Thursday, November 17, 2016


He nodded toward the magazine headlines in the grocery store checkout line and voiced his opinion with confidence.

“Can you believe this sh*t?  This Obamacare?  Affordable my *ss!  
Trump will fix this. He said he would.  Mark my words.
Trump said he’s gonna get rid of all of it!”

The man said these things to me a few days before the election.

My mouth opened and an opinion came out. “Well, I’ve had cancer and have had some insurance changes, so I hope he doesn’t get rid of the pre-existing conditions clause.  I’m hoping my family won’t have to deal with bankruptcy fears... or worse...if my cancer comes back and I can’t afford treatment.”

The anxiety kicked in immediately.  
My heart pounded in regret.
I wished I had kept quiet.  

“You see, it’s people like you I really


he said, firmly, finger jabbing toward me.

“I have to pay for people like you to get your chemo and stuff that you pretend will let you live a little longer. MY family and MY finances are worse off because of you. It kinda p*sses me off.”

I managed to mutter-stutter a response, “Well, I’m sorry it’s been so hard for you.  I hope you don’t ever get cancer or another disease so you have to worry about the other side of getting sick.”

He was done paying for his groceries. He grabbed his two bags and turned to me, “Oh, you can bet I would never be so stupid as to get something like cancer.  Cancer is just God’s way of getting rid of people who are expendable.  I’m pretty sure I’m good.”

It was true. I was stupid enough to get cancer.
And now I am someone many people don’t want to help.
I am a burden to society and the health care system.
Sick people like me make your medical insurance more expensive.
I am alive, telling my story today because you paid a few extra dollars in premiums.

That man in the grocery store hated me for all of that.

Do people like me bother you?

Could you come to my house,
drink tea with me at my dining room table,
and then tell me I am too much of a burden?
As you finished your tea, could you tell me you hate me?
As you stood up, ready to leave,
could you look at my face
and tell me I am

I am afraid of your answer.

What about next year when you are stupid enough to get sick?  
In a year and a half I have been billed over $400,000.
Can  you afford that?

Is it different when it’s you?

Perhaps you are expendable too.

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

While this was appalling for you as an individual, I hope your readers will be able to extrapolate the sentiment out to how they vote, how they live and what they will tolerate in this world. Those who are challenged and disadvantaged in our society are easily ignored, criticized and underfunded when they are thought of as one large group. When you point out each individual person, it is then you realize the story may not be what you believe it to be. Each person is important. As a society, we must all sacrifice to help every person. Every one. Yes, we may end up helping a few bad apples who are taking advantage of the system, but it is a risk that is worth it. Our world will be a better place because of it.