Real Life: Devastation

I have a few half-written posts waiting to be finished, edited and posted. But, even if I had time to post anything yesterday, anything that went up on my blog would have just seemed so trivial.

The world is filled with bad news and we hear it all the time. The news is filled with it, which is why I enjoy reporting on those feel-good stories that are only covered by smaller, community papers. I’d rather write a story about a 16-year-old girl who tap-dances for the elderly than how the city is cutting funding for that same group of people. It’s quite likely none of my work will ever win a Pulitzer, but that’s OK, because when I get an email from someone telling me how excited they were to see the story and how their phones were ringing off the hook, well that’s better than a Pulitzer.

Between Middle Eastern protests, high gas prices, the recession and our broken political system, the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan yesterday was just the icing on the bad news cake. I followed reports on the devastation from the moment I woke up. First the quake and then reports of the giant waves that were taking out entire cities, killing hundreds.

Amidst all that, were the calls to help a fellow blogger, Layla, who I’ve never met, personally or digitally. I had heard some Twitter and Facebook chatter about it in the past couple of months, but it was only yesterday that I really learned what this poor woman was going through. You can read all about her here, but the gist of it is, she gets cervical cancer, has surgery to have the cancer removed and is now suffering from a painful side-effect of that same life-saving surgery. She’ll need another surgery to correct the problem. Her job fires her on the day her insurance kicks in because she’s missed too much work and her new insurance played the Pre-Existing Conditions card. Her friends banded together to raise $5,000 for her to have the surgery.

Honestly, I haven’t lived through an earthquake or a tsunami, or any other major natural disaster, so I have absolutely no idea how the people in Japan feel. I can’t even imagine it. I can’t. I can’t even wrap my head around the entire situation. I just think about all of the nightmares I’ve had about giant waves and drowning and the constant talk of devastating flooding if a category 5 hurricane ever hit Long Island and I still can’t imagine how terrifying that all must be.

I also don’t know what it’s like to not have rights and have my government censor everything that we see. I don’t know what it’s like to be living in a country with an oppressive government. Republican or Democrat, you have to admit, you have a heck of a lot more freedom than the people of Libya. As a writer, I am a HUGE supporter of freedom of speech and I exercise that right every day on my blog. It’s unfortunate that we are forced to self-censor because companies will hold your thoughts, views and personal life against you, but that’s the topic for another post. I have been rooting for the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, etc. since the protesting began. These people have effectively created change just by putting aside their differences and standing up for one common goal. Everyone working side-by-side to create a better life for themselves. And here, in the United States, we can’t do any of that. We are too concerned about ourselves and what “I” want and what “MY” beliefs are to put those differences aside and fix things.

But what I can empathize with is Layla’s plight. I probably relate more to her husband than I do to Layla because I’ve been lucky enough never to have suffered such devastating medical problems. But, I’m marrying someone who does. I was also very lucky to have had a very understanding boss that let me leave in the middle of the work day to spend another eight hours in the emergency room during the worse year of his illness. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury anymore. Health care reform – not necessarily Obama’s plan, but reform in general – is one of the few things that I believe very strongly in. And it is because I know how necessary it is. I know what it’s like to get a hospital bill that is double your rent. I know what it’s like to fear that once you do obtain insurance, they’ll deny your claim the next time you have to rush to the ER or when you attempt to get treatment in order to stop going to the ER. I know what it’s like to be sick, but be completely unable to do anything about it because you know that the university medical center will only foot the bill for so long.  So, even though I don’t know Layla, I feel like I do. {donate here if you want help}

I’ll get off my soap box now. I promise to bring you back to our regularly scheduled programming with Tuesday’s post. For those that are depressed with all of the bad news, just remember that there are good things happening in the world every day. Be grateful that you have not suffered devastation and help those that have. If we all banded together for the common good, maybe there would be less bad news.


5 thoughts on “Real Life: Devastation

  1. Beautiful post, and SO well said. I sincerely agree – health care reform – INSURANCE reform – must happen. I don’t know what the perfect solution is, but I know it must happen. Thank you so much for this, and my thoughts and best for your fiance (and you). ❤

    • Thank you, Lalya. That means so much to me. I don’t know what the answer is either, but until we can all agree that this is a huge problem, nothing will get done. I hope that at the very least your story makes people realize that our system needs to be changed somehow because it’s hurting and in some cases killing people. I wish the best for you too! I hope you feel like yourself again soon!

  2. Pingback: #OperationLayla: In Case You Haven’t Heard! | The Charity Wedding

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