The View From Your Sickbed

A reader writes:

I just spent the day at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, CA, with my father in-law.  He went to file his change of address since he just moved into its service area, and he hoped, while he was there, to get his monthly vitamin B-12 shot. The facility is new and beautiful, the staff, for the most part courteous and professional (there was one lady in the Urgent Care department who, my father in-law said, "Had the personality of dried dog shit"). His registration took about 45 minutes, and he was able to get an appointment that afternoon to get his shot. His appointment was for 1:20; his name was called at 1:33. He was done by 1:50, and we were out of there by 2:00.

There were two sides to the waiting room, both with huge LCD tvs. On one they showed General Hospital. On the other was Fox News, and the two major stories were the plane crash in New York, and the Health Care debate, centering on both the Pelosi/Hoyer calling the protestors "Un-American," and then Neil Cavuto's guests railing against "government-run health care" and "death Panels." The text on the screen kept referring to "Governor Palin," as if she'd never resigned, and quoted her at length on the "evils" of government-run healthcare. The juxtoposition could not be more stark, and I found myself wondering if the staff there kept it on Fox News to purposely create cognitive dissonance as some sort of research project.

Also, there were informational pamphlets available, including one titled "About Advance Medical Directives." Presumably, this is the "death panel" we've been warned about. Members of this panel apparently include "Family and Friends, your physician, clergy, your lawyer."