From the Woods: Postcards from Denver (PNHP meeting)

November 10, 2010

by Bev Alves

On the way to Denver via Baltimore, to attend the PNHP Annual Meeting, I had two very pleasant seat mates (three if we counted Owen, the beautiful and charming one year old son of one of my seatmates). The man sitting right next to me was a pilot hopping a flight to celebrate the birthday of his one year old granddaughter. Owen’s mom was also making a family visit. She works as a grant writer for mental health. We all began to chat about healthcare reform. (I confess, I started it.) I told them about Single Payer. They were both very interested. By the time we got off the plane, they had typed PNHP and palliative care into their i phones, Blackberries and said they would read about Single Payer and Palliative Care when they got home. They each signed a HC-N postcard before they got off the plane. From the woods, in the sky, we’ll get SP by and by.

In Baltimore while changing planes to go to Denver, I met a young man at the Chinese food counter at the airport. I had an interesting experience. I had ordered a vegetarian lunch from Charlie Chan, a Chinese place at the airport. It had to be made to order. The young man who was standing next to me, also ordered a special order lunch. We started to chat while we were waiting for our food. When the food came, he asked me to join him for lunch, since we were both alone. (He told me that he was moving toward becoming a vegetarian and he wanted to understand why I had become one.)

Tim is an assistant professor of math at Hopkins. He is from Hong Kong, but he and his wife, who is from China, hope to eventually become citizens. We discussed the strange thinking of some Americans. He noted that many people in America seem to act against their own best interests. He stated although there are many problems in China, the people at least realize they have problems. The people there want things to change. We discussed the fact that in America some people seem to be in a state of denial. Things are bad, but some of the people being hurt, seem to be unaware. For example, he wondered how someone who is not wealthy, and probably could not afford healthcare, could be against healthcare reform. They actually vote against their own best interest. It was very puzzling to him, as it is to me as well.

I told him about Single Payer and also about palliative care. He told me he would spread the word to his students and other staff at Hopkins. We exchanged personal info. I plan to stay in touch.

Making new friends for healthcare reform and spreading the word.


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