As always, I said a short prayer before opening up the e-mail. The several sentences are forever etched on my heart.
She had lost her battle to cancer.
The first day I was terribly shocked and sad. The second day I was sad and depressed. That went on for a few days and, frankly, I am still sad and depressed. But somewhere about day three I got furiously pissed off. And now I am raging pissed off, depressed and sad.
So forgive me as I give two middle fingers to the oft not discussed choice that Americans die over. You know, people like MY (and could have been your) friend.
When she finally arrived home after her first extended hospital stay, she felt horrible, was in pain, couldn't eat, could barely talk (think feeding tube) and in a nutshell was just a medical mess. Somehow, though, she made it through.
A mere image of her former self, thin, pale and tired, she stood in the front yard as I drove up my wee one-lane street and I stopped to talk.
After, literally, MONTHS of trying, she finally got medical help. She had felt horrible for a long time but, like many, didn't have medical insurance. She simply didn't have enough money, especially in this economy given her business was tied to the construction industry which was gasping a couple years back and died near completely in 2008.
So first, she went through her small business savings.
Later, things were so tight, she opted for heat, water and food and let the house payment go. When she passed away (after a few short sessions of chemo and her second five week stay in ICU with pneumonia), she was eight months behind in her house payment, something I didn't know.
When she was telling me seven weeks ago about her housing situation, I was startled at this revelation. I asked her why she didn't let us all know and maybe we could have helped, collectively. Her response is the kicker...
She said oh no, no, no! It's a good thing! If I hadn't been losing my house I could not have qualified for medical help!
That's the fucking choice she had. That's the fucking choice many have.
Lose your home and shelter or lose your life.
It's not like she lived in a mansion. Like me and many others here, she lived in a very small house. Nothing fancy, but as an artist, she made it a wonderful corner of the world.
What kind of a third world country have we become where these are the options available to us when we are ill?
I hope every Blue Dog and Republican is happy cuz folks, they took the life of my friend while they dithered, collaborated and took millions from insurance companies. Her life didn't mean shit to them. Any of them.
And I wish every fucking politician who supported Bushomics (the reverse Robin Hood economy of take from the poor and give to the uber rich) had known her because, unlike me, they would at least have to live with the guilt of KNOWING they damn well insisted she die.
What a laughing stock this country is. What an absolute mediocrity. What a corporate hellhole. What a soul-less, moral-less, ethically challenged piece of crap this country is.
People don't matter. Ideas and profit matters. Politics before people.
I'm sorry for the rant. Well, just sort of sorry because it finally drove me to actually type what I have thought about this country for a long time but couldn't bare to face.