Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Own Private Idaho

Today, my oldest brother will lose a leg.

I suppose we should be thankful.  At the moment it does not seem he will lose his life.  I do not have all the details yet of his cancer, or how bad the overall situation is, I've tried not to press my parents too hard for all the gory details.  They have enough to deal with as it is.  As my dad said yesterday - reminding me now exactly where I got this phrase - "if it isn't one thing, it's another."

I, however, do not think this is fair.  This is why I do not believe in god.  No god in his right fucking mind does all this to a person.

I am the youngest of three brothers, with a sister younger then us all.  The middle brother is Eddie.  Eddie is the jock of the family, always had perfect eyesight, was a wrestler in high school.  I was the brains of the family, nearly bat blind but with enough intelligence to understand how the theory of relativity actually works (mostly... don't ask me all the underlying math).  Stephen is the oldest, and Stephen was born mentally retarded.

Mental retardation has gotten a bad reputation.  The word "retard" long ago became an insult you tossed at other kids, and even adults still get in on it these days (thanks to Rahm Imanuel and Rush Limburger for keeping the debate going, along with the help of Sarah "I'm not a Retard, I just Play One On TV" Palin).  But fine... people can not handle the words, so lets go with mentally challenged.  Differently able.  Whatever the politically correct terminology is for a person with the mental capacity of a child.

Stephen is like a child.  A big, huge, strong, happy child.  He loves nothing more then drinking his sodas and watching his television.  His favorite movie growing up was Smokey and the Bandit.  I remember we could always tell when he was watching it on his VCR when he would yell "Charge!" at the point in the movie when there was a brief bugle call.  You can count on him to once a year sneak out of the house and wander around town in the middle of the night, looking for a soda machine to get a drink from.  I doubt he's ever hurt so much as a mouse in his whole life. 

I used to be a bit scared of Stephen when I was young.  Not because of his mental challenges.  Simply because of his sheer size and strength.  As an adult he grew to 6' 5" and around 250 to 275 pounds.  He was naturally athletic, too, winning multiple swimming events at the Special Olympics each year, and even medaling the year he went to the National Championships in NY.  That's where he met and got a hug from Susan Saint James, who he came home and told us was now his girlfriend and he was going to marry her.

It wasn't enough that Stephen faced mental challenges.  Those same challenges contributed to some illness in his youth, brought on by a lack of judgement other children would normally have.  He once swallowed gasoline when he was around 10 or 12, trying to siphon it from a hose into a lawnmower tank, not realizing you weren't supposed to drink it.  He had to have his stomach pumped that time.  He was just trying to do what my dad does of course.

Now he has cancer.  Lung cancer to start with, but apparently some sort of bone cancer.  He broke his leg a year ago in a minor fall, which should have been a warning to his doctors, but those fucktards (see... I didn't call them retards) at the local hospital - the same numb nuts who thought my leg was broken in high school and tried to set it without x-rays, which ended up costing me more cartalidge in my torn up knee - didn't look deeper then his leg to try and figure out why his femur would have broken in such a minor fall.  A year later and lots of pain later with a bone not healing right, different doctors in Bangor determined it was more then just simply  a break. 

So Stephen will lose his leg today.  The cancer has eaten away at the bone apparently, which as far as I can tell is not a good sign of what faces him going forward .  Maybe it hasn't spread further, maybe the lungs are the only other problem.  If it were not for Medicaid, what chance would he have?  None... he would be dying today, not just losing a leg.  My parents have no money, no capacity to pay for these tests, the follow up visits, the surgery.  Only because they are poor, because he is disabled, are they able to get the treatment he needs to continue to even HAVE a life, let alone a life of quality and dignity.

So fuck you all you conservative pricks who believe health care should be limited to those whose employers offer it or can afford it themselves.  Most of you are rich pricks who can afford to fly to foreign countries to pay for your health care (countries which have socialized medical systems, by the way... hypocritical ass wipes you folks are).  Shut your fucking mouths and let someone do SOMETHING to fix this fucked up system that doles out health care to those who can afford it or, who through the luck of some employment draw, have it provided to them.  Health care is a right, is a necessity, is not a benefit of work.  It is not "liberty and the pursuit of happiness" without there being a LIFE in front of that statement.

My brother loses his leg today.  So fuck you and fuck your god, none of you would life a finger for my brother or others like him.  I have no use for you, get the fuck out of the way or get run over by what's coming.

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