Jewish World Review June 11, 2010 29 Sivan 5770
The Return of Ask Dr. Politics!
By Roger Simon
A: I decided that while anyone can write about health care from the outside, it takes a real journalist to explore it from the inside.
A: So I had my legs cut off.
Q: That's not funny!
A: You're telling me. You want to know what's funny about losing your legs?
A: They're always in the last place you look.
Q: I can't tell if you are making this up. How did you lose your legs?
A: Would you believe a skydiving accident?
A: How about a snowboarding pileup?
A: How about I got an infection, and it led to blood poisoning?
Q: That I believe.
A: The doctors had to cut off my right leg below the knee and almost all of my left foot. After a long stint in intensive care, then seven weeks at the National Rehabilitation Hospital of Washington, I am now in a wheelchair. But I can't wait to get back on my own two — artificial — feet again.
Q: What will those be like?
A: I am hoping they will be like Iron Man, and I will be able to fly and kick over buildings.
Q: You are being very brave about this.
A: It is amazing how brave you can be when you have no choice. Also, I am on a lot of drugs.
Q: I have a gruesome and disgusting question.
A: Of course, you do. You are one of my readers.
Q: What do they actually do with amputated limbs? Bury them? Burn them? What?
A: They put them on eBay.
A: Actually, I don't know what they do with them — but, personally, I would not eat at a fast-food restaurant within 10 blocks of a hospital.
Q: Have there been any aftereffects of your surgeries?
A: I keep having the same dream: I am floating in a dark, frigid void. After what seems like an eternity, I see a faint light that grows steadily brighter. I make my way to it. Seated on a golden throne and surrounded by all manner of angels, there is a glowing figure that seems to radiate infinite serenity. He motions me forward. I advance. He bends down to whisper in my ear. "Plastics," he says. And then I wake up.
Q: What does that mean?
A: I have no idea.
Q: There must be a psychological aspect to what you are going through. How you are handling all this?
A: I believe in what I once read: "Life is a club where they won't stand for squawks, where they deal you only one hand, and you must sit in. So even if the cards are cold and marked by the hand of fate, play up, play up like a gentleman and a sport."
Q: Who wrote that?
A: Nathanael West.
Q: Who's he?
A: He's a blogger from Paramus, N.J.
Q: Is there anything we can do for you? Anything you need?
A: Or an iPad. I can't decide which.
Q: I hear iPads are pretty cool.
A. Yeah, but pity is cool, too. I could call up somebody who never returns my calls, for instance, and it would go like this:
Aide: Madame Secretary, Roger Simon is calling.
Secretary Clinton: You know I don't talk to morons. Hang up on that geek.
Aide: But Madame Secretary, he has no feet now.
Secretary Clinton: My God, put him through immediately! And find a classified document I can leak to him!
Q: That's revolting. There are tens of millions of disabled people in this country who refuse all forms of pity.
A: Good. There will be more for me. Also, I am thinking about product endorsements. Flying commercial in a wheelchair can really be a pain — but if, for instance, Northrop Grumman would make any of its fine aircraft available to me, I would be really grateful.
Q: You're out of your mind.
A: Have I ever mentioned how sleek and powerful the B-2 Spirit is, to say nothing of the EA-6B Prowler with its wing-mounted jamming pods? Talk about a great company.
Q: I sense much of your braggadocio is designed to mask your fear — your fear of not knowing what life holds for you next.
A: Au contraire, I know exactly what life holds for me next.
A: Parking in all those nifty "handicapped only" spots.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
© 2009, Creators Syndicate