Skip to content

Month: March 2020

No Way to Live … or Die

These troubled times are highlighting problems that even I was ignoring. I’ve had trouble shopping for years and with my new crutches, I’m better able to get in and choose what I want but then have issues because I can’t manage a shopping cart on crutches. ‘Tis a frustrating issue that’s turned in to a much larger dilemma. Now we can’t even be safe walking into a store. We are both at-risk seniors, meaning we’re home until this improves.

Living in a small town of just over 5000 gives us a grocery store and three pharmacies within blocks. Literally just down the street. But that is almost useless now. No delivery in town, no to go options. Walgreens does have a drive up pharmacy window – I switched to them in January because of that. Husband’s meds are still at the grocery – there are two waiting for him now. Thank heavens he can forgo those for a while.

We stay stocked up on certain items due to the lack of shopping here and because of the savings. We had just bought toilet paper before this hit. (sorry, not sorry!) Many items we use regularly we have backups of. So we’re not in too bad shape so far.

But we are out of distilled water. Both of us are on CPAP machines and are supposed to use distilled water due to the purity. Well, forget that. Walmart will not deliver distilled water. Shaw’s grocery, 15 miles away in the next town, uses Instacart but is not delivering distilled water. Walmart pickup is booked so that you can’t place an order today. They say keep trying… (edit: success at midnight last night!)

As frustrating as that is, we are safe. We can substitute tap water temporarily. We have food. It just all points out how fragile our existence is. How fragile existence is if you have disabilities.

Besides the fact that disability pays absolute crap – few can exist on it alone, how many folks are sitting in their houses now, with low food stocks, inability to get medicines, lack of needed medical supplies? How many are living in areas that aren’t stepping up to help shut ins? How many of us disabled are barely noticed in good times? We aren’t able to get out and socialize normally. How many people even know we exist here in our new town in Maine?

I didn’t consider the last one to be an issue ’til now. I didn’t consider any of this to be more than inconveniences ’til now. Now there is talk of “non-productive” citizens. No serious talk really but still, can you possibly imagine what it’s like to be worried about getting groceries when you are broke or worried about there not being medical care if you have an emergency medical crisis unrelated to the virus?

I’m still self-employed though the meager income may be disappearing (only time will tell), and we have a small amount of savings and credit cards with much buying power. But I remember we had none of those things. I know there are so many out there that are in that situation now. My heart hurts for them.

There was a politician who publicly said nonproductive citizens should make way for the young and healthy. Though I completely disagree with his couching this as a economic thing, I do believe it is my right to decide when I die. This is something I’ve thought long and hard about since my 5-surgeries-in-18-months experience. If I decide I don’t want to do this anymore, I will bow out as gracefully as possible.

But looking at the scarcity of ventilators, I have also come to a conclusion about a DNR for me. If things get bad, if I get sick and there’s few ventilators, I do not want extraordinary measures taken to save me. It’s actually quite selfish, really. I have no desire to get that close to death again. I have no desire to fight through rehab again. I have no desire to go forward under those circumstances again. Give that ventilator to someone else who has a better chance of living a full life – no matter what the age or health of that individual. If they want to live, let them live and let me die.

To many that probably sounds depressive, negative and self-defeating. But if you’ve ever nearly died because of medical screw ups, you probably understand it. If you’ve been getting weaker, more painful and less able to participate in life, you might come close to knowing what I’m talking about.

I do prefer to offer hope. I also do prefer to rail at the powers that be (will reserve that for the ending to this screed). But these are difficult times. These are times that will kill innocents, if not from the virus, from the over burdened medical community or from lack of medicine or even food.

I do love the bits of positivity I see long distance. I do love to see happy stories from away. I have really enjoyed more friends and family talking with me via social media. I’m thrilled that none of my family are at high risk besides us. I am thrilled that my immediate family members are either employed or retired comfortably now.

What I also see is too much disinformation – promoted by idiots in power, too little help for dying patients and our already strained medical community, too much attacking from the idiots who seem to revel in Trumps actions. All I see coming is avoidable deaths and folks are quibbling about details (especially political) that definitely won’t matter in the history of this pandemic. I see you – those of you who don’t believe this is a true emergency. I see you – those of you who think criticizing this president is treasonous but Obama is still fair game. I see you – those of you who are completely ignoring the at risk population in your communities. I see you – those of you who don’t believe any organized assistance to those at risk is necessary in your community. I see what’s happening. I will remember. Do you see? Will you remember?

1 Chicken, 2 Cars

Shirley Chisholm, first woman to run for president

I guess we have to be grateful to not have elections as often as some other countries do but I truly hate this “democratic process”. Over fifty years of watching politics, little has changed. The most important part of a office seeker is not their promises and I seem to be in a minority on this aspect.

Do you remember Herbert Hoover’s campaign in 1928? His real motto was “Who But Hoover” but the catchy chicken in every pot and 2 cars in every garage is what is more likely to be remembered. When I looked up the details, I found this was not his motto but what his critics claimed he was promising.

That has kept coming to mind every time another candidate promises another pie in the sky scenario like Medicare for All and free college and a basic guaranteed income. Do I like the ideas? To some extent, yes but in reality each idea has not been well thought out. Most importantly these promises ignore the realities Congress and the American government. I’m not about to start spouting details to prove my points because there are pundits that do a good job getting into those weeds and I don’t need the deets to make my point.

I never vote or promote a candidate just because he or she champions a cause. I ignore candidates who ignore the reality of the presidency. I do not vote or promote a candidate by gender or sexual preference. Yes, I would love to see a woman president. Yes, I would love to see a gay president. That’s beside the point.

Flipping the Senate is a first problem – no democratic president is going to be able to accomplish much without resorting to a bunch of executive decrees or putting political appointees into place, getting rid of the “opposition”, etc.; you know, like Trump does.

So first requirement for a president for me is what can you really accomplish and how are you going to do it? How are you going to work with the opposition? What are your ideas to unite the nation? Can you honestly tell me your ideas are not divisive?

Do I want folks to have affordable medical insurance? I’m a case study in how the insurance industry and Medicare have many issues; however, completely upending our system now will have enormous financial impact on jobs and industries, some that actually are not just profit making jaggernauts. People will be affected – jobs will be affected. And now that I’m on Medicare, I’m really quite unhappy with the government making decisions based on money alone and not what’s best for patients. I was on the ACA before Medicare. There’s the start, let’s work on fixing what is there before telling every human that they have to get used to a whole ‘nother system that possibly could be no better.

Do I want the debt burden to be lessened on college grads? Of course, but if you borrow $200,000 to get your degree, then I have a problem with that. So definitely something needs to be done but not relieving debt. This is another instance of a broken system that needs fixing. It took me 10 years to pay off my college debt. My brother saw my struggles and joined the Air Force to get the tuition assistance, so he learned from my experience. Now I never recommend borrowing in the first place. As a relatively poor, but not poor enough student in 1969, I was barely able to scrape through college but I had scholarships, grants and loans to starve on. And I never have had the income to justify the expense in the first place.

Do I want a minimum income for every citizen? Actually I do but I’m realistic enough to know that will be harder than getting Medicare for All. The opposition to this will be incredible – on both sides of the aisle. No one who has never had to ask for help can possibly understand the labyrinth of the “welfare” system or how totally trapped folks can be in poverty. More sytematic problems that need tending to.

Do I want a woman as president? No question. Hey, I voted for Shirley Chisholm in 1972. Will I take any woman? Oh, heck no. A bad woman president would do damage to those who follow after her. Even a good one would be disruptive – not as disruptive as Obama, the first black president, turned out to be. The disruption was the refusal to accept a black president in many quarters which is one of the reasons we ended up with Trump. Obama did a fair job considering but it never mattered to the racists out there. A woman is going to attract horrible attention as well so it needs to be the right woman. So far I’ve not found her.

So no, I don’t want most of the candidates for president. Pie in the sky promises do not work for me. Sanity, education, consistency combined with flexibility, rationality, no screaming, no attacking (but this is politics) – it’s all about reality and diplomacy. If your preferred candidate cannot muster the ability to look at reality, then how in the world can he or she govern?