“Love the Man. Save the Leg…” Announcing a coordinated campaign to help Patrick Elkins deal with his life-threatening medical bills


My friend Patrick Elkins, who I often mention here on the site, has been dealing with some relatively serious health issues these past several years. As I suspect many of you already know, he’s got something called DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis, which essentially means that, in the absence of medical intervention, extremely painful, and potentially life-threatening blood clots form in his legs. Thankfully, given our proximity to the University of Michigan hospital, he’s been able to get treatment as needed, but, were that not the case, one of these clots could easily move from his legs to his lungs, causing pulmonary embolism, and death. Unfortunately, the treatment that he’s received isn’t cheap. Over the course of the past few years, Patrick has had to visit the emergency room on several occasions, which is an extremely costly proposition for someone who, like Pat, works full time, but yet doesn’t have health insurance. This, of course, is especially true in instances where he has to be admitted and kept overnight for observation, as just happened a few weeks ago. The good news is, working with U-M’s Anticoagulation Clinic, Patrick seems to have found a treatment regimen that’s helping, but the blood thinners and other medications that he’s now taking don’t come cheap.

As of today, Patrick owes $9,839.00. I know the amount because he’s shown me the letters he’s been receiving from collection agencies. There are five individual bills, stemming from two episodes last year that required hospital visits. And, unfortunately, that’s not the worst of it. These bills do not reflect Patrick’s most recent overnight hospital stay, which, one imagines, will more than double his outstanding debt to the University of Michigan Health System.

ElkinsShadow1It’s worth reiterating, I think, that that Patrick has a full-time job, which he’s held for the past several years. He’s not by any means a slacker looking to take advantage of the system. Unfortunately, the company that he works for made the decision some time ago to stop hiring full-time employees in his department, as they’d done for years, and instead rely on “contract” employees… which essentially means that they hire people to do the exact same work as they always did, but without having to give them health insurance or other benefits. Fortunately, Patrick has reason to believe that things may be changing on that front, and that his company may be moving him to a full-time, non-contract position. This, of course, would be awesome, as the new position would give Patrick access to health insurance, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t help with the outstanding debt he’s accumulated thus far.

I should also add that Patrick, given that he works full-time, and earns a wage that puts him somewhat above the poverty level, is ineligible for government assistance through programs like Medicaid. So, he’s essentially stuck in the middle… unable to pay, but, at the same time, unable to get help through the state or federal government.

Someone else, if confronted by these same circumstances, might quit his job in order to qualify for government health insurance, but Patrick doesn’t want to go that route. And he also doesn’t want to declare bankruptcy. He wants make good on his debts, which I find admirable… Unfortunately, collections agencies are now involved, and things are getting serious. And, it’s with that in mind that I write this today.

Knowing that all of this is going on, several of Patrick’s friends have started brainstorming as to how we might help him get this debt taken care of, so he can just focus on getting better. We met with him a few days ago, and here are some of the more promising ideas that we came up with. If anything on this list sounds like something that you might be able to help with, let me know… Also, I should add that Patrick is supportive of these efforts, and signed off on this post. So, it’s not like we’re just running off on our own and doing this behind his back.

THE LEGFEST BENEFIT CONCERT… Given Patrick’s standing in the local music scene, this is an obvious way to go, although I’m uncertain as to how much money we might be able to raise. I’d love to have it be an outdoor event, over the course of a day or two, sometime in the fall, but I’m not sure that’s doable, given the fact that we’d like to sell beer, and I can’t figure out a way to do that within the boundaries of the law. (Beer sales, I think, will be necessary if we want to raise more than just a few thousand dollars.) I’m certain that we could put together one hell of a lineup, and sell 200 or so tickets at $10 a piece, but, even so, that’s just $2,000. Beer, though, if we could figure out a way to sell it legally, could more than double that. And that’s what we’ve been puzzling over these past few days… But maybe it doesn’t have to be outside. Maybe all we need is to find a friendly bar that would give us a cut of their beer sales for a night or two… However we decide to do it, I’m sure this will happen. Pat’s friends want to help, and this would be a great way for folks to show their support, either on-stage, or through the purchase of tickets and beer.

ROB EVERYONE WHO COMES TO THE BENEFIT… We discarded this idea pretty quickly, but I do kind of like the idea of holding a benefit, and, then, once everyone’s there, robbing them to pay Pat’s hospital bills. Of course, the folks who come to Pat’s benefit likely wouldn’t be folks with a ton money, which, admittedly, kind of defeats the purpose. If we really wanted to do it right, I’m thinking, we’d promote some big, fake, black-tie event in Ann Arbor… like a blind, lesbian string quartet from Kenya performing songs written by a Chinese political prisoner… and then rob all the rich folks when they showed up.

Pats-Leg“WE LOVE PAT’S LEG” SINGLE… In addition to having a benefit of some kind, we’re also kicking around the idea of recording a single, like “We Are the World”, featuring a veritable who’s-who of local musicians and celebrities, all singing with great sincerity about what Pat’s leg means to them… Who wouldn’t pay $.99 to download a sweeping anthem about the importance of Patrick’s leg, right? All we need is to find someone to donate a little studio time. The song, I think, would pretty much write itself… Leg. Beg. Bipedal. Hemp nettle…

WE NEED TO RENEGOTIATE PATRICK’S DEBT… Once we find out the total of what Patrick owes, we need to determine whether or not there might be an opportunity to renegotiate his debt, structure a payment plan, etc. I have no idea how such things are done, but I imagine that there are people who have done this kind of thing before, and know how to navigate the system. Given the number of people in this country who are going broke due to medical debt, I suspect that there are now quite a few people with experience in this area, and my hope is, that through this campaign, we might be able to meet some of them, and help Pat figure out a way forward.

WE NEED TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM… It’s unconscionable, in a country as rich as ours, that people who work full-time, and play by the rules, are forced by health care bills into bankruptcy. It’s absolutely insane, and Patrick’s situation, I think, illustrates very well why health care reform is so vitally important to the future of our country.

DINNER WITH PATRICK… There was some talk of having a private dinner with Patrick that people could bid on. Patrick, I’m guessing, would make pancakes, and let you see his swollen, veiny, discolored leg.

REVISING DREAMLAND TONIGHT… Granted, it won’t pull in much money, as we never sold a ton of tickets, but I think it might be time to bring back our neighborhood, puppet-hosted talk show, and to do it for Patrick. I’m envisioning a whole leg-themed show, with us interviewing Pat’s leg, calling up Leggz in Portland, talking about the old strip club Legs on Michigan Avenue, and any number of other things.

PATRICK NEEDS INSURANCE… If, on the off chance, things fall through with Patrick’s employer, we need to find a way to get him insured, so that, the next time there’s an issue, this doesn’t happen again… Are you a single person with good insurance who would like to marry a heavily-bearded puppeteer? If so, let me know and I’ll set up a date.

A SITE WHERE PEOPLE CAN DONATE ONLINE… We haven’t done anything toward this end yet, but we know we also need to do something like a Kickstarter campaign. The first challenge is to find a platform with a name that doesn’t bring to mind kicking, or other things done with healthy legs.

I will continue to share information over the coming weeks, but I just wanted to give you a heads-up and let you know that planning is underway. If you have thoughts, please leave a comment. Or, if you’d like to help, drop me an email. I know, at the very least, we’ll need bands, a venue, an artist or two, some web people, and some folks to help with the marketing of this whole thing. Any and all assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, just a few words about Patrick, for those of you who don’t know him.

ElkinsShellThere are a lot of people in this world who do good and interesting things. Very few of them, however, actually make things happen. Patrick is one of those people. I’m reminded of the quote by Reggie Jackson, in which he referred to himself as, “the straw that stirs the drink.” I think that’s kind of what Patrick is. He’s one of those people who, for whatever reason, kind of serves as a catalyst, bringing people together, and making positive things happen. He’s the kind of guy that a community needs, and we’re damn lucky to have him. And now it’s our chance to show him how much we appreciate his work… So, what do you say Ypsi/Arbor?

[And, yes, I know it’s technically both legs that are giving Patrick problems, but “Legfest” sounds a lot better than “Legsfest”, so we decided to just pretend that the issue is only half as serious as it really is.]

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  1. Posted August 6, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Other ideas:
    1) You and Dr. Pete remake the Hall & Oates video (I have been waiting very patiently) and charge admission to see it.

    2) Use your puppet (I’m talking about that lovely Dreamland puppet, not your man junk) to do some sort of show.

    Seriously, if you do a beer event please let me know if I can help at all. If nothing else, I can be a beer pourer for you :) This situation is pure bullshit, by the way. While our corporations pay next to nothing in taxes, while Dick Cheney puts in a new mechanical heart and while the top 1% suck our wages like they are felching on ass, your friend owes thousands and thousands of dollars. Maybe Canada can buy us?

  2. Posted August 6, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    In an earlier draft of this post, I made reference to a surgery several years ago that Patrick had undergone. I mentioned that the surgery was to remove a clot. Patrick, after reading the draft, wrote back to tell me that this wasn’t technically true, and I removed the reference. As my sense is that many others share my confusion, though, I thought that I’d share Pat’s note to me here.

    I didn’t have surgery for the DVTs — I was actually scheduled to have a vein in my left leg re-ablated (I had previously had surgery in 2007 to have it ablated, but it had since become un-ablated (blood was flowing through it again)). It was during a pre-surgery physical (a week before the surgery was scheduled) that doctors found a blood clot in each leg. I had to wait until they dissipated (it took about 6 months via a blood thinning regimen like the one I’m on now) before I could have the surgery; however, during the surgery, doctors found a bunch of scar tissue in my leg that they didn’t know was there (from my original surgery) so they ended up stripping the vein – HOWEVER, the vein wouldn’t come out so they had to cut it out by making 10 holes in my leg and slicing it out in sections … So it turned from a relatively routine hour-long surgery to an 8-hour long surgery where I ended up being laid up for weeks. That was 3 years ago – when I was still on WHP. The additional bills are from two trips I made to the ER in December of 2012 – I was experiencing severe pain in my leg and abdomen and had to get an ultrasound both times (I was scheduled to get an ultrasound 6 months prior as part of an annual vascular check-up I’m supposed to do but didn’t due to my inability to foot the bill at the CVC (without insurance there is no way to access the CVC besides going through the ER first so I can’t just call the CVC and make an appointment for an ultrasound). Also, it should be noted that the clot I have right now in my leg has a very tiny chance of traveling to my lungs. All of the DVTs I’ve had have been below my knees (which is good in terms of likelihood of travel) and this one is in a small vein in my leg so I’ve been told it is very unlikely that it would travel to my lungs. It is very painful because it is contributing to blood reflux in my leg, which I treat with compression, elevation, and pain medication. I guess I just wanted to clear up any misunderstandings since people seem to think that I’ve had surgery to have blood clots removed before, which is not the case. I’ve taken blood thinners and worked with the anti-coagulation clinic at the Univ. of Michigan. My next appointment is with the hematology dept. at the hospital so that they can take some additional tests and examine previous blood tests to look for blood or auto-immune disorders that would cause chronic DVT.

  3. Gillian
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know Patrick, but this sucks, and he’s far from being the only person in a bad situation because he doesn’t have health care. He is lucky he has good friends who can help out (I’ll buy a ticket to whatever you put on, whether I can attend or not.)

    As far as the “get Patrick insured” portion of this, I hope I can help a little. The Michigan Health Exchange is set to open up on October 1 as part of the Affordable Care Act. The Ypsi Library will be running a set of free workshops to help people figure out what kind of health coverage they should get through the exchange.

    If you’ll forgive the shameless plug, I’ll send you an email when I have dates & details and would love if you could share the info. I really hope it’ll help get him and others insured, and I sure as hell hope it’ll actually be affordable, because this is ridiculous. I personally hope a lot of people sign up for the exchange (admittedly partially out of spite because Republicans are spending billions actively discouraging people from getting health coverage, but also because, you know, it’s embarrassing to live in a country where this happens to people.)

    best of luck.

  4. Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    $9,000 isn’t really that much money for medical bills.

    Is he getting hammered with interest payment and collection fees? If so, the true criminality here isn’t the cost of care (though certainly much higher than necessary), but that one gets hit with costs that have nothing to do with medical expenses at all.

    I will certainly donate to help out and pass this on.

  5. Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    The $9,839 is just the first part of it, Pete. He’s had an overnight hospital stay since, which we suspect will more than double that. And he’s got ongoing costs associated with his treatment regimen. Thankfully, it looks like he may be getting insurance soon, which would help with the costs associated with future treatments. All we’re hoping to do is to help him pay down his outstanding debt a bit, and see if maybe there’s a way to structure the remaining debt so that it’s more manageable (i.e. establishing a payment plan).

    Like you say, though, there are several people out there with worse medical debt. (Most bankruptcies in the United States, as I understand it, are caused by medical debt.) That doesn’t, in my opinion, make this case of Patrick’s any less troubling. Trying to get better is hard enough without collection agencies sending threats.

  6. Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Also of interest to folks may be our earlier conversations about the Rolling Jubilee, and the Michael Moore film Sicko, which we’ve discussed more than once.

  7. anonymous
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    It’s embarrassing to live in a country that doesn’t do everything in its power to keep it’s people healthy and productive. Quite the opposite, we discourage them from working.

  8. Jim
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I don’t know much about medical bills, but my advice for Patrick would be to make small payments until he gets medical insurance either through work or Obamacare. If at that time his total obligation is manageable, he can then work out a payment plan. If the total debt has gotten really large, then he can pursue negotiating a reduction or long term payment plan or even bankruptcy.

  9. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    This is a hard situation to deal with, I too, by the age of 25 had racked up about 25,000 in medical bill debt, which I sent payments to (unfortunately, they were broken into over 30 bills, all of which wanted payments larger that I could send at the time) I suppose it would do a minor bit of good to mention that there were bills for the children as well (2).

    I worked full time, my (now ex) husband worked full time, and though his job did have an insurance policy, which was very expensive, co-pays for everything added up immensely over the years (C-section childbirth, serious medical issues on my part).

    It was almost a saving grace when I was sued for the medical bills, taking it down to a $250 a month payment, which took about 6 years to pay off (sending extra when I could). This type of situation drives me crazy! Unfair!!! Sorry Patrick, truly wish I could help more but still continuing to struggle myself here.

  10. Jasmine
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Jim Roll is a delightful man and a great producer, and should you choose to record a song to benefit the Elk-man, I think you could ask him to lend a hand…for a leg.

  11. Anon
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I wonder if The Bang has ever done a fundraiser? When I hear Legfest I can’t help but picture a bunch of young Ann Arborites wearing clothing that show off their gams, like hotpants and fishnets for both genders. There could be Legfest East and Legfest West if the outdoor event in Ypsi is doable as well. It just seems like holding a party in Ann Arbor will bring in donations outside his current circle of friends and associates in Ypsi.

  12. Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink


    I was certainly not attempting to minimize Patrick’s problems, only trying to say that it wasn’t a hopeless situation.

    Interest and ridiculous collection fees could change that, of course.

  13. EOS
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I don’t see a crisis here. Even though he chose not to buy health care insurance, he received the necessary medical care at the premier hospital in the state. The bill for services is less than the cost for health care premiums for BCBS for a year. Pay the bill in installments and get health insurance for your family. $5K a year for an individual, $10k a year for a family. That’s the responsible action for a person who is working full time. God forbid that you should get in an accident that costs $100K or more before you get insured.

  14. anonymous
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    People step forward to help a friend in crisis, get told by a Christian that they shouldn’t.

    You might want to read you bible, EOS.

  15. Mr. X
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Your advice is good, EOS. At least it’s good now. When Patrick incurred these charges, there was no Obamacare, and, thanks to his preexisting condition, he couldn’t obtain insurance. Now, though, things are changing. And I’m proud of you for recognizing that, and championing Obamacare.

  16. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Not sure where EOS told anyone not to help. His point is the same one that the attackers of “Obamacare” have used for years. Patrick DECIDED not to get insurance. It IS and WAS available to him. If I choose to not invest in my retirement, I wouldnt expect my friends to all chip in and help me retire.

    I support Obamacare, ftr. But the people that choose not to get insurance are not the same as people that can’t get insurance.

  17. Eel
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    EOS is saying that Patrick made his decision and should live with the consequences. He didn’t come right out and say that people shouldn’t help him, Dan, but the message is pretty clear. He feels that people should take responsibility for their own actions. In Patrick’s case, though, I’m not sure how that would work, and he couldn’t purchase health insurance given his condition. Maybe he should have started his own insurance company.

  18. John Galt
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Jesus won’t be happy until Patrick loses his legs.

  19. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    RE: the ‘he should have purchased health insurance’ argument- It’s crap. I used to work with Pat doing the same work. I know what he makes, and after rent, food and transportation there is hardly enough money left for luxuries like health insurance. I know that had I incurred medical bills of this amount it probably would have broken me.

    That’s the thing people in this country just never seem to understand: you can be a responsible, contributing member of society, work 40+ hours a week and try as you might, that brass ring of health insurance still remains completely out of reach. All it takes is a chronic health issue to completely sink a person under debt.

  20. Thom Elliott
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    As far as legal options, Patrick needs to contact the collection agency and tell them he subsists on a megre living, but tell them nothing about his workplace/living situation etc. Anything they can grab ahold of they can use to take you down. if you can arrange a party & take in a couple thousand, offer that as a settlement, they may take it. If they won’t accept a settlement for an indigent client for individual emergency medical bills, then set up a payment plan. Use party money to get ahead of payment plan. Patrick will then pay it back for the next 215 years, give or take. Patrick needs to try to avoid getting sued, but what will happen if he does will be he’ll lose, get a judgement against him, and the lawyers will garnish, or set up a payment plan that will take Patrick 215 years, give or take.

  21. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Once again, no offense, but decisions were made in yours and his life that put you in that situation. I’m not saying “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” by any means. But when you approach middle age and puppet shows and other nonsense are what your life priorities are, I think you have to reassess things and determine if you want to be a puppeteer and neighborhood resident weirdo, or if you want to be able to afford health insurance.

    When you buy a house or a car you are required to have insurance on them. And those are two material items. Insurance on your body should come before anything else.

  22. Mr. X
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Dan, you might want to read the post again, or have someone read it to you. Patrick works a “real” full-time job. The puppet shows, the music, and everything else, are things that he does “in addition” to that. Just like everyone else on earth, he has things that he enjoys doing when he’s not working, the same way you might like to go to watch Fox News or shoot squirrels.

    As for the insurance question, as several people have now pointed out, Patrick could not purchase insurance before Obamacare, even if he’d wanted to, due to his preexisting condition. Given that, what would you have him do?

  23. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Plenty of assumptions X. Are you sure I’m a republican or conservative or even watch fox news? Are you sure that I am a hunter or own a gun? Are you positive that Patrick tried to get insurance and was denied? My one assumption was that he was eligible, but there was some evidence lending to that since Mark said Patrick’s company used to offer insurance but now he has to do the same work without the benefit. At any rate, its not unreasonable to assume that someone his age could/should have had insurance prior to finding out of this condition.

  24. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    And also, the point about puppets, etc, if you were really concerned about your health you’d find some more time to afford insurance, in stead of hoping someone stages a charity puppet show for you.

  25. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    “When you buy a house or a car you are required to have insurance on them. And those are two material items. Insurance on your body should come before anything else.”

    Perhaps… but car and home ownership are, here’s that word again, choices… having a body isn’t a choice and neither is having a body with chronic health problems. A body just… is.

  26. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    All the more reason to have health insurance. I think car insurance is top 5 on biggest scam list (every 3rd commercial on TV is Flo from Progressive, some Geiko skit, that deep voiced dude from All State or any number of other companies). But health insurance should be mandatory. Whether govt paid for or not. I can’t get how people are OK paying for car insurance but skip out on health insurance.

  27. Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    $5,000 for an individual making $20-30K (post tax) is kind of a lot of money. Actually, I buy my own and pay more than that.

    I don’t know how much Patrick makes and I’m not faulting him for his job choices (a job is a job, who really gives a fuck?), but I’m thinking that he’s not pulling $70 plus.

  28. Thom Elliott
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    It all seems very easy to say when you’re a privledged white male research scientist working for a university which recieves a huge amount of public education funding. But let’s assume instead of your privledged situation where you undoubtably had some kind of assistance and luck, and the bevy of benefits of whiteness to achieve your status, and aside from having a faulty perception of the world is moreorless mentally normal, let’s assume instead you’re a mentally ill, indigent artist with health problems who had none of the support structure that allowed you to achieve your position. In what meaningful sense could the options available to you be said to be identical to the options available to the lowest rung of the social ladder? Typical social darwinism of the colonialist mind set, typical malignant scientific meritocrat, typical Victorian modernist, you’d be blaming the Tazmanians for not working harder on your slave plantation.

  29. EOS
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    For a number of years, in the State of Michigan, BCBS has been mandated to offer insurance regardless of pre-existing health conditions. The amounts I quoted are applicable today and have nothing to do with any ObamaCare mandate. Once ObamaCare kicks in fully, I’m sure the rates of health care insurance will increase dramatically.


  30. Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    How do health care costs compare with car insurance costs? Car insurance premiums most definitely suck…I just wrote a huge check and it hit my bank account today and now my bank account has a sad. But I get the feeling that I paid way less than one would pay for health insurance. (I agree with Dan on the commercials which are almost as annoying as the “save money for your retirement by playing the Wall Street roulette wheel via 401ks that are not really retirement plans” ads. Now I have the deep voice Allstate guy in my head, by the way).

    Regardless of whether or not Pat could afford health care, chose not to pay for it or whatever the fact remains that he needs some help. I’m picking up a lack of compassion in the comments here and I find that bothersome. Any anger or irritation one feels should be directed at those who drive up the cost of health care/insurance and not the person who needs help paying his bills.

  31. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Nice to hear from the Hypocrit King. Isn’t there a Thom Elliot meme generator? “Hates consumerism….. Moves to Twelve Oaks Mall.”. “Hates consumerism… Works for Wall Street Banks.”. Lol.

    Hey Thom, for the record, my brother was mentally I’ll and extremely artistic. He managed to get by in our society before he was murdered. I’m pretty sure I have 10 times the experience with the mentally ill than you do. Go buy some notebooks from Papyrus at the mall and write us your thoughts on consumerism on them.

  32. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    You know, I think the reason so many of us are willing to help Pat out is precisely *because* he spends his time putting on puppet shows, playing music and contributing positively to the community. Certainly time and energy better invested than trolling the comments of a local blog.

    It’s like… karma, or something.

  33. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


    My resentment stems not from someone’s financial decisions, but from the cronyism on this blog and the immediate attacks on “certain” posters for things they didn’t say. And the immediate assumptions from the majority that anyone that isn’t an in denial hipster is a tea bagger.

  34. wobblie
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I like the idea of an outdoor fund raising benefit. Getting a “club” liq. license is not that difficult. It would be the first step towards having the ability to raise money on a regular basis. A couple of months ago I would have advocated we take over the VFW post on Michigan, but now they have closed up, but, the place might be available, they might let us use their license, and they have that great tank to play on.

  35. double anonymous
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Dan and EOS, do me a favor. Go look in a mirror and ask yourselves the following question.

    “Do I have friends who would give of their time, and launch an initiative like this for me if were ever in such a position?”

    Did you answer honestly?

    Now, ask yourself why it is that people are not just willing, but enthusiastic, to lend Patrick a hand.

    I think you know the answer, and I think it’s why you felt as though you had to lash out this afternoon. It’s not that you hate Patrick. It’s that you’re jealous. You know that you don’t have a supportive community of friends around you, and it scares you.

    I feel truly sorry for you.

  36. 734
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    My favorite Jesus quote is “every man for himself”.

  37. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink


    You’re missing the point. This site used to encourage discourse. No one is suggesting that Patrick’s friends shouldn’t help him. But like every other post Mark makes, even this, where he comments on our health care system. We too can comment on that without talking directly about Patrick.

    And as far as your childish attempt to belittle people, YOU need to ask yourself about that. We were talking about people deciding to not buy health insurance. YOUR insecurity related that to your friend safety net

  38. EOS
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink


    I would never be in such a situation. I would never ask my friends to pay for anything that I considered my personal responsibility. I didn’t lash out at anyone. I’m glad that Patrick was able to receive the medical treatment he needed. A $10,000 medical bill is not insurmountable. Responsible adults should have cash reserves to pay for inevitable emergencies and insurance to cover excess expenses. If not, then some belt tightening is needed until the bill is paid. What would it take? Maybe rice and beans for awhile while you get a part time job delivering pizzas to supplement your income.

    What really scares me is the thought that I would ever need to rely on the generosity of others for necessary essentials. It’s just not the way I was raised. I’ve supported myself since I was 17 and maintained medical coverage. If Patrick were paralyzed or somehow unable to work it might be a different story. But he is an able-bodied adult with a medical condition that is easily treated. All I said was that I didn’t consider it a crisis, merely a lack of foresight or inability to budget wisely.

  39. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I find it amazingly interesting that so many of you so called humanitarians have no problem calling outsiders losers and telling them they are jealous of a guy with DVT. Simple fact is that you know its irresponsible to not insure your health. But sure, call them “jealous” of the guy asking for a charity puppet show

  40. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    FWIW: **I** am the person who came up with the idea to raise money for Pat. Pat never asked for this.

    So stop being jerks and let us help our friend.

  41. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I mean seriously… at least read the article and stop twisting up the facts.

  42. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Not sure what facts were twisted. The only facts I see in the story are:

    Patrick has DVT in his leg(s)
    Patrick owes ~$10k in health bills.
    Patrick hasnt paid those bills.
    Patrick doesn’t have health insurance
    Patrick works a full time job
    Patrick makes something over the poverty level

  43. MCTrashpedal
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Every time I”ve invested any effort at all in one of Pat’s undertakings, I’ve found myself incredibly rewarded. My time and money are the least I can offer. If you’ve a negative attitude toward helping a fellow wonderful person, just step back — or better yet, step up and see why a whole community might unite over the needs of one of its hardest-working members.
    Patrick Elkins is worth it.

  44. Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Is it legitimate to debate whether or not someone living week to week on meager wages should divert a large portion of those wages to paying for health care, when doing so could mean less food on the table, a less safe place to live, etc? I suppose so. I think the difference here is that we aren’t talking about abstracts. We’re talking about a friend of ours, who, in our estimation, has done a hell of a lot toward making Ypsilanti a tolerant, artist-friendly, interesting community. So, yeah, people might get a little pissy when you suggest that he should have just “gone out and gotten insurance” when that’s a thing very much easier said than done with a preexisting condition. At any rate, I’m sorry, Dan and EOS, that you got your feelings hurt because people called you out for being uncaring and judgmental. I’m sure that must sting. Think, however, how Patrick must feel, being referred to as a lazy bum, who didn’t have the strength of character to work a third job and buy health insurance… The bottom line is that we like our friend, and we want him to be healthy. We want him to get well without having to worry about the harassment of collections agencies. We want to do that because he’s our friend and we care about him. And I wrote this because I knew that others would want to help as well. I wasn’t suggesting that we tax everyone in Ypsi to pay his bills. I was just letting people know, in case they wanted to get involved, in much the same way that people used to come together and have “rent parties” for friends who couldn’t make their rent. If you don’t want to help, so be it. All I ask is that you take into consideration for a moment that there’s a real human being that’s going through a lot of shit right now, and I’m sure it doesn’t help to have anonymous detractors, who don’t seem willing to understand the facts at all, making uninformed comments. So, if you want to make a comment about about health care, or your dislike of “hipsters”, or your bitterness that my “clique” doesn’t extend to you, just do me a favor and make them in another thread. I swear that I’ll read them. I may even respond. But don’t keep shitting on this thread. It makes you look like a member of the Westboro Baptist Church.

  45. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Mark.

  46. Morgan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Hey cool picture of Patrick and Shelley (I took this one)! I’m glad to see this fundraising movement sprout.

  47. Sparklemotion
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Thom, I don’t know the lengths Pat has gone to if any to blunt the bill collectors, but as far as the overnight stay at the hospital goes, I would attempt to work out a payment anything with the hospital itself BEFORE they turn it over to the vultures. Any benefit monies should be offered to the collectors as a full and final payment, start low (if you have $2000, offer $1000 as full and final – you can always go up). Considering they bought the debt for pennies on the dollar, there’s a good chance they’ll bite. And if they agree to anything, get it in writing – have them email you (or fax, and if email set up a dummy account just for that purpose) a signed, notorized document that specifically states the title of the signer and that the person signing has the authority to do so. Pat’s a good guy that does good things, it sucks that he’s in this situation. And before someone asks – I helped negotiate $30,000 in debt down to about $10,000 for a relative.

  48. Forest
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mark, HOTT LAVA would occasionally source a non-profit to provide a one-time liquor license. Unless the rules have changed, a non-profit is allowed 12 licenses a year (essentially one per month) to use at any venue with the proper permissions & paper work. Typically, it took a week for the papers to go through. If you can get someone to donate a space & obtain the license, you could sell whatever drinks you like. Didn’t the Dreamland become a non-profit? If not, I may be able to recommend other people to help on that front.

    Furthermore, Elks Lodge may still be free to use & the renter collects all door money save for a cleaning fee. Again, this could have changed since I left Michigan. Nonetheless, a dance party with killer disc jocks & varying donation system could yield good cash. I can give you some figures based on the Dark Matter parties I held there.

  49. Annie
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mark, if I can un-derail this comment thread for a minute, I would like to suggest setting up an account for fundraising with youcaring.com. It’s a really simple online donation site similar to Kickstarter but without the baggage or incentives, or time limit. we could spread the word amongst Pat’s fans/pals and/or maybe get an article in Ispy or wherever pointing to the site?

    And then we could still do a benefit of some sort but also have the option of easy online money donations.

  50. Anna
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Jesus Harold Christ. I love Patrick and if there is something I can do to help his situation, I will. No one said, “Give Pat your money! Now!” If you don’t want to be in the community family helping him (again, not his idea…) then you should probably take this to a theoretical forum and air your grievances there. Grow the fuck up and engage respectfully with other people or fuck.the.fuck.off.

    Anywho, I am a great planner and resource getter, please include me in any planning e-mails and whatnot. I am happy to help any way that I can. XOXO Anna

  51. Anna
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    also, if you have beer available, for free, but have cups available for a suggested donation, that is a great way to make some money with beer and no legal problems.

  52. Jeremy Wheeler
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    The Bang! has done fundraisers before & Patrick is easily one of the most worthy individuals in our area to do it for. Timing is key here, as this year’s schedule is full for us, unless a different date is factored in (we’d be open for a January gig too, as we usually take that month off). Either way we’re game to help. Best look at different pricing that Mittenfest has employed in the past if we’re talking an event/series of events. We’re working against a big sum, so a cocktail of gigs + helping hands for him to navigate the system would be key. Smarter brains than mine will surely have more ideas. Still, count us in.

  53. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Hey Annie, we’ve been looking at fundrazr.com but I will for sure look into you caring.com before we settle on any one thing.

    Thanks for the tip!

  54. Kassey
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    In the event of a beer event to save Pat’s legs, I personally vow to drink a lot of beer. A kickstarter alongside it wouldn’t hurt, either. Doubtful it would work for Pat or any other person who has lived in a single place for a long time, but for transient readers, using a fake SS number in the ER is a great way to avoid paying medical bills. …Not that you heard it from me… (:

  55. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Dan, thanks for your response! (I still have the freaking Allstate guy’s voice in my head thanks to you though. Please make him stop :))

  56. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    And holy shit Dan, I’m sorry about your brother :(

  57. EOS
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink


    Your comment on how to engage respectfully was hilarious! You can’t make this shit up.

  58. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink


    This is why I stopped posting here for a year or so. You do not welcome anyone that doesn’t agree with you. You called me and eos uncaring and judgmental. Did you call Mr X judgemental for falsely assuming that I torture small mammals, simply because I disagreed with him?

    I understand that you and your in-denial hipster clan care about a friend. As you should. But you run a community blog. If you only wanted friend input you could have kept it on Facebook. If you post it here, you were not only expecting but hoping for a discourse like this.

    Secondly, not a single time was Patrick referred to as lazy.

    Thirdly, I’d submit that we create “Maynard’s Law” where eventually is you disagree with a hipster long enough, he attributes to the God Hates Gays crowd.

    that’s unbelievably pathetic of you mark. Seriously

  59. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    And Patti, thank you. I really do appreciate it. Still trying to come to terms…

  60. Julian
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    If an outdoor show or an indoor DIY show is organized, I can provide some pretty booming sound for free. Just send me an e-mail.

  61. Brandon
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

  62. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate contrary comments. I really do. I’ll go back and read through your comments, Dan. Maybe I read too much into them. I really did get the sense, though, that you were blaming my friend for having gotten into this situation… And, as I said, it may be a valid point, in the abstract. But this isn’t abstract. This is a friend dealing with serious financial problems on top of serious medical ones. And, yes, my threshold is a bit different when it comes to my friends.

  63. EOS
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    If you are a friend of Patrick, you can help him tremendously by encouraging him to avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol greatly increases the risk of clot formation and is contraindicated with most anticoagulants. Does anyone have a suggestion for fundraising that doesn’t involve alcohol?

  64. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    It would have been extremely easy to post that “everyone’s favorites beardite is having health problems. He has DVT and does not health insurance to cover it. Let’s help him out.”.

    You made a giant post about it and specifically mentioned what you think are flaws in our system. YOU politicized it. No one else

    So stop bitching when people react to your sensationalism.

  65. MCTrashpedal
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    From Marty Rivard:

    “Hey man, I saw the article about Patrick. Sad. I work at Arbor Brewing Co. (which Pat frequents), I’m sure we might be able to do something about the beer sales. Maybe if you have the event at Corner Brewery, they might be able to work something out. I’d contact them if I were you and see what they say. Home everything works out. Also, I’m willing to play if you’re in need if acts. Let me know.”

  66. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Now you’re just being ridiculous EOS ;)

  67. dave
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Count me in for any live show planning, live sound or studio recording that might be helpful for any event or recording session.. any of the music projects I’m involved in are also super eager to help out if a show was put together..

    With the amount of free entertainment, events and general happiness Patrick has provided, I owe him more than I can imagine.

  68. EOS
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Flo, why does she need to wear an apron to sell car insurance?

  69. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    OK… I read your comments again, and, yes, you are being uncaring and judgmental. How else could one interpret the following?

    “But when you approach middle age and puppet shows and other nonsense are what your life priorities are, I think you have to reassess things and determine if you want to be a puppeteer and neighborhood resident weirdo, or if you want to be able to afford health insurance.”

    Apparently I didn’t make this clear, but Patrick isn’t the “resident neighborhood weirdo” you’re painting him to be. He has a full-time job with real responsibilities. And he does his art around that, as time allows. And, that, is the responsible thing to do. He’s not collecting welfare so that he can make sill puppets on a street corner somewhere. Furthermore, his puppet work isn’t trivial. He’s studied the craft around the world, and he’s well regarded in the field. I’m not sure why none of this is getting through to you, but I’ll do my best to keep trying, as you seem like you’re capable of rational thought.

  70. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    And, to EOS’s point, Patrick doesn’t drink now that he’s on a steady diet of blood thinners.

  71. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Link all of Patricks vids and all of his nonsense at shadow. Hes a professional weirdo. Id bet he would love to be called so.

    I don’t care if someone is the foremost giant puppet gynecogist. That doesn’t mean he has talent or a direction in life. When you’re in your 30s, its time to stop playing with toys (assuming that will be your career) and start thinking about how you can pay for the decades of abuse that you’ve done to your body.

  72. anonymous
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Wait, you’re the same Dan who was objecting earlier to the the label of “judgmental”, right?

  73. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Did I say I wasn’t judgemental? I objected to the hypocrisy

  74. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t aware that a community of creative people coming together to help one of their own was a marker of hypocrisy.

  75. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink


    This blog is notorious for gang attacking dissenters. Mark “tries” to be neutral, but always fails. When one of “your own” calls someone a squirrel murderer or when “one of your own” claims another is connected with the God Hates Fags group, I think its fair to ask why they make those connections. So far, they’ve only admitted to be hypocrits and judgemental assholes. Let me know when they progress

  76. Mark Lee
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I love Patrick Elkins ! But I don’t understand why he just doesn’t continue running up his bills for the next six months then file for bankruptcy? At that point he’ll be able to get insurance with a subsidy from the government under Obamacare and get on with his beautiful life and continue bringing joy to many in the community. Yes some collection agency will get stiffed and his credit will be slightly soiled but it’s the free market way. Bankruptcy is good enough for many corporations and rich individuals and cities, why does it stigmatize an individual? Sometimes things get to be a mess and you just have to start over, I for one wouldn’t think any less of Patrick, indeed I know a good lawyer in ypsilanti that I could refer him to. I thank god every day for Obamacare and look forward to a time in the near future when these types of stories will be a thing of the primitive past that my child will look back upon with disbelief.

    Long live Patrick Elkins!

    Long live Obamacare!

    Goodnight and God Bless!

    P.S. Mark, did Patrick set a record for number of comments? Where ever Patrick is, things get lively!

  77. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Given that you’ve sat on this thread all day denigrating my friend with a litany of ‘he should haves’, referring to his life’s work as playing with toys, and implying that he asked for his friends to give him money, I can’t really fault anyone for what they’ve said in response to you.

  78. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Mark Lee,

    The only one that would shun Patrick for defaulting on his bills, is the Bearded Henchman of Wall Street, Mr. Thom Elliot. He and his mother will bring wrath upon him that you can only imagine. And assuming that Thom can not track down Mr Elkins in his family paid for automobile, our hero will spend months posting inflammatory remarks on various websites calling Mr. Elkins a loser.

    Don’t believe me? Just Google Thom Elliot. That man is such a visionary on anti-consumerism

  79. dave
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m breaking an 4+ year streak of not engaging trolls, but seriously, Dan, this is a post about Mark trying to help his friend. My unsolicited advice to you is to save your time and energy for something else if you don’t agree with it.

    I mean, come on. There are a lot of things out there to get down on, but one friend trying to help another? This is the battle you’re picking? geez.

  80. Mark Lee
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    And for the record, I’m much weirder than Patrick will ever be! Patrick is somewhat normal!

  81. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, meant to say Google Mary Jane Elliot. For all of your legal needs

  82. EOS
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see that Mark has ever tried to be neutral. He often posts deliberately provocative posts and then fuels the fire. I doubt he really believes much of what he posts, but finds it entertaining to watch how many unthinking individuals jump on the bandwagon of emotional, ad hominem attacks. A year ago, he was posting how Benghazi was caused by a 13 minute YouTube video. A year from now, when we are all waiting in line for substandard medical care, he won’t revisit the fact that he promoted ObamaCare as a beneficial piece of legislation. When he does write a lengthy, well thought out article, there are few comments. When he ridicules you or me everybody jumps on board, but few can articulate a reasoned response. I appreciate his efforts. This blog can be entertaining at times.

  83. Mark Lee
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    And Mark Maynard’s blog does not correctly note the time that post were made! Scandal!

  84. Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    If you think this was crazy, I just posted something about Benghazi. And, if I can stay awake, I’m going to post an interview with Stewart Beal. THIS SITE IS GOING TO EXPLODE!

  85. Dan
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I find it funny that dozens of Thom’s hateful, borderline racist comments are scrubbed from the internet. Where are all of the posts where Thom calls people criminals and losers that bought things they wanted but couldn’t afford. Where are the assaults on people trying helplessly to pay their bills, when a fat man living off of his parents calls them crooks and losers?

    I wish you guys knew that Thom Elliot. He sounds like more fun than the fake douchebag he tries to be.

    Hey of course you won’t believe me now. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn ya

  86. Tony
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    “I’m envisioning a whole leg-themed show, with us interviewing Pat’s leg…”
    Jesus christ, how high were you guys?

  87. Jennifer
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Surprisingly not at all… This brainstorming took place at Corner Brewery over one beer for Mark, a cider for me and water for Pat. We’re just weirdos or something.

  88. Mike Shecket
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    I would imagine that this option has already been considered in this particular case, but just in case it’s helpful for anybody else between now and the end of the year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has guaranteed issue health insurance for Michigan residents. That is, in fact, why I moved to Michigan.

  89. c.
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    I am certain that Patrick would help any of his friends who found themselves in a similar situation. I commend Mark for his compassion, help, and kindness to our friend and overall community. And Dan, you sound like a bad parent who is “you should’ve” and “stop playing with those dumb toys” which is REALLY saying “you should’ve worked harder to focus on concern over an unforeseen ailment above bringing joy, fun, and creative love to the community”. I’m not sure you can trade those equally. I would gladly help support Patrick for everything he’s given to us. Parents just don’t understand.

  90. Thom Elliott
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    The legal advice on how Patrick can get out of his troubles is from my mother, I personally gave Patrick legal advice for free, I have helped my freinds with legal problems many times over the years. We don’t own his debt as far as I know, we handle primarily credit card debt from Chase, and GE, and yes, if you do know my mother’s name, it is too late. Patrick is one of my oldest, dearest freinds, I was there when we were trying to first get the bandages off and it was like the Civil War in my bathroom with Patrick’s haunting ‘laughing’ cry, I bought him a cane, I was there when Patrick’s legs’ were throbbing with blood reflux, I was there trying to keep Patrick breathing through the pain, holding him to try and keep him from panicking. I want to help Patrick as much as I can because he’s a good man. You Dan are an annonymous ass, you are a typical Victorian eugenicist, a typical victim blaming meritocratic chauvanist. Notice you can’t anwser my question about Patrick’s options compaired to yours, because you’re a phoney. No one needs to scrub my internet comment history, when pushed I become histrionic, in general I am a sage; the king of beasts. Its been a year or more, and I can still get your goat by just explaining you.

  91. N
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I had a Pulmonary Embolis, in 2009. One of the scariest times of my life. I am thankful for the insurance I did have, but shortly after, I lost my insurance, and had to go for over a year without. Not that I advocate, in any way, to not pay your “debts,” but as an FYI after much discussion and research into the matter, I found that medical bills do NOT affect your credit, and literally/legally can not be garnished from wages… ever. You pay what you can, if you can, as you go. My experience, led to severe anxiety and a form of PTSD, so I frequented the hospital often for almost 2 years following my DVT/PE. So I do understand how expensive it can be. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, and your health is more important than the exorbitant cost of your care.

  92. Thom Elliott
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I have to also commend Mark for his efforts, to be passionately indifferent to the suffering of others is apperently ubiquitus. Also for the record; I have access to more capital then just about anyone I know personally through no effort of my own, I live in a mansion on a lake I didn’t buy, I go to collage for free & study pointless things like philosophy and special education, I waste my money at local bookstores, I’m a patron of my freind’s art, and I am also a notorious internet asshole. Note the difference in positon between myself, the authentic richy rich boy, and Dan the interchangeable Ann Arborite snob. Dan who ridicules the working poor, Dan who condemns artists as childish, Dan who blames the working poor for their intractable situation, Dan who slavishy consumes fastfood and presumes to tell other people how to live. Thank the good lord you’re privileged enough to not need anyone to throw you a benefit Dan.

  93. Eel
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Don’t fuck with puppeteers!


  94. Amy Morgan
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Immediately upon reading this post, I flashed back to negotiating with creditors and working 5 jobs between us to pay off “the leg” – a titanium femur that props up the hard-working, art-making man I love best in the world. I know first hand how a couple of productive, engaged, responsible citizens can get mired in financial crisis. I also know that there is absolutely no way for any of us to measure who is worthy of what. What makes me happy about this thread are the hints of real community understanding that are at the root of why we still live in our underwater house in this crazy place – namely, that is is a blessing for all of us to have the opportunity to practice compassion or generosity toward someone who is hurting.
    Patrick, I don’t know you very well, but I feel like I should say thanks. Thanks for allowing your situation to be the focal point for this difficult discussion of an all too common problem. Thanks for being the face (legs?) of Ypsi flexing her anti-hegemonic muscles and questioning whether the way things are is indeed the way they should be. Thanks for making yourself vulnerable to what happens when we all try to deal publicly with a lot of complicated feelings about what it means to be an individual in a community. In spite of the fact that you are a real person with real blood clots, thanks for not engaging in discourse that draws us away from what we really want to be doing – believing that we can imagine a creative solution to at least one instance of a pervasive issue in our community; believing that we can act collectively without personal incentive; discovering that acting generously in a specific situation will neither leave us dangerously vulnerable ourselves nor rend the very fabric of our hyper-individualized society :)
    I’m down for helping with creditor negotiations, making a hundred pizzas or cleaning up empty beer cups. Gratefully.

  95. Sarah
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Wow, this comment thread reminds me why I have been happy as a west coast transplant – even though I miss Michigan. Life is hard enough (no matter what set of privileges you’re born into), why spend time being so judgmental and snarky at other peoples’ expense?

    Without falling into the same trap, I can’t help but notice that there is a depressing lack of agency in this situation. Ypsi/Arbor crowd, is there nothing to be done to get better jobs (with benefits and decent wages) in the area? It seems like rather than using your collective energies planning for a series of benefit events for this one situation you should get together and demand (and create!) serious change.

    As for Patrick’s situation in particular – I have to agree with Mark Lee’s point about letting go of the stigma of bankruptcy. Why play into the messed up system by internalizing all this blame? What choices do we really have? Many of us are in a similar boat: astronomical student loans, salaries that don’t allow us to purchase houses or start families, and no wiggle room to save for retirement let alone build up an emergency cash reserve. The game is rigged folks – stopped letting the (minimum wage earning) bill collectors get you down further.

  96. koosh
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    if this is really about saving pat’s legs, shouldn’t the responsible thing to do be raising money to get his legs amputated and preserved for future generations?

    one day i’d like to visit a museum with my children to see pat’s legs so i could tell them, ‘those belonged to pat elkins. he was a great man.’

  97. Posted August 8, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the post Mark! I’m already looking forward to any event gets invented for this and will happily buy a ticket.

  98. Mr. Y
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Koosh wins!

  99. B
    Posted August 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    UMHS has a program called MSupport. Patrick, you should check it out! Try to negotiate with the billing office and see if they can call off the collectors. Establish a payment plan. They will work with you. I see patients in the ER that we refer to patient account representatives all the time.

    I hope you do have an event though. Not only to help you with this unfortunate situation, but also to call attention to the fact that this is commonplace. And it shouldn’t be.

    Also, FYI, the observation unit is billed differently than inpatient units. I’ve heard a CT scan there costs much more than an inpatient CT, for example.

    Wishing you well,
    -a nurse who used to live in the co-ops

  100. Meta
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    From Talking Points Memo:

    A former Republican operative in Georgia who was diagnosed with cancer revealed last week that his medical struggles have made him a supporter of the new federal health care law known as “Obamacare.”

    Clint Murphy, who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and Karen Handel’s 2010 Georgia gubernatorial bid, wrote on his Facebook page that opponents to Obamacare are taking a position that’s at odds with his best interest.

    “When you say you’re against it, you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance,” he wrote, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Murphy was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 but, after four rounds of chemotherapy (covered by his insurance), it had gone into remission by 2004. He wasn’t in the clear quite though. Because his sleep apnea qualifies as a “pre-existing condition,” Murphy explained to the Journal-Constitution, he currently has no insurance.

    The 38-year-old Murphy now works in real estate and said he will enter Georgia’s health insurance exchange when it opens in 2014. He doesn’t think Obamacare is perfect, but said that Republicans “are not even participating in the process” to suggest improvements.

    “We have people treating government like a Broadway play, like it’s some sort of entertainment,” he told the Journal-Constitution.

    Read more:

  101. Robert Davis
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Meta, who is paying you to post the BS Crap from the major outlets?
    Give me and other a break, It’s complete Crap.

  102. Posted October 12, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    This thread is amazing.

  103. Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Yes, what a thread! I’m still puzzled that anyone thinks Mark is a hipster. He’s too old, too married, and too employed. What gives?

  104. Michael
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I feel for you Patrick. I also have a rare artery disease in my leg. Lucky for me I have medical ins. Yet they still try to deny every claim I submit. I know how painful it could be. Praying for you. It will all work out. Sounds like you have some good friends to do what there doing.

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] how, a few weeks ago, I told you that some friends and I were exploring ways to help beloved local puppeteer Patrick Elkins pay the almost… which had accrued over the past year, as a result of his ongoing battle with Deep Vein Thrombosis? […]

  2. […] how, a few weeks ago, I told you that some friends and I were exploring ways to help densely-bearded local troubadour Patrick Elkins pay t… as a result of his ongoing battle with Deep Vein Thrombosis? Well, as of today, we’ve already […]

  3. By Legfest raises almost $4,000 for Patrick Elkins on October 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    […] for those of you who haven’t read my earlier posts on the subject, and have no idea what in the hell I’m talking about, is a clip from an article by Tom […]

  4. […] I’m helping save Pat’s Legs… one vector drawing at a time… […]

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