How the Trump Administration May Actually Kill Me

I think it’s safe to say, that in the first one hundred days of this administration, nothing good has come of it. Tensions with other countries have risen, the Muslim/Travel ban, the immigration problem, hate crimes have surged, regulations regarding the environment have been rolled back, jobs have been lost, workplace advancements for women have been scaled back, Planned Parenthood has taken a hit, our education system is in the toilet, Neil Gorsuch is on the bench, and basic programs such as Meals on Wheels, the National Endowment for the Arts, and libraries may be on the chopping block if Trump gets his way regarding his budget plans. Not to mention, all the lying, the stuff with Russia and Trump’s weekly getaways to Mar-a-Lago, it’s been a devastating train wreck that won’t get any better from here. I believe we’re only seeing the beginnings of a catastrophic presidency that may leave a nasty, lingering mark on the national landscape.

There are so many things that are wrong, and I worry about it, just like many sane Americans in this country, dealing with this regime. So much of this saddens and upsets me, but there is one issue that angers me. What Trump and the Republicans want to do with health care. They talk often about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, but what they really want to do, is to get rid of health care in general. They want to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid, and put all the power in the hands of insurance companies. By doing this, they are signing death warrants for many people across the country, and prolonging suffering for those that are ill. Trump ran his campaign on the slogan of “make America great again,” but with health care, all he’ll do is make America sick again.

As for me, it’s one of the issues that really hits home the hardest, personally.  Last year, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, or uterine cancer. I had a hysterectomy, went through radiation treatments. My prognosis is good, but I am in a really strange place right now in terms of dealing with cancer. Yes, the hysterectomy and radiation did help me a lot, I can not yet call myself a cancer survivor. With surviving cancer, it takes five years without any recurring incidents. If I make it to thirty-seven and nothing happens before then, then I am a cancer survivor. Right now, it almost been a year since I was first diagnosed. So far, so good, but what happens if I don’t make it to thirty-seven without an incident? I need to be carefully monitored by doctors to make sure that I get that status of surviving cancer, and if my Medicaid is taken from me, then my journey to being cancer free becomes even more perilous and possibly, I might not even make it. Without health care, my cancer can come back on me, and without any help, I may be dead by thirty-five, and I’m not exactly ready to pass on from this life to the next.

Even before being diagnosed with cancer, I dealt with illness. I have what is believed to be Fibromyalgia, which causes me to be in pain, day in and day out. Doing something like a grocery shopping trip can be a painful, stressful affair that takes a lot out of me, and I don’t work because of it. I suffer from mental illness as well. I have severe depression, anxiety, paranoia, PTSD, and who knows what else. And, I do have dental problems, very bad dental problems. I need surgical help with my remaining teeth. Before the Affordable Care Act, I coped as best as I could, going to my neighborhood clinic (which isn’t worth a damn) and get what medicines I could from St. Vincent de Paul (which denied me birth control pills, due to it being a Catholic institution, birth control pills that could help regulate my periods and might have prevented the cancer I now deal with). I managed pain with store-bought ibuprofen. And as for mental health… I coped as best as I could. I When I finally got Medicaid due to the Affordable Care Act, I felt like I was handed a miracle. I went to an actual doctor. I got help with some of my problems. I still have a lot to do, but I was at least given a chance to take those steps.

One other way the Affordable Care Act saved my life came about last year, in October. Though my hysterectomy was behind me, I developed acute appendicitis, and needed to have my appendix removed. If I hadn’t had Medicaid, I would have died (same goes for January 2016, when I needed a blood transfusion because of losing so much blood due to my undetected cancer). The Affordable Care Act has been such a keystone in surviving the last two years.

If this goes away, if health care goes back into the hands of insurance companies and the wealthy, then I really have no idea what I will do. I have so much wrong with me, and I hate to see the outcome of it. Will cancer take me? Will my mental health be so poor that I snap? Will my pain be worse, and have no way to take care of it? These questions haunt me any time that health care is brought up in Washington. Instead of repealing and replacing it, fix what needs to be fixed and move on. But, no, in their eyes, people like me deserve to die, just because I’m “some liberal slacker asking for a hand-out” and not in the one-percent tax bracket.

But also what makes me angry about all of this, goes beyond myself. I also think about other people and their lives being at stake because of this. I think about my mother, who is going to be turning sixty this year. She has worked hard every day of her life, and she is getting older, and she does need medical help to live out the last quarter of her life to the fullest. I think about my sister. She suffers from various medical problems as well, and I want to see her get the chance to get well and start her life out right. Besides family, my thoughts always go back to the Cancer Care Center I go to for treatment. I think about those people there, and how they’ve stayed with me. If we lose health care, what will happen to some of the patients? What will happen to the kindly Vietnam vet I used to talk to, while we were both waiting for radiation treatment? Or to the red-headed grandmother that used the same type of transportation I used to get back and forth to treatments? What will happen to this beautiful woman who I met there, she was doing radiation and chemotherapy at the same time, and I never knew her name, but she was such a vibrant, beautiful woman. She might have been bald from the chemo and frail, but she had the most serene smile on her face, humming to herself and swaying back and forth to the tune of her humming. I think about the doctors, nurses and therapists up there, and what it might mean for their jobs. I think about the transportation I used, and a lot of the drivers working for that service got those jobs due to the Affordable Care Act, and are taking care of their grandchildren and themselves on that money. It spreads beyond that as well. So many lives impacted, and possibly lost because of this.

It sickens me that we’re living in the United States of America, and it’s been shoved down our throats since we were young that America is “the greatest country in the world,” and yet, we can’t give our citizens universal healthcare. Canada, Japan, Australia, most of Europe and some countries in South America, and the Middle East have universal health care, and have had it for years. I think we can learn a lot from our global neighbors.

For now though, all we can do is wait, watch, and hopefully live another day.

 

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