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Saturday, August 06, 2016

Angela's Rants. Or, the Beginning of the End to Angela's Ability to Keep Friends.

I do my best to contribute to the elevation of my best self.  I try at least to be silent when people are being negative so I don’t add my own voice to the discord.  

But…every now and again, it builds up and I gotta let it out or it's going to make me EXPLODE.  

That's right, it’s RANT TIME.  When I spew off ridiculous half baked opinions on things I have absolutely no right to weigh in on.

Bumper Stickers:

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said:  “If you don’t follow Jesus, you can go to Hell.”  And I thought…I was brought up in a fire and brimstone, fourth generation United Pentecostal family where Hell could very well be the topic of a sermon at church and I’M offended.  

I get real ‘specially annoyed when I see people who are claiming to be Christians being…well…mean.  Like the tow truck driver who stranded a woman by herself on the side of the road (In North Carolina) because he saw she had a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.  (Meaning she was a Democrat).  He told her to call the government to help her.  Then he left.  He said God would have been proud.  

No sweetie, no that’s not the case.  In fact, there’s a story about just this issue IN THE BIBLE.  Something called, oh, I don’t know, THE GOOD SAMARITAN.  Something’s screwy in the head when you ignore a basic tenet of being a Christian and feel good about it.

The Canadian Medicare System:

Specifically, Americans talking trash about a system they’ve never used and know nothing about.  I recently got into a bit of a heated debate about it at a dinner party with a friend.  I assume we’re still friends and since she has a bit of a reputation for being confrontational I also assume the conversation went totally under her radar.  

It was kind of a huge deal for me - I’m allergic to genuine confrontation and generally avoid it like you would a rabid monkey.  It’s just not worth it.  Usually.  But when people talk trash about a system I know intimately and they’ve never personally experienced (hello, Leukemia) it really pushes my buttons.  I was diagnosed and admitted same day they took my blood, a Saturday.  I went in Saturday morning to check for Mono and was admitted that night for Leukemia.

I had the operation I needed to inject the chemo (sort of an internal IV line) the next day and was starting Chemo by Monday.  I never waited for MRI’s I needed or X-Ray’s or any kind of life saving diagnostic tool.  Dr Rubin would order an MRI in the morning and they’d wheel me down by the afternoon.  Blood work results took hours, not days or weeks.  

I don’t know about someone’s aunt, or uncle, or third cousin once removed who used the Canadian system and died.  I do know if I was born in Maine and not Moncton, NB I’d be dead right now.  Why?  Because the life saving Bone Marrow Transplant I needed was $200,000 in the mid 90’s.  My mom took a leave of absence from her secretary job to take care of me and dad was a lifer at CN.  $200,000 might as well have been two hundred million.  

I watched them struggle as it was to pay out of pocket for the medication I had to take while I was home, to pay for hotel fees while I was having the transplant in Toronto (3 months I was there).  I remember thinking, this is so unfair, why do we have to worry about something as silly as money when my life is on the line?  I was 15.  

But that’s what millions of Americans have to do every day.  Even when their loved one survives they’re left with staggering amounts of debt.  My parents may have been able to swing the payment on all the treatments IF they mortgaged (or sold) their house and charged things on credit cards.  One thing is clear, they wouldn’t be retired right now, and mom would never have been able to take time off work to spend taking care of me if we lived in the US.

One thing is also VERY clear to me - the US medical system works great if you have the money to pay for it.  If you’re middle class (like we were) or less and you have a catastrophic illness, you’re screwed.  It’s worth mentioning none of the people who trash talk the Canadian system are working at McDonald’s to make ends meet.

Kids taking chemo should never have to worry about their parents too.  They should be focused on getting better.  Life saving medicine should be free.  Period. 

I’m willing to pay a little extra tax on my Old Navy shorts if it means that 6 year old with cancer can have his mom take a leave of absence from work to focus on taking care of him.  That she won’t have to take a second job to pay for the medicine he needs.  It seems incredible to me that people place the value of money over the value of human life.  

I digress.

Ellie’s Rants:

When strangers ask me what’s wrong with her when she’s crying.  I.  DON’T.  KNOW.  She doesn't like you.  Go away.

Ellie is very shy and if there’s too many people (or a new house) she kind of shuts down.  She grabs me in a death grip and cries for mommy.  That’s just the way she is.  I’m not interested in changing her, or pushing her out of this, whatever it is.  I’m interested in accepting her for exactly who she is.  In taking her fears and needs seriously and being patient.

Is it hard on me?  Sure, it’d be great if she ran out with no fear and talked to everyone she met.  (Ah, maybe not EVERYONE she meets).  

Do I feel like I’m doing something wrong, that I’ve failed because she’s fearful?  Kind of.  

But, I’m having faith that I’m doing the right thing by loving her, by accepting her, by not trying to push or change her into something she isn’t.  At least, I'm trying to do that.  Sometimes I just look at her and I'm like..."What?  Why?  You're fine!  Argggg."

But mostly I feel like she’ll come out of her shell eventually but not if she feels made fun of, or threatened.  Kids are people too, people.

That about wraps up my rants for the week, hopefully I’ve still got a friend or two left and if not well…you must not have liked me much anyway.

In the immortal words of Dennis Miller:  “I rant, therefore I am.”