Sunday, March 21, 2010

So back in 1992 my father had a stroke. I came home and there was a message on the answering machine (remember those?) from my sister telling me to call home. I did so. My father was in the hospital.

My parents were dairy farmers, struggling to get by on their small farm with the help of my brother. In 1979, Reagan had cut the milk subsidies and the price of milk dropped dramatically, but even before then my parents could not afford health insurance for themselves or us kids. Luckily, the kids never got sick. Unfortunately, both of my parents had become diabetic by the late 1980s.

So neither my father or mother could afford to go to the doctor, get physicals, any of that sort of thing. And one day my father was driving the truck and when he got out his leg didn't seem to want to work and he went to bed and slept for almost 24 hours straight. He was a terrible insomniac and so that was weird. But neither he or my mother thought of going to the doctor to see what was up. Too expensive. Many people will have a warning stroke, and that was what this was, the brain trying to reset itself. A week later it happened again and the next-door neighbor, a nurse practioner, came over and told them to go to the hospital, that he was having a stroke.

Knowing my father, he probably insisted on driving. Once in the emergency room, nothing seemed to happen until my father dropped to the floor paralyzed. The next five years were a nightmare of limited mobility, my mother wiping his butt, blindness, depression. It was a relief when he died because he didn't have to suffer anymore and my mother was no longer burdened with taking care of him and Grandma at the same time.

I would guess most people I know are thankful for Obama for pushing through this health care legislation. Millions of people like my parents will now have access to affordable healthcare.

Except for this one person I know who has left a string of angry comments on Facebook that were all "me, me, and me." Good lord, sometimes you have to make small sacrifices for the betterment of your fellow human beings. I have often been disappointed in Obama, but today I am very pleased that he the president.

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