Slaying Goliath Can Be As Easy As Deciding


(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.

5 thoughts on “Slaying Goliath Can Be As Easy As Deciding

  1. J Kreves

    Liz, What a WEEK! Nothing can compete with the glow of accomplishment on the road to living one’s ideals! If that every week were so fruitful. I’d join you in CREDO, but we barely get reception here even with Verizon. Evidently the hills are a problem. Hope you do get many $100 checks, though!

  2. lizbucar Post author

    Hi, Joy. I’ve heard from one CREDO user who is not happy with the cost of the service and suggested prospective customers be sure to get a flat-rate plan. He also said the signal availability leaves much to be desired. So far, the texting service — which is my kids’ primary way of communicating with me — has been every bit as good as Verizon’s and is cheap, cheap, cheap. I plan to only use the cell when on the road or for emergency communications and certainly texting is fine in either of those situations. We’ll see. I’m giving it a month.

    I hesitated to write the article because I sound so smug in it; but I really do believe we need to celebrate our victories over the face-less, name-less powers that control so much of our lives. And I do feel more “empowered” by it all.

  3. John Kavaller

    Liz– How is it that we determine services rendered according to ability to pay? One can have multiple dwellings, autos, bags of groceries, maid service and use out resources based on economic circumstance.

    A diabetic, unable to pay, may just die next time that emergency goes unheard or unheeded. How sad our culture embraces this model. Wish I had some answers–comments, I have a plenty.

  4. qazse

    Another wonderful post.

    How many times a day does the medical affordability play out across the the counties and states each and every day throughout the year. It is a measure of our nation.

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