Monday, May 19, 2008

On My Best Behaviour...



The HOPE van, and enormous traveling clinic for Health Outreach to People Everywhere! Actually only serves Shasta County, but the fact is this program is very dynamic, and quite exciting for anyone who has difficulty affording medical care.

The program has been in effect for about six years, though the actual HOPE van has only been a part of the program for about two years. Built by Lifeline Emergency Vehicles out of Ohio, this traveling clinic is built on a large Truck chassis with two exam rooms a reception space where vital signs can be taken. Other similar clinics have been fashioned from RV models. This vehicle is bigger, and in some ways a little unwieldy for travel. Still, it is heavy duty and quite serviceable.

Because it was fashioned on a truck chassis, the driver is a nurse who quite fashionably has a California Type B driver's license.

During my visit, there was a Shasta County social worker, who was able to assist patients in preparing for getting Medi-Cal or CMSP (county medical assistance). The doctors are able to do some things through the hospital, but the doctors all have the social workers on speed dial, when there is a question of a person being denied help through lack of coverage.

What I am saying is the left hand does work hard to know what the right hand is doing. They want all visitors to get the best care possible, and work to find out what avenues must be opened, explored, to make that happen. They assured me they want me to see a neurologist, and when they discovered that I have not gotten on that was lack of coverage, they had me on the phone with a woman who called me hours later to ask me questions about my application, and an assurance I would have coverage by nightfall.

So, in the weeks coming, they will scan my brain (find evidence if any is still there), and refer me to neurology. This is a journey. I am here, I guess, to enjoy it.

This is a good day! I have bicycled successfully out to the HOPE van, and am now able to relax. As a result of my visit, I have been assured of a few things:

My liver is fine

My kidneys are fine

I am not diabetic

My medication is working properly.


As a result of my visit, I can move forward, and know that despite some of the scary things said (“I believe this may have something to do with your shunt”) that I can still live comfortable in my skin. As I have been reminded, I only live one day at a time.


Too many of my early years were eaten up by fears over this extra plumbing in my head. I suppose this is where I see how my philosophizing pans out. I told myself that worrying about my brain did not stop them from drilling holes in my head twelve years ago. So, I guess I would be silly to worry about it now. Remember, it is just a plumbing issue.

(“If you can't fix it with a hammer, the problem is electrical.”)

I must remember that the Stanford trained neurosurgeons that saved my life in 1995 have more developed ideas on tool management and problem solving than I do. This is where I give up control.

Thank you for reading.

1 comment:

obscurio said...

Hi Keith,
Great news about the blood work. I'm pleased to hear that some good folk are giving you the help you need. We tend to take universal health care for granted over here. Although there are still those who would have us move to a more American system. They claim it would be less bureaucratic and save money. I guess the answer to that is, 'YES' for those that can afford to opt out. A little bit of politics there. ;`)