Friday, March 15, 2013

Hoping for the Best

One of my worst habits is reading the paper each morning. The news here at home is bleak and seems to worsen daily. Thanks to that "free healthcare" lauded in the cheesy bill of goods Obama hawked to get himself re-elected, medical costs are skyrocketing. Because of this, fewer young people are choosing to go to med school, so eventually getting an appointment with an MD will become almost impossible. Scared off by high insurance fees, the morass of reimbursements and increasing pressure from the government to get with their program, many doctors are abandoning the idea of private practice and joining hospitals as salaried employees, and we all know what that means: less time to see patients because of all the time spent at Head Nurse Nancy's birthday party or that wine and cheese thing up on the 6th floor for that retiring anesthesiologist.

And it's not just here that things suck; global rifts and tensions abound. Name a country and chances are there's a war going on or they're in financial distress or their evil dictator is stockpiling nuclear weapons or there's rioting in the streets or someone is imposing sanctions on them or they hate America. That last one is pretty common. (Hey, I don't write the news, I just report it.) Naturally all this unrest and negativity is a drag, further poisoning our own well with new sitcoms that somehow get written and manage to find sponsors, despite those inane laugh tracks-- like we're supposed to believe anyone is laughing anymore at anything. (Okay, "The Hangover" is still funny, even after repeated viewings; that chicken in the hotel room always cracks me up.)

Exactly one week from today I will leave the cozy but nonetheless boring confines of rural Maine and venture forth into a world fraught with unrest, disease, terror and despair. Luckily I will only be there a couple of hours, after which I will leave Boston and fly to Florida, do an overnight in a hotel, and then journey onward to my final destination: Haiti. Once safely off U.S. soil, I can breathe a sigh of relief. I'm looking forward to it, although I am packing a week's worth of power bars and a bottle of antibiotics just in case. It will be scary, but at least I won't be seeing those headlines in the Wall Street Journal every morning, so I might start to relax. I just hope Mitch remembers to water my plants.

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