Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Dear Destinee, it's not your fault. An open letter after the Portland racist attacks

Context: this post is written after a white supremacist went after two teenage girls on public transit, for being people of color in public. Three men stood up and defended them; he murdered two of them. The girl who, at this point in time, has talked to the media, was blaming herself. It wasn't her fault.

Dear Destinee, and your friend,

I'm so sorry that you both were targeted the way you were. I know it's probably not the first racist venom you have heard, and I'm sorry to say it's unlikely to be the last. This city has a big racism problem, as much as they try to deny it. You have never deserved to be the target of that vitriol. You will never deserve to be the target of that vitriol.

The experience must have been harrowing. I cannot imagine sitting in your shoes that day, or the feelings you are having now.

I saw on the news you blaming yourself, saying these men are dead because of you.

That is not true. Please believe me, that is not true.

A cowardly man singled you and your friend out because, as teenage girls, you're an easy target. You weren't with someone who he didn't want to fight. He reckoned everyone on that train was as cowardly as him and would just let him harass and attack you.

He reckoned wrong. Other people, of their own free will, knowing it was risky, said "you may not target these young women. We will not allow it." Everyone who has ever considered intervening knows it's risky. Part of why people so often keep their heads down is because standing up is scary.

Those men did the right thing for you, Destinee. They chose to put themselves in harm's way. Based on everything I have read about them, they'd do it again. Every person interviewed has been saddened and not surprised at all, because they were men of principle and justice.

It's not your fault. It's not. You bear no blame in this situation. You have every right to ride the MAX. To go from place to place in safety. You did nothing wrong. It's not your fault.

You're innocent, both of you. I'm glad you're alive, that you made it to safety. I hope you are healing.

Please believe me, it's not your fault. It's his.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

I wrote to my Senator. #corpsesdontvote

This is what I emailed my senator earlier today, because only the senate can keep the ACA. CN for medical disasters, fairly graphic descriptions.
You get the cranky version of this because your staff won't even promise the most basic of ADA accommodations. Ironic given that I'm writing to you about health care and one of the conditions that requires said accommodations.
Like many Americans, I have chronic health conditions. Like many Americans, I need you and the whole democratic party to grow a spine and stand for me. I vote democrat because the other choices are unconscionable, but I am thoroughly unimpressed with the pattern of roll over and play dead. I need you to not be a doormat.

Here's some incentive: how I am going to die if the senate doesn't kill the republican death to poors bill.

My first chronic, life threatening medical condition is adrenal insufficiency. I do not make cortisol. Without cortisol, people's bodies cannot respond to the stresses of every day life. I take a daily corticosteroid pill and must inject myself with extra steroids if I am sick or injured. Without cortisol, the body cannot restore normal functions in times of stress. Have you taken a first aid class, Senator? Recall what you were told about shock. The heart doesn't pump effectively. Blood pressure crashes. Blood sugar crashes. Death can result. I am going to die from going into shock from a stubbed toe if you folks don't find some courage. It's scary. When your heart won't move blood, everything is /scary/. It's not a good death.

The other option, of course, is for me to die of epilepsy related complications. Because of a lack of health care in my youth, my epilepsy got pretty hard to treat--the more seizures you have, the more likely you are to have more seizures. They are harder to treat the longer they are allowed to go on--this is called kindling. As a result, my mostly-effective seizure meds are about $1000/month (if we lived in a real country with universal health care they'd have been stopped much sooner, but we don't. We live in the land of "the poor and disabled should die horribly". Your part in maintaining that status quo is very much noted).
I have 2 options for how to die if epilepsy related causes take me. The first is SUDEP, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. The way to prevent SUDEP is to control seizures. SUDEP is probably not painful, but it's traumatic to the people who find the body, and it's a dead person who won't vote for you. Dead people don't vote. It's a lot of grieving people, all because the D doesn't stand for democrat, but doormat.

The other option is status epilepticus. You aren't going to like reading this. Since it's my fate, not yours, I don't actually care. Be brave. It'll be good practice for that spine growing thing.

Status epilepticus is a seizure that does not stop.The most commonly noticed status epilepticus is tonic clonic status, although partial complex and absense status also exist (and lead to all sorts of problems like subtle brain damage and getting hit by a goddamn car because you're only 25% aware of the world around you). This is not good.

Your body is not made for every muscle to be contracting at once for an extended period of time. Neither is mine. The muscles start to break down. This floods the body with waste. The brain fries itself. Like, literally. It cannot deal with the fallout of the electrical activity. It is not made for that. You can seize yourself into a persistent vegetative state. If you are me, your seizures will dislocate joints. Remember that adrenal insufficiency thing earlier? That is the sort of injury that leads to adrenal crisis, as is everything else about status epilepticus. Your heart gives out. Your kidneys can't cope. Your brain stops being able to not seize.

This is an awful way to die.

If you do not stand up to Republicans, you are choosing for me to die this way. And my loved ones will not forget it.

With health care, I am an involved member of my community. I participate in martial arts and assist children in accessing the activity as well (including children who, like me, need health care to be able to interact meaningfully with all that life has to offer). I am finishing a biology degree--I was going to be an ecologist until the republicans decided to destroy ecology, and no one stood up and said "nah bro you can't do that". I teach and judge gymnastics. Kids and cats love me. It's mutual.

Without health care I'm a corpse. And my blood will be on your hands.