Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

My First Post in 2009

Not one post this year, not one post. So I blog in 2009 quite behind the times.

I will do a quick update and then, perhaps I will tell you all what is on my mind. Because that is what is drawing me to write right now. I don’t have some urgent desire to share point by point the happenings in the past six months, but rather the need to set my heart down on paper. For those of us that write, I’m sure you understand.

February 2009 – Laid off from job as technical writer – shit …..

March 2009 – briefly hospitalized (about a week) for the most gruesome headache in the world. Seriously. Terrible.Freaking.Headache. I could write more about this. Fact is they gave me fentanyl twice, dilaudid twice. And Nubain once. And nothing touched this headache. And these were given to me in a matter of hours. Finally, they gave me morphine, and while I still had the headache and was unable to walk/speak/chew/sit up, etc I was able to lay in a doped up peace not thinking I was going to die while my body is locked in agonizing pain  It was fun stuff! 1 week later I was released, no longer on IV meds, but still with a terrible headache and bruises on my bum from shots I had been given. Good stuff.

April 2009 – Baby Thia Apple Waline was born at 37 weeks 2 days gestation on 4/8/09. She was 10 lbs! 21 inches long and beautiful and healthy and perfect! She got stuck on the way out (but only for a moment, mild shoulder dystocia) but she has no blood sugar problems, she was born full term, and she breathed wonderfully. My beautiful “little” girl!

and yes, we are using cloth diapers :) Here is a cute one!

It was also this month that I was approved for a Trade Adjustment Assistance Training Program so I can complete my bachelors degree in political science. I started school full time (from part time) on May 4th, and I haven’t looked back. Although, school full time with a newborn on your lap is interesting. The program pays for my school 100%, pays 80% of my COBRA until August 2010, and pays me unemployment insurance until February 2011 when I graduate. Seriously, who turns down programs like that? It is too good to be true!

So now it is May. My family of four is now a family of five. And yet, I’ve watched from afar a family of three become a family of one. And that is what is driving me to write…

I live in a complex of 12 townhomes. They are right next door to the train tracks, but separated from them by a big fence and off the road far enough that you just can't see the ins and outs of what goes on here. We are dubbed "affordable housing" which means they charge lower rents so poor people can afford to live in homes (either with section 8 or without) that have enough bedrooms for their children.

I'm in my third year living here. I moved here from my old crummy apartment, and the townhome is beautiful and three bedrooms and two stories and just, wow. I have been blessed. A lot of folks that live around here think it is a shit hole, but I say it is all about perspective.

Anyhow, a girl across the way from me has some mental health concerns. She hasn't been able to work in quite some time, but has been making it. She has guys come and go, some losers, some quite nice. How do I know this? Well, in these townhomes we all face each other, and we get to know the finer details of one another's lives, whether we talk to each other or not. It's just like that. Like Melrose place, but poorer.

A couple of weeks ago this girl's daughter, who is just under or just over a year, drowned in her bath tub. It was fortunate for her that the baby was able to be revived. It was unfortunate for her, that because this woman already has child services involvement, that this incident caused her to lose both her children, and she is currently in a CHIPS trial.

Ick. I've been watching this woman come outside to smoke, and be a shell unto herself. I watch her take out the garbage. I saw her come home without her kids (age 3 and 1.) I watched, and I cried. I watched and I cried and I hurt so badly inside, because it doesn't take much to remember when it was my turn and I screwed up and I lost everything.

I talked to her the other day and I let her know a little bit about my own story, and about how at least over here, no one is judging her and no one is thinking she is bad. I've heard her story about what happened to her daughter, and I don't doubt her truth. I've also been in her shoes. Slightly different circumstances and slightly different time, but I've been there.

Because I am poor (not wealthy) in funds, and because we can afford without help but with some help the things that we need, I live here. I live here and every day I am reminded of yesterday.

I also live across the courtyard from a woman I went to treatment with. And her boyfriend. I was in treatment with him too. (They met in treatment.) She was/is my closest friend here, and I've watched her spiral back into crack for the past year. And tear out our friendship and my trust bit by bit. It happens, and I don't hate her, but I can't trust her. But it reminds me why I'm here, what brought me here, the joys I have that others don't (even though we aren't wealthy or well-to-do we are so loved!)

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I got here and where I've been and I guess the people around me are reminding me. I’ve found that I can find so much more than shame in my past choices. I’ve learned that shame is such a transitory emotion. I’ve learned these things and I realize that it has taken me many years to realize them. And it hurts to watch this young girl across the way and know that I can tell her these things, but it won’t be real until she learns them herself.

And that is a long long road.