Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What's that Smell?

While I live in Shoreline, I keep an apartment in the Eastlake district, and last night, after the fireworks display, apparently the Pier at 1801 Fairview Ave East caught on fire. Now I'm no big fan of what I like to call drunks with explosives day, and yesterday's fire was a pretty good indication of why celebrating freedom by getting drunk and illegally setting off fireworks is a very bad idea. How is getting drunk and blowing things up an appropriate celebration for Independence Day?

Now my neighborhood smells toxic, and I woke up with a pretty bad headache, a probably result of the fumes aggravating the sinus infection I am fighting. And while the fire department won't say it yet, I am pretty darn sure that drunks with explosives day was the cause.

Happy Fourth of July everyone! Hopefully you survived and kept all your fingers! National health statistics report almost 9,000 emergency room visits for injuries due to fireworks in 2002... mostly kids!

Health Care IS Emergency Preperation

Recently I came down with a sinus infection. Actually, it wasn't that recently, it has actually been months. But I until recently I didn't have health insurance or a regular doctor, so I have developed a bad habit of ignoring my health problems to see if they'll just go away on their own. This one didn't, and by this morning, it was pretty bad (and kinda gross). So I went down to the Country Doctor Health Clinic on Capitol Hill, and luckily they got me in quick and prescribed a bottle of antibiotics.

On the campaign trail for County Executive last year, I was asked quite frequently about things like pandemic flu, SARS, and other infectious diseases that could be considered security risks to the region. Now I have to admit that Eric Holdeman, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management, is by all accounts doing a bang-up job on preparing the King County Region for possible disasters, but there's a deeper problem here. With so many uninsured Americans, if a flu pandemic were to arise, how many of the uninsured would do like me and wait days, weeks, perhaps months to see a doctor, or go to the emergency room? How many more people will be infected with some deadly disease because of this?

Countries with universal health care are far more prepared for pandemics than the US will ever be until we can figure out how to cover the uninsured. All the money pouring into disaster preparation in the post 911 word will do nothing to counter this problem. Universal Health care is about more than helping the poor, it's about security for the Nation.