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I know. "Not another diary about the 47%." It's been done. The diaries have been read. But, we all have stories to share about topics related to the same theme. I would like to tell you my story about my interactions with someone in my family that is a part of the infamous 47%.

I first met my wife's father in 1997, shortly after we started dating in college. She was a freshman and I was a sophomore. As we were walking back from a class, her father was waiting for her outside of her dorm, waiting to take her out to lunch. She ran up to him, gave him a hug and a kiss, quickly introduced us, and off they went. Over the next few years, during out school breaks, we would go out to dinner or to a movie, and I would pick him up at her father's house. Before and after our dated, we all would sit for a little bit and talk about various topics. At the time, he was a Protestant Minister (yup, my wife is a minister's daughter), but had been an industrial psychologist for a huge portion of his adult life. He loved talking, he loved expressing himself, he loved getting in front of his congregation and preach to his parishioners. His voice and gift was of speech was his life.

In 2000, 1 month before my wife's 21st birthday, her father suffered a stroke while having lunch at a reataurant with some of his parishioners. He was immediately rushed to the hospital. The doctors thought that he would recover fairly well, but then, he suffered another.

Since then, he has been in a nursing home, living his life in wheelchair, not having any movement on his right side of his body. His verbal skills (his gift) has been gone since, only being able to speak one syllable at a time. When attempting to communicate with him, we engage in a gain of charades. He initially responded with the loss of his "gift" with anger, resentment, and depression. He went through his own stages of grief and has had many suicide attempts related to depression that has spiked throughout the last 12 years.

He cannot go to the bathroom by himself and wears a diaper 24 hours a day. Due to his lack of mobility and strength, when we take him out for lunch, I need to lift him out of his wheelchair, put him in the front seat of the car, and buckle him in. When we get to the restaurant, the process his reversed. I still see the sadness in my wife's eyes when she looks like him, knowing of the person that he once was. At the lunch table, he points to the menu of what he wants, then we verbally go down the list of condiments that he would like, with him answering with a simple "yes" or "no." Prior to eating, we must cut up his food for him (no movement of right hand) as we do for our 6 year old and 2.5 year old children, at times. Due to a lack of facial movement/feeling, he has difficulty feeling food that is stuck on his face so we either need to point it out to him or wipe his mouth again. When we leave the restaurant, the process of getting him in the car begins again.

However, the part of this story that saddens me the most are his interactions with his 6 year old grandson and 2.5 year old granddaughter. You see, he has never been able to talk to them like others do. He has never been able to ask them questions about their interests. He just can only listen. He can never play outside with them, pick them up, toss them over his shoulder. He can never give them a big bear hug with both arms and tell them "I love you." When taking pictures, they can only stand by his wheelchair or we have to lift them up onto his lap and hold them there, since he can't. You can see the pain in his eyes every time.

Oh yeah, he pays no taxes. My father-in-law relies on medicaid and medicare TO SURVIVE!!! Does he not deserve to live?!

Stories like this occur in many families, whether is someone with disability, elderly relative on social security, deployed soldier, student, etc... As a result, when I hear of them making comments about the "47%ers" or "the entitled" or the "moochers"...I take it to heart and let my anger be known. I even tell them the story I just told you. You should really see their faces when I end the conversation with, "sucks when a personal story is attached, doesn't it?"

Thanks for listening.

Originally posted to Chris Tomas on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:51 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very touching. (7+ / 0-)

    'the "47%ers" or "the entitled" or the "moochers"',

    we're all in this together.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:02:17 AM PST

    •  I have Multiple Sclerosis (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and it has played havoc on my own body, from my eyesight to the tip of my toes (literally).

      I did all the "right" things and even worked for a company that had disability insurance but they had one rule.... File for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and then we are going to reduce your monthly payment by the amount SS pays you.

      Yes, another corporation getting the Government to cover much of the cost they were technically obliged to honor.

      Believe it or not, I cried the day I got the notice in the mail that SSDI had approved me.  I was only 32 at the time and everything in my life that I had planned - was gone.  

      I have a few hours every day to get things done otherwise, I spend 18 out of 24 hours in my bed now days.

      So these Republicans threatening to cut off "INSURANCE" which is what Social Security and Medicare both are (they are NOT ENTITLEMENTS, they are INSURANCE) has me quite concerned and should have most people concerned as well.

      For those of you in your 20's or even your 30's, you think it won't happen to you - I know that's what I thought, then when it did I decided I was going to be a shining beacon of influence to the world, and then the MS along with age, arthritis, et al, all descended upon me quicker than I could keep up with the changes.

      Sorry this is long but what they do in Congress obviously has a big chance of affecting me and those around me.

      I've seen the difference between those who got MS who had money and a good job and those who did not (MS usually hits a person in their 20's and 30's) and it is NOT a fair system whatsoever.

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 11:06:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Omega 3's (4+ / 0-)

    Have you considered mega-dosing Omega 3 oils for your FIL?    There has been some fairly recent evidence that Omega 3 oils can help your body repair brain injury.  

    This link talks about giving omega 3's immediately after the stroke.

    According to the head of the research team, Dr. Nicholas Bazan, the DHA triggered the production of a neuroprotective molecule called Neuroprotectin D1. Incredibly, this molecule not only salvaged brain tissue that would have died, it also repaired areas of the brain so thoroughly that just seven days after the DHA treatment they were indistinguishable from normal, previously undamaged areas.
    This article talks about the role of Omega 3 in the recovery of a kid with traumatic brain injury.
  •  Yeah it sucks (6+ / 0-)

    But I also think it sucks that sometimes it takes a personal connection or someone to relate a personal story before some people get it - like the comment said above... we're all in this together.

  •  My wife's Aunt, Uncle, and their adult children (10+ / 0-)

    By far the worst of the bunch is her uncle, who last easter proudly announced that he no longer read news papers, watched the news, or got information online, because Rush limbaugh had convinced him that the media was doing nothing but lying.  He now, literally, gets ALL of his news from right wing radio, that he plays from morning to night in his business.

    His wife, as kind as she is, argued that within the ACA (Obama care) was a provision that the government would now come and take all your gold and silver away from you to pay for it.

    Her one son, who is a manager at a Purina Dog Food factory, is convinced that Unions will be the end of his employment because it makes his employees lazy and he can't discipline them, and is angry because they are given annual raises and he hasn't seen one in years.

    Her other son, who owns his own small business (with 9 employees, all at minimum wage) is convinced that Obamacare will put him out of business (even though he is exempt) because he will now have to pay $10,000 per person (where he got this number from I have no idea) that he has working for him.  His business has boomed under the Great Recession (he sells discount bakery goods) yet is convinced that the economy is in terrible shape, claims he would trade his good fortune for the sake of the economy doing better, yet won't pay above minimum wage, and complains about providing healthcare (which he won't have too).

    Their daughter, is loaded with student debt, and gave up a full time nursing position because "she didn't want to work nights", and blames the economy and Obamacare for her not being able to obtain a fulltime job.  She is married to a serviceman, who, get this, blames Obama for starting the war in Afghanistan. (he was quite liberal before going to war, during which he said the only news allowed on television was Fox News).

    Her other cousin, lives in Arizona, is a big Jan Brewer and Arpio fan, and is a gun collector.  Recently he pulled a gun on a cable man, who came to his house, to do repair work, that he called.  He claims this is because the man didn't knock, and went into his backyard (to fix the problem).  

    There is a level of paranoia and fear among these people that I've never seen before.

    Yep, I've got my share of 47%, but mainly in my wife's side.

    95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

    by PRRedlin on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:52:03 AM PST

  •  Can't he just go get a job? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, Chris Tomas, Ian H, a2nite, ladybug53

    Come on, we don't need our hard-earned money taken out of our paycheck so this bum can sit around in his wheelchair all day!

    [In case it's not painfully obvious, this is my impression of what conservative Republicans would say, not my own views].

  •  I can empathize, only in our case the family (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fleet, ladybug53, Sue B

    member made us promise to not institutionalize.  We have been able to honor that request, partially from our familial obligations and partially because we are in that infamous crack whereby we don't have enough to pay $5K-$10K a month for an institution but do have too much for public assistance (in this state, from memory, you are allowed $750 in savings, and a $3500 car and your home.)

    The failure of long term care is one discussion that is greatly needed in this country, as it is difficult to qualify for home health and ever changing rules mean ever changing adjustments.  However home care is still exponentially cheaper than institutionalization but the toll on caregivers is extreme so that able bodied caregivers usually end up disabled themselves to some extent

    •  I laugh at those who hate the "death tax." (0+ / 0-)

      "Oh, it's double taxation."

      Really?  Then, it's very simple.  Just refuse the inheritance, then you don't have to pay the tax!

      "Wait until you inherit something."

      It will be a long wait because when you go into a nursing home, the nursing home company siezes your savings and bleeds it dry, leaving nothing to inherit.  So, for me and most of us, it will be a long, damn wait, indeed.

  •  Something is missing... (0+ / 0-)

    within their cold, dark souls.  There is no empathy, no compassion, no sweet humanity upon which to draw and understand the suffering of the old, poor, disabled, vulnerable children, etc.  There is emotional blight all across these United States.  For someone who believes in a strong social safety net, in the promises of social democracies, and who was raised learning a social gospel based on Love & The Beatitudes - a wonderful worldview... well, life in the US is a tragedy at present.  The people of our country have been infected with a terrible disease - all compassion seems to be disappearing.  It is the saddest thing to happen in my many decades on this earth.


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