Sunday, October 26, 2008

...And You want Nationalized Medical? Grief and the Government

In 1999 my father-in-law and 12-year-old niece were killed by a drunk driver and my mother-in-law critically injured. For several days following the accident the emotional shock of it all caused the passage of time to move at what we call "grief speed". Or as I define it -- swimming with a water-bloated snow suite on.

Once we robotically moved through the Grief-Speed the following weeks were just one day at a time...


Robotically and deliberately the family members moved through all the steps required to overcome such a devastating loss. In this case, overcome was to process and move on. Once everyone had come to terms and able to accept the impact and gravity of what had happened... There was a period of family breakdown primarily caused due to the members of the family needing to claim their own pain and wishing the other members of the family might understand better.

Everyone lost Opa, or as the adults called him, Tat... Everyone felt the overwhelming loss of a beautiful little girl and Oma, my mother-in-law suffered a long and slow recovery. We were all hurt--we all lost something and we all had our perspectives of what the loss meant to each of us. Our loss was final and happened on one day in time.

I share this because most people understand what I am trying to put into words above. There isn't a human alive who hasn't or will not face this kind of loss and grief. While sudden and tragic sadly this story isn't rare. The current News is filled with another tragedy today with the story of Jenifer Hudson's mother and brother being murdered and her nephew missing.

Death and loss is normal, sometimes there is a dramatic story wrapped around the death and loss which makes the situation more sensational... but, in the end we do know the end is the end and there isn't anything that can be done when it's over. From there we go through the stages of grief and move on.

I share this story so that it might help some people understand "Grief Time" is also present in other situations during our lives. Maybe the loss of a job, a pet or in some cases a hope and dream.

With most things that trigger the onset of deep grief and the emotional delays in the passage of time it happens when something ends and is over. Grief starts and time passes and eventually people can move forward and function.

However, there are things in life that bring on the same feelings of grief--yet it isn't for the end and nothing is over. The long, slow loss of a person suffering an illness, a marriage suffering the cycle of domestic violence, or for me loving a child I cannot help.

It's very hard to love someone and feel this overwhelming state of grief... We understand that our situation isn't the way things generally go--that what we are experiencing is rare... It's simply overwhelming to come to the point in time where as a parent everything possible has been done and our child is still at risk.

I truly entered my own grief this past April and yes, I have been getting a great deal of professional help. There are really no words to be said to a family that suffers the loss of Opa and his Granddaughter to a drunk driver. There are few words that our families and friends can say about the grief we feel today.

What I really don't understand in our situation is why the "System" needs to cause even more pain and stress to families in crisis. I am not even speaking here as the Adoptive parents but, know that I receive the same so-called services as those biological parents who fail. Today, I completely understand why and how it happens.

I do hope that those who believe "Free Medical" or socialized medicine is the way to go will understand one thing... only the STRONG have what it takes to get what is needed most. The Red-Tape and drag out of any reasonable expected governmental service weeds-out many unable to even navigate the system.

The re-starts of cases from point "A" with the lack of continuity or communication between the governmental services, the lack of concern about fundamental basic issues are Not the problems of those holding up the Hoop you must jump through in order to have a Chance for some kind of assistance. Everyone involved can talk about the facts the system is a mess--they agree with the problems you point out--but, there isn't a thing they can do about it... They wish they could of course but No one has any authority to do anything other then the Demanded Red-tape and protocol.

To top it off, once the government is involved in the fundamentals of a families life and welfare there is No Getting Out of the system. Even if the file was closed the fact there was a file means that is the way things must be managed.

As my husband and I come to terms with the fact that our little girl needs more help and special medical treatment to overcome some of her dramatic life changing risk behaviors we walk in Grief-Speed, complicated only more by Government Red-Tape speed... The difference between our walk with our daughter and the loss of our family members is that there is no end point.

Further offensive and painful is the assumption that because our little girl is adopted we are somehow wanting to return her to the system. NOT... If she had cancer we would not hesitate to place her in the Best Hospital and provide her with everything possible in order to meet her needs. No one would question our intentions. We would be able to access our private insurance and wouldn't have to take our case through the DHS office for Cancer--I am sure Medicaid would just pay their share of the bill.

No one made me walk ten miles of red-tape when my oldest son had a terrible accident. They just took him by life-flight straight to where he would be treated and helped him. He was even offered a school IEP without our even calling and requesting an evaluation meeting... During his long recovery a Teacher came to our home and I never even asked for one... Transportation and special care for his return to school was all taken care for "FOR ME" as everyone knew we were suffering from Grief and stress. People somehow found the Authority to make decisions and I didn't have to bring his accident records in order to obtain the help he needed.

Why was that so different?

It's hard to understand how the system that promised we would have access to the needs of a hurt five-year-old would be the same system that so many parents needing support to keep their biological children must use. Frankly, I understand why so many biological parents fail. We are just a file--just another family with just another child. There is no such thing as individual care when using a Government service. There seems to be no authority to demonstrate common sense or even compassion. It's a Cattle Call and only those able to be in the front of the pack can access what is most needed.

We will be able to eventually access the services our daughter has needed for nearly the entire 6-years we have loved her and been her parents. Eventually, with each new Open Case, New Service or New whatever we might find something that will help her. Right now however we are wondering where the compassionate government so many want all of us to depend on actually is?

I dread the day that we are all stuck in red-tape, walking in grief and unable to access what someone we love needs before it's too late. I dread the day when the nature of the needs are judged on the unwritten scale of importance. If the "government" is where people want to have faith and medical care--God Bless us All...

If this is what America wants for All of us I sure hope my future medical needs are the ones that are glamours and demand positive attention and not that I become demented and have behavior problems...

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