Two Celebrations (featuring Guest Author, Steve)

Today there were two expectant parents awaiting the arrival of their son.
They both longed to see him. They have three other children and this will be the last. It will complete the family. What a blessing! Their love for him began at conception and for too long they had waited.  He had to mature, it had to be his time, and finally the day had arrived.

dMy father died today.

In the blink of an eye he walked into the gates of heaven into the loving arms of his parents, his siblings, a host of aunts and uncles, and even a granddaughter all waiting to see him. He was literally born again. I’m sure my grandparents couldn’t wait to see him. I expect the anticipation is a lot like the day of his earthly birth.

Was Blind But Now I SeeOur perspective changes based upon our vantage point.
In sports, two people in different parts of an arena can see the same play and come to a different conclusion. To one, with their viewpoint and biases the player clearly scored. To another spectator with their own biases and a different vantage point, the goal was stopped. Both would swear to the correctness of their report.

Only one is correct.

CSo I suspect it is with death.

To those of us left behind, we call it death. It is a terrible separation that rips our loved one from us. We are left with that tremendous empty sensation that has no earthly solution. In contrast, to those in heaven it is a day of rejoicing as their loved one finally “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God” (January 28, 1986 | President Ronald Reagan). The interpretation of the event is again controlled by ones perspective and vantage point.

Ultimately, the biggest perspective difference is our understanding of what happens to us after death.

It changes everything.

To those who believe that life ends here, death must hold a level of emptiness and pain that I cannot comprehend. For those like me who live in the hope of life eternal, death and its associated separation has less pain. This hope comes with the promise of reunion. Yes, we must endure separation, but ultimately there will be reunion.

SIn 2 Samuel 12:23, King David comments on the death of his son. He says: “But now he has died. Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” King David lived in the promise of life eternal as I do.

Although my father will not return to me, I will go to him and I look forward to our reunion. I suspect for my parents, my earthly death will look like birth from their new vantage point. So when you think about birth and death, unless you precede them in the latter, your parents celebrate both.

Ponder that a bit. It is truly wondrous.

Thoughtfully,
Steve

I Corinthians 15:19 “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”


Recommended reading:
I Corinthians 15  The Holy Bible, Paul the Apostle
Everyone’s Back Home Once Again, bywordsthatlastforever
The Best Christmas Gifts, by Just Behind the Door
Anticipation: The Art of Mourning, by Pilgrim Out of the Water

Be Thou the Rainbow

Moorea

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” ~ Lord Byron

I don’t know anything that speaks fresh more than a rainbow after the rain. And I can’t think of a more appropriate photo than this, taken with an iPhone 5. Much thanks to my guest author, Steve, for this photo taken on a recent vacation. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Simply spectacular. But there is something else quite delightful about this photo. If you look across the top third you will see a faint hint of color. There is another rainbow, making it that more rare event of a double rainbow! It’s worth clicking on for a larger view. I’ve asked Steve for a short description:

“We were at our hotel in Moorea and it had been a blustery day with thirty mph winds and a fine, misting rain. Curiously, there were times that it continued to rain even when the sky had minimal clouds or even blue skies. This photo was taken from a bridge as I was walking across the hotel grounds.”

Enjoy.
Peace, Alexandria
{P.S. This photo was taken with an iPhone 5. The only editing done was the “enhance” tool within iPhone, which did little to alter the photo. Nothing else was done. To me, the photo is perfect in every way. I give Steve credit for being fast with the camera and setting up perfect composition.}
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Daily Prompt: Colors

My favorite:
The Colours of Love

You might enjoy some other articles by Steve:
A Tale of Agony
My Thoughts on Aging
Taxes Made Simple
Healthcare: Good, Fast, Cheap. You Only Get Two

Healthcare: Good, Fast, Cheap. You Only Get Two. | Guest Author, Steve

Capitalism brings Americans an abundance of products and our mindset is very clear. When it comes to purchasing we want everything good, fast, and cheap.
Think about it.

  • We want high quality—good.
  • We want it readily available—fast.
  • And we want it affordable—cheap.

But there is something I don’t think we realize. You see, in nearly all of life, you can only have TWO.

Never THREE.

ONE is always sacrificed.If the product is good and always available, it will not be cheap. If the product is fast and cheap, it will not be good.
Think about McDonalds or KFC. The food is fast and cheap but not very good on any culinary scale. Think about out-of-season citrus. It is good and available, but it is not cheap.

The Palm (restaurant)Ever heard of a restaurant called The Palm? There are several in the United States and they have a reputation as one of the finest. The food is exceptional {good}, and its served in a timely manner {fast}, but since it’s prepared fresh to your exact preference from the finest ingredients, it’s expensive {not cheap}. When it comes to any restaurant, my wife and I agree—you get what you pay for.

We may not like it but we’ll automatically accept a price if the goods meet two of the qualifications, never even realizing we didn’t get all three.

And this is a very important aspect that is about to affect our lives deeply.

Morsani Center for Advanced Health Care

It’s regarding healthcare.
And this is the little secret that no one wants to discuss.

  • We want all three.
  • Our politicians are promising all three.
  • But we can’t have all three.

The American healthcare system was built on the premise that healthcare should be the best possible {good} and should be instantly available {fast}. By the above definition, we know it has to be expensive {not cheap}.

To carry out the goal of less expensive healthcare, we must accept a reduction in quality or availability {bad/slow}.
If you want to keep it cheap, quality must decline. A cheaper system rewards doctors less pay. This discourages the best and brightest from choosing medicine as a career. The debt burden is just too costly. At this moment a new graduate doctor will not pay off medical school loans until age forty. From a practical standpoint, who will choose medicine as a career?

Another result is it discourages industry from developing innovations to improve healthcare.
Cuba has a health care system that is an example of cheap and available but the quality is substandard when compared to the United States. There are procedures and surgeries totally unavailable. I recently offered to go to Cuba to teach a procedure that is readily available in the United States. They were interested but don’t have the equipment nor has the procedure ever been done in the island nation. Innovations have been totally absent from this nation for decades.

Canada FlagAn excellent example of the good-but-slow approach is Canada.
Overall, Canadians have good healthcare, but they often wait months for solutions that would occur quickly in the United States. The healthcare products retain quality and the price is cheaper. But the natural byproduct is shortages, creating great frustration. If this were not the case, Canadians near the border would not cross into the United States for surgical solutions to their problems that would otherwise take months to get.

For example, a woman with a rotator-cuff tear needed an MRI. Her appointment was one year away. Then surgery would be another year off. She came to the United States and had everything done in one month. At age 71 she continues her hobby as a long-distance cyclist. Incidentally, her husband died of colon cancer due to the Canadian system not covering colon screenings.

Another concern are further pay cuts to hospitals and physicians.Doctor's Office (Tools of The Trade)
With universal healthcare a government has to cut expenses in several ways. A big way they do this is cutting reimbursement to physicians and hospitals. When government sets a fixed price for a hospital or doctor, expecting the same quality, the only option is less available healthcare.

This already occurs in our system with Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare patients without a primary care physician have problems establishing themselves in a new practice. Medicaid patients are not seen in certain practices or there are limitations on the amount seen.

In the end, this will drive many hospitals and doctor’s offices out of business.
Clearly, with the upcoming deeper pay cuts, some hospitals will have to close and surveys have demonstrated that up to 40% of doctors plan to stop seeing Medicare patients. Like many other physicians, I love the relationships I’ve built over the years with my patients. But the planned fee schedule cuts could make it impossible to deliver the same personalized care that so many of us want to provide.

To stay in business, changes will have to take place and this will impact either quality or availability. What a disappointment to both of us—the providers and the patients.

Controlling healthcare costs is a great idea.
Unfortunately, it will have a natural outcome of either decreasing quality or availability. Price fixing in any market results in reduced availability or quality. Either can be acceptable options as long as people are aware of what’s coming.
But are these acceptable?

To pretend we can have high quality healthcare that is readily available and affordable is disingenuous.

Unfortunately good, fast, and cheap cannot coexist.

At the very least, we deserve honesty from our political leaders.

Thoughtfully,
Steve

Daily Post: Health Care/

Photo credits:
The Palm Restaurant website
Morsani Center for Advanced Health Care website
Canada Flag: Michael Yat Kit Chung
Doctor's office tools of the trade: public domain
Other photos by Alexandria Sage
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