Health, love and health care

Joey Garcia

My sweetheart and I respect you and love to read your column together. But we found no love in “Hugs happen” (SN&R Ask Joey, November 2). My sweetheart is 52 and has no benefits at her full-time job. MediCal is treating her breast cancer. I’m 57 years old and just got laid off from my job of four years.

In the column you reference, a woman was accidentally injured by an acquaintance’s bear hug and lost substantial time from her full-time job at a high-end local restaurant. The woman’s mother actually wrote in. She wanted the acquaintance to pay for medical bills and lost work hours because she felt the accident was his financial responsibility. I wondered why her thirty-something daughter didn’t pay for health insurance or have an emergency-savings account. And here’s why: Doing so is an act of love for oneself. I think that you missed that love because your situation invokes so many layers of fear for you and your sweetie (and understandably so) that it is hard to feel the love. If you admit that the young woman has some responsibility in her situation, then you must admit that you and your sweetie have some responsibility in your own troubles. And of course you do. That’s how a spiritual life works. We are all responsible for ensuring that we take care of the basics for ourselves. We are also responsible for helping others who cannot manage the basics for themselves.

National news magazines heralded a health-care crisis back in the 1980s. Now it’s here and we seem surprised. Most people I know are suffering and accepting it as status quo. You don’t have to be one of them. In pockets of time between your search for a new job and helping your sweetheart heal, contact media and legislators all over the country. Tell them your story and make it clear why the current health-care system is broken and how it affects ordinary hard-working folks like yourself. Don’t whine (it dilutes the message), don’t call it unfair (only small children think life should be fair) and don’t act like Americans are entitled to free or cheap health care (the government is not our mammy and pappy). If you have the energy or desire, get other people in your predicament to join you. Start a movement. Create change. Bring love back to health.

A friend of mine is in a real-estate business with his older sister who lives in another state. The company has been losing money and he plans to bail soon. His sister buys houses, he supervises the remodel and they share the profit when the houses sell. But it turns out he’s been taking chunks of her money and stashing it in a private account so he has money to buy a house and to live on while his next enterprise gets going. He says he’s deserves it because he only makes money when the remodeled houses sell. He has had a lot of job-related problems over the years, so I wonder if his sister is just trying to help him out. Should I tell his sister that he’s cheating her?

Don’t you think she knows? Someone who would scam a sibling to the extent you describe has probably done it before. She’s either in denial or thinks she’s helping him out or her business skills are as bereft as his so she hasn’t tracked her “investment.” And, although I personally prefer a heads-up about situations like this, it’s unlikely that his sister would believe it unless you have hard-core evidence, not hearsay. So, stay out of it but absorb the lesson: Don’t get financially involved with him.

Meditation of the week
Michael Richards’ racist rant reveals that, as a nation, we have not progressed as far as we believe we have. Richards’ outburst pushed our national unconscious on to the national stage. Now it’s time to wrestle, not with whether Richards was right or wrong, but with the diminishment of our souls (personal and national) caused by our own prejudices and stereotypes. (What part of you wants to heckle that?)

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