Sunday, January 25, 2009

A First Hand Look at the Inauguration by Miles Tossie

Miles Tossie is a high school senior from Hutchinson who attended the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama. I prevailed upon him to share some of photos and experiences with us at the blog. I just loved this young man's eloquent account. Thank you, Miles! Here it is:

An Inauguration Experience
by Miles Tossie

The election of Barack Obama means a lot to me personally. Being biracial myself I understand how big this moment was. As someone who would have voted for him had I been 18, this was a truly special event for me, and it was made even better by the fact that I could be there.

I arrived in D.C. on the Tuesday before the inauguration and from that moment I could tell that there was a feeling of excitement in the air. It didn't matter who you were, people treated you like they had known you all their lives. Everywhere you looked people had smiles on their faces. Everyone wanted a piece of history and many people were wearing clothing with Obama's name or face on it.

All of this excitement grew and grew until the 20th came and it was truly palpable. There are very few events that can get people up at 1 or 2 in the morning to stand in the freezing cold for 10 hours for an hour long ceremony. There are even less than can get 2 million people on D.C.'s National Mall, 90% of who knew going in that they may never see him as more than a dot in the distance. But for an event this historic, for a man this inspirational, I know for a fact that all of us who were there would have waited for twice as long in twice as cold a temperature. That was how much we wanted to be a part of history. It was a life changing experience that I will never forget.

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The Days Grow Short

The days before surgery grow short. Tuesday morning will arrive very soon and there are still some things I want to get done before then. But at the same time, I need to keep some feeling of normal life.

Greg and I went to Roy's for lunch. Today was my last chance to have Roy's for awhile. I'm just guessing barbecue is not going to be one of the things suggested for me immediately after surgery. I could be wrong, but it's just a hunch.

After Roy's we went over to Sharon's house. She had some computer questions and I was able to help her with most of them. It felt really good to share some tidbits I've learned that are helpful for her, too.

I've been working in the house, getting things set up. They deliver the hospital bed on Monday and I wanted to get things ready for that, including putting a rug down to set it on. We must protect the hardwood floors, of course.

Getting the bed turned into a hassle. I wanted it delivered Monday, so I could disinfect it and make it up before I go to the hospital. I'm thinking as soon as I get home from the hospital I'm going to want to lie down.

They told me I couldn't get it until I was being discharged. Of course, I don't know when that will be. Somehow I'm supposed to magically be here to let them into my house while I'm being discharged from a hospital an hour away. Duh. I asked Barbara if she would come and let them in and she said absolutely.

Of course, this is all far more complex than it needs to be - a day is a month for rental so the number of days didn't matter - but they said insurance wouldn't pay for it while I was in the hospital.

We asked what if I was being discharged on Sunday. Well, in that case they'd probably deliver it on Saturday and date it for Sunday. Translation: Lying isn't really a problem - we're happy to do that for OUR convenience, but not yours. I just wanted to scream, "Hey, people, I've got some major things going on here... do you just HAVE to make it more complex than it already is? Do you just WANT to make it harder?" Apparently so. Because if you can lie about the date, then it doesn't really matter what you write down and you could deliver it whenever I'd like it done and just write down whatever you need for the system.

Bear in mind, I wasn't asking for any reduction on the cost at all. I'm happy to pay for it to sit idle while I'm in the hospital. I just wanted it taken care of before I left. Simple. Or so you would think.

Of course, I'm only the patient, and therefore have no real rights, so I just left feeling abused by the system. Then, the next morning, they call and tell me my insurance doesn't care - they can deliver it Monday. So, all that was just a little bit of sick fun they like to have with people who are going through difficulty already.

I'm being facetious, of course, but it did feel unnecessarily difficult and unreasonable. Imagine something involving the insurance industry seeming unreasonable. Shocker. Although, in fairness, the insurance didn't care ultimately. And, I'm sure the store was just trying to protect me. But what kind of tale does that make? A dull one.

Tonight I've just been working on more things around the house, and appreciating these little bits of life I'll be away from while I'm in the hospital. As least I'm assuming there will be no Wedgewood Teacups or hand-crocheted bits of lace lying about amidst the tubes and bandages and call buttons.

I'm just hoping there are lots of drugs coursing through my system. My dream is to spend the days after surgery in a drug-induced haze. That was my goal when I had surgery about 20 years ago, but it did not happen. I was in a lot of pain for a very long time.

To add insult to injury the first nurse I had after waking up then was wearing a "Just Say No to Drugs" button on her white uniform. I've never forgiven Nancy Reagan for spearheading that campaign, which was at its zenith. I swear if I had had the energy I would have ripped that button off her uniform and thrown it across the room, which would have been far kinder than stabbing her with it, which I also fantasized about repeatedly. She wasn't a very nice person. Or maybe my perception was colored by the pain and her reluctance to give me the prescribed pain medication.

In my weakened state, she was more than safe, a fact which did not escape her. This was the same woman who the next day bounded into my room and asked, "And how are WE this morning?"  I had been splayed open and was in no mood for such foolish questions, much less phrased in such a patronizing manner. Then, right there, as she bent over me, was that darned button, glaring red on her white uniform.

I was having trouble processing the words she was speaking, but they seemed to be forming the question, "Are WE ready to get up." I just looked at her as if she had lapsed into latin, a language I had no knowledge of. She took my lack of response as a personal affront and leaned over and said, "Honey, you're going to get up. We can do it the easy way, or we can do it the hard way, but you're going to get up. It'll hurt less if you help me and we do it the easy way." What choice does a person with stitches and tape holding them together have?

No matter what she was doing the next four days, that button was ever-present. And every time I saw her I asked for more drugs. We had a rocky relationship at best, and I had a distinct disadvantage - she had the drugs and the button. I had nothing but charm on my side and, admittedly, I was pretty weak on that without mass quantities of drugs.

I hope she doesn't now work at this hospital.

Maybe pain control has improved dramatically in the intervening years. I can only hope. They tell me I'll have a pump for drugs, but I hope they allow me to have enough to actually relieve the pain. I have a low pain threshold and even though I'm very sensitive to medication, it never seems to be quite enough to kill the pain. So, I'm just hoping, hoping, hoping they actually keep me comfortable. And if not I guess I'll just manage.
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