Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taking Back America--Republicans, you've been put on notice.
Before the Republicans continue to talk about “taking back America” they need to look at the election results and think about what it is they want to return to. When we are nostalgic we only see the good things of the past.  I am as guilty as anyone.  I tend to be nostalgic for a time I didn’t even live in.  I love the music, movies and the sense of shared purpose of WWII.  I grew up in the 1950s and ‘60swhich had much to recommend them.  I roamed far and wide on my bike and on foot without benefit of helmets, knee pads or what my youngest refers to as the “electronic leash”, the cell phone.  The economy was good, everyone was excited about space travel and there was a vibrant president in the White House whose family seemed like royalty.
On the other hand there was still racism, the KKK held sway in much of the south, women were discouraged from working and if they did they were paid substantially less than their male counterparts.  My father didn’t want me to go to college because I “would be taking up a spot that ought to go to a man because he will be the head of a family someday.”
We are not the United States I grew up in.  We are no longer largely the Smiths, the Jones, and the McHales and many of those bearing those names are African Americans and no longer kept in ghettos and the other side of the tracks.  We are also the Gonzales, the Sings, and the Kianersis.  Hispanics are the fastest growing group in this country and with farmers in Eastern Washington unable to find Americans willing to pick produce it’s time to address immigration.  Are we truly a nation that embraces “the tired, the poor, the huddled masses” or are we putting out the “full” sign?  If we are, some of these folks that are unemployed had better haul their butts over to the Yakima Valley and do back breaking work for little pay. 
We are more diverse than any nation on the face of the Earth and that ought to make us stronger, not more divided, but those who would turn back the clock can’t seem to see that.  As my husband commented as we watched the election returns last night (albeit communicating via cell phone), “The Republicans are on the wrong side of history.  If they don’t change their course they will find themselves irrelevant.” They will become like dinosaurs.
Like it or not, women are no longer confined to hearth and home.  Personally, I believe that if one chooses to be a mother she ought to stay home with her children at least until they start school, but that’s just me.  Last night saw no less than ten women elected to Congress and nine of them are Democrats.  I cheer for the lone Republican, too, because women tend to be more democratic of mind and with women being 50.8% of the population it’s time that we are represented in all aspects of American life by that percentage.
To become relevant the Republicans need to rethink their hardnosed stands against minorities, LGBTs, women and religions outside of the mainstream Christian Church.  Without appealing to the above groups these largely old white men will be exhibits in a wax museum.
Pursuit of the American Dream has become harder, largely because of the economy and because of our failure to live up to Emma Lazarus’ poem emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty.  If we want to “take back America” we ought to be thinking in terms of embracing those words and our diversity and continuing to welcome people willing to work hard to pursue their dream. Life is not static or lived in a vacuum.  Our lives, needs, and expectations are different now than the 16th Century or even the 1950s.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Eyes Have It
Last Friday was my second injection in my eye for treatment of an occluded vein.  Now blood pressure got me into this situation to start out with and Friday afternoon I thought surely it would make things worse. 
My daughter-in-law Ana had agreed to drive me from Gig Harbor to Federal Way.  What I actually needed was for her to drive me home.  After the injection I have what looks like protozoa swimming around in my right eye and it feels like I haven’t slept in a couple of days.  In addition I have no tolerance for freeways anymore.  I thought I’d told her to pick me up at school at 2:10, as soon as the buses have left with those Gig Harbor High School students who don’t drive.
I stood out front with the students whose parents, boyfriends, girlfriends pick them up.  It’s a good 45 minute drive to Federal Way and we were stopping to drop my grandson off with my oldest son so he could attend his cousin’s birthday party at Odyssey.  At 2:20 I called Ana’s cell phone to see where she and Gabriel were.  No answer.  Well, if she were driving she shouldn’t answer.  Still…  I called the house.  Gabriel answered.  They were under the impression that I was picking them up.  They didn’t realize that I’d gotten a ride with a co-worker and that my car was sitting in the garage.
Ana finally arrived.  She’d changed Gabriel’s drop off point to my granddaughter’s school where my son was to meet us.  My other son, Gabriel’s dad, would pick him up from the party and we rocketed out of Tacoma headed toward Federal Way while I called the clinic to say we were late.  I was told that we could be fifteen minutes late.  That was it.  Ana got us to Federal Way Group Health just seven minutes late.  I was so glad.  Ana had shopping to do and I wanted the doctor to have to talk to me this time, not Ana as though I was a three-year-old.  I told her to go shopping.  I wasn’t going to want to go with dilated eye anyway.
It’s not that I was looking forward to having a needle poked in my eye, but once you’ve got yourself psyched for something it was going to be a letdown of I didn’t get the treatment so I was glad that we’d made it in time.  Besides, I was anxious to find out if the first treatment had helped.  I thought it had, but wasn’t sure it was just wishful thinking.
My eyes were dilated and tested by the technician and photographs taken of the inside of both eyes.  I was led to the room where the procedure was to be done and the doctor came in to look over the test results.  When I’d first come to their clinic in September they tested my eyes at 20/60.  The month before they’d tested at 20/50 in Tacoma.  This time, after one treatment, my eyes tested at 20/30 and the photos showed a nearly 50% shrinkage of the occluded vein!  “So, do you want to do another treatment?” the doctor asked.  Did, I??  Yes. 
I texted Ana the good news about my eye test and after they had me upside down in the chair and were numbing my eye she replied that it wasn’t her day.  The battery on my car was dead.  I stopped thinking about the needle and tried to remember if our AARP Roadside Service was paid up.  The technician had already told me not to talk.  I texted Ana that I couldn’t call and that the jumper cables were in the trunk of the car.  They kept taking off my glasses to put more drops in my.  By the time Ana texted asking how to open the hood of the car I could not see the display on the phone.  I tried to text that it was on the driver’s side inside, but it came out in comprehensible.  What the heck.  I trusted Ana to figure it out.  My eyesight was better, that was the main thing.  Quick as a wink, the doctor clamped open my eye, marked the “target” and the Avastin was injected.  This time I felt a little pressure in the top of my head, but it was fleeting.
My commuter-husband Dave called me after the injection, but while I was still upside down in the chair.  I told him Ana’s situation and asked him to call her.  It had been quite an afternoon by the time I shook hands with the doctor who is returning to the Everett clinic and wandered out front to make an appointment for December.  Although he called me “dear” this time I barely noticed because hee said that there was the possibility that no more injections will be necessary and I determined that since he’s coming home for ten days in December, Dave was going to take me.  It’s not that he’s less likely to get a miscommunication or have a problem with the car, but at least we won’t have to spend time parking Gabriel somewhere.  Besides, I miss my guy and any excuse to hang out with him will do at this point.