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Monday, October 22, 2012

Paying to pee, parking meters and basic TV

Remember when you used to have to pay to pee at the mall? The urge would strike in the middle of Woolco and you would run to the bathrooms at the back of the store only to find out you didn't have a dime to put in the door. I guess employees at Woolco got tired of cleaning up pee on the floor and decided to let you have this basic human need for free.

Smart choice I think. There's some things you shouldn't make money off. Pee is one. Healthcare is another.
I remember one time when my daughter was about nine, she had the flu. It got worse by the hour. She was throwing up continuously and couldn't keep so much as a glass of water down. Her fever shot through the roof and I decided to take her to the Janeway Children's Hospital. The only reason I waited was a raging storm was happening outside and I didn't want to drive when the roads were snow covered and slippery.

I put her in her snowsuit, belted her in the minivan and made my way to the Janeway slipping and sliding all the way.
When I got to the Janeway parking lot there wasn't a space available. The lot was full. So I had to park in the Health Science's parking lot. By the time I found a spot she was sound asleep. I lifted her 90 pound body in my arms and made my way across the stormy lot like I was walking through the Arctic tundra. The snow plough had made a four foot high wall of snow around the lot and I bravely scaled it without dropping my daughter .

By the time I got to the Janeway I looked like a nomad that had been wandering the ice plains for years. I was exhausted and ready to pass out myself. After a four hour wait we finally got to see a doctor who confirmed she had pneumonia and needed antibiotics.
I bundled her back up and made the long track back to the minivan only to find I had a parking ticket!

A parking ticket!
Steam was coming out of my ears! In my rush to get my sick child through a storm to see a doctor I forgot to put money in the parking meter. I was furious. Why the hell should I have to pay this ticket. I wasn't in shopping. I had a child with pneumonia. A 90 pound child that I had carried through a snow storm, sat in a waiting room for four hours with and then carried her back to my van. I should have been given a frigging Olympic medal for the Mom triathlon! Not a parking ticket. 

When I went to leave my van was stuck in the snow. I had to keep putting it in drive and reverse till I could rock it out of the parking space. By this time my anger level was at an all time high. I put it in reverse and floored it. The van jumped out of its tracks and flew back a good two feet, hitting the meter. I got out to look. The pole was bent a little and the head of the meter slightly hung down in shame. So I kicked it and said "You deserved that you bastard!"
Why are there meters in hospital parking lots? Oh, so the university students don't park there and take up spaces all day. Really? There's not a better way to monitor that? We found Bin Laden but we can't catch a poor starving student trying to freeload at the hospital?

Another thing. What's up with the TV rentals. My 85 year old Mother was in hospital for weeks. Her kidneys are failing, a valve in her heart is leaking and her body is dying. She loves her soap operas. It would kill her to die and not know what was happening on Days of Our Lives. So she rented a TV with basic cable.
$11.50 a day plus tax! That's what they charged this dying senior on a fixed income! Who the hell is making money off my dying Mother and her soap operas?

Are you telling me the Department of Health can't negotiate a better deal than that? That they can't buy cable for the hospital and give it to patients for free? This is so wrong!
What happens to the people who can't afford to pay $11.50 a day. They just lay there in bed all day staring out the window. They're forced to eat hospital food three times a day. Aren't they suffering enough? You're telling me the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador can't afford free TV for the sick? Didn't they donate a million dollars to Haiti? What about our poor?

There's an old saying, "You judge a country, in our case province, by how it treats its most vulnerable, its poor, it sick, its weak."
There are some things you shouldn't have to pay for in life: When you want to pee, when you need a parking space at the hospital because you're sick and a TV when you're hospitalized.

If I have to pay an extra few cents in taxes to cover that, so be it. A dying woman should not have to miss her soap operas because she's broke. A nine year old girl with pneumonia shouldn't be given a parking ticket. A women with a bladder problem shouldn't have to pee  in her pants because she doesn't have a dime and governments should not have to be shamed into doing the right thing.
It's 2012. When it comes to healthcare our energy should be targeted at finding specialists to work in the hospital, not bickering over TV bills and parking lot slot machines.

Let's use our common sense. Get rid of the meters and ask Rogers for a good deal on cable.