Our healthcare system, a metaphor.September 28th, 2011 By: Betty Long
Last night, while I was watching the Phillies vs. Braves game, my 17-year-old nephew called to ask for my help with an assignment for his English class. He was supposed to write a poem and use a metaphor to describe the topic of his poem. In his case it was rowing. He is an accomplished rower and was quite eloquent when he read his not-yet-finished poem. But, talk about a tough job! We eventually did create a fitting metaphor for his poem topic and after we hung up, I began thinking about metaphors, and of course, our healthcare system.
If I had a similar assignment, what would I write about healthcare? About a patient's experience in that healthcare system? What metaphor–using the definition of a metaphor as a figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea—would adequately describe my feelings?
And then it came to me. A byzantine labyrinth. An archaic extremely complicated maze-like structure. I'm not even sure THAT description even does justice to the complex and not-user friendly system where patients are rendered care and treatment in the United States.
Still, for this assignment, it'll do. Now, back to the baseball game.
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