To Sacramento and Back

Wow. How could I have ever known how crazy this week would be? How could I have ever known that I would be lobbying for universal health care on Monday, finding my mother on Tuesday and Wednesday, preparing for my grandmother’s passing away on Thursday, and dealing with my computer’s total meltdown today? Ah, the wonders of life!

Well, I guess none of us really knows what will happen to us next. We never know when our grandmother becomes deathly ill, or when our mother is in desperate need of mental health services, or when our family finances become so tight that we can’t afford that monthly HMO premium. These were all reasons why I joined the Orange County chapter of It’s OUR Healthcare on their lobbying trip to Sacramento on Monday. I just didn’t know that over the next few days, I would truly come to realize why my lobby trip was so important.

Follow me after the flip for more…

 

On Monday, I did something that I had never done before in my life. I went inside the State Capitol to lobby members of the State Legislature. And on Monday, I had a very special message for them. I joined with other local Orange County health care activists to ask them to do something about our broken health care system.

We first stopped inside Assembly Member Jose Solorio’s office, just to thank him for the great work he’s doing on making health care more accessible and affordable for Orange County’s working families. We could not actually thank him in person, as he wasn’t in the office, but we were able to speak with one of his staffers. We then went on to talk to other area legislators about Orange County’s health care needs, and in all cases we spoke with staffers.

And then, there was Lou Correa’s office. Now we know that Senator Correa cares about working families in Orange County. It’s just that he hasn’t yet committed to supporting legislation that would make health care more accessible and affordable to Orange County’s working families, so we wanted to talk to him about the real need for health care reform this year. Unfortunately the Senator wasn’t in the office, but we did have a chance to speak with a staffer.

Oh yes, and we came bearing gifts. Too bad we couldn’t give these directly to Senator Correa. Whatever, I hope he got the message.

Well, after this week, I think I got the message. Let’s see, where do I begin? As soon as I retuned home, my dad had some important news to share with me. After several months of not knowing what happened to my mother, we finally heard that she had recently moved to an assisted living home. Now to make a very long and sorted story short and understandable, my mother has been suffering from mental illness for the past few years, but she refuses to admit it. And as just about everyone who loves her and cares for her comes forward to tell her this, she turns each one away. So now, we find out that she’s been excommunicated from the one thing in her life she cared about most after they realized her true condition, and we must find out that she’s all alone.

But then, we soon found out that my mother had recently moved away from her assisted living home. OK, so where is she now? My dad and I searched, but finally one of my mother’s former church friends gave us the answer. She moved to another assisted living home in Westminster. We tried to visit her, but she didn’t want to see us. Yesterday, I just had to leave a gift fro her at the front desk, as I was afraid to provoke her anger. Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, but I couldn’t even see her at risk of causing a total nervous breakdown for me and for her.

So at least now, I know that my mohter is being taken care of. But still, I don’t know how she can afford it. I don’t know if she is losing her entire life savings over this assisted living. And of course, I don’t know if she’s truly receiving all the mental health care she truly needs. It’s scary, it truly is.

And yet, my mother isn’t the only woman I’m worrying about. After all, my grandmother (my dad’s mom) may very well be dying as we speak. Now my family has been on high alert ever since my grandmother’s recent hospital stay, so I guess I should have seen this coming. Not only is her dementia worsening, but her liver is also failing her now. We don’t know how much more time she has left.

So what can my family do now? We’re hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. We’re already planning for future medicine expenses… And hospital expenses… And funeral expenses. It’s saddening, and maddening, and very frustrating.

And now, on top of all that, my dad must still worry about when he’ll be getting his own prescription medicines. The pharamcy had been giving him a run around, and he must always grapple with the HMO over co-pays. And then to make things worse, we have house repairs to take care of. And now, to make things even worse, my laptop broke down today. And now, I wonder if my own sanity will break down as my computer fails me and the health insurance industry fails my dad and my grandmother’s health fails her and my mom fails to recognize she needs help.

I guess this is why I went to Sacramento on Monday. After thinking about my fanily’s own troubling experience with health care and all the costs realted to it, I know my family can’t be the only one with these types of worries. There must be millions more families throughout California worrying about a relative who can’t get mental health care, and a grandparent who’s facing extremely high health care costs and a parent who’s having difficulty paying for all the necessary prescription drugs for survival. There must be millions more in need of help, and this year may be our one chance to get these people some help.

We know that there’s something wrong with this system. There’s something wrong with people not accessing the care that they need. So why can’t we do something NOW to right this wrong? Now, more than ever before, I understand this. After dealing with all my family problems, I know that my family problems aren’t that different from the health care problems facing so many other families throughout Orange County, and thorughout California. And now, I want to do whatever I can to ensure that these health care problems are solved.

So can YOU join me and all the others who want to make our health care more accessible and more affordable? Go tell your own story here, and find out how to take action here. We know it’s time to fix our broken health care system. Now, we need to get our elected leaders to wake up, smell the reality, and do something to change it.

 

  9 comments for “To Sacramento and Back

  1. Andrew Davey
    August 31, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks, Dan, for helping me post this. I just figured that as frustrated as I am about my family’s health care woes, I can’t be the only one experiencing them. That’s why we SO desperately need to see action taken in Sacramento. Hopefully some time next month, I can go back and lobby our lawmakers some more about our health care. I don’t want to see any other family suffer because they can’t get the care they need.

  2. Vicki
    August 31, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Andrew, My thoughts are with you and so are my hopes that you’re able to continue your activism in the face of your current heathcare/caretaker woes.

    See Terry Leach’s piece about this very issue at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-leach/what-democratic-president_b_61471.html

    It is of serious concern that Americans get this health care monkey off their backs, for mental health, for physical health, and indeed, for our very democracy.

  3. Andrew Davey
    August 31, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Vicki-

    Thanks. It’s encouragement from fellow progressives like you that gives me reason to keep going… Along with all the concerns of my own family, and all the problems that other families face. I just hope that we, as a society, wake up to the reality that is our broken “health care” system. It’s literally killing us.

  4. jose
    August 31, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    wow andrew thats rough i am truly sorry to hear this. my thoughts will be with you and your family.

  5. antony cooke
    September 1, 2007 at 7:54 am

    Wow Andrew. I had no idea you had such a traumatic week, and am so sorry for your loss. May you find peace and comfort through all of this, and your mother the help she needs. Please know your friends in Dana Point have you in our thoughts and prayers.

  6. Andrew Davey
    September 1, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Jose & Antony-

    Thank you, both. It warms my heart to see people here, in our little online community, care about the well being of others here in our community. And yes, I’m sure my family will make it through this storm. But what about all those families who have little to no resources available to weather the storm of “health care” woes? That’s why we must persist, and hopefully soon we’ll see a solution that truly helps all our family members and friends and neighbors who are suffering from this broken “health care” system.

  7. Jerry, Dana Point
    September 1, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Hey good buddy, as a survivor of cancer three times in seven years, I must tell you that I had never given up hope. I did survive all three cases and I know that your family will get through this as well. We look to our heart and know that someone is always watching over us.

    With regards to those families who have little to no resources available, they too will make it through the storm of “health care” woes. No one will ever leave them in the cold. We are are caring human beings who try to take care of our fellow man.

    Again, let me wish you the best and hope to see you on Tuesday as we prepare for the next showdown in Dana Point.

    To cheer you up, I will tell you about my rough day yesterday. I got up in the morning…put a shirt on and a button fell off. I picked up my briefcase, and the handle came off. I’m afraid to go to the bathroom.

    Blessings my friend, and the best to your family.

    Always,
    Jerry

  8. K Wilson
    September 2, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Andrew, I am so sorry to hear of your overwhelming problems. It is so true when they say “when it rains, it pours”. Your family will be in my prayers, hang in there, I know you can get through this. You are a brilliant, exceptional young man. Know that God always has a plan, of which you are an integral part. I am grateful that I know you, I am confident that you will survive this. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Kathy

  9. Andrew Davey
    September 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Jerry & K Wilson-

    Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. I’m so glad that I have friends like you to keep me going when I’m near the point of complete despair. YOU are part of reason why I feel the need to keep going. I know I’m not the only one with seriously ill family members, so I know someone needs to say something about all our seriously ill family members. I know I can’t control everything that happens to my family, but I know I CAN choose to do whatever I can to help them, and to help others who are looking for aid.

    Oh yes, and I CAN choose to be grateful for all the great friends and family members who have been such a blessing in my life. So thanks again for giving me a reason to keep going. I couldn’t go on without great friends like you. :-)

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