Olympic-Sized Healthcare: Go Big or Go Home
Recently, the BC Liberals, manned by premier Gordon Campbell, were revealed to be carrying a deficit as much as four times the $495 million campaign promise, including books so far red for the healthcare system, cutbacks are proposed in many health care services. Now let me put all my cards out on the table: I’m a type one diabetic, so naturally my insulin-dependent immunodeficient blood began to boil at the words “proposed cuts to ambulatory care and diabetic clinics.” The way I see it, there are three immediate choices to fixing this mess. Hold onto your scrub caps, let’s get this deficit back to black:
Option A—Let natural selection take its course. Let’s face it. For a large number of us, Darwin’s had his laser sight aimed at our Pharmacare-billing butts for quite some time. Time to stop dodging Charlie through the underbrush.
Option B—The healthcare-dependant cage match. Limited resources. Limited funds. One cage, and a whole bunch of sickos. This time . . . it’s personal. People love UFC-style battle royales, and brother, we love our socialized medicine. We could call it the “Rumble in the Emergency Ward,” charge fifty bucks a pop for tickets and make a killing, so to speak, on price-gouged foam fingers, nacho hats and beer helmets.
Option C—Treat the disease, not the symptoms. Now I know a politician would never knowingly fudge a budget, lie, mislead, deceive, or bamboozle. So obviously we are dealing with a large-scale pandemic of political fiscal amnesia, observable only by a compulsion to kiss babies on campaign trails. We’ve got to get rid of this disease.
Now none of these options sounds particularly feasible. I tossed and turned for days and decried such a confounding deficit conundrum. Then it hit me. So clear, so simple. Where will we find the money for our flagging healthcare system, so crimson at this point it’s practically infrared? Why, the money pit of course—that Olympic-sized pool-shaped hole of 2010 Winter Games spending we keep hearing about. The naysayers will say that money has already been pissed away, an example of fudge-it budgets and irresponsible spending. But let’s strap these naysayers to our rusted gurneys and keep the optimism party free to get jiggy with it. The Olympics are the answer! Here’s my 10-step plan to save our BC healthcare system through transference of resources. It’s a little plan I like to call Olympic-sized healthcare: go big or go home!
1) Mascots as orderlies and cleaning staff. Who wouldn’t like to wake from a coma to a fuzzy, cuddly, acid-trip-resembling figure crouched over your bed? With the crisis of poor cleaning quality in BC hospitals due to widespread privatization of cleaning staff, mascots Sumi, Miga and Quatchi have a job for life. They sort of resemble surgical sponges, after all. Plus, their names are tricky to pronounce, not unlike some of the thousands of immigrant hospital staff who have been contracted out and seen their wages slashed and burned. These mascots will fit right in— let’s get cleaning. And remember, nothing says Olympic spirit like a workspace free of necrotizing fasciitis.
2) Security personnel as candy stripers. If you’re telling me a military-trained security officer can kill a man with his thumb but can’t hold a scalpel or empty a bedpan, I think it’s time you met my good friend Doctor McWork Ethic.
3) Olympic clock used in psych ward to unload repressed anger. People love to throw a beating on this thing anyways, so why not strap on a couple of padded boxing gloves, pick up your foam bats and call it a therapy tool?
4) Hot dogs—get ’em while they’re hot! Sick people in a socialized medical system, lying in a hospital bed, are racking up the dough. Hello, expendable income! Let the Olympic food vendors sell you a meal high in trans-fat, carbohydrate-laden goodness. People don’t like hospital food anyways, and you, Mr. Intensive Care Moneybags, you’ll be able to afford the $6 hot dog. Yes doctor, I will have sauerkraut with that.
5) Biathalon doctors. Many people don’t understand why this is a sport at all. But I want the person who can ski twenty miles while shooting four rounds to be the person removing my appendix. Just think of the hand-eye coordination. Plus, snow is a much crueler mistress than an air-conditioned ER. Biathletes are the equivalent of doctors trained on the Ural Mountains of Siberia, not in some coddling med school.
6) Merchandising and marketing. I propose we use the Olympic apparel we can’t sell as consumer goods to celebrate a clean bill of health. With a few creative stitches, it’s amazing how “Olympics 2010” can become “Appendectomy 2010.” Then of course you can add addendums for an extra charge to your tees and hoodies, to make your hospital experience as memorable as a spring-break beach bash doing body shots off a freshman with low self-esteem. “Whistler 2010” becomes “Whistling after colonoscopy—just give ’er!” Olympic apparel for hospital use has an added bonus—the mass of Olympic garb from the 2008 summer Olympics can be used as hospital scrubs with absolutely no altering. Plus, those bandanas would make killer tourniquets.
7) Use of air horns and paraphernalia for motivation. When you’re sick, people bring you flowers and balloons, which are lovely and all, but there’s not much you can do with them. But air horns, plastic clappers and any siren-sounding noise apparatus is entertaining for all and will help urge the new hospital staff to achieve excellence. This is where you, Joe Sicko, come into play in the new Olympiad hospital schemata: encouragement through a sport psychology trifecta. Athletes respond well to pressure and reward, so in their new roles as doctors and nurses, try using a starter gun before a check-up. Allow them to operate while standing on a podium, or simply tear out a stitch every now and then and start a stopwatch, challenging them to break their previous suture record.
8) Steroid cache used as medication. A wealth of expensive medical supplies is at our fingertips, people! Plus, sickos won’t just beat their illness, but will be able to lift a pick-up truck with their bare hands. And what’s the point of beating a bacterial infection if afterwards you can’t toss a 300-pound log the length of a football field? I want to live in a society where people with pneumonia are bench-pressing Buicks in the hospital parking lot.
9) Stadium hospital seating for the masses. We need more hospital beds. We hear it all the time. Well, step into an Olympic stadium and there are folding chairs for all! After the conclusion of the games, you can bet 15 000 people won’t be filling that stadium for little Johnny’s peewee hockey tourney, so why not use the space for extra hospital housing? Doesn’t a stadium resemble a juiced-up operating theatre, anyways? I suggest housing the feverish patients here, as the air can get rather crisp. Plus, if delusion sets in, you can use the PA to pretend to be the voice of God rousing the sick to health. Any Olympian will tell you, after all, that the greatest battles are mental and not physical. Oh, and of course we don’t have a two-tiered medical system—but patients with “sexy” diseases or bling poking out from beneath their hospital bracelets will be housed in the owner’s box.
10) Olympic medals melted down to make new medical supplies. Recent reports revealed that some hospitals in this country have been double dipping, reusing medical supplies due to budgetary cutbacks and shortfalls in supplies. Well, to solve this problem we can melt down Olympic medals and make some new supplies. Plus, any extra gold medals can be clipped to medical equipment—like a keychain on a set of keys—to prevent its loss. Grandma doesn’t lose her car keys with the fuzzy pink stiletto keychain—never again will someone accidentally stitch a surgical sponge or gauze into a patient if there’s a big hunk of gold hanging from the end.
There you have it, Gordo. Ten steps to deficit-proof our BC healthcare budget. Now I’m off to take my insulin, munch on a corndog, and await the day the IOC checks my tonsils and takes my blood pressure. 120/80. Perfect.
Way to go, Olympic-sized healthcare system!
Way to go.