A GOOD WEEK FOR (ST. JAMES) HEALTHCARE

(Published in MEANDERINGS in the BUTTE WEEKLY March 29, 2017)

Sun rays filter into the Summit Valley, St. James Healthcare in the foreground
(photo: Chad Okrusch)

When it’s cloudy a few bright streams of sunlight piercing the ash gray skies is reason enough to take stock in things, count blessings, and regroup for the inevitable dark days ahead. I learned this living in Eugene, Oregon and Seattle for 13 years of my life. And, on an unforgettable episode of Portlandia (WINTER IN PORTLANDIA) in which Portlandians, eager for summer days and ever-hopeful in the face of the dark and damp Pacific Northwest spring, carry their folding chairs, portable grills, and hacky sacks around the city waiting for sun rays to breach the clouds and reach the earth. Each sun spot becomes a spontaneous party. If you live where it’s cloudy, being bathed by a few rays of sunshine, even if only for a moment, is an ecstatic experience.

According to my values, interests, and beliefs, we are living through a gray and cloudy time, but last week the sun shone through and many of us regained some perspective. The sky, though dark, is not falling.

Our system is imperfect, expensive, and by many global measures for developed countries, mediocre at best. But, there are bright spots, sun rays shining through the dark skies. Congratulations to St. James and all the good people who take care of us in their name. You folks are a ray of sunshine.

Without going into the policy details, I am thankful that my children and family will continue to have access to essential health services including basic medical care and reasonably priced prescription medication. Without going into family health and wellness details, my family and I need these things. In the short term, we can continue to receive decent healthcare, and at a basic biological and human level, that matters.

The red carpet treatment at the Kentucky Derby-inspired St. James Gala. 

The system is broken, but not dismantled. The harm that may have occurred if RyanCare passed, would have been catastrophic for many, by all accounts. In this case, the system worked, albeit in strange ways.

The Sisters of Charity and St. James Healthcare also had a good week. They were recognized for excellence in rural healthcare and included on a short list of the country’s best. The contributions of St. James to our community are long-lived, many, and immense. St. James Healthcare’s big week was capped off with a perfectly timed Kentucky Derby themed gala at Montana Tech. Beautiful women in audacious spring Derby hats, and good men often awkwardly wearing pastels and bow ties, gathered together to raise funds to help continue their healthcare and charitable works into the future.

Our system is imperfect, expensive, and by many global measures for developed countries, mediocre at best. But, there are bright spots, sun rays shining through the dark skies. Congratulations to St. James and all the good people who take care of us in their name. You folks are a ray of sunshine.