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The Lucky Ones

The Lucky Ones


I have a hole in my tooth! Well, technically I have a hole in my metal crown, which was placed over a two-year-old infected root canal. Last month I cracked a (prematurely) hollowed-out incisor, and when the dentist tried to extract it, it shattered into like a hundred pieces. I've been pulling out little bloody fragments from my gum up until a couple of days ago. Last week I went to the emergency room because I had chest pains! And after six hours of waiting and tests and abuse by the most incompetent nursing staff I've ever seen, they released me with a piece of paper with a diagnosis of 'chest pains: uncertain cause.' (But I'm pretty sure that I knew that when I went in.) Today I scheduled an appointment for my surgery on the same exact thing I've had surgery on before (it has to do with my butt, so don't ask!), and tomorrow I have an optometrist appointment to replace my calcified contact lenses. We're gonna keep our fingers crossed that the eye doctor doesn't try to blind me. This is the broken, redundant, cheap, ghetto-ass health care system I get in the 'greatest country in the world'! It's kind of pathetic. What's worse is that I realize I'm one of the lucky ones. How ironic is that? If I wasn't HIV-positive, I probably wouldn't have any of it. I mean, how many people do you know who get to visit the doctor every three months, if necessary, to see a specialist for unresolved issues that come up while getting their chronic illness medications filled free of charge? Well, if you lived in any other 'great' nation with a comparable economic system, it would be the norm -- and our health care would be free! But since we live in 'good ol' America,' that's not the case, and our government believes that we should be run like an 18th-century French monarchy, where the prevailing philosophy is 'Let them eat cake.' If not for the heroic and radical battles of the queer community against the government and insurance companies in the '80s on behalf of the many infected with or dying of HIV granting me the minimal care I have now, I'd probably be dead from some benign nuisance that was never taken care of. I definitely wouldn't have any teeth in my mouth; my eyes would be brown (the horror!); and let's not forget the butt thing (don't judge me). It should be better than this. We should be better this! This is America, for God's sake. No disrespect to other countries, but we are supposed to be the best. And frankly, in this regard, we suck! From a humanistic perspective, I'm ashamed at how we treat our neighbors, at how we treat our poor, and at how we treat our sick and dying. I am horrified to even imagine the heavy burdens that others have to bear -- others without subpar, ghetto, free HIV-positive health care. I feel sorry for those who feel they have nothing -- no voice, no power, no access -- and who must beg for the crumbs from the master's table. I am appalled by the many who have good jobs, great insurance, and pay their portion and yet still get their treatments rejected and their well-being negotiated. And more than anything, my heart went out to the little blue-eyed child next to me whose mother cried in the emergency room, praying for six hours that someone would see her baby. Saucier is a writer, blogger, and performance artist based in Los Angeles.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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