Mom and I were just listening to a story on CNN about a new drug treatment for prostate cancer that may be approved for Medicare payment. Why did that attract our attention? Well, several reasons. First, the price tag--a whopping $93,000/4 month (I think) course of treatment. The treatment is touted as extending the lives of prostate cancer patients by four months (this I am sure of). That is almost double the average yearly salary of an American worker. For an extra 4 months of life?? Second, the cynical comments that "of course, it would be approved because no wants to be accused of 'killing Grandpa.' " I have thought for a good while now that the major problem with the skyrocketing medical costs is the fact that the people who pay for the care are not the people who get the care and the providers simply send in the bills without having to seriously justify the charges. Third, it wasn't very long ago that the medical establishment recommended a wait-and-see stance toward prostate cancer because most such cancers are very slow growing and the patient was more likely to die of other old-age related conditions before the cancer would kill him. In other words, don't go to the aggressive treatments right away.
I am sitting down again. I have most of one section of containers pruned and tied up. I have already dried 2 trays of cilantro and 4 of spearmint with 3 more spearmint and 4 of basil drying now. It is getting warm so I am taking this very easy. I wrote a couple of times about the community gardens I have seen and what some of the arrangements with them are. I got to talk to an elderly man who was tending his plot at the one over by the Lutheran Church yesterday. He said that it is open to anyone (not just church members) and cost $10/year. I am thinking about it but I don't think I will go for it. It sounds nice but what I have now is pleasantly exhausting. I don't know that I really want more work. There is a fine line between burdensome toil and enjoyable activity. I think I am just at the enjoyable limit right now. Also, there isn't much more I can grow that we can't buy at the farmers' markets and we do want to keep them in business as much as possible. And there is only so much of that produce we can use and only so many people we can give some of the excess to. Ah well, another daydream hits the hard wall of reality.
This item from The Agonist expresses something that has been in my mind for a goodly while. Greece is becoming a debtors' prison but without bars. Although, I seem to remember a couple of stories that described the new trend in some states of imprisoning people for debt so I guess we will be joining them soon.