Part 2. I have recently been released from the hospital. When I got out, I saw elected officials suggest we defund ACA to fund food programs for the poor. The ACA is law. It’s not perfect, but neither has anything else been perfect, at any time in history. Yes, I am a disabled veteran, and with that comes privilege to free healthcare. I am infuriated by the hardships I see friends and family members go through to get life improving, even lifesaving care. I am lucky to be a disabled veteran, because I would be dead without the great, sometimes imperfect, care. Medicine is a practice, especially in my case, but not just in my case. I just have been lucky enough to have the resources to fight.
I have never met the guy, but I’m pretty sure Jesus would not ask the poor to trade food for their medical care.
Our country is changing. As we become more accepting, we are dragged back a few steps by people who do not want change. Maybe it’s because they are afraid of change, or they enjoy salaries paid for by special interest groups who are doing all they can to avoid paying taxes. We are spoon fed cherry picked and inaccurate information. I propose we own what they call those who are trying to make their lives better by working are, but getting paid unfairly; or those who want to work but cannot find a job; or those who want to work but are to sick to do so; or those who quit to take care of sick family members who need around the clock care or may be dying. Those who proclaim this as a “Christian” nation missed a memo or have wrongly named themselves- unless the definition is not longer one following the teachings of Jesus.
Smoke and Mirrors
Our culture is brainwashed to think of the poor and sick as villains. That we are faking illness or being lazy. That our goal is to lay on the couch and do nothing because we don’t want to work. There is no system in all of existence that could never be gamed. The whole system and anyone who uses it, is talked about as if the majority of those receiving benefits are just lazy. Here is something I want to ask: Could it be that many are poor, because they are sick?
The VA is not socialized health care.
Well, for 100% service connected veterans like me, it is. Everything is free. I pay no copay, nada, zip zilch. And, if I am not satisfied with my care, I can change providers. People who work in the Veteran’s Hospitals help veterans get the best possible care. They are good, well meaning people who even tell veterans to their face that they are there to serve them.
My healthcare is great, but in other matters, that’s another story.
While I was in the hospital for 45 days receiving that delicious socialist healthcare by an amazing group of doctors, nurses, caregivers and a nurse practitioner who could not be stopped, my car was ticketed, impounded then repossessed by my car’s finance company, because I was unable to get it out of impound and impound fees would eventually be as high as the current value of my car. Not because I couldn’t afford the payment, but because I couldn’t afford the impound fees. It was an unfortunate outcome, but I calmed down once I remembered I could always get another car, but I will never get another foot. As with many fighting health battles, a small slip up like forgetting to move one’s car can be devastating, but the priority of health must come first. I’m lucky because I just lost my car. I don’t have any hospital bills or copays. I am very lucky. Getting healthcare should not be given to only those who can only afford it or have Veteran’s Benefits.
I am Entitlement Nation
I collect Social Security in addition to my Veteran’s Benefits. I am part of what Fox news calls, The Entitlement Nation. You don’t even need to hear the sound to know what this graphic means:
See that outstretched hand ripping through the heart of the United States of America? That is how Fox News depicts me, an American Veteran, who in addition to her veteran’s benefits collects Social Security, and those who share my same health conditions who are not veterans. Look very closely into the pixels of that hand. There I am right next to someone you have never met who doesn’t have Veteran’s Benefits, lives on entitlement programs and is very, very sick. Of course they did not pay in blood sweet and tears, as veterans and their families do. I am in no way saying that Veteran’s do not deserve the best health and assistance. I am saying that those they come home to need help, are being vilified and I find that sickening.
One, two, three, what are we fighting for?
I joined the Navy in 1990 because I was a 19 year old manicurist who wanted travel while saving up for college. I served during a combat era and saw no combat. In 1994, I was introduced to the real cost of war because I saw and met many vets who did see and do horrible things just to get home alive. So yes, I am speaking about majority of people who are poor and sick and cannot or could not get healthcare throughout the past 20 years I have seen, who did not serve in the military. Civilians. But aren’t they who the military serves? There is not one service member who does not know of someone who has died prematurely of cancer, or some disease. Don’t those who stay home deserve care not just because of their vocation, but because they are fellow human beings? What freedoms are we sending our service members abroad to fight for, if not to protect those they love at home?
He who has the gold, gets the care.
The ACA is a start. Medication is still outrageously expensive in some cases. Access to preventive care and treatment for acute diseases should not be denied on the basis of payment. I feel like the more elected officials try to change this, the more vilified the poor gets. We blame the takers. Takers like me. Yep, I make a lot of money off the government teet. I would like to thank all taxpayers for allowing me to have the ability to get the care and medication I need to be alive. I am represented by that outstretched hand. Me and millions of others who receive Social Security at a young age, food assistance welfare and unemployment benefits. Did you know that all service members are allowed to collect unemployment benefits from their home state? I did when I got out. And so did every other person I know when they got out. But that was a long time ago…
Fox News is very popular at the VA Hospital, and not for visiting veterans.
Over the years I have sat in VA Hospital waiting rooms where Fox News was on TV. I have watched Fox News devolve into a delivery service of lies and misleading statements that would make a public outhouse at the end of a county fair look attractive. That outstretched hand may not represent those Veterans watching, or maybe some of this veterans watching are on welfare and SNAP while waiting for their benefits to be processed. Yes, there are veterans out there collecting welfare and SNAP benefits to feed their families while they deal with going through the VA system for mental health treatment or maybe care for a missing limb. That graphic may represent those they come home to, or those who care for them. Our ability to have empathy for our fellow humans is being smothered.
Caregivers must eat too.
Let’s talk about caregivers. I know someone who lost her job and took on the duties of caring for her father, a veteran, in his final years with late stage dementia. After he passed, she continues to care for her mother full time. She collects no wages. Every day, she and her immediate family manage the daily care for the 85 year old widow of a veteran. Her mother needs care 24/7. If my friend has time to sit down and eat bon-bons and watch a little TV, I’m thankful she enjoys a break. In addition to her family, and three more like them I can think up off the top of my head, there are families all over the United States in that similar situation. People who had to quit their jobs to take care of a sick parent, child, brother or sister, and may not even qualify for benefits and even fight for benefits after their loved one has died. They fight on behalf of the sick family member for benefits that are barely above poverty level, and mediocre medical care, in addition to taking care of the family member while collecting no wages. They may eventually need to use assistance for food and shelter. There is no shortage of unique situations that have one thing in common: They result in poverty of the sick individual and caregiver, resulting in a life of hardship in addition to the ever-present cloud of death that hangs in the air over the home of every chronically ill person. I actually watched a man with a british accent on one channel talk about how someone without a high school diploma, does not deserve higher wages for their hard work. Who is that blowhole? And what gives him the right to determine what wages someone should make based on their education? You can have a Phd and still be horrible at your job.
Why do I write about this?
As a country, we can do better. I’m tired of reading statuses of benefits being denied to very sick people, people in need. People who could benefit greatly from medication now, and not when some paper pusher gets around to making it possible. I collect social security in addition to my benefits, which is what many elderly veterans do, and I am no where near elderly. I paid into it as long as I could. I want to work, but with my health, it is not an option for the full time job I need to be able to provide for me and my son. I used to feel guilty about receiving Social Security benefits. Seeing this graphic below doesn’t make me feel bad about “motor boating” the governments ample breasts, as Jon Stuart so eloquently stated. I am empowered by it to tell you what I have, and make an argument for better care of the sick and poor in the United States.
With all of this vilification of the poor, when will they propose we just leave them to die.
Do you want to live in a country that vilifies it’s sick and poor? I don’t, but guess what? We do. That graphic describes me because I am a taker. I create no jobs. I collect social security. Yes, I am a veteran, but I am not going to pass up on benefits that will make my life less about my illness, not this mom. Do I not deserve to give my son the best possible life, or should I not, because I am sick and I need to stay home and wait to die? That is how I feel when I see graphics and ideas supporting vilifying the poor. Should my almost 10 year old son be forced to take care of me when he comes home from school every day? Or should he instead enjoy learning leadership skills and physical exercise at marital arts class that my income allows me to provide? If I did not have my veteran’s benefits, he and I both would have died in child birth because there would have been no magic letter. When I was able to work, I had benefits and assistance to take over my family’s small business because of my disabled veteran status. No. Had I not joined the Navy, I would have had to quit my job as a manicurist and live on social security and live with a family member. Had I not joined the Navy, I may not have scleroderma or sarcoidosis- but that’s also a another post. Those possibilities are not my realm and I am fortunate.
I am not sitting on my ass all day eating bon-bons. I am healing or working to stay healthy so that when I see my son, I am 110% present. Like all children, he deserves that. I read about single parents scraping by, sick as hell taking care of their kids with Social Security as their only source of income. After medication copays and doctor’s visits, they can afford processed food, because it’s cheaper, but causes more complications to their illness. If you think that eating macaroni and cheese, or an easy drive through meal instead of a meal with a form of protein and fresh vegetables doesn’t make a difference in health, then you are living in the 1970’s era of meat and potatoes, cigarettes and disco.
Turn off the TV and see what happens.
We take a lot for granted in this fast food culture. Simple things like how non- processed meals can make the difference in a person’s ability to function. Worn out shoes cause a blister than can send a person into the hospital for months. It comes down to the basics. Talking heads and even elected officials go on and on about our country’s lack of family values and build a crisis based on who should marry whom. Buzz words are tossed about to scare the ignorant, distracting this country from doing what it needs to do for it’s citizens. They are convincing people to vote against their own interests. If we don’t stop this madness and start taking care of our sick, we are in no way worthy to ask for the blood, sweat and tears so many in our past and present military have, and continue to shed for this country. Change the channel. Turn off the TV and go outside. That is real. Fox News is not.
Who am I?
I’m just a patient with a blog. I write to share my experiences. I do want to make the world a better place. My life is no way perfect, but I get a lot of help because I am a veteran. That’s awesome. No, how about we take care of those people veterans know and love. Yes, being a veteran is special. But watching others with the similar illnesses and situations choose between food or medicine is wrong. Oh, and don’t get me started on mental health care.
I don’t know where to even begin to address this issue so I’m going to just say this: I am disabled and I collect Social Security and do not work. So, according to Fox New, that makes me a taker. #IamEntitlementNation How about you? Do you feel shame when someone asks you what you do? Or do you wish you were able to finally get that teaching job back you were laid off from? There are many unique situations, but must people be shamed because they are in need? No. I receive money every month because I’m a disabled veteran, in addition to my Social Security Benefits. My quality of life is very good, my access to medicine is total. I have survived 20 years and counting since my initial diagnosis. My son will have his mom much longer, because I know I am taken care of and he will grow up not remembering watching his mom die a horrible slow torturous of scleroderma. He will remember how full of life I was, and how every day was an adventure and he will have a solid foundation of love to look back upon. So hey, why not make up a silly hashtag in response to that silly graphic, and see what happens? Tweet, Instagram, or Facebook a short sentence with #IamEntitlementNation Don’t do it because I suggest it. Do it if you ware tired of seeing the poor and sick vilified, denied medical care and needing get the basics in life. It will give us all something to do while we wait in the doctor’s office, or taking a break from sending out resumes. It’s just a suggestion. I’m recouping from nearly loosing my foot. I’ve got nothing but time. Except Thursday.