Equality…yeah sure

Nope. Not talking race. Healthcare. Yes., healthcare. You see, my family has healthcare. It’s a government plan for the military. It’s not horrible a far as coverage goes. It is just frustrating.

I’m trying to locate a provider. I use the “Find a Provider” tool on the website. I start calling. First call that makes it through to a live person informs me that Tricare is a private insurance plan. Apparently if you use Medi(whatever), you can be seen within 24 hours. Because I have private insurance, November 17.

String of voice mails left for other providers. Second live person…refuses to talk to me because I “MUST” have a referral first. Um, no. Called Tricare to confirm the rules haven’t changed. Nope, still the same.

Third live person tells me I have to “sign up” with the business office before an appointment can be made. Seriously! Just drop my name on the calendar at a mutually agreeable time. The paperwork will happen. It always does.

So apparently, all the hype about health care is a stinking pile of manure. I have friends who tell me their Medi(whatever) doesn’t have enough options, they can’t find a provider, etc. I have “private” insurance and can’t get seen. So who the heck is filling up all the appointments? How can we be short doctors if NONE of them are really taking patients?

The funny thing is, I said “fine, I’ll just pay out-of-pocket” to make this happen sooner. They REFUSED! Said since I have insurance, I have to follow the rules. So, even money doesn’t talk.

Yep, On November 6, remember this blog. Remember all the promises. Remember your own experience. Take your frustrations out at the ballot box. Maybe, just maybe, a real live person will hear you.

Want

I’m sure there are a few people who are completely satisfied with their lives and don’t feel the urge to add something. For most of us, want is part of life. There are those who want world peace, those who want economic security, those who want health care for all and other large goals. There are those who want to lose 10 pounds and those who want a candy bar. It’s a human emotion…a gnawing feeling that we try to itch away.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a healthcare worker who had been exposed to Ebola violated quarantine. Why? She wanted soup. She was vilified by the media for her selfishness.

When we want something, most of use try to figure out how to do it. When I want to go visit someone, I’ll make it happen. Sure, there are hurdles to overcome. But if I really want to do something, I’ll find a way around those hurdles. When I don’t really want to do something, I’ll find ways to make those hurdles into mountains so the “want” is just not attainable.

Want. Such a loaded word. It can drive you to change the world. Or change yourself. It’s a powerful descriptor for why people do what they do. Want can bring joy, satisfaction, release. It can also cause destruction, pain and suffering. Two sides of the same coin.

Your challenge: Think about what you want….big or small. Think about what you would need to accomplish that. Consider if it helps or harms others. Then, make a choice. Make a change. Do what you want and see how you feel. You just might learn something.

Death

Death is in the news a lot. Just turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and you’ll see story after story about death. Look on social media to read all about death. It’s everywhere. Genocide, homicide, filicide, patricide and suicide. They’re all around us. So are the people with opinions about death.

So, there’s death. The end of life. It’s a fact. Everything dies.. No sugar-coating death. We can spend billions trying to find the fountain of youth and yet, death catches up with all of us.

Different ideas around death exist in every culture. Some mourn for a specified period of time, some hold wakes to celebrate a life well lived. Some have religious laws that delineate how to handle death. How we cope with death is determined as much by the beliefs we were raised with as our visceral reaction to death.

When we see the death of people during wars, we become outraged. When we read about a mother attempting to kill her daughter, we become angered. When we see a story about a child killed by their caregiver, we protest the inadequacies of the law. When we see a story about suicide, we cringe. That line created by morality is in a different place for each of us.

For some, dying by our own hand is a criminal act. Life should be preserved at all costs. Whatever Deity we hold dear will punish those who commit suicide. It’s so ingrained in American culture that even life insurance payouts are denied to those who commit suicide. We wring our hands, bemoaning the “untimely” death and crying for those left behind.

I believe that death is death. When you remove the layers of religion, culture, tradition and morality….death is still death. You can’t change that fact. You can impose your moral judgment. You can express disapproval. You can argue that your Deity would not approve. But, is any of that factual? The answer is no.

Whether death occurs as an act of war, from negligence, by the hand of another, by old age or by our own hand determines our reaction to death. I know some deeply spiritual people who have told me about the moments of grace they find while sitting with people as they drew their last breath. I also read about people so sure in their religious faith that they KNOW their Deity would not approve of suicide. To those people I offer John 8:7.

My goal here is not to claim moral superiority. It’s not to tell you how to feel about death. It’s not to change how you feel about religion. None of us knows what hand we’ll be dealt. None of us that are still breathing can make any claims to understanding what happens after death. When you publicly express your judgment about death, you are claiming moral superiority.

My goal is to simply state the fact that death comes to all of us. You live your life as you are able. Leave whatever legacy you have your heart set upon. Just remember that regardless of how you die, someone will find fault with it. Someone will judge you. I think I’m going to spend my time focusing on improving myself instead of trying to prove someone else should conform to my ideals.

Invisible

Today, I’d like to be invisible. I’d like to go to the places I would normally go and not have people notice me. I’d like to just get through one day without the conversations that I must have with people who don ‘t seem to understand. I’d like to go one day just doing my “thing” and not have criticism thrown at me from all directions. One day without being judged.

I imagine it would be a peaceful day. Not in a smell the sunshine kind of way, but perhaps in the way I imagine people not living with chronic disease or mental illness have. It’s been so long since those days existed for me that I barely remember what it’s like to be carefree, like most of the people I know claim to be.

Yes, that’s right. I said claim to be. I just can’t fathom the idea that everyone else is living a stress free, no complaints life. It seems foreign to me that everyone else can completely cope with all the things going on in their lives. I think that they are just as likely to fall apart as I am. They’re just better at hiding it.

No one likes to admit weakness. No one likes to lose control in front of others. No one likes to be ridiculed. No one likes to be shamed, No one likes to feel helpless. And yet, the world is full of people who thrive on making others feel that way.

As a society, we have made it okay for people to do all of the above while we ignore the person on the receiving end. We have made it okay to mock people who are different from us without regard for the impact our words and actions have on an individual. I’d like to believe it’s a defense mechanism….deflecting someone’s comments away from ourselves lest we crack. But that’s not right either. Understandable, but not right.

Think before you speak. Think about how your actions impact others. I’m not talking on a global scale here. Just in your day-to-day relationships. Set aside your fears of being the next target and show support for someone who is being targeted. Set aside your need to feel “better” and understand that we all need to feel accepted. Recognize the beauty of diversity and the power it has to bring beauty to our lives.

Most of all, know that many of us struggle daily to keep up with expectations. Try not to make it harder. Try not to discourage others. You have no idea if one day, you’ll be the one who needs encouragement to carry on.

Autism

 

I am Autism. I am a parent. I’m a spouse. I hold a volunteer job. I’m a licensed teacher. I’m a Scout leader. I have two college degrees (almost 3). I’m an advocate. I’m a friend. I’m a caregiver. I’m female. I’m in your community.

I am Autism. You’ve met me. I tend to blend in as that’s what I was taught as a child. But if you get to know me, I’m quirky. Or weird. It seems like I know everything. I put pieces of information together faster than most. I get along in groups. I am fine by myself. I do better creating than I do following.

I am Autism. Like you, I am an individual. I am unique. No two people with Autism are identical…just like no two people of Italian descent are identical. There’s a reason you’re hearing more about Autism acceptance. It’s okay to be different. Rather than focusing on those differences, let’s focus on the fact that we’re all people

I am Autism. I see the world through my experiences They provide me with the means to understand the world. Honestly, that’s the same for everybody. What you know is what you work with. The difference is, I generalize my experiences. If one person does something, then every person will do the same thing. Unless… I have a different experience that shows me other options. It’s both rigid and flexible thinking at it’s finest.

I am Autism. I don’t intend to scare you or freak you out. I have routines and habits that are probably borderline obsessive. This is how I manage in a world that was designed with someone else’s logic. I’m trying to make sense of things. Sometimes the world becomes too much for me to handle and I withdraw. I’m not trying to be rude, but I need space to process that which overwhelms me.

I am Autism. All I ask is for you to accept my quirkiness. Accept that I see the world differently. Accept me and in exchange, I’ll accept you and all your quirks. It’s okay. We’re all a little different. That’s what makes us great.