How Did We Get From There to Here? by Cynthia McKinney
I never want you to take the journey that I'm currently on. So, I want to tell you about it.
It starts on the front of the refrigerator. "The Healthiest Foods on Earth." A two-page primer from apple to watermelon, touting immunity to male fertility support. Inside the refrigerator, natural and organic foods only. On the countertop is the Jack LaLanne juicer, the Magic Bullet, the handy food chopper plus, the food saver vacuum sealer--all items familiar to us because they are constantly hawked on the midnight cable channels. Hanging from the kitchen cabinet door are plastic bags for recycling: one for plastics, the other for aluminum cans. The house and car are filled with reusable shopping bags made of recycled materials. By the way, a new car was in the works, and not because of the cash for clunkers program of the Federal Government. An American-made hybrid was preferred--keeping U.S. workers working. In the back seat of her Ford Focus is a booklet, "Living in a Healthy Body: A New Look at Health & Weight." What I'm trying to describe is someone working very hard at changing a typically indulgent "American" lifestyle into one more respectful and healthy for the body, healthy for our earth.
So, in an act of preventive medical care, my aunt Hazel went to the doctor to have a colonoscopy. We are all bombarded with television commercials advising us to have a colonoscopy. I know in the black media, those ads abound. And so, dutifully, my aunt abided by those suggestions for healthy choices and had her first colonoscopy. What the family knows is that her colon was perforated. That's when our journey took us on a wrong turn.
Unfortunately, the facility that performed the colonoscopy had told my aunt not to call before the results were published and that would take up to two weeks!!! When my aunt called them because she was feeling so bad, they told her that she'd be ok overnight and that they would call her in the morning. The hospital talked to her and her daughter. The hospital told my aunt to go to sleep overnight and they'd call her back in the morning. But my aunt-tee continued to deteriorate so badly that her daughter called 9-1-1 and by the morning, my aunt-tee was already in surgery at another hospital that was not too busy to care for her. This is when the perforation was discovered and repaired.
While my aunt was recovering in the second hospital, in intensive care, a letter was sent from the hospital where the colonoscopy was performed stating that they were the insured's provider and that the hospital performing the emergency surgery would not get paid. The hospital performing the mal-colostomy demanded my aunt-tee back. So, against the desires of the hospital providing the emergency surgery, my aunt, while still in intensive care, was forced to be transferred to the hospital that, in my opinion, committed a capital crime.
My aunt-tee deteriorated after the transfer, but fought like heck to live. Unfortunately, her body had been so poisoned by the doctor's failure to recognize that he had perforated her colon that her body became toxic. The third affront to my aunt-tee's health and life occurred when morphine was administered, ostensibly for pain and gave her such a blow to her vital statistics that the family objected to a second administration of morphine. But guess what!!! She was given morphine again, despite her children's complaints!! !! My aunt never recovered from that.
My aunt, a divorced mother of two, struggled to live righteously. Those of you in southern California know that she accompanied me almost everywhere I went. She was a hard-working woman, a proud homeowner in Watts, a student working on her Social Work degree, finally able to achieve her dreams after deferring them for so long in order to help her children realize theirs. She also took to the campaign trail too many times, traveling to Georgia to help my father and me realize ours. I can't even believe that she's gone--through no fault of her own--and I'm still wondering how the heck my aunt ended up in this place. Despite all the care she took of herself this is unfathomable to me. And sadly, too many families are arriving at this same place. Iraqi families devastated by U.S. occupation; Afghani families devastated by U.S. war; U.S. families also devastated by U.S. policy makers. Why?