Save or Be Lost
“My childhood was a period of waiting for the moment when I
could send everyone and everything connected with it to Hell.”
I have yet to find a steady pace to my retirement. About the only constant routine to my week are my visits to the three rural clinics that I serve on a part-time basis. The drives are long, and other than the disease burden, which is similar in all places, there is little similarity between the social struggles of my urban and rural patients. A sick cow or a rescued abused horse often take the place of the stress kids cause by being late for band practice. We all live under duress.
Last week I saw a young woman for the first time. She’s in her mid-thirties. Blonde; a bit disheveled; finds it difficult to establish eye contact. Articulate, but her speech does not flow readily from her lips. As if she had some form of neurologic impairment. I get the feeling that had life placed her in a different place, at a different time she’d be very appealing and sure of herself.
“I’m in pain.”
A familiar complaint. She looks no different from any of the people you might meet at the local Hy-Vee store; she bears no visible stigma of her condition. No one can tell that she hurts.
Talk to me. When did it start?
Another long and familiar story. Abandoned by her mother when she was five. Her father did his best to bring up two daughters on his own, but he had significant issues with alcohol and drugs. A very early pregnancy from a boyfriend who disappeared. A subsequent marriage (and pregnancy) with an abusive man. Just delivered her third child; just got out of jail on methamphetamine charges; just asked her drug-dealing (second) husband to move out. She has nothing. She survives on SSI income.
I asked her why she doesn’t work.
“I have dyslexia. They did not treat me for it as a child. I’ve tried vocational rehab, but it just didn’t work. I can’t hold a job.”
The words drip slowly from her mouth, as thick honey drips out of a jar. She’s trying very hard to communicate, but I can see that she’s concerned that I may be missing something.
“The pain medicine doesn’t always work.”
She’s breast feeding. I tell her that she cannot take pain medicine and breast feed.
“I know. When I take the pill I don’t breast feed.”
I ask who’s taking care of the baby while she’s in the office.
“My husband came to watch him.”
The same one who deals drugs?
I get a sheepish nod.
This is where I want to leave the room, go to an isolated field a mile away, and bang my head raw against a huge boulder. This is the part when I feel so much pain that I wish that I could cry for the next hundred hours.
She asked for more pain pills.
No; they will not help you. I need to run some tests. I may be able to come up with a treatment that lessens the pain. You must promise never to touch the pain pills again.
Blood tests and X Rays are ordered. She leaves without the prescription that she came to get.
Chances are 50-50 that her husband drove her to see me. With a hungry child in the back seat. If indeed he’s out there, chances are excellent that he’ll beat her when he finds out that I didn’t give her a prescription. Close to 100% chance that she has no one else to drive her, or care for her child when she needs a break. That many men and countless employers have been abusive to her. That her legal troubles were the result of her taking the blame for something that someone else did.
She’s thirty-five with the mind and demeanor of a six-year old. Any of my granddaughters could handle her life situation much more capably than she has.
In the meantime, our government continues to feel that there is benefit to putting someone like her in jail. At a cost much higher than what it would take to give her exquisite professional treatment and rehabilitation. There are probably loaded guns in this household. Our government vigorously defends their presence and promotes the notion that more guns should be placed there.
She’s smart. She would do the right thing if she only knew how. She’s cute. Early intervention would have saved this soul. Made her a successful and likable being. Now it’s too late.
Regardless of what your religious affiliation is, or lack of it: forget about going to services this week. Stop feeling good about the money you gave for missions and displaced refugees. Ignore the calming feeling that you experience when you sing a hymn or pray.
Because we’re all going straight to Hell. Read any of the holy books: it’s clear that we have failed.
We have allowed the wealthiest country in the history of Mankind to let this story happen. Tens of thousands of times, every day, in every state.
We have given our politicians permission to blur our vision with fearful stories of lazy poor people and bloodthirsty extremists. We can no longer see that a huge percentage of our children are being raised with no comfort; no morals; no love.
It’s no consolation to me that the Clintons and Mr. Trump will be first in line to be consumed by the fires of Hades (A secret: there is no fire in Hell; just the absence of love). All of us belong there, because we obediently followed them into the camps of Left and Right, and we forgot what the real problem was. It doesn’t matter that we tried to help: we were stupid and we should be damned.
I would love to see millions of people descend on all of our Capitol buildings while they are in session. I would like it if someone turned off the water, and the air conditioning, and blocked the toilets. Legislators to be captive until they come up with an answer; any answer, to make sure that all of our children will grow up with love, books, and concern for their fellow beings.
It may be the only way that we can be saved.