Plantas de la selva: Vol. 12

Silver in the jungle dark

The Shuar in Arutam live in a place between the modern world of cell phones and synthetic fabrics and their traditional world of forest food and medicine.

This one, in particular, was used for tea and salves and apparently is considered both rare and beneficial to memory.

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A plea from the uninsured…

Today, in Washington, D.C., on the floor of the chamber of the U.S. House, your elected officials will tilt on the topic of health care. This is being billed as a marquee showdown, an epic vote.

I’ve read through parts and summaries of reports from the Congressional Budget Office and followed the big news outlets now and then, but I can’t claim to have been very diligent. I also will note that this blog is mostly a-political. After the better part of four years as a political reporter, I find politics vital but bluster and bombast all the same.

But I will offer a personal plea now for calm, cool reason. And for compassion. And for common sense, which tells us the system is broken for more than 30 million Americans, myself included.

I will try to be brief:

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Today, I am thankful… to be uninsured in a country where health care isn’t a cluster

For the last two-and-a-half days, I’ve been running a fever of between 100.3 and 103.1 degrees Fahrenheit. This has been accompanied by dizziness, headache, sensitivity to light, pain behind my eyes and graphic gastrointestinal problems.

Today, I decided enough was enough (and complied with the wishes of people back home) and began to hunt for a doctor. A friend, Poh Si, recommended a GP, Dr. Gita Prakash.

Around 5 p.m., I called “Dr. Gita,” as she is known, on her cell phone, she picked up, and she told me to come by at 6:30 p.m.

Think about that statement for just a second.

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Uninsured and in pain. Could be worse. At least, I’m in India.

I’ve been walking anywhere from two to 10 kilometers per day. It’s exercise, I see and learn the city better, and it beats the hell out of dealing with and paying for autorickshaw rides everywhere.

But in the last two days, my right foot — though it shows no external symptoms and I recall no major trauma — has felt like it’s on the verge of exploding with each step.

(Think jagged metal Krusty-O magically implanted between my fourth or fifth metatarsal. Sharp, stabbing pain when putting weight on the ball of my foot. Sometimes, the pain shoots up my leg.)

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