A lot has been on my mind of late: The Tea Party, the Coffee party, the GOP, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Clyburn, Lewis, and Frank, reproductive health policies getting the short end of the stick, and reading the articles about people’s health care stories on The Nation. I had considered submitting my own story. So, here it is: With the recent passage of healthcare reform following my 25th birthday, I have been preoccupied with the fact that government on some level has given back a degree of control over my life. I have a couple of things going on with my body, patella sublaxation in both of my knees (the right being far worse, and the one I injured most recently in 2008), and herniated discs in my lower back. You can imagine the pain. Oh, I really like morphine. At some point I must have surgery on my knees which I have only been putting off because doctors say I have to lose weight to be eligible (Is obesity a pre-existing condition?). And, as we all know losing weight is not an overnight thing, it is incredibly challenging. This is on top of finishing my master’s (which has been derailed because of my health problems) and finding a job (because loans are going to come calling soon) in the worst economic environment since the 1930s. Fantastic.
So, with the passage of this bill I realize I can actually make a plan for the future. This Fall, I will be getting surgery because the new law does not take effect for six months and I can only enroll during open season which is in November for Healthnet. I will be making appointments with the specialists, the radiologists, the physical therapists, etc. before so I do not waste any time because I only have four months to take advantage of this. The main advantage is that I will have access to doctors who I trust and already know me.
Before the legislation was passed, I was trying to look for full time positions with benefits that would somehow allow me, after six months, to take off for almost an equal amount of time to get the surgeries and recover. HA. And, in this environment that was proving increasingly more difficult. And all of this, while I’m taking antidepressants because I’m suffering/dealing/trying to overcome major depressive disorder. So all of this is to say the life I want to lead may actually become a reality, finally, at 26 years old. It’s one that I’ve been delaying ever since my depression was activated when I was 12 years old.
Here’s a poem that spoke to me because I’ve moved back home to the Bay after not having finished my master’s in a timely fashion, while being temporarily disabled, losing a significant amount of personal items due to a mistake but mostly due to an unreliable friend – things I can never replace, was rejected from all the Phd programs to which I applied, never offered a position (after looking for a job for an entire year) until the last week I was to leave New York City, and now separated from the majority of my closest friends who have become my family these past 6.5/7 years. In short, I am emotionally drained and tired of being strong.
"it's not the crutches we decry
it's the need to move forward
though we haven't the strength
women aren't allowed to need
so they develop rituals
since we all know working hands idle
women aren't supposed to be strong
so they develop social smiles
and secret drinking problems
and female lovers whom they never touch
except in dreams
men are supposed to be strong
so they have heart attacks
and develop other women
who don't know their weaknesses
and hide their fears
behind male lovers
whom they religiously touch
each saturday morning on the basketball court
it's considered a sign of health doncha know
that they take such good care
of their bodies
i'm trying to say something about the human condition
maybe i should try again
if you broke an arm or leg
a crutch would be a sign of courage
people would sign your cast
and you could bravely explain
no it doesn't hurt-it just itches
but if you develop an itch
there are no salves to cover the area
in need of attention
and for whatever guilt may mean
we would feel guilty for trying
to assuage the discomfrot
and even worse for needing the aid
i really want to say something about all of us
am i shouting i want you to hear me
emotional falls always are
and there are no crutches
to swing back on"
-Nikki Giovanni The formatting, for some reason I have not figured out, is not correct and cannot be preserved.