In A Nutshell

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Despite being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about a decade ago, I was able to work and lead a "normal" life, until I became severely ill with MS type symptoms one month after being laid off in June 2009, which meant no health insurance to properly address the problem. I spent 3 days in the hospital but since they initially did not want to keep me (one doc said I may have MS, but was overruled), I did not qualify for the financial aid for hospital bills because they did not think I belonged there. I was misdiagnosed with Labyrintits and sent on my way. I was told it would go away in a few weeks, that was 3 years ago and I have had the symptoms of dizziness, balance problems, vertigo, and pain every day since then. I went to a local free health clinic until they told me they exhausted all their options and could not help me any longer. I cannot drive nor work outside the home and only walk briefly with the aid of a cane, but also can't get disability because I have no real diagnosis for these particular symptoms. These are the chronicles of my (so far) dead-end journey riddled with bodies of good intentions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Difference Between a Hand Up and a Hand-Out

"As we go down life's lonesome highway
Seems the hardest thing to do
Is to find a friend or two
A helping hand
Someone who understands" (Lionel Richie)

I am not expecting the government or any organizations to be that friend. However, it does not take a friend to offer a hand up. The news lately, among the usual daily gloom and doom, has reported stories where strangers pull people from burning cars and submerged vehicles, without a second thought, proving that human decency is not extinct yet.

Unfortunately, as more people in the U.S. are at the end of their allotted unemployment benefits (becoming 99ers), they aren't the only scared ones. The ones who have a job look at people like myself and seem to mask their own fear with a sort of disdain. This shows in comments I often read on social media and hear in interviews, which include something along the lines of "I do not want my money to pay for the ones who do not work."

Is it subconscious fear of losing their jobs and becoming like us, or is it because they do not get compensated enough for the work they do? I remember those days, just before my layoff, when raises were non-existent and the only pat on the back you got was "be glad you have a job." And no, this is not about 99 percent or one percent or a baker's dozen, or whatever. It's not about numbers, it's about people. It's the type of comments that I've mentioned above that kept me in the closet for a long time, before I had the courage to tell people about my situation.

Now, let's examine private insurance. Think about it: We all pay or have paid money for car insurance, health insurance or life insurance. Let's use the first example: Even those of us who have no car accidents, still pay insurance. The money the good drivers pay goes towards paying out benefits of those who have accidents and towards share holder profits - it's simple economics. Same with health insurance. The money we pay in, but don't use, either ends up being used for other insured people, or as profits for the company. People have no problem that private insurance companies make profits, but no one wants to "pay for people who aren't working."

Well, what about our money that we paid into taxes and benefits? Many who are jobless or disabled have been contributing members of society for many years. Besides, the money I make now from writing is still taxable, so yes, I am still paying taxes. However, it's not enough to live on. Ironically, my efforts at making money are hindering me in obtaining help to get my illness diagnosed and treated. Yet, the illness keeps me from making more money or working a better job. If I could, I then could spend money to boost the economy. On the other hand, I do not trust the government any more than I do private organizations who make millions in profit. Where is the answer then?

There is a saying I've adopted: "There are two sides to every story, and then there is the truth."

No, most people, like me, do not want a handout, simply a hand up.

5 comments:

Conny said...

I can understand that those who have a job don't want their money to go to the unemployed. Before they moan too loudly though ... at least they have a job. I'll bet a lot of the unemployed would be happy to pay for the unemployed if it meant they had a full-time job with security and benefits.
I far more object that my tax dollars go to families with multiple kids. They have the kids and I have to pay for their diapers, food, clothes and education.
When a well to do family wants to adopt, the system puts them through hell and back, yet even the poorest of families can have as many kids as they want without having to answer to anyone.
More so, if they can't support their kids anymore, they just call on The Salvation Army. Problem solved.

Diane said...

Your story continues to put a face on the difference between those who genuinely need help, and those who milk the system. Too many disgruntled citizens want only to focus on the latter while throwing the former under the bus. I wish Ron Paul and Mitt Romney could read your blog.

doyoumeanwhatiknow said...

I don't think anyone would disagree with what you are saying here. I think those who say those things are thinking of those who do want a hand out, and there are some. Life is hard, and all of us need a hand up at some point (and hand outs occasionally). I am so fortunate to have a husband with a pretty good job and benefits. If I were on my own, I'm not sure where I'd be, because I certainly don't have the ability to be out there earning a full wage. We struggle/have struggled just like everyone else, including a year off for a car accident and 16 mo when he was 'downsized'. We have always tried to be generous, whether we had it or not, when we see someone in need because we've never been able to outgive God. If you find a way to get enough to live on with the writing, let me know! It's so hard to have an 'invisible' disease, but it really doesn't matter what others have to say. Only you know your heart, and that's enough. :) A

Red said...

I am still amazed at the idiots who do not know the unemployment comes from the insurance deducted from their checks. They moan and groan about something specifically designed to do what they do not want.

*Shakes head* My prayer for you is one of fulfilled hope. You may not feel like you have any at present, but I wish what little you may have be fulfilled so many times over you come to a place where you are comfortable.

{HUGZ}
Red.

Alexandra Heep said...

Oh, there is always hope, Red, I know that. I just know to not put that into politics, government, or the "majority." And, voicing that, often comes with unflattering labels.