Sunday, June 17, 2007

Don't get sick here

I talked to a friend from the hospital last night and he painted a dark picture on the state of Commonwealth Health Center -- notably worse than recent times. There is one surgeon left (on call 24 hours a day), as two good ones, Drs. Sawer and George have left. There is minimal blood, so some patients can't get the care they need, including surgery, since doctors won't take that risk without extra blood. A few people told me that one. The place is wildly understaffed, doctors are hard to find in an emergency, and to make matters worse, patients make no effort to help themselves, eating things that exacerbate their diabetes situation, a disease that is very manageable with education and self control. The diabetes rate is catacylsmic, and the eating habits I see are wretched behind belief. I'm hardly a vegan or anything, but I don't go overboard on the salty snacks or donuts, and always try to maintain some moderation.

On this note, my wife is diabetic, and is one of these people not doing what she should. If they had a rehab center for sugar, I'd seriously consider having her admitted because she has a kid's/addict's affinity for sweets. If I see them in the house, I throw them out. I don't care if money was spent on it or what. Feel free to abuse her over this, but it probably won't matter since even the doctor's advice she minimizes, and it is majorly pissing me off. In fact, I half think she wouldn't be seeing forty if we didn't meet and I wasn't there to get her situation mildly under control. The number one thing we fight about is the sugar she lets the kids have. A situation that is improved, but not where it should be. End of rant on my wife. Tough luck baby. Cut the crap and I'll take this part down. Back to my regularly scheduled post.

The message this person gave me is "don't get sick here. If you do, get out, and if you're too unstable to be transported, you're in trouble." Dr. Khorram wrote a great post on this topic, and he obviously knows a lot more about this issue than I do. One great point he made was the private care physicians and the great work they are doing. I totally agree, and wrote about that issue myself when I had a mildly complicated medical problem last year.

It gets tiring beating the same dead horse, but the days of invented make work jobs have to end when the schools are opening, maybe, without the needed repairs and are "unsafe" according to the commisioner, since the money that was earmarked for these repairs via compact money will have to go to salaries to keep schools open. The hospital is a mess, and failing to anticipate a time when oil would go much higher, no one maintained or planned for the island's power needs. These are essential services, yet we have three mayors and councils, two houses of a legislature and a ridiculous stash of government vehicles. All of these unnecessary lawmakers have a $100,000 plus allowance for BS.

I heard one scam where people are siphoning gas from the government vehicles to place in their own car, or to sell. I knew of prominent families tapping in to the power lines to avoid that bill, plus there was this scam recently that got all those CUC people busted for not switching off the power of those who failed to pay in exchange for a kickback. A few years ago, I was sitting in the lunch room with about eight friends, all expats, and I was the only person paying for cable -- all of them hooked it up illegally. I'm not sure anyone even contemplates not running a scam here.

It's hard to imagine a place as mismanaged as this one, and it is so tiring to hear the horror stories. Even the admonition to vote wisely really matters little since there is no exchange of ideas, and it just seems to be the same old lame candidates who pollute the island with their hideous lawn signs, like Sen. Crisostimo has the early jump on. It's hard to live long term in a place with a lousy hospital, crumbling schools, wildly expensive and unreliable power and little hope that there are competent people to fix those problems. It just doesn't have to be like this, but it is such a tiring fight. What a buzzkill from Friday's dive.


Marianas Eye said...

My comment is way too involved to post here, so I've posted it on my blog. Read one "inside" perspective there.


BoReGo said...

I used to always harrass my mom about what she let my brother eat. She made sure all the cutlery was clean, but allowed him to feast on chocolate and sugar. Keep the battle going, our kids need to learn new habits if they have bad ones and they can! We are implementing a no junk food policy and only healthy birthday parties at school next year.

bigsoxfan said...

Sorry about your buzzkill, Happy Father's day, none the less. Life isn't perfect anywhere. Have you read a local paper from the states lately? Do your kids run around the yard without you looking to make sure a gun is close to hand? I'm glad, very glad, for what I have here and I think you are too.

Jeff said...

I don't expect life to be perfect, and I don't ever recall a gun in my backyard in the states, which isn't to say life is perfect there. I would trade about 10 legislators for a radiologist and a few surgeons at the hospital, and a few other corrupt bureaucrats for a student teacher ratio below 30. It would be foolish to smile at the nice ocean and act like those two problems don't exist. I can't be that polyanna. I doubt you had that big picture perspective when Boone hit that Wakefield knuckler, the ball went through Buckner's legs or Bucky went yard.

bigsoxfan said...

My wife found a guy wandering around the living room last month and we live well out of town. In the state of Maine, north of Portland, that rarely happens. Even when we can see the ocean from the front room. Gun availability aside, Saipan isn't that different from the states, except you can see the ocean from most residences here. Same stuff, same problems.
I'm leaving way before my son goes to even pre-school. Althoug, I wish he could experience the different cultures, as I've had the chance to. He can try that on his own later in life and I'll encourage him to. But for now, I won't take the chance on what is available. It isn't the teachers are of poor quality. Praxis and No Child Left Behind are everywhere and I’m unconvinced the standards do as much good as parents standing behind their children and supporting the children and their teachers.
I remember writing home during my first visits and relating how well I thought the locals treated their children. How wrong I was. I’m not even sure whose kids I was seeing. I'm pretty well disgusted with how badly the school system is dealt with. Doesn't help, that today, I saw four kids; between the ages of five and twelve in the back of a truck without even a tailgate or a rope protecting them from the road. No wonder you all get so little support. I enjoyed riding in the back of my little league coaches’ pickup after practice. BACK IN 1977, IN RURAL MAINE. Msgr Guerro these days is nowhere close to that. Time for this island to set some rules and let everyone live by the same.
Sorry to vent so much, but I don’t equate a sport game, Sox included, with anything like the educational squalor and poor opportunities the kids here endure. I really hope that things pick up and one of the first items of change is teaching children. Saipan, and even it more funded, but even less well managegd cousin, Guam, have plenty of advantages: local culture and family support, the best possible exposure to nature, varied cultural exposure. Take advantage of what is available freely and maybe transfer a little wasted legislative funding and produce a greative amount of more effective public school system funding. What is the government afraid of? That contract workers kids will be well educated on the CNMI dime, while taking away money for their own kids to enjoy the value of the mainland systems. Got me on that one. Sometimes, even the Red Sox make their own luck, good and bad, and maybe that is true here.

Jeff said...

Feel free to vent. That is what the net is for. You can get a good education here with parental support, and if you're tuned in to the best teachers. They are out there. My experience is that several of the elementary schools are on par with the states, and the system completely breaks down in the overcrowded, low morale, crappy facility middle school, and this makes the first two years of high school a disaster. By grade 11 and 12 they are mostly ready again, but the system needs to be shocked to develop the importance of school. It is quite a task. I deal with the near finished product, and I try to fill in an incredible amount of gaps from all areas.

glend558 said...

Hi Jeff: let me refer you and your wife to my blogspot #332.Maybe that will help y'all out. Things change from day to day as I quote you yesterday "but I'm feeling good about Saipan right now -- as good as I ever have." This place will never change in our lifetimes ,so go with the flow.
Have a nice evening.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

This is important:

Jeff said...

Good to see the Boston junior high schools are teaching kids to be so adept with video editing angelo.