xmas food

I cannot come up with a better angle to come at this story.

The facts:

My dad has metastatic carcinoma (cancer), technically from an unknown origin.

He receives his healthcare through the Veterans Administration.

From the time he was told in the emergency department at his local VA Hospital till they actually started “treating” the cancer was five and a half months.

He is in a constant state of pain.

He is six feet and one inches tall, and weighs 134 pounds.

He is terminal.

Cancer is going to kill him.

I am angry. I am mostly angry that it took the VA so long to “treat” him. I don’t think that time frame is a normal protocol. I am also angry at America for not caring more about these types of situations. For the last several weeks all I have heard about is gun control, from people who don’t really know what they are talking about. During this time my dad was in the hospital enduring daily radiation treatments in an attempt to shrink the tumors causing his spine to fracture. His own primary care doctor that works in that facility didn’t come once to see him. Maybe if all the news outlets stood outside of the VA hospitals or outside of Secretary Shinseki’s office the rest of our country would care.

He was drafted in 1968. He didn’t volunteer. He served honorably. If we treat people like my dad as though they are subhuman why would we treat anyone else any better? To make things better we have to start somewhere, but we also can’t stop talking about it 2 weeks later.

all i want for christmas…

Have I posted this already?

Christmas is almost here, which I am sure you are aware of.

If you are feeling extra charitable I’d like to suggest some organizations to support.

Fisher House (A very kind organization that I have personally been supported by. When my dad had surgery earlier this year, they gave me a place to stay.)

USO (For their continual support of veterans and their families. More here.)

Meals on Wheels (An organization that has helped when my grandma was sick. The kindness of their volunteers is awe-inspiring.)

And only last for tonight, but not least: The Veterans Administration (If you go to their website, scroll over Locations and click Hospitals and Clinics, find a center near you, click and in the right sidebar you will probably find a link that says Volunteer or Donate where you will find things that particular facility is in need of. Currently, my dad is a patient in Chicago and we will be sending a care package to pay forward what my dad has received.)

Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

listen up…

clouds through the window

Everyone is talking about shootings, gun control, and mental illness. People keep saying that the problem is guns or assault weapons and the answer is background checks. But it won’t be enough.

The real problem is we live in a society where people are disposable. We throw away the bad kids, poor people, single parents and their children, senior citizens, sick and disabled people, unemployed people, undereducated people, veterans, and many other underrepresented people.

In addition to DEMANDING an end to mass shootings and gun violence, what about DEMANDING an end to rape, elder abuse, the VA backlog, unemployment, poor or no healthcare, limited access to education, discrimination, racism, drunk driving, addiction, the stigma on mental illness, etc?

I want to live in a country and community where we contribute to all lives and not just the selective few we are most comfortable or familiar with.

There has been a random act of kindness campaign going around for the people that were killed in the shooting in Connecticut, but I say go out of your way every day to be nice and kind, not just after a tragedy.

stuck in reverse…

christmas reflections in raleigh

My dad went back into the hospital yesterday. Things seem to be declining a little faster than before. He is in Chicago and I am in North Carolina. There are so many circumstances out of my control that I can’t just jump on a plane. I feel like a let down. I am a fixer and I can’t fix this.

or you can watch the real video here.