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Sunday, August 9, 2009

There is more to this story....

I want to thank everyone out there who is spreading the word that the health care system as it stands today must change. I want to applaud your hard work and dedication. I want to thank you for reading our story and becoming inspired to do more to help. I am saddened to see so many posts from people against this bill attacking me and my husband. We were not "living off the system." My husband didn't "decide not to have tests." We didn't put "owning a house over our health care."

We were like many in America desperately trying to keep our head above water. We lived in a one bedroom apartment as a family of four to live near a good school so our children could have a good education. My husband and I were working at five different jobs, and we juggled our schedules so we could take care of our children at home. My husband tried for years to get a position at a university. He adjunct-ed at many different schools and worked on getting papers published. I worked retail sales and during Christmas season would work 12+ hour days. We were not soaking the system.

The detractors are right though about there being more to this story. Our story isn't just an insurance story. Our true dismay about the medical system began once we were insured. My husband went to the doctor for three months and got only pain meds before diagnoses of kidney cancer (via an MRI I demanded). My husband was injured again and again while hospitalized due to the staff's lack of awareness of the extent of his disease. Paperwork was routinely lost during transfer. Each time we transferred he was without pain relief for 6 or more hours due to admissions paperwork. The doctors were often too busy to talk with us, and in one case a doctor was heartless and cruel, promising a surgery that never came and sending us home to die. Due to my husband being bedridden we were virtually imprisoned in a hospital not of our choosing. We had to fire the primary, the oncologist, and force transfer to another hospital in order to get a second opinion. This process took three days. Don't you think your rights are being trampled as an American in system like this? When we were not allowed to see the medical record at the first hospital I went down to medical records to get a copy. They said it would be a 21 day wait and 73 cents a page. My husband was there for over four weeks. His record was over 100 pages. What about the poor? How can they afford this? How do you wait 21 days when you are dying of cancer? There is no Freedom of Information Act that applies to medicine. We do not have the rights that we should in our current medical system.

The detractors are saying that the liberals are digging up stories like ours. That is completely untrue. When you are touched with a tragedy like this you have to make a choice: you can either walk away and try to live in the fragments of your old life, or you can fight--you can stand up against injustice and abuse. I am painting because it is the best way I know that can make a difference. I will paint our sorrow on a wall for all to see. It is hard to look away. It makes you think. It makes you question. The scariest thing to the status-quo is an electorate that is thinking and asking questions. I am as grassroots as it comes. There is just me on a 20 foot ladder donated by my church. I am using paint brushes I have had for 17 years. I am applying acrylic paint (paid for by donations of friends and strangers) on a wall donated by a gas station.

This is America. We are a community, and when we see injustice we do something about it.