"I read the news today, oh boy." The post office is cutting workers and stations across the nation while we in Los Angeles continue to build, build, build and sever more assistance to people who need it while a Seattle couple has been getting food stamps, welfare and more since 2003 delivered to their 1.2 million dollar lake front mansion.
On the other side of that coin is how many are denied assistance? Who are the little people? What happened to the middle class? Who pushes the button and states that you can play in the big sandbox and until that time - we'll let you look at the temporary sandbox if you adhere to ours. Who are we? Fear Factor has people facing their fears by eating bugs. My fears aren’t about bugs but about things that bug me.
When my boy was ten he needed a booster shot. The pediatrician's office asked me if I had real Blue Cross or "that other kind" when I rang for an appointment. Apparently, on short supply, the office manager slipped up and the harbored inoculations were revealed. Those shots were to go for "money" clients. Healthcare greed shown in its ugliest light - towards children. The doctor apologized and assured me that no inoculations were being kept from children who needed them, that her office manager had been sent home for the day for misrepresenting herself. Had she?
A week before, I had sat outside the principal’s office awaiting a meeting to correct a situation that was causing my child emotional duress with a teacher when I saw a man lean out the office door and start hollering into the hallway - demanding that this boy get in there for his medication right now or he'd call his father! I stood up, peered around and saw a tall, curly haired boy with his eyes upwards rolling along the wall as if he were on the floor. I asked if he would like to sit with me because I was scared too. He said, "Not really...but okay." As the boy passed the man looked at me with disgust, "He does this every day!" I suggested, "Maybe if you change your method he'll hear you better."
Six years ago, Halloween I was allowed to go up with Children's Hospital's critical care team as a journalist. I visited the preemie ward. This is the room where life outside the womb too early - is fragile, lonely and quiet except for the gentle hum of the ventilator.
Next we flew to Los Robles Hospital to pick up a 12 year-old girl who has contracted an air borne bacteria that mimicked the flu. Her non-English speaking parents thought she had the flu and with no insurance, waited a few days before bringing her into the ER. In pain and bloated, this young girl's blood vessels were exploding and she was dying. I will never forget that girl's face or how she finally smiled and giggled when I told her a joke in the bird - which she thought would take her to get well - as we passed the Hollywood sign above gridlocked traffic below. I will never forget her parents faces, the anguish of not knowing what to do, how to get help, where to turn. I have known that feeling far too many times myself.
When Robyn Speer hit my radar through my niece, Megan, I was doing a lot of articles, trying to keep myself by the fringes of my own dreams while raising my son and barely surviving. Seems like yesterday - literally.
Robyn had a cancerous liver and needed a donor. Her parents and she were in from Las Vegas at UCLA's liver transplant center. My niece's belief in me stunned me. An editor with heart flew in Megan who brought money she had raised for the operation. Emotions flew in a beautiful way and for the next week, I taught Robyn to show her scar (they had closed her up while waiting for a possible donor) and Beverly Garland gave me 3 rooms for a week during Mother's Day holiday for her friends and family to come visit. My son,, got free tickets to Universal Studios, restaurants offered meals and more. Robyn had a week to just be a teenager when the call came in the middle of the night.
Robyn's mother called me to say Robyn's new liver was waiting and she put Robyn on the phone. "I'm scared; Eva-Marie." I told her she would wake up sore and I would be there. Then she stunned me with these words. "I want to be just like you Eva-Marie!" My reply, "Robyn, I barely get by." Robyn laughed, "But you live life and you make people happy! I want to make people happy too!"
We go to other countries to build homes, send medicine and give food. Here? We restrict housing codes to build affordable housing, let so many get help that aren't in need and lose many of us that need it. If you're a young widow/widower and not of the military do know your rights will be cut off by the time your child reaches 16, then the child at 18.
Robyn now has a 3 year-old daughter and is married. We've lost touch over the years but the impression she left has remained.
If you're feeling down, lost, or just plain scared today, please know that you're not alone, that you do make a difference to at least one person or animal on this planet - whether you see it or not. Don't give up - it's the easy thing to do.