few days before and was informed that her blood glucose (sugar) level was at 500. She was treated with insulin and sent home.
Under the best of circumstances, insulin-dependent diabetics with health insurance perform daily monitoring of their blood glucose levels. Generally, normal levels range from 80 to 120. An individual’s levels will vary depending on food intake, exercise, stress and other factors. When more than diet, exercise and/or oral medications are required to maintain those healthy levels, insulin is prescribed. When high blood sugar remains untreated, dire consequences often result. Immediate (acute) concerns involve loss of consciousness and possible death. In the long-term, amputations and blindness are just two common consequences.
Under any circumstances, a blood level of 500 is a matter of sharp concern, even for long-time diabetics who can run high as a matter of course. In this case, our “patient” had no idea what her blood glucose might be. It had been a couple of days since her hospital treatment and she had no money for monitoring equipment or her prescribed-insulin.
Without delay, she was taken to the Callicoon Hospital emergency room which is a few miles down the road from us. Despite her lack of money and insurance, I knew she’d be treated gently and professionally by the staff at our small, rural care center. More, I was confident they’d take a full health history and do what excellent nurses and doctors do regardless of insurance company strictures: search with her for ways to overcome her lack of insurance and money. That’s what we do here in the Valley: we care for each other.
As Louise Penny writes in A Fatal Grace,
Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There’s a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
And because, breathing really is political.