been down so long it feels like up to me

"...because it's a long way down before you hit the safety net." 2 men sketched while on a train. Transporting them onto a pseudo calder mobile is J's idea, as usual.

On an island obsessed with "upgrading", J and I were involved in a little "downgrading" this morning.

Specifically, this morning J and I tried to help his dad navigate the healthcare system. We learnt that if you or your relative has a long-term illness and your family members don't carry wads of cash in your pockets, it is best to be prudent and opt to stay in a subsidised ward. Even if it means doing without the air-conditioner. Because the long-term costs are what you should look out for. In the case of J's mom, it means paying $75 for a 1 hour physiotherapy session instead of $30. It means $190 to see a doctor and a speech therapist instead of $60. Not too bad until you consider that doctor visits are once a month at least, and a good structured rehab programme for Ma J would require 4 physiotherapy sessions a week.

We found out that in order to "downgrade" Ma J's healthcare status to "B2", a social worker would have to assess Pa J's financial situation and make a recommendation. This seemed fair enough.

I remember picking up a second-hand book years ago at an old bookstore called SKOOB when I was a teenager (ah, that word feels weird!). The title caught my eye - Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina. Farina died 2 days in a motorbike accident - yes, a 60s child - after his book was published. I didn't like it when I first read it, and still don't. Too much studied, smarty-hip allusions and humour. Too American ;> But the title stuck.

Today, looking at Ma J's empty eyes (when she actually opened them) on her emaciated face, the head hanging low out of defeat but also rebellion and anger, Farina's book title came to mind. But there somehow seems to be a note or two of falseness in that title. It's been almost 9 months since Ma J suffered her stroke. It seems short when compared to a whole lifetime. But 9 months is the time needed for new life to come into being. And for Ma J, 9 months down just feels so long. I don't think it looks like up to her.


Anonymous said…
my grandad was in cattle class ward too .. it wasn't really too bad .. except only one chair so we all gotta take turns to sit down n in the end the younger ones wld end up sitting on his bed and irritating him =P
ampulets said…
cattle class ward - very apt description!
Anonymous said…

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