By Barb Hauge
If you've got the money, honey, most anyone's got the time! America has gone a long way from the self reliance of homesteaders and pioneers to On Star, which enables you to sit cozily in your limousine and push a button to summon help because you "hate snakes" and want help with a flat tire.
Self reliance and the old American attitude of "can do" was firmly ingrained in our pioneer ancestors. Immigrants, from nations as diverse as Norway and China, relied solely on their own sweat and toil to build the infrastructure that made the United States of America a great nation. They relied on themselves and their neighbors to "plough the prairies, build the cities where we trade; dig the mines and build the workshops; endless miles of rail we laid."
Failure to save ourselves in the modern Age has reached the point where city dwellers attack the wilderness armed with nothing but a cell-phone; mistakenly believing that if temps drop below freezing or they are attacked by a bear they'll just call for help. The pizza-man who has to cook the pizza, probably has a faster response time and that's providing cell-phones are within reach of a rescue team.
The rural pride and fierce independence of my parent's generation was made very clear some years ago when I was contacted to canvass our community and register the elderly and people in need, for food stamps. Many were widows living on bare subsistence income but they were appalled at the very idea of accepting help. One said, "My dear, I know you only mean to be kind but please, let me keep my pride." Despite the fact that cash income left for farm family living (after farm expenses were paid) was often below poverty level, no farm family would sign up for the free school lunches available to their children.
We hear much these days about the miracles of modern medicine and urging women to have pap tests and mammograms. Doesn't anyone realize, "Its the money, Stupid?" I knew an elderly lady who experienced vaginal bleeding but would not seek help from a gynecologist. During the years she was gainfully employed she received only half the salary paid to men for the exact same work; thus her Social Security check was under three hundred dollars per month. From that small amount she could afford no deductions and so did not sign up for Part B of Medicare. She had only Medicare's deductible hospital insurance. She suspected cervical cancer but knew the treatment could cost in excess of one hundred thousand dollars. Her conclusion, "There's no way I can afford to fight this!" Another lady was dismayed because her tests along had used up all of her available insurance and there was no money left to fight the disease.
Its not surprising that America now has two-class system when it comes to health care; those who can afford modern medicine and those who can't; who seek help via alternative methods from herbs to faith healers. Lacking the money, honey, many are forced to rely on self-healing. If that does not work, their time on earth is indeed limited.