Poetic Dream of Health Care Professionals

The Poetry of My Dream of Health Care Professionals
by Betty Machete and Brewster Proust (aka Richard Martin Oxman)
Dedicated to overcoming Ostrich Syndrome, which has something to do with heads being buried in the sand. And to Sunil K. Sharma.


Poetry is like trying to remember a tune you’ve forgotten. All corrrections are attempts to get nearer to the teasing half-memory. I write a poem, or a poetic bit of prose, because I get a sudden vision — lasting a fraction of a second, perhaps — and attempt to express the whole of which the vision is a part.

My main mentor from the past, George W. Weber, the great artist/art historian/humanitarian, told me one quiet evening: “Richard, it’s like you half-remember home and you’re always trying to return there.” My poetic life is all about feeding off of my dreams, in waking hours and midst visions while asleep.

Both Bergson and Freud subscribed to the idea that the function of dreams is to explain away inner conflicts and external stimuli (noises, drafts, disagreeable thoughts, etc.) that might trouble a peaceful sleep, but I see dreaming — as Proust did — as its own province, with its own system of time and its singular realm of thrust. For me, the challenge in awakening is precisely how to insert sleep’s dynamics into the utterly different system of time used when awake.

Time is not money, is it?

Life is a dream, is it not?

It is not a flat affair, making you tear out your hair about your habits and survival. Midst the horror of no health care, or poor health care, or health care workers struggling so. No. There is truly Heaven on Earth, and we fail to see it. We must — all of us — honor our most diaphanous dreams.


I have a vision of starting with the main nurses’ union in California. Starting what? Having about ten of the twelve slots available (for the TOSCA project or something like it) filled by members of that union. As I told one of the nurses I know personally at Dominican Hospital yesterday [where I was visiting my hospitalized partner (waiting for the results of serious tests)], I’d like to plug in a number of health care professionals into our coalition running for Governor, for starters. Citizens on that gubernatorial ticket can be replaced by others as time moves on, for the purpose of ending up with a representative group more reflective of California’s demographics. But, at least, health care pros will be guaranteed representation of some kind… from a grassroots level.

Concerned citizens, disgruntled people, well-intentioned organizations filled with well-educated, experienced souls speak of doing this and that down the road, planting seeds which will blossom decades from now. They are dreaming. But they are dreaming in the sense of suffering from Ostrich Syndrome.

We do not have that kind of time.

Contact Richard at tosca.2010@yahoo.com or 831-688-8038

P.S. See below what I just received from Mary Lynn Cramer. Perhaps it’ll give you a sense of what we have to fight for immediately… following a new paradigm. I don’t have a helluva lot of faith in the writing campaign she recommends, but I do have great confidence in being able to use her sweet work and enthusiasm as a point of departure. Her email is directly below:

Please contact Democracy Now about their refusal to address the enormous premium increases already imposed by Medicare Advantage HMO providers. While the media headlines the 39% increases being requested by providers in California, no reporter dares to disclose that low-income seniors have already been hit with up to 52% increases in premium costs (plus drug and co-pay increases) beginning January 1, 2010. What’s the story here? Write them, write your local paper, phone them, contact your local and federal members of Congress. Below is my latest attempt to get a response from Democracy Now. Thanks for any effort you can make get the truth out. (You need not be as “wordy” and I am; just a brief note will do.) Mary Lynn Cramer

Felicidades Senor Gonzalez! I was very interested to hear about your Action Award on today’s show, and to hear you say that your strength in reporting comes from listening to those who no one else will listen to. As a long time listener to Democracy Now for many years (we get you on FM radio at noon, and on community cable stations here), I am frustrated that I can get no one to listen to what has already happened to low-income seniors on Medicare Advantage HMO plans. Our insurance premiums have gone up as much as 52% beginning in January 2010, along with increases in drug costs and co-pays. The media is a buzz with the requested 39% increases by Blue X in California; but NO ONE mentions that 100’s of thousands of low-income seniors across the nation already received letters from their health insurance providers in November 2009 that they would be paying huge increases beginning in January 2010–much higher than those being considered in California.

Yes, I have written you, NPR, NYT, BG, etc., about this story several times over the past many months, and no one will report on this best-kept dirty secret regarding the deals already made between Medicare Advantage (MA) HMO’s and the Obama Administration. Do you know why? Why do you avoid this story of the outrageous treatment of one of the most vulnerable populations in our country. The focus is on unions and small businesses (which I support), but not a word about what has already happened to poor elderly.

I have talked directly with the heads of various departments and, most recently, the Senior VP of my insurance company. They will tell you, and anyone else interested I suppose, that the Federal government gave them permission to raise MA HMO rates by these enormous amounts in September of last year—at the same time they say they were advised that they would lose government funding in 2010. They tell me they expect premiums for elderly on MA HMO to go up even higher after the Health Insurance Overhaul bill is passed. And not a word mentioned by the left, the right, the liberal or progressive media. (The truth is that their is no regulation of the “price” of premiums. States have no regulatory power over Medicare Advantage providers, and the Federal government simply approves “bids” regarding what the MA provider document are their operating costs and required profits. Medicare Advantage HMO bids are always under cost of what Original Medicare would need to spend for the same services.)

Can you tell me what’s up with this? Why is this story too hot to handle? Thanks for any information you can provide me. Mary Lynn Cramer

PS: As I predicted when many of your program’s guests stated their enthusiastic support for “Medicare for All,” that that would eventually be the only option for most of us–the world’s worst health care program that does not even provided for annual physicals, drugs, dental, eye glasses, or hearing exams would be the plan we would all be forced on to. When I confronted the Senior VP For Medicare Products of my MA HMO with the fact that many people would be forced to leave their MA HMO plan and go onto Original Medicare, she reminded me of that we all know…that the cost of MA HMO coverage would go up even higher as healthier people who can leave that program do so. At the same time the overall funding for Original Medicare is predicted to decline relative to the numbers who will need to enroll on that plan!