Monday, July 28, 2014



I don't need end of life counseling from Dave the Desk Sitting bureaucrat. I already have an end of life plan that involves the Gulf Stream, a boat, and a superficial understanding of sailing. 

According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence or NICE – the United Kingdom’s Version of A Death Panel—figuring out if Granny is worth the cash necessary to keep her hip from falling off is easy. There’s a formula. 

. . . by taking the cost of treatment and dividing it by the years gained an overall cost benefit ratio can be determined as the ‘cost per quality – adjusted life year gained’ or CQG.

That is a direct quote taken straight from literature written by NICE!!!! I can’t make this up. 

See those letters—CQG—you know what that is? I know what it is. It’s algebra. They are using algebra to figure out if it’s worth it to keep me in watery Jell-O and estrogen patches.

It’s the hated, evil creepiness of algebra as it pertains to the lump on my personal arm, my health care, and the fact that the women of my family live for absolutely ever and ever. My great-grandmother was climbing farm fences at the age of ninety-one, because she couldn’t see well enough to find the gates. So if you calculate my “cost per quality—adjusted life year gained” I could cost the “collective good” more money to insure than two or three hundred homeless potheads in Colorado.

It’s algebra. It’s math. And you can’t argue with algebra, math, or the people at NICE. 

My DNA lives forever. It’s horrible. I have barnacles, because it’s a pure fact that if the boat sits in the water long enough, it’s going to get barnacles and require dry docking and scraping. I have barnacles. I’m a big-ticket item—health care wise.

So here’s how my CQG, if I lived in England, would go. My age (fifty-plus) multiplied by my genetic propensity for eternal life, divided by the number of scars on my person from malicious cancer (a bunch—also more than a pirate) over the coefficient of the number of barnacles found on the average rowboat bobbing off the coast of any Bahamian island equals—pull the plug already.

I told my doctor that if any future barnacle lumps turn out to be a malignant anything, then I’m renting a sail boat, sailing into the Gulf Stream, and jumping off the back.

She said, “That’s kind of extreme; don’t you think? And why the Gulf Stream?”

“Because the Gulf Stream is warm. I don’t do cold, and besides I’d like to donate my share of the universal health care pie to someone with less barnacles—also I believe in life, without barnacles, after death.”

"I'll have the front desk schedule your surgery."

"Nice!" I said.

And now that America has decided to go the way of all the other cool countries with death panels, I think we should call our death panel either:

SWELL—Seeing Ways to Eliminate Little Old Ladies or 

GULF—Giving Up on Leftover Folks.

Linda (NICE is as NICE does) Zern

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