Category Archives: Pets

Vote for ME Please, If It’s Not Too Much Trouble

One of the many reasons I’ve never run for public office is that I hate asking for things.  It makes me uncomfortable.  It makes me feel unworthy.  Unloved.

Votes have always been especially hard for me to ask for.  So this is really hard for me to do.

But one of my earliest bloggin’ buddies, Lorna of Lorna’s Voice, nominated me for the BlogHer “Heart:  Feel it” Award!  And I need your vote to avoid total humiliation.

It is for my story/blog post, Letting Go.

Letting Go is a very heartfelt piece.  You see, it was written with my dog Cooper asleep at my feet.  Written knowing that the vet would soon come for his last, and saddest, visit with my ailing Cooper.  But it isn’t a sad story.  Because it is about a very special walk with a very special dog who made a very special friend that day.  Or tried to, anyway.  And it happened many years earlier, when Cooper was young and healthy and carefree.  The story really did help ease the pain of his passing, even as I was facing it.

So please click on this link, register (sorry!) and vote.  For me and for Coops.  For Letting Go.  (There’s a link to the post through this link.)

http://www.blogher.com/node/1393485/voty?category=VOTY%20-%20Heart%3A%20Feel%20it.

And pretend you’re in Chicago — vote early and often!

Thanks, Lorna!

82 Comments

Filed under Awards, Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Cooper, Dogs, Elections, Humor, Pets, Writing

Superstitious

It may surprise you to know this, but I am very superstitious about New Year’s. It’s true. Me!

My superstitions are not based on ancient history. They didn’t come from ancient ancestral rituals. They do not pop into my head based on numerology.

Nope. I earned my superstitions. And it happened, like many transformative events in my life, in the 1980s.

It was a terrible year, 1981. I’d been sick, hospitalized. My dog died. I broke up with a boyfriend of 5 years whom I’d expected to marry (he hadn’t given that much thought). I got sick again. And then again. I was spending the Holidays in un-Christmas-sy Florida with my parents and my brothers. Florida, where the palm trees were decorated and where Santa would have perished from the heat wearing all that fur.

By Christmas, I was toasting the arrival of 1982 at Christmas dinner.

“Whoa, Lease,” said my Dad, “one Holiday at a time!”

“I can’t wait,” I responded. And then I uttered those famous last words:

“Next year has to be better.”

Don’t ever say that.

Because, in fact, 1982 was worse. Way worse.

I got sicker. And sicker. I got broke and broker. I tried to commit suicide in the stupidest way and in the silliest place imaginable.

I had to have major, new, just-beyond-experimental surgery.

There were good parts about that year, of course. My friend Keily and I became roommates and fast friends. We’re still close. 1982 was also the year I got Goliath, the Goose, whose craziness kept my sanity in check. Well, sometimes.

But overall, the year I expected to be an improvement, was anything but.

Yeah, I learned in 1981/1982 to be careful what I wish for. Because you never know what’s ahead.

Don’t Jinx It!

* * *

(Google Image)

(Google Image)

Happy New Year to all of you. And if you’re looking for a simple way you can celebrate that costs nothing, look here.

86 Comments

Filed under Christmas Stories, Dad, Dogs, Family, Holidays, Pets

Two Trips to the Tidal Basin

We had had such a lovely evening, Goliath, John and I in January 1985.  And so two weeks later, Goliath and I went back without John.  What could possibly go wrong?  Of course you’re thinking that with Goliath, something was bound to.  You would think I’d have learned.  And you’d be right on both counts.

The Jefferson Memorial is a lovely place – always.  There is something peaceful in the round, unadorned dome, of Mr. Jefferson standing majestically in the center of the white marble atrium.  In the quotes from the Declaration of Independence and my favorite:

“…I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

Photo:  The Washington Post

Photo: The Washington Post

Goliath, of course, wasn’t allowed in.  But he was pretty used to me tying him to a tree to go inside to use the bathroom.  So John and I left Goliath briefly and went inside for a quick visit to Mr. Jefferson.

It was a beautiful winter evening – late January, 1985.  And John and I were falling in love.

It had been cold as could be in Washington for weeks.  So cold, in fact, that the outdoor ceremonies for Ronald Reagan’s second inaugural had to be mostly cancelled or moved indoors.  Washington was in a deep freeze.

Still, Goliath had to go out.

Besides, a quarter moon shone, lighting up the gray bark of the famous cherry trees that ring the Tidal Basin.  The Tidal Basin had frozen over and the moon shimmered on that too.  It was the perfect night for a romantic night-time stroll with my two guys.

Goliath fell in love with John at first sight, just a few days earlier.  And that night at the Jefferson Memorial cemented the affection.  John fell in love with my crazy dog too.  Not that he had any choice; Goliath and I were a package deal.

What happens when you combine a frozen pond, sticks, a crazy dog and two lovesick people?  A night to remember.

The Tidal Basin was completely frozen.  At first Goliath was reluctant to step down off the concrete onto the ice of the Tidal Basin.  It was about a foot down, and Goliath, the Goose, was cautious.  Once John stepped down onto the ice, though, Goliath was game.  The three of us slid and slipped as we threw sticks, watched Goliath imitate Bambi on the ice, and rough-housed a bit.  John and I managed a smooch or two along the way.

Yup.  A memorable night.

So nice, in fact, that about two weeks later, Goliath and I went back, unfortunately without John.  Tess was with us, though.  Goliath’s girlfriend.  After all, it is a very romantic place.  Somebody needed a date.

This Malamut looks very much like Tess

This Malamute looks very much like Tess

Photo Credit

Tess was an  Alaskan Malamute, and she and Goliath were in love.  She belonged to our neighbor and friend, Linda and her two daughters, 8 and 5.  Tess was a beautiful, gentle, huge furball of a dog with a thick white and gray and black coat.  Linda and I had long been walking the two dogs together.   Tess had a calming influence on Goliath, and he behaved better when Tess was around.  Well, usually.

In fact, Goliath was so well behaved when he was out with Tess that it was generally easier to walk the two dogs together.  Sometimes Linda would join me and we’d go to the Capitol.  Other times I took the two of them on late night walks; Linda and her two daughters often did the after-work walk.  It was a terrific partnership.  Goliath always behaved for Linda and Corbin and Ashley.  And he behaved better for me when we brought Tess along.  Goliath would rarely come when I called him,  but when Tess was with us, I could always get him to come.  Because Goliath was a show-off.

Since capturing Goliath was such a challenge, I’d leave Goliath’s leash attached to his collar when we walked.  I’d drop it when it was time to let him run by himself or with other dogs, and he’d drag it around after him as he ran and played.  Linda and I left Tess’ leash on too.

When it was time to leave, I would say to Goliath:

“Go get Tess,” and he would run, pick up the end of her leash and bring it back to me.  I’d grab his leash too, and we were ready to go home, without the usual 30 minutes of me chasing my dog like a dork.

Anyway, about two weeks after that memorable night with John, Goliath, Tess and I went to the Jefferson Memorial to walk around the Tidal Basin.  The moon was full, and it was a beautiful night.  It had, thankfully, warmed up.  The deep freeze of late January had ended, and bundled up, I was quite comfortable as we started around the cement path next to the water.

And that of course, was the problem.  The Tidal Basin had thawed.  There was still a layer of ice on top, but it wasn’t nearly thick enough to support any weight.  There were puddles everywhere, and the ice had pulled back from the concrete edge leaving a rim of water.  Seriously cold water.

Enjoying the beautiful evening, I let my two charges go, and I watched the two doggy lovers play.  Of course, I thought of John and the lovely, fun walk we’d had here so recently.

Goliath remembered it too.  I’m sure of that.  Because he wanted to play on the ice again.  And so he used his head and the force of his body to push Tess off the sidewalk and into the water of the no-longer-frozen-solid Tidal Basin.

“Goliath, NO!” I shouted.

Tess, suddenly finding herself in icy water over her head, panicked.

I leaned over the edge to get her.  While frozen, the surface of the Tidal Basin had been about a foot below the edge, because ice has more volume than water.  The surface was now two to two-and-a-half feet below the edge.

I ran to Tess, reached way down to her, and tried to calm her while I grabbed her collar and her front leg and started hauling her out of the water.

“Good Girl, Tess.  I’ll get you out of there,” I said with a calm resolve I didn’t feel.

But Goliath wanted to play.  On the ice.  With Tess.  And with me.  Just like that other night.  He rammed his head into me in an attempt to push me onto what he no doubt thought was ice.

“Goliath NO!  BAD DOG!  NO!”

His eyes sparkled as he pushed me again.

(“Come on, Mom, remember how much fun we had?”)

He didn’t understand that there was no ice.  And that he was going to end up playfully drowning his two best girls.

Just when I nearly had poor, soaking wet, panicky Tess pulled out, Goliath pushed us both again, after getting a running start.  Tess slipped from my hands, and she fell back in again.  I managed to stay out of the water, somehow.  But I thought of stories where a drowning person surfaces three times before drowning.   I wondered how many times a dog could go under.  How would I be able to explain to Linda that Goliath had killed her dog?

There was no way around it.  If I was going to save Tess, I had to do something about my own crazy dog first.

I reluctantly left terrified Tess, and chased after Goliath. When I caught him I tied him firmly to a tree and went back for Tess.

Tess was tiring, giving up.  She had no energy left when I got back to her.  Thankfully, she had stayed close to the edge.  Without Goliath’s, ummm, assistance, I was able to reach down, grab Tess’ collar and then her legs.  I hauled her out of the water.  We both fell backwards; Tess landed on me in a heap.  We sat there on the sidewalk at the edge of the Tidal Basin and rested.  I comforted her while the water from her thick coat soaked through the few dry spots on my coat, my pants, my shoes and deep into my skin and down into my bones.

“Good girl, Tess,” I said, “good girl.”  When we had caught our breath, I grabbed her leash and led her back over to our abuser.  I have rarely been so cold.

Goliath was still ready to play.  After all, we hadn’t been there for more than half an hour.  He was delighted to be untied from the tree, but I held fast to his leash.  And I led him away from the water — the long way back to the car.  I took no more chances.

“Too bad, you maniac,” I told him as he tried to pull away to go off and play.  I pulled him towards the car to leave.  “It’s your own fault we had to cut the walk short.”

We drove back home, and dry Goliath and wet me returned a soaking wet Tess home to Linda.

“What happened?!?” she asked, not surprisingly.

“My dog is nuts,” I replied.

Tess managed to forgive Goliath pretty quickly, even before we got back to the car.  Me, I waited to determine if I was going to die of pneumonia before forgiving the Goose completely.  But of course I did as soon as I was warm and dry.

We scratched the Jefferson Memorial off our list of places to walk.

******

Dog owner alert:  Don’t be stupid like I was — Don’t leave your dog’s leash on him.  It is a stupid, dangerous thing to do with a dog.  A dog can get it caught in something and break his/her neck, hang himself, or injure himself in a zillion different ways.  Don’t do this to your furry friend.  In fact, do not take any dog tips from me.  I did an incredible number of stupid things with Goliath.

39 Comments

Filed under Dogs, Family, Goliath Stories, History, Huh?, Humor, Pets, Stupidity, Wild Beasts

The End of My Rope

Friday, the first of October, 1982, was a really bad day.

Actually, it was a mostly normal day even after I found a memo and a pamphlet in my office in-box. The law firm where I’d worked for more than three years had just changed health insurance companies. The information about our new policy, beginning November 1, 1982, three weeks before my scheduled surgery, would be with Liberty Mutual. I didn’t give it a thought.

But Andrea, one of my bosses, suggested I give them a call. “You’d better make sure they know about your operation and don’t need more information.”

So I called the number on the brochure.

Forty-five minutes later, Andrea found me at my desk, staring blankly at the ‘Sitting Duck’ poster hanging on my wall. It showed a white cartoon duck wearing sunglasses.  He’d been enjoying himself, sitting in the sun in a turquoise blue lawn chair on the side of his house, sipping a soda.  But he was looking in wide-eyed surprise over his right shoulder at two bullet holes in the wall.

Sitting duck poster

Poster by Michael Bedard
http://www.mbedard.com

I knew that if I looked over my shoulder, I’d see some bullet holes as well. I was that sitting duck — I always seemed to be dodging bullets.  Life with chronic illness had become one fucking thing after another.  Now, just when I’d accepted and agreed to the surgery that so terrified me, my insurance was gone.  BANG! BANG!

“What’s wrong?” Andrea asked.

“It’s not covered,” I said, numbly, without a hint of emotion. Then I began to hyperventilate. “’Pre-… pre-… pre-existing condition,’ they said.”

“What?”

I explained what I’d been told, that the new policy didn’t cover anybody for 30 days and that it didn’t cover pre-existing conditions for a year. The firm had changed insurance to save money. Their decision would cost me everything. Everything.

I didn’t want to have the surgery — it terrified me. But I’d adjusted, accepted that I was, in spite of my attempted denial, quite sick, and that I had to have the operation. But I couldn’t possibly pay for it. Where was I going to get the tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars I’d need? I lived pay-check to pay-check, and rarely had a nickle to spare; I had no savings. My parents were retired, living close to the bones themselves. My siblings were likewise broke. And I had insurance!

Loss of the insurance meant one of two things.  I could have the surgery that I really didn’t want to have anyway and pay for it myself. Or I’d face another year of ever-worsening illness — hemorrhages, bleeding, weakness, diarrhea.  Dr. C had been clear — my colitis was not just going to go away, as much as I wanted it to.

Without insurance, even if I could convince my surgeon, the hospital and the zillions of other folks involved in a major operation to actually do the surgery on someone without insurance, I knew that I would spend the rest of my life trying to pay the bills.  Bills that would have been covered just the day before.

My mind whipsawed between the injustice of the loss and terror at what would happen to me if I didn’t have that damn operation.

Andrea came around to my side of my desk and put her hand on my arm. “We’ll figure this out, Elyse. It’s late now, everybody’s gone. But we’ll work this out on Monday.”

She sounded reassuring; I was unconvinced.

“Really, it’ll be OK,” she repeated. “But in the meantime, I need you to …”

Her voice trails off in my memory. Andrea was a compulsive workaholic, an A-type personality. Work always came before anything else. Other people at the firm thought it was annoying, insensitive, or worse. But for me, it helped. It was exactly what I needed. It took my mind off me. I did what she asked, finished up and went home.

Of course I fell apart once I was home and told my roommate, Keily, the news. I ranted, raged, and cried — I wallowed all evening.

“I don’t even want to have this operation,” I shouted as loudly as I could to Keily as I sat in the bathroom, the door open. My gut, naturally, was erupting. It almost always was by then, especially when I was upset. Cramps. Diarrhea. Blood. Urgency. My shitty symptoms mocked me, proving that I couldn’t avoid the surgery. That I couldn’t put it off until my insurance kicked in. That I was totally screwed.

Keily sat outside the bathroom at the top of the stairs, stroking Goliath; that was her perch as I got sicker and sicker. She sat there and talked to me. She kept Goliath out of the tiny bathroom (Keily’s only successful effort at getting the Goose, as we nicknamed him, to obey.) That night, she held Goliath, and soothed him and me at the same time. She let me vent, rage, rant.

“It’ll work out. There’s some mistake. They can’t just do this to you. You need to trust the folks at your office.” Keily said repeatedly.

“You mean the ones who agreed to the new policy?” I wasn’t in a mood to listen.

That night I’d skipped Goliath’s after-work walk. It was getting on towards 10 p.m. and he needed to go out. I needed to do something else, or at least cry somewhere else. Walking clears my head, lets me figure out how to fix a problem, helps me find an answer. I knew a walk would help.

“Do you want me to come?” asked Keily. She often did, and that night she was concerned. I was so shaky and upset.

“No, thanks, I think I need to be by myself,” I responded. “I’ll be OK.” Actually, I was wishing I could leave myself behind. I was sick of me. Sick of sick me, anyhow.

So Goliath and I got into the VW and headed to the Capitol grounds, where we walked most nights. It’s such a beautiful, inspiring place. Plus for a woman walking her dog, it’s perfect. Of course it’s well lit — you can see it for miles. But there are also security patrols that never bothered us but nevertheless made me feel safe. A 120 lb. German Shepherd helped make me feel secure, too.

It was a clear night, with a half-moon casting shadows from the beautiful cherry and oak trees, from the enormous rhododendron bushes and other carefully tended shrubs across the expansive West Lawn. Nobody else was in sight.

I let Goliath off his leash. Deep in my own thoughts, I didn’t pay much attention to him. Unusually, he stayed right with me that night. He was as worried as Keily.

I cannot believe this is happening to me, I thought, rage building again at the injustice. Because my whole entire adult life had been focused on making sure I had health insurance.

From the time of my first hospitalization at 17, I had lived my life — made every single decision — with health insurance in mind. My dreams of acting, of singing, of writing? Of doing whatever the hell I pleased? They’d all been flushed down the thousands of toilets I’d had to rush to over the 10 years since my diagnosis.

After my first hospitalization, and with word from the doctor that my ulcerative colitis would likely flare up repeatedly throughout my life, my parents forced me to go to secretarial school – a career path that had never figured into my plans. My mother was an office worker and she’d always hated her job.  It seemed boring and demeaning. Secretarial work had once been a good career path for bright women. But that, I thought in my young “know-it-all” way, was no longer the case. Mom was stuck with it, and she and Dad stuck me with it, too.

I complained bitterly; I was talented, funny, smart. It wasn’t fair.

I was wrong about both the work and the women who worked as secretaries. I quickly became pretty ashamed of my attitude, and some of the secretaries I knew became great friends.

Still when the chance emerged to turn a secretarial job into a job as a legal assistant, I jumped at it. In the job I’d had now for three years, I wrote for a living, analyzed legislation and regulations for the firm’s clients and learned about U.S. politics and policy. It was a terrific job. The firm had been good to me. And my parents were happy because I was still working in an office. With health insurance.

Another wave of anger came as I walked down the groomed hillside.

And then I saw it. Something I’d never seen there in the dozens of times I’d walked that route. Inexplicably, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, there was a pole sticking out of the grass with a chain attached at the top, and a ball hanging down.

Tether-ball.

I walked up to it and started smacking that ball. I’d only seen cheap sets with rope attaching the ball to the pole. This one had a strong chain that was covered in a canvas sheath. But instead of improving my mood, hitting the ball deepened my feelings of desperation.

SMACK. I hit the ball as hard as I could. “MY BODY HATES ME!” I shouted as I pushed the ball around the pole.

WHACK. “MY LIFE SUCKS!”

SLAM. “Fucking, fucking FUCKING INSURANCE!

SMACK, SMACK, SMACK. “Hopeless. Hopeless. Hopeless.”

With each hit of the ball, I pushed myself towards the end of my own rope. There was no way to unravel all the problems I was facing, the problems that kept expanding.  Just as I thought I’d licked one, it would multiply. No way to fix all the crap that kept piling up. Crap that I suddenly felt that I was facing alone.

That was the moment when I realized, with surprising clarity, that life just wasn’t worth the trouble. At least mine wasn’t.

I decided at that moment to hang myself. I would hang myself from the tether-ball chain on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.  It suddenly became the perfect solution.

I saw no way out. I couldn’t continue, didn’t want to continue. And I’d gotten way past the amount of shit I could deal with.

I sat down on the grass on the hill just above the contraption and allowed myself one last cry. Naturally I didn’t have any Kleenex. Snot running with my tears did not make me feel any better.

The first problem I discovered was that I couldn’t quite figure out what to call the thing. It seemed important that I know what to call it if I was going to die on it.

I wondered: Is it a tether-ball set? A tether-ball apparatus? A tether-ball thing-y? I didn’t know the answer.

Goliath tried to distract me, to cheer me and when that didn’t work, he sat down next to me and let me use his shoulder. He tried to lick my tears away, but they kept coming. He butted his head into me. But he got bored with my misery and wandered away.

I didn’t watch where he went, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter where he went, what he did. Whom he harassed. I was done.

The decision was made.

I got up and walked up to the tether-ball thing-y and realized what I hadn’t noticed before: that the chain was actually quite short. Too short, possibly, for my plan. The ball itself fell to just the height of my shoulder.

I was shocked. How am I going to do this?

I reached up, stood on my tippy-toes like a kindergartner, grabbed the chain in my left hand, and tried to pull it down a little more. But it was a chain, so it was very strong and not at all stretchy. It was also pretty thick, about 2-1/2 inches wide and not terribly pliable.

I stood there, grunting, sobbing, trying to stretch my body. I held the ball and the bottom of the tether chain in my hand, trying to figure out a way to make this work. Wondering if I could quickly have a growth spurt.

How can I get this short thick thing around my neck?

Even on my tippy-toes and pulling it as hard as I could, it wasn’t long enough. It just reached from my chin to my shoulder — not even half way around my neck!

What sort of an idiot designed this damn thing with an impossibly short chain? I wondered. You can’t even smack the ball around the pole more than a couple of times.

Not to mention that it wasn’t at all helpful for putting me out of my misery.

I pursed my lips and moved them from side to side like Charlie Chaplin’s little tramp. I rubbed my chin and scratched my head.  Tried to solve the shortcomings.

Naturally, other problems popped up too.

What can I jump off of?

Of course, the answer was “nothing.” I was on the manicured grounds of the Capitol. I couldn’t pile up debris and jump off of it because there was no debris. The neat grounds rarely had much in the way of move-able objects.  I was starting to get annoyed.

I want to die. Now. Tonight. On the tether-ball thing-y. How the hell can I do this?

There on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol Building — with security patrols passing every 10 or so minutes — I was hell-bent on committing suicide by tether-ball.  I was trying to stretch, to grow, to find a ladder, a chair, anything I could jump off of with a piece of US Government-issued sports equipment wrapped around my neck. Wanting to and trying to die.

And then it hit me.

Or rather, he hit me. Goliath, of course.

SLAM! Something hard hit the back of my legs.

“Owwww!”

From somewhere on the grounds, Goliath had picked up a huge stick – an uprooted tree by the size of it. It was at least five feet long and four inches around. His mouth was stretched to the limit holding it. And he’d hit me with it in the back of my legs.

WHACK! He did it again. I turned and saw that he’d lowered his chest towards the ground into a bow. He kept his rear end high in the air, wagging the whole back half of his body ferociously.

He’d had enough of me feeling sorry for myself. It was time to play. So he rammed me with it again.

“Owwwww, Goliath STOP THAT!” I commanded.

He didn’t listen. He went around to my left and hit me with it again. His eyes caught the moonlight – they sparkled. He was laughing at me.

SLAP! “Owwww, NO! That hurts. Cut it out!”

He bounced to my right side with the long thick branch firmly in his mouth. Pretending to loosen his grip on it. Teasing me. Trying to get me to play. Wanting me to reach for the stick, which he would never give me.

(Come on, Mom, catch me!) He was play growling at the stick and at me. He bowed again, swung his head to and fro, and the long stick swung left to right, wobbled up and down. It got stuck in the ground for a second, and then he forced it back out again with a flick of his massive head. Goliath came close to me and then bounded off with his treasure. Circling me. Approaching me, but backing off before I could get to him. He never got close enough for me to grab that damn stick.

(Come on, Mom, try to grab it!) We were going to play, whether I wanted to or not. And he hit me with the damn thing again.

“Give me that stick!” I ordered. He wouldn’t. He danced around me and the tether-ball thing-y and bashed me and the pole repeatedly.

I’m not sure if he knocked me over or I sat down in defeat, crying. He bashed it into me a few more times, but then lost interest. Goliath dropped his weapon — well out of my reach — and sat down beside me. He put his paw on my lap, his head on my shoulder and nuzzled me. Chewed at my hair and my ear. Let me scratch his ears.

“You silly Goose.” I said pulling his ears and tail affectionately. Hugging him. “You’re gonna kill me one of these days.”

I knew then that I couldn’t kill myself, that night or any other. Nobody in their right mind would take my stupid dog.

 *     *     *

I learned when I went back to work on the following Monday that the person I spoke with at the insurance company was wrong.  Mistaken.  My company’s coverage was considered continuing coverage and so my condition was insured.  I had my surgery and became healthy for the first time in about a decade.

Since the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, started, I have been haunted by the memory of the night I nearly ended my own life in a fit of desperation.  And while I think we can all agree that it was the silliest suicide plan ever constructed, that misses the entire point.

And that point is that folks who lose their insurance or who are without insurance are often desperate.  And close to the end of their rope.  I certainly was .

How many other Americans have been in that position?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Millions?  How many think, consider, and/or attempt suicide?

The New England Journal of Medicine reported the following:

First, many suicidal acts — one third to four fifths of all suicide attempts, according to studies — are impulsive. Among people who made near-lethal suicide attempts, for example, 24% took less than 5 minutes between the decision to kill themselves and the actual attempt, and 70% took less than 1 hour.  (Miller and Hemenway, 2008)  (Emphasis added.)

I am not a traditional candidate for suicide, I don’t have the risk factors.  But I was, literally, at the end of my rope because of a combination of constantly dealing with a difficult disease, being broke because I was young and just starting out, and suddenly losing my insurance.  I would have had a huge financial burden I would never be able to pay off.  All through the bad luck of bad health.  Simple bad luck.

When I hear the anti-Affordable Care Act folks preaching about how we need to get rid of Obamacare, I want to scream.  Because a flawed system is better than the old system, where pre-existing conditions — the very thing that makes insurance absolutely necessary — will be the very thing that made insurance coverage impossible.

We need this program or we need a better program.  Going back to the old system is already unthinkable.

Is Obamacare perfect?  Nope.  Is there a perfect solution?  Nope.  But it is an improvement.  A huge, huge improvement.  And the problems will be fixed.

Health insurance for many people makes the difference between life and death.  Literally and figuratively.

Remember that when you hear the GOP poo-pooing the Affordable Healthcare Act, Obamacare.  Remember that they don’t really care about the folks who, like me, are/were at the end of their ropes.

121 Comments

Filed under Crohn's Disease, Elections, Goliath Stories, Health and Medicine, History, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Mental Health, Pets, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Voting, Wild Beasts

Changing The Name Game

A perfect weapon.  Because, after all, what’s in a name?

 

My thanks for this video, and for being the first person to encourage me to start a blog, goes to my friend and colleague Bao.

33 Comments

Filed under Campaigning, Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Elections, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Pets, Sandy, Stupidity