Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Going Got Tough

This weekend I had a horrible experience, both from my horrendous health issues and the hospital visit that resulted from them.

On Friday, fearing death from stomach and head pain that was like no other I have ever endured, I pulled over at a rest stop on 79 and called an ambulance for help.

I was admitted to St. Clair hospital where I stayed for three days.

I was feeling completely better, however, by the very next day. My doctor exuded a particularly shrewd beside manner, and I was skeptical about his diagnostic expertise.

Regardless, by Sunday night--two DAYS after admittance--everyone including the nurses were certain I would be discharged. I had felt fine for over 24 hours and had probably already been kept past a necessary staying period.

Dr. Lobur (but we could just call him "asshole") shows up late in the evening and informs me that I will not be discharged as a test result that was not to his liking had come back that afternoon.

I was furious for a number of reasons that I promise are legitimate (there are far too many details to list from this weekend here, and most are tangential to the point at best), and wanted to leave the hospital against medical advice, which is every patient's right.

I was dressed and ready to bounce out the do' when my mom brought it to my attention that insurance may not cover my costs if I opted to leave against doctor's orders. So, because of this, I was forced to stay.

Now, turns out this was not the case, and the next morning I did leave without official discharge, but no matter, here is the issue it raised:

Never in my adult life have I been rendered completely helpless in a situation I did not wish to be in because I could not financially afford to remove myself from it, or simply do whatever I wanted to do.

Pens game in Sweden? Four getaways to Las Vegas in less than one year? Michael Kors bag and matching flats to go with it? All done, because I wanted to, and I decided that I could.

Not here. Not in this situation. My ego was deflated, my will defeated. I could not afford to leave a hospital for fear of not being able to pay the bills.

And this terrified me.

I want to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, with whomever I want. That is true power over one's life. And I in no way feel that this should be the desire of all people, but I can tell you that I feel truly diminished without such control.

This experience shocked and depressed me like few others in the past have. It was a wake up call to so many things that I knew, but had never experienced. I want the power and influence that comes with financial stability and security. I want my significant other to play poker on Wednesdays with the board of directors of a hospital, because I wouldn't have had any trouble then.

I want a non-profit organization called the Pittsburgh Poverty Campaign that will work to end poverty in our region--but in a meaningful way. No band-aids, no shuffling. Partnerships and support from those people who matter who can really do things because they have all of the resources at their disposal.

I know one person, a veritable nobody, can make a difference. But I can't be that person.

I know I want to be that somebody who makes a difference. Starting right now, I will make sure ever step is aligned with that dream, is moving in that direction.

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