The Victim of the Game
When I was a senior in high school a very important album was released. It was called No Fences and was performed by Garth Brooks. It was chocked full of songs that are now considered country classics. One of the most powerful songs on that album was entitled “Victim of the Game.” It struck quite a chord with me and other young girls. This song was so easy to identify with, as many of us were suffering the heartbreak of first loves and dating. We were realizing that for many people love was just a game. Here is the first stanza:
“Well, it took a little time
But I guess you finally learned
That promises get broken
And bridges do get burned
You've been siftin' through the ashes
Just tryin' to find a flame
Holdin' on to nothin'
You're a victim of the game.”
Recently, I found myself thinking once again of that song from so many years ago.
I began thinking about it as I began to design The Walking Gallery Jacket of Kathi Apostolidis: “The Victim of the Game.”
If you follow e-patient comments on Twitter, Facebook or e-patients.net you probably know Kathi. I have been following her since June of 2010. She is very active on social media, showing up throughout my day. Which is quite a feat as Kathi tweets from Greece. Her astute comments are always a strong addition to whichever discussion is at hand. Recently she asked to join The Walling Gallery as our first member from Greece. I was overjoyed.
I read a few of her recent posts and decided to depict her currents concepts and concerns. On her jacket we see two figures in a darkened room. The only light comes from a classic stained glass poker light. You might notice that the colors of the stained glass represent the colors of the Rainbow button initiative. Blue is for the blue button, currently in place at the Veteran’s Administration allowing veterans easy access to their electronic medical record. Green represents a desire to share medical information. Red represents the ability make information private. White utilizes secure email such as the direct project and allows patients to direct information where the wish to send it. And these four colors make the light in this room.
Two people sit at the table playing poker. To the left of the frame a female patient looks down despondently. She has folded. Two hands of cards lay on the table. It appears as if the female patient has twice lost while playing a straight flush of hearts. If you add both hands together you will see ace through ten. This represents the ten minutes the average patient has to spend with a doctor. An hourglass to the figure’s left that has too few grains of sand within and reinforces the frustration felt due to time constraints of a clinical visit. The female figure is too thin and appears tired. She looks longingly at the winning “chips” held by the other player.
The other player is male. He appears to be a corporate figure in a dress shirt and tie. He has won the hand playing a royal straight flush of spades. Here we call a “spade a spade.” This is an ancient expression from Greece, once used pejoratively, now it has come to represent transparent communication. His face is concerned and distressed as he pulls the winner’s pot into his arms. But these chips are not the ones used in any other game. Lids and jars of prescription drugs are scattered on the tabletop. The vital medicines pool before our corporate player as he gathers them up with a bewildered glance.
This was not supposed to happen.
This is Europe, where universal health care has often been the norm. Greece is currently in a financial crises, and some companies are withholding vital prescriptions until the state pays past due invoices. The people of Greece, still reeling from the economic crises, now find a health crisis upon their doorstep.
Here is Kathi working so hard for so long to improve the health care of patients in Greece. She knows how to research her condition; she knows how to best use her ten minutes with the doctor. And even she struggles as greater economic forces come into play affecting the world of medicine. And that brings me back to the truths of the namesake song for this jacket.
“And it don't matter who you are:
It treats everyone the same.
All you need's a heart
To be a victim of the game.”