Monday, May 19, 2008

Our City Is Not Doing Its Part

Today, as part of the filming for Beautiful Flower and Penis, Lauren, Amber, and myself made our second pilgrimage to the Green County Health Clinic to partake of their free STD screening.

The clinic opened at eight o'clock in the morning, and we arrived slightly before seven-thirty. Upon entering, we found three slips of paper with the numbers 1-3 on them at the clinic check-in window along with a stack of the form we'd need to fill out. We took the numbers and set to work.

Minutes later, a man walked in and made his way to the check-in window. He was wearing faded, torn clothing and we noticed that he was lightly favoring his genital area as he walked. With a worried expression, he asked us if we had seen where the numbers had been laid out, and we explained that we had them. He lamented that he had tried to get in before and that he was here so early because the lady working had told him that she put the numbers out at seven-thirty sharp: he had tried to get in before. We assured him that if these three numbers were all that could get in, one of us would part with ours. By the time eight AM rolled around, about ten other people were there, including a girl holding a marriage license and a pregnant Latino couple.

Sure enough, three people is all they could service - just three. It is no wonder that nobody is getting tested for STDs. This is simply unconscionable. It can't be that the city is saving money, since preventative maintenance is less costly than diverting the time and resources of our hospitals to treating fully developed STDs, of which even the curable ones can do extended harm if not detected early. This policy is surely costing the city more money and resources.

Noting that we had lesser needs than everybody there, we all gave up our numbers to those we felt needed them most and left. After all, the three of us are almost certainly clean STD-wise, and were only doing it for the show, so it made sense. After drowning our sorrows in biscuits and gravy, we returned home and called the city clerk to arrange five minutes to speak at the next city council meeting. I believe it will be me doing the speaking, while Amber is going to spend the next two weeks writing letters, undoubtedly with help from the rest of the Juggernauts.

About an hour ago I received a call from the lady in charge of the health clinic. Apparently the city clerk had forwarded her my number and she was calling to see what went wrong. Likely, the city had called her up and jumped down her throat after attributing our forthcoming addressing of city council to a complaint with the clinic itself rather than the lack of funding they're receiving for STD screening. She was very relieved, not to mention overflowing with praise, when she realized that we are going to be championing her cause, and that we had no intention to indict the clinic itself for not having the funding to do these tests. Ultimately, she agreed to e-mail me all the relevant statistics on her end with which to do battle on June 2nd, which is when the next city council meeting is.

We will keep you updated with our letters, numbers, speeches and what not, as well as any way you can help by writing or contributing. Stay tuned.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, not testing/treating more people doesn't cost the city itself more. Ensuing medical problems are not the purview of the city of Springfield. Complications from untreated STDs will cost the state and federal governments more. The citizens pay no matter what.

Carly Ann said...

I knew it couldn't be that easy...

I'll be paying for my STD testing whenever I can. In the scheme of things, I can afford it.

Carly Ann said...

This is the second thing I thought when I read this - STD screenings are offered free, although in small numbers obviously. What about other screenings? Just for example, mammograms and colonscopies. Cancer kills people too. As far as I know, those things aren't offered free at all but they're things that older men and women should get regularly.

nisemono3.14 said...

Anonymous,

You are right. No matter which social umbrella it falls under, the citizens are the ones who are paying for the results of a failure to provide adequate testing and treatment.

The larger issue that I see is that we are allowing fellow citizens to suffer, and failing to provide them with basic testing to ensure that they are not spreading horrible and possibly deadly infections to others.

-Amber Culbertson-Faegre



-Amber Culbertson-Faegre

Anonymous said...

You are doing a good thing that needs to be done. There are columnists, like Sarah Overstreet and radio talk show hosts like Vincent David Jerico who might help you in your quest. They are outspoken people who will speak up for the underdog.You saw a bunch of people who are underdogs who have no voice unless many people from all walks of life work together to give them one. Do not be afraid of those who are Christian or any other religion. Many have the same goals that you do including free speech and a better world for everyone.