Last week I had a nasty viral infection that spread across my face like wild-fire (from the left bottom corner of my mouth, across my lower lip to the right upper corner of my eye.) It wasn't pretty and could have caused blindness if it had spread into my eye. The doctor was nice enough to send mega drug prescriptions to the pharmacy for me. Mega drug prescriptions that come with a mega drug price and no generic equivalent. I get paid once a month. I bring this up because once I have paid everything I can for the month, I am rarely left with more than $200 to pay for food, gas and anything else Murphy decides throws at me during the remaining 29-30 days of the month. This month, I had about $100 left and Murphy is having a field day throwing curve balls at me. This was only one of his pitches. Got to love Murphy and his timing.
I go to pick up the Mega drugs along with some routine medication and the clerk tells me the price is $158!! AND I HAVE INSURANCE!! I don't even want to know what the price would have been had I not had insurance. I had $30 in cash in my wallet and about $100 left in my checking. Math skills check: 100+30 = 158??? Nope. Not even close.
For the first time in my life I experienced what it felt like to have to choose between a true rock and a hard place. Not a "oh, do I have McDonald's even though it's really not in my budget" choice, but a "will they cut off my electricity if I get choose to get medication that might save my life with this money instead of paying the electric bill?" choice. I can honestly say that if you have never stood at the Walgreen's pharmacy counter with a line of people behind you that can hear every word spoken and ask the pharmacist which medication you can live without; you have no idea the humiliation and hurt that comes with this choice. I stood there fighting with every ounce of courage I could muster, trying to retain what little shred of my dignity I still had as I paid for what I could afford. It took the sheer strength of God to get my feet to carry me out of the store without collapsing, crying into a fetal position. As I walked out, I put my last fifty cents into the Salvation Army kettle. Somewhere, someone will need that 50 cents as much as I just had a few minutes earlier.
I now know what it feels like to lose your self worth and try to retain some dignity; and it's not a warm fuzzy. I have a feeling that until I can recover from the changes that have been occurring in my life, I will have a more than a few of these moments. It sucks. For lack of a more mature adult term, it really sucks. It's like having the wind knocked out of you, and the person who delivered the punch is someone you know and love. And it feels like the world is sitting in judgement of you and finding you guilty even though you know you are innocent.
So this Christmas season, when you go to buy another needless thing for that Great Aunt Sally you never really liked and don't talk to except once a year. Take a moment to be grateful you have the ability to make that choice and aren't faced with the decision between a Maslow's need and a Macy's need. That the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come will show you "God Bless Us Everyone" and not the feted face of Jacob Marley in your dreams. I was not mindful of the spirit of my choice to keep up with the Jones. I wasn't grateful that I had the ability to choose. I never was grateful and now I wish I had been.
So to all, I wish with a grateful heart a Merry Christmas.
God Bless Us Everyone.