Monday, August 29, 2011

I can't sleep anyway

Its 2:30 a.m., and I can’t sleep anyway.  So I decided to write a blog entry instead.  I went to the doctor on Friday afternoon at last, and I was really glad to see her.  I had to wait an hour and a half for my appointment, but it was well worth it.  Dr. Janice Milligan was very kind, polite, compassionate, and helpful.  She immediately diagnosed me as having a sinus infection, and so it was a relief to me to know that I was sick and to know what the problem was. 

I also told her about my emotional problems stemming from my history as an abuse survivor.  She replied that she knew I had a lot of needs but that it would take time for me to heal all my problems.  She also said it was more important to focus on curing problems than on discovering their origins.  She said I should stop worrying about where I got the sinus infection and start figuring out how to cure it.  She also advised me to go back to the public health clinic for psychological and psychiatric services in order to save money. I liked her attitude and helpfulness.  She also gave me a flu shot as well.

The health care visit blew a big giant hole right in the middle of my budget.  It cost me $180 for the first-time doctors visit and an additional cost of $157 for my medications.  I also received one anti-biotic.  I went food shopping and bought a lot of dairy.  Then I read the directions to my anti-biotic and realized I had made a huge mistake.  Why? Because I am not supposed to eat all dairy meals within two hours before taking my anti-biotic which I must take twice a day.  Oops.  I try to include with my dairy meals some fruit or vegetables to balance them out. 

I felt weak, tired, and stressed the last few days.  While I was at the doctor, I was thinking about all the people in our society and around the world who have no access to health care for financial or political reasons.  My housemate C has no funds to visit a doctor and is extremely frustrated that she no longer qualifies for Medicaid since she is not over 60, pregnant, or a mother of a minor child under 18.  My face book friend from Rwanda JClaude has a very painful physical condition, and he had to wait months to see a doctor because Rwanda has almost no doctors.  He is not receiving any drugs or treatment for his condition, which would cost $2,000 USD.  He lacks the money for his essential medical care, and so he is left to suffer in pain.

I was contemplating the cruel reality that your access to health care depends largely upon your ability to pay for it.  So if you have not the income to pay for a doctor, then you get either profoundly sub-standard care as in a public health clinic or no care at all such as JClaude faces in Rwanda.  I think health care should be treated as a right and not a privilege only available to those who are fortunate enough to have the resources to pay for it.  There is no doubt that thousands of babies die needlessly every day in the developing world for lack of access to simple, life-saving health care.  I believe the failure to provide essential health care to hundreds of millions of extremely poor people in the developing world is a profound moral sin. 

And of course every single day I find myself thinking and worrying almost endlessly about the case of Dr. Maikel Nabil Sanad, the Egyptian pacifist and pro-Israel supporter who is now a political prisoner on hunger strike.  Maikel’s friend was one of two people who helped convince me to come to HOEF and leave my abusers behind.  And also Maikel is one of the very few public and dedicated friends of Israel and the Jews in an overwhelmingly hostile world.  I realize that as long as he is going hungry, I am not going to be satisfied, happy, or comfortable.  I now have a small capacity to understand why my mother could not feel happy whenever she thought I was not doing well.  Clearly I am not a mother, but I have still a profound compassion for Maikel’s suffering.  He has a 3 year prison sentence, and he feels abandoned, something I deeply understand.  It has often been said that the personal is political, and I think this statement is very true.  But I also believe my experience with Maikel’s case shows that the political can also become very deeply personal. 

Maikel is a friend of a dear friend, and so every night I find myself thinking about Maikel and wondering what else I can do to help him.  I am hoping to publish an article about him in a scholarly Middle Eastern studies journal.  I am also writing about him constantly and I just sent an email to a French fellow activist for Iranian and Middle Eastern freedom about his case.

I am happy to have met a new face book friend named Ahmed Montaser.  He is an atheist from a Muslim background living in Egypt who actually admires Israel and the Jews.  He even asked me where he can study Hebrew on-line.  I am amazed by his open-mindedness to Israel and the Jews and his curiosity about our people.  I have helped him to learn more about things that he is not familiar with, like the high level of anti-Semitism in Europe.  And he’s opening my eyes to the fact that Maikel is not the only Egyptian who likes Israel and the Jews.  He’s also sharing with me his own hopes, concerns, and perspectives on Egypt’s future.  He told me today that Egypt has still a 40% illiteracy rate, which surprised and depressed me.

We have also had some recent developments in our household.  One of R’s daughters has been consistently refusing to do her share of the household chores and also demonstrating a deceptive and negative overall attitude.  In response all the adult members of the household stood beside R as she confronted her daughter S.  In addition, all the adult members of the household addressed R’s daughter S personally and individually to share our perspectives on how she could learn to become a better young woman.  We presented a united front in our effort to confront S about her defiantly unacceptable behavior.  Her punishment is that she has to fold all her own clothes from now on.

I told S that I know she is a bright young woman and I hope she gains admission to the gifted program.  At the same time, I noted that one time soon after my arrival, she faked a headache in order to avoid folding the laundry.  I told her that she needs to take responsibility for her actions and that I say this as someone who cares for her and only wants the best for her.  Unfortunately, instead of taking responsibility for her actions, S has developed a hostile and defiant attitude toward all the adults in the household, including me.  She refuses to acknowledge us and it is her problem.  I told Bev that if S didn’t learn her lesson from facing appropriate disciplinary consequences for her actions, then one day she will be fired from her first job for refusing to do her share of the work. 

Also R told me today that she found a wonderful church community where she and her daughters feel warm and welcome.  And C also finds church attendance helps her spiritually, emotionally, and socially.  Unfortunately, I am afraid to attend synagogue.  Why? Because I told the members of my last synagogue that I was being emotionally abused by my parents.  In response the members of the synagogue invited my parents into the community, thus openly and publicly betraying my trust and destroying my sense of safety in my own community.

I am experiencing a panic attack and sweating profusely, but this is to be expected as a consequence of my PTSD.  Earlier I was very tired but could not fall asleep.  Now I am half awake and filled with some energy. 

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