Michael Troy Wieser photos

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Welcome! Read and learn, share your comments & see the slideshow at the end


Today, April 25, 2009, my dear friend would have been 28 years old. He is greatly missed by hundreds of people who knew his kind nature and awesome personality. I have the overwhelming feel that something so wrong happened to allow him to die for lack of care in a rich society that allows "healthcare" to exclude life-sustaining medication for it's citizens and voters on the pretext that the need "pre-existed" some event. The magnitude of this is simply inexpressible.
Eventually, the feelings of sadness, anger and guilt may pass, but we will never forget you, Michael my friend, or hopefully your story. Thank you for the moments you shared with us all.
- Those who remain.

April 11, 2009 - Tomorrow is Easter marking 46 days since Ash Wednesday, 2009 when my good friend died from massive incompetence, greed and inefficiency of a care system that allows companies to insure themselves at intolerable cost instead of the people whose charter allows them to exist. This country can no longer afford such a system. Of that, Michael is the proof.

"There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to Jesus' tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead'."
- Matthew 28

"Christ died for our sins and was buried. On the third day he was raised from the dead and appeared to Peter, and then to all of his apostles. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of his brothers."
- 1 Corinthians 15

This is a memorial site for Michael T. Wieser for all to remember the great, great personality of this strong and kind young man. As we know, he died in the prime of his life at the age of 27 due to complications of Wilson's Disease.

His other memorial is here: RememberMichaelTroy.com

The Wieser Family has set up a Caring Bridge site for Michael. Please visit and leave a note for the family on the guestbook
The Healthcare Crisis Hits Home - by Karen Koss

I knew Michael since early in 2006 and miss him very much, as we all do who knew and appreciated him for the valuable and exemplary human being he was.

We so wanted to watch him go forth and grow in wisdom and renown and to bless the lives of all he met as he did to ours.

Abraham Lincoln his hand and pen
He will be good but god knows when.
- Abe himself

If I had NOT known Michael for a brief three years I would be the poorer for it. For all this I am most grateful.

My other purpose in the memorial is dealing with the healthcare issues that lead directly to Michael's premature death and separation from this world. We can do it, and we can help prevent future situations from happening in the future to disease sufferers and people who are knowingly or not uninsured or underinsured in their times of need.

April 11, 2009

The medical bills that Michael's family must have gotten from five days of intensive care must be huge. The bills probably totaled exactly the cost of Michael's specialized medications for the last two years or three years, but the difference is that our friend is gone now.

But they killed him in his kindness,
In their madness and their blindness,
- Herman Melville of Lincoln

Such an absurd system of care for folks who have desperate but easily met needs! For example, 1 in 30,000 people have Wilson's disease. That makes the monthly cost to the insurance pool of giving Michael the best drug that he needed, Trienamine, would have been about one or two pennies a month for every person in the pool.

In the way this nightmare unfolded to his family and friends, trying to get him admitted to a transplant center and being told "no" because he had not "complied" with his previous expensive medication regimen; finally finding out that Mayo, Rochester would admit him on the basis of the family's reputation and promise to self-pay the $250,000.00 cost of a transplant. And then finally getting him life-flighted from Vegas--sans plasmaphoresis and dialysis, I might add--to have his vital signs fail on the next day. It must have been truly hidious for the nine of them who came out to try and get him treated.

It's so wrong to expect a young person starting out in life who has a rare condition to be able to absolutely afford pills that cost $20/day--as much as a BMW car--but we do it.

When I met Michael three years ago he told me that he had a medical condition with copper, and that he did have health insurance. For some reason, after that I never questioned it and just assumed that he had access to prescription drugs through his plan. I wonder if Mike ever knew that I personally would have moved heaven and earth to get him the drug he needed to keep him alive--the second-tier drug, Penacillamine, which cost $90 per month and had a few side effects. Maybe we could even had done on and off with the better drug or worked the whole thing out.

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west
And thought of him I love.
- Walt Whitman of Lincoln

I think it might be hard for a super guy like Mike to ask for help with his health care expenses from friends and family, even in the midst of a nasty recession that has been dragging on like this one since November, 2007 where he could probably not get enough work in advertising to make ends meet for a while. That's the time when we need a safety net below which people cannot fall to their destruction. The irony was that it wouldn't at all have even been expensive to the net to take care of this guy!

It seems like a tragedy to Mike, and us and a couple of hundred other people who knew how cool and valuable he was. He was thrown away and wasted. For no good reason.

Something should come out of this pain and loss. Marching in the street is cool, or going to call on our representatives in Congress with Michael's story. I have posted his story to HealthReform.gov where you can also sign up to participate and engage with political forums in your own communities.

By ourselves this change will not happen. Divided we are bound to fail. But the life of a tall, gangly, self made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different future is possible. He tells us that there is power in words. He tells us that there is power in conviction, that beneath all the differences of race and region, faith and station, we are one people. He tells us that there is power in hope.
- President Obama of the Railsplitter

Here is a recent video piece from 60 Minutes that is worth viewing:

Bad Economy Leaves Cancer Patients Without Health Insurance In Dire Straits

There will be a fantastic fundraiser for the Michael Wieser Benefit. Many of you have already heard about the 5K Run/Walk. Here are the details:

Michael Troy Wieser 5k Run/Walk

Saturday May 16, 2009 9:00 AM-12 Noon
Pre-registration from 8:00 AM - 8:45 AM
Race starts and ends at the La Crescent Community Arena. The Arena is at 520 S. 14th St in La Crescent

Only $12 if you register before May 1st.
$15 if you register after May 1st or on the day of the race.

All entrants receive a race T-shirt and awards will be given to top overall finishers in each age division.

Pick up entry form and pledge sheet from Curves in La Crescent, La Crescent High School Office, or call Shelley Gates at 608-317-7749 and leave your address to receive one by e-mail.

*Sponsored by the La Crescent Lancer Link Crew.
*All proceeds go to the Wieser family and a future scholarship in Michael's name.
If you cannot attend, you can make a pledge to those who are walking from Mike's family by contacting the author of this caringbridge site.

Mountain Biking

Mike and I first started mountain biking at Lake Tahoe in the Summer of 2006. I lent him my spare bike so we could go out and thrash the alpine trails around the lake. Biking was good exercise for his ACL problem because it does not strain the knees as much as running can. We had a lot of fun, and he seemed to me very coordinated even on fast downhill sections. I prepped him a bit for the latter and Michael just tore down the little hills around there like a freaking pro! I've done this sport for years, but Mike was so adept at athletic stuff that he could one-trial learn it. I took great pleasure in his adventurous spirit and basic intelligence.

It seems so inconceiveable to me now that he is gone so suddenly at the age of 27 when he had a good life and a lot to live for. Michael was smart, and a good listener and a kind soul that the world will struggle to replace. But his spirit will always be remembered.

I pray that we will somehow heal from the complete shock of this, and that something good will come out of the seeming horror of it.

To me it seems wrong to seriously expect a 20-year old to pay $400 per month out of his own pocket for special medicine for a rare condition. Since the incidence of Wilson's is 1 in 30,000 the cost of helping the rare disease sufferer to the other 29,999 health plan members is about 1 to 2 cents per month. It just is ridiculous the way the system is set up now in our country to exclude people and just expect them to get along on their own resources, expecially in a difficult economic time, and when they are young and just starting out. That is what a safety net it for: to provide a level of care below which our peers cannot fall to their destruction.

1 comment:

Old Man Duggan said...

In everything I read initially, I was shocked that Mike's parents weren't a little more upset. Their disgust at the shortcomings of our health care system are absolutely justified. If nothing else, I hope something good can come from something as horribly unjust as what happened to Mike.