POOR? DON’T GET SICK
Katha Pollitt’s “Poverty Is Hazardous to Your Health” should be required reading for all Americans [“Subject to Debate,” Oct. 8]. The trouble is, there are conservatives without compassion who think they could never be in the position of Dr. Barry’s patient. They think the reason is that they’ve made “good choices” and this woman hasn’t. Guess they wouldn’t have had that child–oops, but they oppose abortion and often contraception. I guess they just would never have had sex. (Ha!) Pollitt’s column makes me more outraged than ever at conservatives’ lack of sympathy for the poor.
I don’t know how often Katha Pollitt’s doctor friend deals with cases of head lice in her impoverished patients, but there is a simple remedy. Mayonnaise, applied liberally to the hair and scalp and combed through with a fine-tooth comb, will kill lice and get rid of nits. Unlike with Nix or Rid, if you don’t get all the critters out with the first application, it is safe to reapply the mayonnaise immediately. Furthermore, the stuff is a marvelous hair conditioner. A jar of mayonnaise costs about $2 and can be paid for with food stamps. I learned this tip from my daughter’s school nurse and can testify that it works. I doubt if y’all will publish this note from an Alabama janitor, but please do pass it along to Dr. Barry.
I am saddened to see that not much has changed since my days in an inner-city health clinic. I now work in a health center at the gateway to northern Maine. Rural poverty adds one extra burden–geography. While the urban and suburban poor at least have access to centers like the one at Yale, like the woman Pollitt mentions, the rural poor often have to travel three or four hours for health services.
ALAN GARBER, MD
BOURBON, BLUEGRASS & DITCHMITCHERS
Vive la Révolution, Louisville! [Bob Moser, “Kentucky at War,” Oct. 1] As a native, I don’t hesitate to defend my hometown every time (and there have been many, many times) a Northerner has snubbed my state for its “hillbilly” past. True, there are rednecks in Kentucky. But you can go as far east as Kennebunkport and as far west as Monterey, and you will still find rednecks.