I got sick.
The past week or so, I've been suffering from a reoccurring nose-bleed, what they call in medical parlance, a gusher. It's been bad, really bad. Just yesterday I was attending my aunt Merna's 100th birthday party, honker in tow, when out of the blue it started draining.
After 30 or so minutes or so in the bathroom trying to patch up my poor nose, my fiancé and I left to go home. And the poor bathroom.
Naturally, when you get sick your first thought is to get checked out. Go to the doctor, see some medical professional, something to make the problem go away. That was my thought, but directly after thinking that I wondered how I'd pay for it. Really, I checked myself from going to see a doctor because I live in a society of people who think that things like seeing doctors should be rewarded to those with the best ability to pay for it.
Now, I'm not saying I don't want to pay for going to see the doctor. I do, it's just that we've made such routine things so god damned expensive here in America that, unless you have insurance, your ability to pay for unforeseen medical emergencies is nearly impossible.
So, I'm at a crossroads. Down one road lies medical help, down the other suffering. There's a toll being collected at the beginning of the first road, and a toll being collected at the end of the second. You see the choice, yeah? Between financial or physical pain?
I've been meditating on this lately - seeing as how I'm becoming a father soon, getting married in a couple of weeks. I'm wondering to myself: what kind of world do I want to raise my family in? I'm in America, the "promised land" as many around the world see it, Christian Country as many here would describe it. But, are we? Really?
I don't think we are - in fact, I think we've become something far removed from what was originally professed as Christian gospel. We've turned into a barbaric collection of selfish people, a society of individuals whose god is 100k in the bank. We've lost any remembrance of what it means to live together, to live in a society, to share responsibilities and look after one another. We've become rabid egoists who care little for those who are different than us or those born into generational, institutional poverty. We no longer consider these our responsibility, if we ever have. We, as a society, have failed each other. We've sold our collective souls for cheap imported goods and a fucking swimming pool in the back yard. Yep, we've become the thing all those Christians for all those years warned each other against. Ironic, that.
So, here I am, an atheist in a supposed Christian society, without health insurance, facing a possible medical emergency, and I call the hospital and they kind of shrug their shoulders. I had the thought of asking the secretary if she could recite the Hippocratic oath for me, just to see if she even knew who or what that is, but decided against it. Really, does it matter anymore? Does countering the savage, runaway locomotive of ignorance matter anymore? People don't really care, even if you correct them, even if you unload a shelves worth of historiography on them they'll just squint and kind of burp out a response, an unapologetic apology, because, you see, they've got theirs and that's all that really matters.
This world, what we've let it become, is upside down. The atheists have to become prophets in order to warn the people against their false gods, money and greed. It's sad, and deliriously absurd.
I'll go see the doctor, and figure out a way to carve out that money. I'll protest my taxes going to fund endless wars of aggression instead of a little help over here. I'll consider moving to another country, one that doesn't treat their citizens so cruelly, with such wanton disregard. I'll keep reminding Christians that they've lost, that god is dead.
Will it matter, going forward? We'll see. In the end, it is important to continually remind myself that my change, my living-that-way-regardless-their-savagery, my reaching out to neighbors and fighting for the little person, for the less fortunate, is what's important.
Let the self dissolve....(except in medical emergencies)
In the words of the Buddha:
Thus shall you think of this fleeting world,
a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
That doesn't mean give up because it's all an illusion, just don't be so attached that it gives you an ulcer.
Graph Credit: By Oder Zeichner: from Wikimedia Commons