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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.


  1. Reggie, I was unaware of blog posts attacking your story. Thanks for telling us. Do you have any links?

  2. Keep telling the truth. Someone will hear.

  3. Wow, thanks to a Matthew Holt note on Twitter, I see the idiot commenters, on last week's Washington Post article. Gross.

    What irks me about those Cato Institute detractors is that they masquerade as thoughtful intellectuals. They never own up to the fact that their anti-regulatory "free market" arguments, since the Newt Gingrich days, are what led to the totally irresponsible policies that destroyed our financial markets.

    And now they want to apply the same approach to healthcare. Lord help us if they win.

  4. How can we help you with your project?

  5. The problem is that the markets are not Free - they are regulated, but they are not *thoughtfully* (or even fairly) regulated. There are good ideas out there "on both sides". If the politicians would shut up and let both sides come together, meaningful change could happen.
    I think we all agree that the system should, and must, change. I'd like to echo Lauren's comments...please let us know how we can help! Good luck!!!

  6. As far as help, Please spread the word. Encourage other artists, musicians, poets and bloggers to use their talents and abilities to promote reform.

  7. Regina...
    fight the good fight.
    we'll get there.

  8. wow, these murals are great! These must be time consuming and expensive! I am a metal sculptor and would like to do large sculpture for the healthcare situation. Do you know how I can get funded for it? Here is my email

    peace, David

  9. I think the best competition without government control would be to breakdown the borders(state to state) so that all the companies can evenly compete with each other. after all, not one single thing that government has run has ever made it, including social security, usps, medicare, medicade and amtrak just to name a few. The money the government estimated was far less than the actual costs, which shows that they don't know what they are doing. Lower health care costs by allowing real competition to take place. Having a government option would inevitably destroy all insurance since no private company can compete with a non profit, money printing goverment who can make/change the rules at the drop of a hat.
    Just my thoughts. I am all for healthcare reform, but only true healthcare reform, without the goverment taking part.

    peace, david

  10. maybe we should kill just one company, Imagine if every American who cares picked one company and made sure that they would never use that company again. corporate death. For all the Americans that these companies kill for the money. If you pick one, i will boycott it forever.

  11. I would like to respond to Laura. Laura perhaps the problem is the US not government per se. I lived in France for many years, my sister has been there for 17 - we both gave birth in France and I also gave birth to another child here. On both occasions I had serious problems with pregnancy but the differences in treatment are night and day. It is not because government runs something that it is is simply how it is planned and how the people doing things from the simple day to day to major oversight are doing their jobs. In France private insurance companies thrive -they "top off" whatever isn't paid for by the single payer plan. Believe me, the insurance companies do fine but no one ever has to worry about A) government making decisions about health care (all lies that one!) B) paying for it, even when you lose your job C) pre-existing conditions. D) waiting long time for treatment when it is medically necessary to be seen ASAP. These just aren't even on the radar as possible concerns for people in most European countries, although the UK did have problems with waiting in line but it is better now - in any case the UK system is different from the French. Regina's story is a tragedy that would never have happened in France. And it is ludicrous that it happened in a country as rich as ours. I hope that Regina as an employee in one of the most necessary and difficult jobs around to do well and stay serene has a way of posting to get some assistance with her family (donations?)

  12. I first heard the story recently on NPR. I think Regina speaks for so many, both in her personal experience and in her amazing art.

    It's hard to imagine so many people denying that the health care system is broken. It boggles my mind. Your art is helping to keep your husband alive in the mind of the world. Yet the frustration your story made me feel was overwhelming as it brought back similar memories from when I lost my Mom (16 yrs ago, on Nov 11). I wrote a song called 'When I Get My Cancer" in an attempt to express my feeling on the system a few years ago (you can hear it free at you may also use this music free of charge for any event you may have-the download is very slow).

    Artistic expression is one way of coping with such injustice. We can only pray our representives find the guts to free us from those who deny that the attitude of the health care system is sickening. Charlie X