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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