Jerry was in his late forties. He was also late for his rent, his phone bill, credit card payments, but not his cable bill, he shut that off long ago. Nobody will hire him because of his age. He put up most of his furniture for sale on Craigslist but nobody was buying. Before his credit cards were frozen, he hoarded cash from advances on those credit cards.
Jerry has severe chronic gouty arthritis in his feet. He can barely walk sometimes if only one foot was afflicted, but he had it in both feet and was in bed unable to walk, eat or use the toilet at all for four days.
Over the last three years, Jerry went to all the "Prompt Care," "Urgent Care," "Priority Care" and hospital emergency rooms hoping to get the cause of his Gout treated with something like Allopurinol, but instead only his symptoms were treated with Naproxen, Cyclobenzaprine, Hydrocodone. When he ran out, he was taking upwards of eight hundred milligrams of Ibuprofen.
Jerry had no insurance. He had to pay out-of-pocket for all of his health care. One day he went to the hardware store and picked up a ten foot length of three hundred pound tested wire tow rope and some wire-rope clamps. There was already a loop at one end meant for a hook, but instead, Jerry threaded the other end of the wire through the loop, then fashioned a larger loop at the other end, secured with three clamps. The idea was to quietly disappear into the forest, climb a tree as high as possible and hang himself to feed nature. He wondered how long it would be before his rotten remains tumbled to the ground, or if the wire would take off his head immediately. He imagined the crows working at his eye balls as he hung lifeless.
But Jerry was enraged about only getting medical treatment for his symptoms instead of getting treatment for the cause of his symptoms. He imagined a conspiracy of the Health Care Industrial Complex, where doctors were getting incentives from the makers of addictive pain medicine manufacturers, to get more people addicted to pain killers. A crackpot conspiracy where doctors were deliberately ensuring repeat customers in some twisted medicine cartel, by only treating symptoms of ailments that could be virtually eliminated through proper treatment of the actual causes.
Jerry was in the woods now, walking a trail almost invisible under the tall grass. He wasn't carrying his wire rope, but a black plastic bag with the hands of the last doctor who refused to treat the cause of his symptoms. "Time to feed the birds" Jerry muttered under his breath.