Last born twice.

Me and my Mom have this running joke about how she gave birth to me twice. It is essentially true and ironically the second birth occurred  Mother’s Day weekend of 1992.  The Thursday before Mother’s Day my 16 year-old self had decided that it would be pretty cool to take my Mom and Nana out for Mother’s Day on my own dime. The destination?  Tiffany’s, a restaurant that I had not at the time been too, that was well-known for its ribs and cheesecake.

There isn’t much I remember from that evening at dinner save for the fact that it was my Mom, my Nana,  my oldest nephew, and I that had gone out to eat … and the cheese cake.  I had ordered cheesecake for dessert, a cheesecake that unbeknownst to me,  had ground pecans baked into the crust.  Prior to eating this cheesecake, I remembered that I always felt “funny” when I ate the Little Debbie Brownies with the nuts on them that my older brother would bring me from the corner store. They made my throat itch so badly that I’d stopped eating them all together.

After the first bite of cheese cake that feeling I would get when I ate the Little Debbie cakes started only now it was about ten thousand times worse.  I immediately began to spit the cake into my napkin and told my Mom that I didn’t feel well. She sent me to the car while she paid the tab and gathered my Nana and nephew.  The last thing I remember is getting into the car, taking about 20 doses too many of my inhaler because I felt my throat closing, and then going cold. This would be my last conscious memory for two weeks.

When my Mom got to the car she found me passed out. I was sheet white and my lips were a dusky shade of purple.  Panicked and having little sense of direction, she began to drive around the city of Union, NJ searching for the hospital.  This search lasted approximately ten minutes and by all scientific logic I should have been brain-dead, but this situation would defy any logic you could throw at it.

Upon finding Union Hospital my Mom  pulled into the area on the opposite side of the emergency room. Desperate, she got out of the car flung open the doors and began to scream for help.  Her screaming, I can imagine based on her “normal” conversational octave, was enough to wake the dead and ultimately summon a hospital of doctors, nurses, and therapist to my aid.  I was removed from the car and placed on the ground as the team immediately began to care for what appeared to be a dead kid.

My mom was completely devastated as doctors explained to her my limited odds of surviving the anaphylactic shock I’d endured.  She was advised to call my family members so they could come and say good-bye to me. I was given last rites (it was a Catholic hospital I believe) and my family prepared for the worse. That evening in the waiting room, so I’m told, my Nana held a prayer vigil to end all prayer vigils. She prayed with absolute strangers for the complete healing of their loved ones even though, at least in my case, all hope seemed to be lost.  And just like that I lived through the night … and the next night.

Doctors cautioned my mother about being overly optimistic about my outcome seeing as how the odds for anoxic brain injury due to the delay in my treatment were quite high. These predictions seemed accurate when on Mother’s Day the only thing I kept repeating much to my mother’s horror was “Happy Mother’s Day” probably sounding a lot like Igor. However, over the next few days and weeks I gradually returned to normal (or as normal as I’d ever be again 😉 ).  My first memory? Waking up to a Russian woman who was trying to explain to me her open heart surgery by repeating the words “bad blood” with her thick accent and pointing at monstrous wound on her chest. Good times.

My mother is not a huggin’, squeezin’, excessive sugar givin’  sagely advice dolin’ kind of mom. There are times when I wish like hell she was, but then I think about this “second birth” and how people from the community surrounding the hospital where I’d been sick calling in by the droves to check on “The screaming woman’s daughter”.  I think about the lengths my mother went through to get me adequate care for my asthma even begging a pulmonologist who only saw adults to see me when every pediatrician I’d seen had thrown up their hands. Then I think, here I am,  a living breathing miracle over 22 years after my second birth not only alive and well, but thriving in ways I could never have imagined. Today I give thanks to my praying grandmother and a mother that refused to give up on her sickly little wheezer even during times it seemed the world had.  I love you Ma!

Rosie.

Me and the extraordinary Antoinette Rose

Me and the extraordinary Antoinette Rose

Suspending Disbelief

There is a blissful dismissal of logic that comes with being a child. It enables them to be the gorgeous pile of mush that leaped, curious and unbridled out of their mother’s womb and into a world hell bent on making them into what they “should be”.  It happens earlier and earlier these days, the domestication of children, but if you browse a playground (that is if you can do so without being dubbed a pedophile) occasionally you come across a group of children locked in a heated debate that sounds something like this:

Kid 1: I gone be a super hero when I get big watch.

Kid 2: What kinna stuper hero you go be?

Kid 1: One dat could fly and a-a-and smash big buildins

Kid 2: Nuh uhn

Kid 1: Uh huh!!!

Kid 2: Nuh uhn Nuh uhn

Kid 1 Uh huh Uh huh!!! But you could be my super hero friend tho

Kid 2: I gone be able to to to PUNCH real hard like da Hulk … GRRRRRRRR!!!!

Kid 1:  Les go practice!

Kid 2: Uh K!

And off they go to conquer evil and place bugs in the belongings of unsuspecting peers.  Now, while no one can argue with the sheer entertainment value of hipster babies in skinny jeans with their diapers sogging full of recycled Pabst Blue Ribbon formula; One has to confess that the freedom that comes with being a child over the years has been severely compromised. The openness to have a the free range of emotions that guides the process of becoming an emotionally well adjusted adult is squelched. The result, stuffy assed adults too obsessed with not seeming “thirsty” or “messy” to feel. Some medicate either legally or illegally, still others seek alternate means (e.g. cars, homes, clothes etc.) so that to the outside world will think they are A-OK. Meanwhile they are dying on the inside.

I was and quite often still can be guilty of just this. I suspect this is what lead me back to theatre and writing.  The ability to play and bring to life the characters that are running around in my head without getting the hell side-eyed out of me by society.  Theatre has brought to my life a level of inner freedom, joy and peace that I don’t feel like I’ve ever knew, even during my bittersweet childhood.  The first piece read at a play reading I held last evening is “Reasoning”.  It was the first vignette written for a show called “The Waiting Place” that  I wrote while at UNC Charlotte and is the first complete theatrical piece that I ever had produced. The show gets its name from an excerpt of  “Oh the Places You’ll go by Dr. Seuss.” The passage goes:

“The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go

or a bus to come, or a plane to go

or the mail to come, or the rain to go

or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow

or waiting around for a Yes or a No

or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite

or waiting for wind to fly a kite

or waiting around for Friday night

or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake

or a pot to boil, or a Better Break

or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants

or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.”

This past year has contained enough waiting for me to slay father time.  While waiting I’ve tried to remain open and blindly hopeful as a child. I’ve not always succeeded, but I’ve remained aware of the message in the waiting. The same type of awareness that allows for the adult eye to see the beauty and depth to Dr. Suess’s message and long for the comfort of it’s rhyme scheme and ridiculous creatures when the adult world seems to scary to confront. I escape back to the freedom of childhood every time I sit at the key board, sit in a dark cinema or theatre, or pick up a good book waiting for my disbelief to be suspended so my imagination can run hi-knee laps around my mind.

A young woman named Ira Yarmolenko was in the original cast of “The Waiting Place”. Tragically, the May after the show went up she was brutally murdered under circumstances that I still struggle to understand.  In one of our last conversations we sounded a lot like the two children in my above scenario.  We were at the cast party for The Waiting Place” and we almost simultaneously said.  “What are you gonna do next.”  I’m not sure of what I said, but I’m almost sure the path I’m on now wasn’t even in my trajectory at that point. Ira said, “I don’t know.” and smiled a little. In such a care free self-satisfied way that I thought for sure she’d just figured out the meaning of life. Maybe she did, maybe in that moment her disbelief and any fear had been suspended and she was free to just live.

Rosie.

188_527954243667_1724_n

Ira Yarmolenko and Joshua Ozro Lucero
“The Waiting Place” UNC Charlotte 2007

 

 

Martyr May I.

The conversation usually goes like this:

Person: Wow! Congrats on getting into NYU! That’s an incredible opportunity.

Stacey: Aww, Thank you. I’m really excited.

Person: Is your son going?

(Here, as we say in theatre, is a “beat”. The length of the “beat” usually depends on how many times I’d been asked that question within 48 hrs. The extent to which I go to explain my choice is directly proportional to the level of maternal guilt I’m feeling that day, but it all boils down to this:)

Stacey: No, He’s not going (… insert excessive rambling here as needed.)

(Next, the reaction. It varies and is typically some combination of: 1. A “beat”, some type of facial grimace, followed by an expulsion of air … usually from the mouth and then 2: Oh … )

Person: … who is he staying with?

Me: …my mom.

(Now, the conversation either ends here or rambles on in some awkward dance between my guilt and the other person’s judgement/the judgement I perceive them to have, then dies an even more awkward death in pregnant silence.)

This post is not an explanation of why my son will not be moving to New York with me. This post is about the fact that this question is always the first to be raised with mothers pursuing lofty goals.

I have watched my mother, and countless other mothers “sacrifice”, martyr their peace, happiness, and in some cases their physical existence for children who didn’t benefit one way or the other from said sacrifice. In some cases this “sacrifice” was ultimately the child’s downfall. Why? Because all that additional motherly love was enabling, that’s why. Mothers and specifically single mothers have for far too long worn the badge of the martyr, forfeiting any dreams or potential they had before they gave birth. It’s as if your goals and desires for yourself can’t exist in the same space as parenthood, or if they can, those goals and desires had better damn well be minimal and involve a papoose. (I just pictured my 5’8” 155lb 14 year-old strapped to me as I navigated Washington Square and died a little.)

Ye verily I say unto all the mothers who think they have to give up happiness and personal satisfactions in order to be a “good” mother … fuck all of that … in its entirety. I am a 37 year old woman with a lot of life left (hopefully), and a lot of shit I want to do. I love my son immensely and will not cease to handle my basic parental responsibilities, while also continuing to do everything within my power to guide him into a successful life. That, for me, is what parenthood is about. I refuse to give up my life as a testament to what a wonderful mother I am. I would rather live a full and purposeful life that can serve to inspire and empower my child into a better way of living. My pursuit of a full and purposeful life just happens to involve me being away from my kid for a while. This is not an ideal situation, but it is not Life’s job to serve up ideal situations. Besides, I’m pursuing graduate education for baby Jesus’s sake, not smoking crack. (Unfortunately, the latter in the eyes of some, seems to be a more acceptable reason for a maternal hiatus :/.)

Then there’s the shitty male/female double standard. If I were a father, even a single father, I don’t think anyone would give a second thought to me taking off to school or even better enlisting with the military and leaving my son with family. In fact, it’d be encouraged. This, in the eyes of some, makes a father joining the army, potentially being deployed to war, and killed a better choice than me, a mother, pursing higher education. I don’t blame fathers. Hell, I don’t even blame the people who ask me this question. It’s kind of just the way things are. We exist in a patriarchal society where the man goes out hunts the meat, clubs us over the head then …

Maybe you think I’ve written this assuage my guilty conscious and maybe you’re right. Maybe I don’t give a fuck* what anyone thinks. Maybe I do, but I shouldn’t because it’s my life. Square biz, I don’t know a parent who doesn’t have regrets about choices they’ve made raising their children. I know I will have regrets a plenty, possibly with the decision to leave him in Charlotte for two years topping the list. Time will inevitably reveal the decisions that will land my ass in a shitty nursing home per my son’s request. However, If I look at my parenting job so far I can honestly say the danger of me stewing in my own juices while medical staff is on break is pretty remote. All I can do is check with my gut, check with Sonny Jim, and pray for the best

Rosie.

*Please read the linked article ad nauseum. You will either become completely reckless, stop being afraid of what people think and live, or both. Shouts to KNKYTHT for sending it to me, it was the highlight of my week.

The Benediction: Love is Love

ImageI’m not a fan of marriage in general.  I did it once, for all the wrong reasons like so many people who refuse to admit so. I think the institution has become as trite and jaded as “the American Dream“, chock full of false expectations, superficial wants and desires that have little or nothing to do with the happiness of the people who are lassoed into filing the papers. So why, you might ask, am I taking the time to write about marriage equality? Two reasons: First, the ability of a person to marry whomever  you want is basic as hell. For real … why are we even having to debate this bullshit in court, America? I mean don’t we have bigger fish to fry? It is truly embarrassing that we as a nation are having to take to go to court to argue something that is a private matter between individuals with the contrasting arguments being just as bigoted as the counter arguments to the abolition of slavery, integration, interracial marriage, and women’s reproductive rights (wait … we’re STILL talking about that shit too. UGHK … America, just fucking UGHK.) I won’t get into the white male privilege of it all or the presumption that America is an exclusively “Christian Nation“, but I will say that if certain believers in the “America of Our  Forefathers” don’t pull their heads out of their asses, it’s going to be a loooong decade or so … for them anyway.

Now to my second reason. In the same way a person can be spiritual and hate religion, I believe with my whole heart in love and don’t believe that marriage is  requisite for a lifetime of loving another person. One of the first times I’ve been stuck dumb by the love I witnessed within a relationship, was one where the couple was of the same sex.

It was roughly 2 am in the morning and this woman came in through the emergency room sicker than hell. She had pneumonia and was so weak that she could barely do anything for herself.  While I was assessing her, her partner who’d been parking the car came in. She quietly moved to the opposite side of the bed from me and took her hand.  I was just about to stick the sick woman for blood when she sneezed. I froze immediately, to keep from sticking myself or the patient, and looked up to see her partner cleaning snot from her face and clothing without even flinching.  She was caring for her with a look on her face that reflected pure love. Sounds sappy, but it was as if I were supposed to see it.  In that moment something inside of me said “that’s what I want”, “that’s how I want to be loved by another human being.” Those two women were in that thing together for better or worse, and if a love like that can’t be confirmed through marriage then the whole institution should be outlawed.  It has been years since this incident, but I never forgot it or how it affected me.

This past weekend I had the honor of attending the wedding of my friend Séan and his now husband Christopher.  It was my first gay wedding, and I have to say that it was one of the most simple and sweet ceremonies I’d ever attended. Words of love and encouragement were exchanged between family and friends .. like any wedding. There were jitters, blunders, and late arrivals …  like any wedding. And I, of course, bawled like a complete idiot … like I would do at any wedding. As the debauchery and merriment of the weekend unfolded, I found myself wishing that human beings in their infinite pursuit of control and understanding wouldn’t insist on making others miserable along the way.  Love can’t be defined by a court case or really anything rational, if I look at my own life as an example.  Love just is.

Rosie.

What faith ain’t.

I’m tired. I’m tired of pep talks. Anxiety attacks. Positive self talk vs. Negative self talk. Healing Mantras. Hard work.  Fits of crying. Fits of laughing. Fits of screaming. Fits.  Patience (yeah, I’m REAL tired of that bitch).

At an early age, I was sold the bullshit idea of faith being this thing that sagely folk sit stoically by and “have”.  They clasp their Bibles, Korans, Torahs, Self Help Books, Meditation beads or  whatever sacred possession they have and trust all nice and floaty like.

Well I want my fuckin’ money back, because faith ain’t none of that shit. If it is, it’s only that for a small section of people (e.g. The Pope, Deepak Chopra, Oprah, and Prince).  For the rest of us regular muphuckas , faith is a battle to the death between your needs, wants, and the “higher good”. That last item is a fuckin’ lu lu.  You never really know what the “higher good” until that one issue you were grappling with is ancient history.  Then you get the gift of “lessons” and “ones to grow on.” UGHK!

In the meantime you get to be utterly miserable … if you choose to. Right now, I can honestly say I’m choosing misery (it’s a subconscious choice … my default mode if you will). I’ll pull my head out of my ass momentarily only to reinsert it at a later date. Samsara? Purgatory? Limbo? Call it what you will, but I heard that even the almighty Billy Graham found himself in spiritual dilemmas so befuddling that he would lie prostrate on his bedroom floor for hours talking to Jesus.   (Wait … I haven’t tried that yet :/ )

Whatever the hell it is and whatever obstacles the task presents, I intend to keep the faith. As shitty as the process is at times I know the alternative, at least for me, is worse.

Rosie.

Give it away now.

Ever since this post and the circumstances surrounding it I have been or have made an earnest effort to be less attached to material things. I’ve found myself giving away earrings I once thought I could never part with or losing some other “treasured item” but being okay with it, sort of like the baby who gets their pacifier taken away, after a few days they’re fine.

Alas, I think my tolerance for letting go is wavering. After conceivably the worse weekend I ever spent in a hotel (there were children, there was screaming, there were ungodly bodily secretions), I lost two of my favorite bracelets. Grounded me would be okay with letting them go, accepting that these items had had their time in my life and it was now time for them to move on to the next owner. The thing is, I’m not grounded me, and I can’t get those two fucking bracelets out of my mind.

So I ask my self:

Q: Is it about the bracelets?

A: Not likely.  It’s really about how tossed I feel with this impending move, my son’s general unhappiness and the difficulties he’s having in school, and the feeling that I have zero control over anything that is happening in my life right now. The least I can do is hold on to the things I love, huh Universe? Are you even fucking listening at this point?!

But I digress …

I am not going to return to the hotel in a desperate search for my two favorite bracelets that were so fucking awesome and made noise when I clapped and it seemed like I had musical instruments with me everywhere I went and fuuuuuck!!!!

Re-digressing …

The reason I’m not going back is because I, at my foundation believe that I am going to live and more beautifully simple and musical jewelry will come into my life. It’s just that I need to live with the uncertainty of when and how this new jewelry will show up.

Q: Am I even  talking about jewelry at this point?

A: Not likely.

I just want this transition not to feel so fucking crazy or at the very least once again enjoy and be willing to do the things that I know help me feel better. So when my new jewelry shows up I’m ready to handle the abundance of its beauty and musicality, but be willing to let it go … all the way … if I need to.

– Selah

Rosie.

Rosie’s CIAA cautionary tale.

Let the record show that I have not, in the time that it has been hosted in our fair city, chosen to participate in the activities surrounding the  CIAA’s (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) annual tournament.  The reasons are varied, but not limited too: Hating crowds, Hating myself in crowds, Hating crowds of drunken black people , Hating crowds of pretentious black people, and MOST important – I hate being in crowds of black people who’d spend $75-100 on a day party, but who will hem and haw about financially supporting local programming for children. This year I waxed sentimental and decided to go because all the buzz seemed so exciting, that one party sounded like what the business is (it was dope as hell, I won’t lie) and I won’t be here next year … so what the hell, right?

The night started out well enough. I did somethings to ground myself in sanity (prayed, burned incense, listened to the ATLien’s album), then headed out to an event called Grits & Biscuits. All southern hip hop, all night. Yessir! After I had sufficiently twerked away my cares, I exited the party into a sea of half naked self proclaimed “bad bitches” and the men who loved/lusted/thirsted after them.

As awesome as all of that was, my friend Danielle and I were ready to go and process the levels of ratchet debauchery we’d just taken in over artery clogging food stuffs. We’d ran across a group who was in need of a jump and I was glad that I was able to be of assistance (being the ever faithful good Samaritan I am) with jumper cables I had in my car.  However … when I got to my car I realized … I was actually in need of jump, as my car wouldn’t start.  Things promptly went to hell from here.

With the help of two eager young gentlemen I get the car started again, and head out into the mean side streets surrounding the NC Music factory that at this point looks a lot like Juicy J‘s rendition of Kolkata. I’m visually overdosing on bare tri-fold midriffs and men doling out piggy back rides to colored girls who considered crawling with them rainbow pumps became too much, when … my car stops in the middle of the street. Just stops. Right in front of this dude who is drunk out of his fucking MIND and believes, somewhere in his delirium that my car has arrived to pick him up.

I, distracted and disgusted, could not process why this man was getting in my car, and before I could say two words, he was in there. CHILLIN’.

I’m like:  Sir … get out.

No response.

To add to the fun, his drunk friends get into the act,  facebooking  and tweeting videos of all the festive shenanigans as I sit, mouth agape, looking on. The good times were soon to get better, when the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department gets involved, those champions of justice.  They actually SWEAR that my new friend is actually my estranged boyfriend/hook up and that I need to attempt to manage the situation.

This is when drunk man in my car starts flexin …
… like he’s on Instagram
He’s angry now …

He’s all: Get the fuck off me yo! Get the fuck off me son!

I promptly exit the vehicle, cause I wanna live and shit. There are now 3-4 officers in a heated debate with the drunken gent in an attempt to get his drunk ass out of my car. The officers are STILL swearing I know said drunk and disorderly negro, a fact I adamantly deny. After realizing the real possibility that their friend/brother may be tased or shot they beg the police officers to let them remove him from my car.

Negotiations are successful, the drunkard exits my vehicle.

CMPD: Ma’am I’m gonna need you to get back in your vehicle and move along.

Fuck. My. Life., I think to myself and am surprised by my ability to remain calm (probably had to do with my own non-desire of being tased or shot) and tell the officers that the reason why I didn’t take off and drag the dude down the street when he attempted to get in my car in the first place was because it would. not. start. (SIGH).

The officers FINALLY realize that hey … she really didn’t know that guy, and wait, her car won’t start! That’s why she was in the middle of the road! They determine that they will  offer me the assistance I need to get to the side of the road when just then, a clutch of ratchet pussy decides that my predicament is funny …

“Aw sheet that bitch done ran outta gas!”

“Ha. Ha. She slippin’!”

I verbally abuse the shit out of them.
It was quite satisfying.

The rest of the evening, that did not end until 5:30 am, ended with little more event than: me coming to the aid of two scantily clad “bad bitches” whose phone was dead and ride “had done gone” by allowing them to sit in my dilapidated vehicle, and me thrice having to give a Charlotte based tow truck driver direction to a major Charlotte landmark.

The lesson: I’m not sure there is one. Just a lot of individual shit that could have happened on any other day happening to me at the same damn time.

To all CIAA in CLT visitors: I enjoyed you, now please … go home. ❤

Rosie.

*Warning: The preceding song should only be enjoyed in controlled environments and under the clear understanding that you are probably not now nor will you ever be a drug dealer that … enjoys … two “bad bitches” at the same damn time.

Wait … Am I Your “Magic Nig -ga -ger -roe”?!

Start here:

This, by the way, was and still is some of the most potent realness I’ve seen in a film. Ever.

Now on to the:

Magical Negro: The Magical Negro is typically but not always “in some way outwardly or inwardly disabled, either by discrimination, disability or social constraint,” often a janitor or prisoner.[7] He has no past; he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist.[8][9] He usually has some sort of magical power, “rather vaguely defined but not the sort of thing one typically encounters.”[8] He is patient and wise, often dispensing various words of wisdom, and is “closer to the earth.”[4]
-courtesy of Wikipedia

Now the post:

This morning as I  nodded in and out of post third shift consciousness, I perused the good old face space to see what the people in my virtual (and a few in my real) life were up to and I see friends of mine “liking” shit like this:

11520_10151305732995911_1096464547_n

and I’m like:

cropped-4-up-on-1-7-13-at-12-44-am-8.jpg

I pride myself in knowing and embracing a wide variety of people who represent varying racial and ethnic backgrounds, and political ideologies. It is, however, becoming increasingly difficult to understand how it is that people who I work and socialize with can be so unwavering in their “conservative” views,  “conservative” views that have them peeking through the curtains of racism, sexism, and classism’s bedroom window if not sitting in their living room, but still “love” me in the way they say they do. Then it hit me … am I filed away in the minds and hearts of these folk as not being one of those kinds of blacks?! Am I their “Magic Nig -ga -ger -roe” like the Magic Johnson’s, Prince’s, and Oprah’s that have come before me?!

I simply cannot understand how people who show me so much genuine love, concern, and camaraderie can co-sign policies and ideologies that are aimed square at the disenfranchisement of people just like me.  YES, as magical as a nig -ga -ger -roe as I may appear to be, I am or have been the 47% at some point in my life. Let’s check my qualifiers shall we?

Rosie’s top ten “those” people qualifiers

1. Grew up in low-income housing to …

2. A single mother who …

3. While working and during brief periods between children received food stamps.

4. I am a single mother who had a child …

5. Out of wedlock! O_O (no dead husband, no failed marriage [that came after the kid … and he wasn’t the father x_x] , just good old fashion fornication with no intention of extended dedication.)

6. I have immediate family members in jail (that I actually maintain contact with and love very much because contrary to what your “conservative” media outlets would have you believe, people don’t cease being human because are incarcerated! … take all the time you need to process that one.) hell I’ve even …

7. Been arrested! (no jail house tats though, but my street cred is up and that is GOOOD), Oh and I …

8. Don’t like working! (for other people, that is), and I …

9.  Have been on Medicaid as an adult (quite shamelessly, I paid into that shit for 12 years prior, what?! So know that when I was on it, you’re conservative dollar was technically still free willy), but worst of all I …

10.  Voted for Obama to ensure my continued leaching from the great America built by the Founding Fathers off the backs of my ForeFathers!

Again, take a moment, a day if you need to process.  There are more qualifiers, but those may bust your heart wide open and leave you with no hope for savage… I mean American minorities. Think I’m overreacting and “making it racial”? Stop and take a look at the “conservative” base and tell me what you see? I may be going out on a limb, but I think to some point I represent some type of saving grace to my conservative friends (who I actually love and accept despite what their views are). I am, I believe, in their eyes “a credit to my race.” I am well spoken, fairly well read, and goddamn it I make them laugh! What they don’t realize is that it’s not always comfortable for me to be the funny nig -ga -ger -roe. What they don’t realize  is that there are many times that their sweeping indictments of  people who “leach off the system”, or how their tax dollars are paying for this ones healthcare, or the cadence with which they say our president’s name … as if trying to scrape shit off their tongue, often leaves me hating their asses for brief intense periods.

But then I let it go, because my intense hatred will do nothing to elevate the their mind state about the broader reality of minority life, and it’ll run my blood pressure up which we know all black folks suffer with anyhow. So, I just try to live honestly as possible, calling “bullshit” when I see it … when I have the energy to do so,  and serving as an example of the many varieties of  “those people” who exists.  I know I seem angry, well fuck it, I am, but underneath this anger is a pressing need to be understood in the same ways I seek to understand.

If I can manage to separate the political ideology from the living breathing person that I know, then why is it that so damn hard for some to conceive of the fact that I might not be that magical. Maybe, just maybe, blacks and other minorities are not just some mass of bottom feeders that seek to drain an innocent America of all its xenophobic glory. Iono, one day it’ll all make sense I suppose. In the meantime, for those who are ready, consider this an open call to conversation. It’s a call that I will continue to make until I’m no longer able to speak. If we want change we can believe in, we have to believe we can change, and speak that change into existence.

Rosie.

Now go laugh at racism’s sting dammit!

Physician Disagrees.

ImageIn 2002 I sat for the clinical exams for my RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) credential. The easiest part, at least for me, were the straight forward questions on the shit that could easily be found Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care textbook. The shitty part, and the part ironically that would tend to foreshadow what my career in respiratory care looked like, were the clinical simulations. The clinical sims walked you through theoretical scenarios. Some of the patients had blatantly obvious problems like pneumonia, COPD, asthma the stuff you knew you were signing up for as a therapist. It got fuzzy when babies with ambiguous symptoms came rolling through your virtual ED and all you could rely on were your clinical assessment skills. So, Patient Q came barreling through the door with a persistent 3 week dry cough, low-grade fever, and other symptoms that could mean everything yet nothing.

I’d go through a specific symptom, apply the solution that I thought was correct, and would receive the heart stopping response of:

PHYSICIAN DISAGREES

By the 3rd or 4th “disagreement” I thought for sure that I’d killed my virtual patient and shat away the hundreds of dollars that I’d spent on the exam. As it turns out my patient survived because of the choices I made. I walked out of the H&R block testing center fist pumping like 80s Judd Nelson. Now let’s apply that to my real life in respiratory therapy shall we:

I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve had an opinion that was the “right answer” in the direction of patient care but was summarily ignored by the physician charged with caring for the patient. The difference in real life is that lives will not be miraculously saved by a test that happens to know which care plan is better. In fact …

*Bombshell Alert*

People get very sick and or die because of physician pride, incompetence, or apathy. I wish I could say that I haven’t seen it as many times as I have in this now almost 14 years as a therapist, but it’s true. When a physician would rather Google how to operate a particular type of life support rather than ask the real live person on duty who has experience with the equipment how to proceed (yes, this happened … to ME), then there is a major problem with how the healthcare team functions and the real losers in this game are, as always, patients. Do I blame all physicians? No.

I blame the set up of the healthcare “system”. Doctors are all too often placed in a position where they cannot be vulnerable, where they can’t say “I don’t know” or appear not to, hell where a patient with no medical knowledge whatsoever can waltz into their office and tell them what to prescribe. This type of system sets doctors up to be on the defensive. They have the image of the authoritarian on all things medical to uphold after all. It’s a sucky conundrum and a large chunk of the reason why I didn’t proceed to medical school.

The only solution I see in this age of information where the patient truly is more well versed about their disease process than the doctor, is a more team based approach where the doctor is still at the helm, but know when to trust the advice of specialist that have seen certain things a time or two more that she/he has. I’ve seen this set up before, mainly at teaching hospitals, and from what I’ve experienced it works. Granted, it then places the responsibility for competency in the lap of staff, but I’d rather have my opinion respected and expected than to just be a “knob turner” at the mercy of a doctor who is burned out, apathetic, and just doesn’t want to be called anymore. Mutual respect to the benefit of those we are charged to care for: Is that too much to ask? Me thinkest not.

Rosie.