Politics & Catholicism, Part Two

Hey there! It’s me again. Figured I would pick up where I left off off that (seriously LONG) post. 

So I’m warning you again, If you don’t want to read about Politics & Catholicism, then click away and don’t bother reading Part One, either

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Another chance to change your mind

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Okay, don’t say that I didn’t warn you! 

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Hopefully you’ve read my (entire) post about Catholicism & Politics (with emphasis on Catholicism). Have you decided where I stand on that ONE platform? Have you decided where YOU stand (again) on that ONE platform? The same ONE that most (not all) Christians base their reasons to support one particular candidate for president? 

Because now I’m going to emphasize on Politics. So, if you don’t wanna read about it, I suggest that you skip reading this post all together. (Though I hope you do, as I believe I have some valid points.)  

To start off, I’d like you to consider everything else that this country is currently experiencing. I want you to understand why it’s VITAL that every voter look at the bigger picture outside of Roe v Wade. 

Let’s talk about my favorite issue first, healthcare & COVID-19. And YES, I do believe that COVID-19 exists. I had it. I felt it. It sucked. Big time. NO, I don’t believe in the whole 5G/Coronavirus conspiracy (which, BTW has been debunked several times). NO, I don’t think this virus was developed in a lab in China. Nor do I believe that the US Military created this virus and kept it hidden in a a super secret Military base, to be used for biological warfare. Those conspiracy theories (spread from both ends of the earth from the US to China to a mass of other countries), seek to divide us as a nation and as a First World Country around the globe. 

Word of advice: If something sounds totally off the wall, chances are that they are. Fact check your sources. Research if there is ANY truth to whatever latest theory is out there. But more important, DO NOT share ANYTHING on FaceBook / Twitter / Reddit or or any other social media outlet until AFTER you’ve completed your fact-finding investigation. Do the same thing before sending out or forwarding an email to your family & friends. The same goes for text messaging. Most importantly, DO THIS BEFORE YOU CAST YOUR VOTE. It’s important, especially in today’s world to be well-informed about our government. 

As it is, data can be misinterpreted as well. Sources regarding COVID-19 such as our Federal Government and other well-respected agencies like the CDC (?) or WHO (World Health Organization) are all reporting different numbers. Research the source you are using to find out where they gathering their data? (Personally, I trust WHO). 

One thing that has been consistent is the number of COVID-19 related deaths. All agencies are reporting that the US is the leader in deaths. As 4:00 pm on Tuesday, October 6th, WHO reports 208,787 confirmed US deaths. How can our country have these numbers when the US is seen as the richest, wealthiest country in the world?

I can answer that. Well actually, I can answer it in many ways, but I will stick to just one example: Disparity in healthcare coverage. 

Hopefully everyone has read and learned something about disparity, when it clearly has been all over every media outlet over the past week when Trump tested positive for COVID. (Wait, it’s only BEEN a week?) Here’s what I think: 

  • How is it that government officials have access to COVID testing daily, when when the low-income / high risk population or even front line workers can’t even get one? I just think of how I was treated when I requested a COVID-19 test: “Why do you need one? and “Are you symptomatic? Well then you’ll just have to go home and quarantine.”
  • How is it that those in Healthcare careers, who are sacrificing their own health for the health of others go from Heroes To Zeroes?” where their moral obligation is to treat EVERYONE the same manner? How is it that we are asked to provide the absolute “best” treatment for COVID to someone the deem as a VIP (you know, major donors, celebrities, presidents)? 
  • Why does Trump receive preferential treatment? Is it because of his insurance? Spare me the point that it’s because HE is the president and he deserves that treatment. Let me just point out that WE PAY for his healthcare (and salary, BTW) with the TAXES we contribute from our income. The guy hasn’t paid his income taxes but TWICE over the last 15 years; yet he gets FREE HEALTHCARE from us taxpayers.  Furthermore, many of these same taxpayers can’t even qualify — let alone, afford — to receive healthcare for various reasons. Maybe they make too much money and/or have too many assets to qualify for Medicaid.  But they also don’t have enough money to pay for a Marketplace (Affordable Care Act) insurance.  
  • Lack of insurance is a HUGE  problem for our entire population, especially for the low-income / high-risk population, where there is concern if they can afford medications, tests, office visits, hospital & ER admissions. This is a major factor on why people won’t seek, let alone receive care until it becomes an emergency. 
  • And why does Trump continue to downplay the pandemic by essentially telling the country that he “survived” COVID? Why does he feel he needs to make sure the country knew he was still strong despite the obvious dyspnea (shortness of breath) he was hiding when he spoke to his “people” on the Truman Balcony after being discharged from the hospital? As someone who’s husband was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, I call BS that he’s doing well. No one’s O2 saturations just recovers from COVID-19. Yes, they can be weaned off of oxygen, but may still require to use it with any shortness of breath from exertion. Hubby *still* had difficulty breathing for an additional week after his 3-week stay in the hospital. PLUS, Dexamethasone. Having been on steroids in the past, I know how great it feels once it kicks into your system (don’t even ask me how much I weighed about 2 months after starting them). So I’m assuming this “burst of energy” is why he thinks he’s doing better. And BTW, we haven’t see Trump in the last 2 days; perhaps his Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) has returned. 
  • Why does Trump still insist that COVID-19 is no big deal when close to 210K of our country has died from it? Why is he encouraging people to return to their normal lives, while simultaneously displaying that he doesn’t need to wear a mask anymore? The sheer fact that he walked into the White House without one, after instructing the country to “not let COVID rule your life,” just makes me SO. ANGRY. And then he has the gall to add, “Now I’m better, maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.” Does he realize that he has TOTALLY undermined (yet again) the entire Healthcare Profession by NOT following the standard treatment guidelines for COVID-19? 
  • And BTW, standard protocol is that a positive COVID-19 patient should remain quarantined for 14 days from first known exposure PLUS an additional 72 hours after ALL symptoms are gone. (I mean, I’m not even gonna get into the cluster f**k that is contact tracing.) Yet again, he disregards everything that is considered protocol for any COVID-19 patients AND expects to get the best possible meds to treat COVID-19.  Of which his physicians (and other non-medical personnel, because, you know — Science.) ALLOW him to DICTATE HIS CARE? IMHO those that allow him to get what he wants are complicit with his actions; they’ve become codependent. Seriously, working with Trump must be equivalent of taking care of a toddler.
  • Why does Trump insist to promise that vaccines will be “coming momentarily,” as his administration blocked the new FDA Coronavirus Standards? That’s important; especially for those in research and ultimately the recipients of the vaccine. There’s a reason why accurate trial studies need to be done prior to the distribution of the vaccine. Seriously, would YOU want to take a drug that has not been thoroughly studied? I’m exaggerating here, but what if you grow a donkey tail as a result of it? Or what if you, or worse your child develops a serious reaction to it? Would you take that risk if the vaccine was distributed today?

Again, remember Trump’s platform AND actions he has created / endorsed regarding COVID. Think about how his “date” with COVID-19 went for him; how he received the VIP treatment despite not having contributed tax dollars to insurance.  Think about how he claims the common flu is more dangerous than COVID-19. Think about how he gives inaccurate data about the number of deaths from COVID-19 (again as of yesterday) versus the number of estimated flu-related deaths from 2018 to 2019 (32,157) versus the number Trump seems to consistently throw out (100,000). 

Let’s tackle Economic Inequality next; though I straight-up confess that I don’t know US Economics that well. 

First off, can I just say how absolutely despicable that Trump has been robbing from the poor to make him rich? He’s the Anti-Robin Hood of modern times. Anyways, please think of the man who does such things and ask yourself if you would want to be complicit (or worse, apathetic) with his actions. 

  • And then Trump claims that he is the most successful president in history by passing the “Best. Tax cuts. Ever.” Yes, he provided tax cuts for everyone; however, in reality these tax breaks (in the long run), favor large corporations and savvy investors who know how to hide their money. Not the “Everyday Jane / Joe” who could *actually* use the tax break. 
  • Let’s face it, Big Corporations are really the ones ruining — oops, I mean RUNNING — our government. Worst yet is that they are typically white privilege men who work by using the “Good Ol’ Boys” mentality; in other words, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” Trump, prior to being elected, is a *fine* example of that. How many business ventures of his have failed? How many people has he financially ruined every time he declared bankruptcy? How much money did he ACTUALLY receive from claiming losses on his different ventures?  
  • How do YOU think Trump is currently doing, by treating the US Government as Big Business with him as CEO and Congress as the Board of Trustees, rather than the Executive and Legislative branches of our Democracy that had been developed by our Founding Fathers and was written in our Constitution? (We won’t even *talk* about what’s happening in the third branch, the judicial branch AKA the Supreme and Federal Courts. (RGB RIP) 
  • Hear me out first, as I somewhat understand why many people voted for Trump in 2016. He promised that he’d bring back jobs to the US. He promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington DC. He promised to “Make America Great Again.” And now he wants to “Keep America Great Again.” Has he delivered on that? 
  • Jobs: The average unemployment rate from 2017 to March 2020 was 6.8. And that’s before the pandemic. Compare that from 2013 to 2016, Obama’s last 4 years, that average is 5.8.
  • “Draining the Swamp” In other words, removing corruption from the White House and run a government that would “serve ordinary Americans rather than personal and/or special interest groups.” HAH! 
  • Let’s talk about his family; in particular, Jared & Ivanka. Didn’t Trump specifically promise during his 2016 campaign that he would relinquish the reigns of “The Trump Organization” to his children? (Nepotism anyone?) And then demand that The Kushner’s receive high-level security clearance, despite all the red flags that intelligence officials were concerned regarding Jared. Why give them this clearance? For what reason?
  • As for Ivanka, it was recently discovered in Trump’s (unreleased) tax return that “The Trump Organization” paid $747,622 in fees to an “unnamed consultant” for international hotel projects related to his business. I find interesting that this *exact amount* was paid out to Ivanka through a consulting firm that she co-owns. And we’re giving her clearance that allows her access to data that affects national security, counterterrorism / counterintelligence, and other highly sensitive data? 
  • Now let’s see who Trump “handpicked” since the start of his term to “serve ordinary Americans.” And which staff Trump placed, then replaced, and replaced again; over and over, ad nauseam. In fact, Trump prefers to use the term that “acting people” work in his administration. He has explained the turnover by stating that “the reason they are ‘acting’ is because I’m seeing how I like them.” Really. Not kidding. As of September 30 2020, Trump has had a total of 415 individuals that were dismissed or resign. I guess he thinks the US Government is like his reality TV show, The Apprentice. 
  • But seriously, let’s compare the percentage of staff turnovers for the last 6  presidents’ “A Team” (the group of the president’s top advisors) during their first term: Reagan 78% | Bush Sr 66% | Clinton 74% | Bush Jr 63% | Obama 53% |Trump 91%.  Hmmm … I can *almost* hear Trump saying his tag line in The Apprentice. “Your FIRED!”

I promise, I’m almost done; however, I wanted to take the time to discuss racism within our country. Studies have found that, during this current state of unrest, rates regarding race-related encounters has increased. (Duh!) But it was also reported that this unrest was NOT a result of what happed to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who haven’t received as much news coverage. Or the shootings in Charlottesville and Kenosha. Or how the National Guard was deployed for riot control. Rather it is a result of the systemic growth of racism against race, religion, immigrants, and ethnic backgrounds;  especially our Native Americans. Let’s not forget that countless countries arrived in the “New World” stealing the land out from our indigenous people in order to colonize / convert others to their ways, religion, etc. 

So, let’s get down to it. Here’s what I want you to remember when it comes to casting your vote. 

  • We currently have a US President who actually *promotes* segregation. He certainly has proven that time & time again. How can he blame the far-left for actions that have been linked to the far-right? He refuses to acknowledge that there are even ANY far-right groups, let alone state that these groups were responsible for instigating riots among peaceful protestors. He ABSOLUTELY refuses to commit to denouncing the actions of such groups. The “Stand down, and stand by” statement should be a clue that he seeks to diminish the lives of others who they deem inferior to them. Another one would be, “There are fine people on both sides.” Don’t just focus on “fine people.” Rather, focus on the “both sides” statement. Does it sound like he’s trying to bring people together? 
    
  • What about “The Wall” which Trump wants Mexico to fund?  Or that he calls COVID-19 the “China Flu” or “Kung-flu?” As a first-generation Filipino American, I find those things absolutely disgusting; especially because he is the face of our nation. I’m not sure how anyone could call Trump a leader when he can’t even lead appropriately. A good leader seeks to lead the people he’s responsible for; a great leader is one that seeks to find balance and inclusion. Trump doesn’t have the ability to unite our country; instead, he aims to divide and segregate. I’m ashamed that he’s the face of our country and that his actions on the world front likely confirm (or at least lead them to suspect) that all Americans are like him. (Please Canada or Australia or New Zealand! Please let me immigrate to your countries!)
    
  • Has Trump provided support for others that are not like him or don’t have the same beliefs as he does? As it is, he actively seeks to separate families. And YES, I understand (though don’t agree with) why he’s deporting “illegal immigrants.” But what about the children left behind that were placed in Migrant Detention Centers? Trump has no problem about talking how he’s going remove all the “illegals,” but I honestly can’t recall a time where he’s addressed and / or acknowledge these children and the horrid conditions the children live. These centers are overpacked and understaffed, let alone fully stocked on basic needs, which results in these children living in a manner where they don’t have sufficient food or even access to showers (let alone soap & shampoo). How can Trump turn a blind eye to all of this? How, as Catholics are we protecting THESE lives?  

I have SO much to say about Racism, both in the past and in the present. But maybe that’s another entirely separate post. Because yes. I know this is long. 

So what spouted this verbal (written?) diarrhea? Well, definitely the 2020 Presidential Election and whether or not a voter should decide on a particular candidate because of ONE platform that the Catholic Church has about life. But it also goes back to the initial article by Jeannie Gaffigan that I shared in the previous post. 

As a frequent fact checker and as person that has always had a thirst for knowledge, I actually did my own research about Politics & Catholicism.

What I found was a guide written by the US Catholic Bishops regarding the political responsibilities of a Catholic citizen. This guide DOES NOT tell you what or who a Catholic should choose when voting; rather it suggests how your Catholic faith can intermingle with Politics so that the voter can make an informed decision. 

This is one lengthy document with a LOT of information about the Church’s stance on particular issues. It also talks about whether or not one should vote on one candidate based on a SINGLE PLATFORM the candidate subscribes to during the campaign. What I got out of reading this guide was that the Church suggests that we should consider ALL of the candidate’s past actions / behaviors / issues which may go against your moral code. In short, this guide asks you to CONSIDER THE WHOLE PICTURE. In fact, there is a portion of this guide that advises this action:

“In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose policies promoting intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. 

These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitment, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic,  guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”

So yes. Once more, please please PLEASE be informed about all the candidates’ stance on issues, their integrity and character before voting. Ask yourself if either candidate will be able to lead our country. And when the elected candidate leaves the Executive Office, try to imagine what kind of legacy that person will leave for our country, let alone the Earth we share with other countries. Consider how you believe that person will shape our country and the world for the future generations.

That’s it. That’s all I can write about for now. (Whew!) I will sign off after leaving another portion of the Catholic Bishops’ guide. 

From the “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States”

“The political realities of our nation present us with opportunities and challenges. We are a nation found in ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. 

But the right to life itself is not fully protected, especially for unborn children, the terminally ill, and the elderly; the most vulnerable members of the American family. 

We are called to be peacemakers in a nation at war. We are a country pledged to pursue ‘liberty and justice for all,’ but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. 

We are a nation of immigrants, struggling to address the challenges of many new immigrants in our midst. We are a society built on the strength of our families, [where we are] called to defend marriage and offer moral and economic supports for family life. 

We are a powerful nation in a violent world, confronting terror and trying to build a safer, more just, more peaceful world. We are an affluent society where too many live in poverty and lack health care and other necessities of life. 

We are part of a global community charged with being good stewards of the earth’s environment, what Pope Francis calls ‘our common home,’ which is being threatened.

They are intertwined and inseparable. As Pope Francis has insisted, ‘We are faced . . . with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.’”

Politics & Catholicism, Part One

Warning you now. If you don’t want to read about Politics & Catholicism, then click away and don’t bother reading Part Two, either!

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Another chance to change your mind

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Okay, don’t say that I didn’t warn you! 

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Before writing this extremely long tirade regarding Politics & Catholicism, I truly debated if I should share this article, let alone go on a rant. As you can see, I ultimately did. 

This article was written by Jeannie Gaffigan, the wife of well-known comedian Jim Gaffigan. In this piece written for “America: The Jesuit Review,” Jeannie stated that — though she is firmly Catholic in her beliefs, and is most-definitely pro-life (as most Catholics are) — wrote that she will not be voting for Trump this election. She stated the impetus for writing this essay was the Twitter Storm that ensued after Jim, who has always been non-political in every single act he performed or interview he has done, had uncharacteristically tweeted a “profanity-laden rant against President Trump.” 

Personally, I don’t think the tweet was that bad; however, the responses he received (as well as on Jeannie’s own Twitter account) was full of vitriol & hate. And many of them  (continued to) spread misinformation. Several responses even turned to quoting Trump when he called his opponent as a “fake Catholic.”

Which, for someone who ordered law enforcement to deliver tear gas to peaceful protestors & the surrounding media personnel standing in his way just for a photo opportunity, Trump certainly didn’t display Christian-like behavior. Ironically, that photo op was to show the public that he is a good, God-fearing Christian. In actuality, his actions prior to this photo op (and even after the tear gas was delivered) proved that he is definitely NOT Christian. Seriously, he doesn’t even know how to hold the Bible properly!

But we’ll get to that in my next diatribe, as I suspect this post will end up being super long. Anyhoo …

After Jim’s tweet, close friends and families of theirs had privately came up to Jeannie to informed her that they didn’t like Trump either; in fact, they hate everything else that he stands for. However, they also suggested that as a “Real Catholic,” she should “hold [her] nose and vote for Trump if only because the Catholic faith dictates, above all, we must vote for the pro-life” candidate.” 

What I like the most about Jeannie’s article is she stated so eloquently those exact reasons that *I* won’t vote for Trump. Well, actually she quotes from Pope Francis’ message that he delivered to the US  as a result of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, which went into overdrive following the death of George Floyd and other similar events (before and after) his death. 

Pope Francis said, “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”  

Jeannie then wrote that systemic racism in our our current culture has led to the economic and social inequality we’re currently experiencing — or rather, just now “noticing” — in our country.   And in the current state of affairs, it is virtually impossible to claim  that we (as Catholics) are truly practicing a “culture of life,” which protects the the sanctity of ALL life. Jeannie goes on to add that , “… we [as Catholics] have been complicit in a long history of de-valuing our fellow human beings based on the color of their skin or the way they came to this country.”

As someone who has had 12 years of Catholic education (and has also been label a “Fake Catholic”), this goes against everything I learned about humanity in school and during the thousands of homilies I’ve listened to in the course of my life thus far. And, although my Mom sees me as a “Lapsed Catholic,” I want her to know that all the money that my parents spent on my education did not go to waste. I have *always* turned to what I was fundamentally taught during my formative years. And I continue to practice these principles of Catholicism today; not only spiritually, but ethically as well.  

My actions are the result of practicing a lesson that I was taught during my formative years and is a moral principle for several different faiths: 

“Love one another; [and] just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

(John 13:34

The Golden Rule, or as it is defined by theologians, the “Ethics of Reciprocity.“ It’s the first thing you are taught in Catholic school (and/or catechism classes). It’s the one act that is almost inherent for most Christians, and the rule that even any empathetic person that choose to be agnostic or an atheist. 

As someone who chose to be an RN, I am inherently drawn to treat everyone with empathy, of which I learned from that Golden Rule. It certainly is a lesson taught in Med School (“First, do no harm”) and Nursing School (via The Modern Nightingale Pledge that “Nursing is a ‘Missioner of Health … dedicated to the advancement of human welfare.’”)

How about Muslims?” you might ask. While not directly quoted in the Quran, Muslims also have the intrinsic belief that they “must think about how their actions affect others; to see the world in a whole new way – through the eyes of another.”   

The basic gist is: Be good to one another. 

Can you, as a Christian, think that Trump is following the Golden Rule? Jeannie Gaffigan certainly doesn’t think so, stating in her article that “Mr. Trump is only pro-Mr. Trump.” How can someone claiming to be Christian say that prisoners of war and soldiers who died defending our freedom are “losers” or “suckers” ?!? 

I could cite many (MANY) more examples of how pathologically narcissistic Mr. Trump is; but I won’t. Yet.

Any sane Christian would agree that Trump has broken all Ten Commandments AND has committed all of the seven of the Deadly Sins. I (obviously) subscribe to that thought. Wholeheartedly.  However, after much reflection and  prayers  (yes, Mom, I DO pray) I cannot vote for a person who is not sympathetic, let alone empathetic. Trump definitely does not think of others, except if it affected him personally. As a matter of fact, I believe he doesn’t even *think* about — let alone pray for —  those individuals & groups that do not subscribe to his beliefs. Truthfully (and stay with me here, my friends), Trump probably doesn’t know the Beatitudes, much less recognize that MANY Christians use this as a guide to *understand* and learn from those individuals / groups / religions whose thoughts don’t align with their own beliefs. 

As a refresher for my friends (and a lesson for those friends that are not familiar with the Beatitudes), here they are: 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.

Matthew 5:3-10

Forgive me if you find the following sentences insulting. Before you cast your ballot (stone?), I beg you you to See. The. Whole. Picture. Before deciding who should represent and lead the American People. Please DO NOT cast your vote simply because of the ONE platform on the current president’s stance – or rather “indifference” – regarding Roe v Wade. Think of the OTHER platforms that he promotes during his (COVID-19 ridden, non-mask wearing, anti-social distancing) rallies. 

Let me say this in another way. If you (Catholics & Christians) are planning on voting for Trump just because he agrees with only ONE of his many platforms he’s using to run his campaign;   or because who is “for” (better stated, “indifferent” about) Roe v Wade .. please please PLEASE remember those Beatitudes. Ask yourself if Trump plans on helping ALL the individuals named in the Beatitudes, as WELL as those unborn children who’s life you’re fighting to defend.  

Does that mean I’m pro-life? As a confirmed Catholic, that answer is tricky and it depends on the events & situations surrounding the woman & her loved ones. I think there are circumstances such as complications during pregnancy, as well as the lack of support & financial means to raise a child, are involved in making a decision. And I am aware that, even if it’s not directly stated in the Bible, the interpretation is that the woman should keep the child. 

But (and this is where I bring up empathy) think about it in the context of yourself, your sister, mother, aunt, daughter, grand-daughter: 

What if you were single or married to an abusive spouse? What about the safety of the the child once he/she is born? 

What if your sister is unable to financially afford even the basics for herself, let alone a child? 

What if your daughter’s pregnancy happened as a result of rape? Of incest? Of sex trafficking? 

What if your grand-daughter had a miscarriage in the late 2nd or 3rd trimester? Would you expect her to keep the lifeless child in her womb until she is able to deliver her stillborn baby? 

What if, in the desire to have children, your infertile daughter & son-in-law seeks other means to start their family and it doesn’t “take”? What if they didn’t have enough money to go through another round, using frozen eggs .. But they can’t anyway because they didn’t have enough frozen eggs to even try again? What if a year passes, and your daughter (now confused, hurt, and ashamed with still not having kids) receives a call to renew the “rent” to keep these eggs frozen — but didn’t have the thousands of dollars it takes to keep them frozen for another year? What if that couple had no other choice but to “give them up?” 

Yes, that last situation was true. And yes, it did happen to me. 

What about adoption, you may ask? Well, let me ask you to put your empathy hat on once again. What if your sister wants, yet knows she is unable, to keep the child (for various reasons as mentioned above)? What if your sister was given different CHOICES and ultimately decided to put the child up for adoption? As a woman who is infertile (well, menopausal TBH), I believe that this is *much harder* to do than the general public would think. 

If you *truly* believe that adoption will “solve everything,” then, once again, you should examine the whole picture. Ask your sister why she is / was leaning one way or the other. Understand the various reasons your sister is making (or already made) the decision she did. Seek to understand, rather than instruct your sister what she should do. 

Don’t tell your sister what YOU would do in her situation; rather, ask her what YOU can do for her. 

And support (and RESPECT) her decision, regardless of it goes against your belief. 

I can’t tell you what it would be like to give up a child (we couldn’t even have one if / when we tried, anyway 🙃😝😂) or even to end a viable pregnancy, but I imagine that person would continue to live her life with a ginormous gaping wound in her heart; knowing that her child or his / her spirit is out there somewhere. I imagine she will always have the feeling that a part of her is missing in her life and stay with her the rest of her days, even when she wanted to get / could get pregnant again. 

Can you see the resemblance in emotions for a woman that couldn’t have kids of her own? After over 15 years of infertility, I *still* have that gaping wound and hole in my heart (and can’t forget “good old Catholic guilt”) from our attempts to have biological children of our own. From losing those frozen eggs. 

So I can hear the question now: “Why didn’t you & your husband try to adopt?” As an infertile couple, we DID consider that alternative. Let me just tell you (from experience) that it isn’t EASY to “just adopt.” There are financial issues, privacy issues, and the overall feeling that you’re not “good enough” to be *approved* by the agency to be placed on a list; let alone  *chosen* by a woman. For those that sought to adopt, I’m simply in awe that they could open their hearts and home to accept a non-biological child. I’m absolutely thrilled that those adoptions were successful, and that they were able to start (or complete) their family in this method. 

In my case, I was overwhelmed by the thought of starting our family by adoption. My confidence had been shattered to pieces by years of doctors appointments (sometimes daily looky-see’s down there 😱). Simply stated, I couldn’t “just adopt” after years of failure and disappointment to have a biological child of our own. I was afraid that, even though we might have been chosen to be parents of that women’s child, the biological mother or father or other family members may change their mind and then take away the baby I had been wanting to raise since first go married. I had no power in our ability to have biological children let alone adopt, so at least I can direct the narrative of our situation and “Let God, let go.” 

Obviously, Hubby and I ultimately decided that if it was meant to be, then it would be. And since nothing came of it, we decided to be fur parents instead. After finally making the decision to remain child-free, I felt the entire weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. 

So after reading my own experience, ask me again if I’m pro-life or pro-choice. Ask me if I believe that each person is unique and that their life experiences lead them to make the decision they do / did. I know what I am, but I want you, as a reader, decide on where I stand — and where YOU stand — on this issue. 

Okay, as I knew this would be a long post, I will just leave off here and continue my rant in the following (long) post. 

Read Part 2 now. Or later. I have no problem if you decided to take a break, especially if you feel I’ve talked (written?) your ear (eyes?) off.

News from the Home Front: Worse. Wife. Ever.

First of all, Happy Easter to all of my family & friends. I can’t tell you how BLESSED (and for those that know me well, “blessed” is a word that I don’t use lightly) that we are to have the love & support of everyone in our lives, especially in light of what we all have been living through over the past few months.

Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs are, know that Dear Hubby (DH) & I are grateful that your love, your positivity, your well-wishes have found your way to us.

We’ve always lived our lives believing in the concepts of Karma (“What goes around, comes around”) and the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), and I feel as if we’re totally “cashing” in on some of that “good.” So again, THANK YOU.

With that said, I don’t have positive news to deliver today. DH developed a cough yesterday and his temp was 102.9 this morning; though he had no shortness of breath (SOB) or difficulty breathing (dyspnea). We did a video appointment with the on-call physician from his PCP’s office. She recommended that since DH has other underlying medical problems, that DH should go to The Mother Ship’s drive-thru COVID-19 Screening / Testing.

When we got there, they checked to see how his oxygen levels were at; since he was hovering at 89-90% (“normal” is anything 90% or higher), he was sent to the ED where he was eventually placed on 3 liters of oxygen and was sent for a chest x-ray.

That chest x-ray? It showed pneumonia. And it won him an admission to The Mother Ship on one of the COVID-19 medical floors. Although his COVID-19 test is still pending as I write this, they are treating it as if he does have it, including starting him on the treatment guideline of hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin.

So there you go. I brought COVID-19 home to my husband. Which officially makes me the Worse. Wife. Ever.

Okay, okay … I know I’m over-exaggerating here. Logically, I know that this could have happened regardless of my chosen profession or where I work, but bear with me as I try to work through my emotions as I sit at home, while my husband lies in a hospital bed less than a half mile away.

Remember … these posts are *MY* way of coping with this COVID-19 Crisis. So hear me out.

I feel guilty. I’m the one who brought COVID-19 into our home. I’m the one who first had symptoms and — though I self-isolated from DH — I *still* managed to pass it on to him. Yes, I know I wasn’t “officially” tested for COVID-19, but it doesn’t take rocket science to know that if my symptoms walked & talked like a duck then it likely *IS* a duck.

How could I have passed this miserable virus to DH? How could I give him the same head & body aches that I had? How could I pass on those fevers from h*ll while simultaneously feeling like I was lying in a bed of ice in the middle of winter? How could I let the same person — who is admittedly the chef in our household — lose his sense of taste & smell?

Blame it on the whole Filipino Catholic thing … but I feel absolutely HORRIBLE for bringing this home to him. And I suspect that many of us Front Line Healthcare Workers feel the same way.

But I also feel angry. So. Stinkin’. Mad. Two weeks ago (today, in fact) when these symptoms first started, DH & I followed the guidelines for self-quarantine at that time. I took over the master bedroom & 1st floor bathroom, while he stayed in our den, slept on the couch (his choice, not mine), and used the upstairs bathroom closest to his home office. I wiped down everything that I touched in the kitchen & other common areas and he did the same. Separate dinnerware, separate meals; separate everything. We didn’t touch, kiss, hug; we were basically separated from each other in our own home. And because of that, there was NO REASON for either me or DH to wear a mask in our home … Especially since we were never directly face-to-face from one another AND we were always a room or more apart from each other. That was the guidelines … Two. Weeks. Ago.

And for the most part, it *still is* for a household that has someone sick with COVID-19 or even suspected COVID-19. (See first link below.) Last week there were changes to those guidelines.

Last week (April 8, to be precise), the CDC strongly encouraged that *everyone* start wearing cloth masks, along with staying six feet apart from another when in public. (See second link below.)

It was also just LAST WEEK that Headquarters issued an email stating, “The CDC says it is reasonable for all health care workers to wear a mask if they are not able to adequately maintain a social distance of 6 feet from one another. This includes wearing them in break rooms, hallways and other common areas.” Prior to that, Headquarters had NO recommendations about wearing masks in common areas or when having to walk through the halls. A mask wasn’t considered “necessary” unless of course, you were feeling “under the weather” or you were in the “high risk” category for COVID-19. Because why use precious PPE if it isn’t necessary? Especially when direct caregivers needed the limited amount of PPE available more than other healthcare workers?

That means that back in the *beginning* of March when COVID-19 first started to hit Detroit, no one (except for those providing direct care to COVID-19 / Suspected COVID-19 patients) was required to wear a mask.

Flash-forward now to the *end* of March (3/30), and I become a Suspected COVID-19 healthcare worker. Six days later (4/4), DH now has Suspected COVID-19. Seven days from then (today 4/12), DH is admitted to the hospital.

So yeah. The fact that I *probably* should have been wearing a mask from the moment Detroit became a COVID-19 “hotspot” is what truly makes me angry.

Which — earlier today — led me down a rabbit hole of negativity with the following thoughts:

  1. Headquarters should have been recommending this from the beginning AND providing staff with adequate PPE, even if it was a plain surgical mask
  2. The entire healthcare system in the US should have been more prepared for this pandemic MUCH SOONER by having enough PPE, ventilators, and other medical supplies available
  3. The US Government should been involved EARLIER in this pandemic before it even reached US soil, and finally
  4. Both US Healthcare and the US Government should been quicker and MUCH more open to learning from the other countries about what has / has not been working.

I mean … aren’t we, as a nation, supposed to be one of the brightest and most advanced countries? I could go on and on (and on) about how I think US Healthcare Industry and our federal government has failed miserably, but I will hold back. Well … At least for right now. While DH is in the hospital. Where I can’t visit him. And hold his hand or help ease some of that anxiety that comes from being alone in a frightening place. (But once this COVID-19 Crisis is under control … then, try and stop me!)

Because really … at this juncture, why waste my energy on how ANGRY I am? And how negative I could become? For now, I just want to keep as level-headed and calm as I can, so that I can be there for DH when I’m needed.

Whew. Rant over.

And … as I re-read what I’ve written, I realize that I’ve come back full circle to the whole Karma / Golden Rule thingy:

I can be anxious and feel guilty and scream with anger about this whole situation. But I won’t. (Give me a few days on the whole guilt thing though, because … well, Filipino Catholic!)

Because I truly believe that if we give out positive vibes, then we’ll get positive vibes in return.

Which we’ve already received. In Spades.

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To leave on a happier note … here’s a few serendipitous things that have occurred since just this morning:

  • Our incredibly professional and big-hearted nephew (AKA supplier — er, Prescription Deliverer), was one of employees stationed at The Mother Ship’s COVID-19 Drive Thru … and, since I can’t physically be there for DH, Tyler has been awesome at helping to relay messages / deliver items to him.
  • The Hospitalist (Attending Physician in lieu of his PCP, who doesn’t come to the hospital) happens to be a great friend of mine, and is someone that DH has also met. We couldn’t be happier (and I couldn’t be more relieved) to be assigned to her, as I’ve personally worked with her and she’s is just simply AWESOME, both as a physician AND overall as a person. (Love you Susan!)
  • Our next-door-neighbors ONCE AGAIN left us (well, really just *me* at the moment — sorry DH!) an entire Easter Dinner care package. I mean, really?! Who does that?? Obviously Elizabeth & her family does! Thank you SO much for the delicious meal!
  • Today is the first time I’ve been out of my house for the past 2 weeks, and that fresh air felt wonderful … I told my SIL Janet that I felt like a 9-year old girl who got her first Big Girl Bike and felt that first bit of freedom
  • And while I was out, I figured poor Kirby Krackel deserved a little freedom as well … so I took him to a local park and walked him around its perimeter (wore a cloth mask the ENTIRE time, too! 🥵)

In spades, I tell ya … 🥰

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AND AS A REMINDER … Stay safe out there, people!

  • Six feet apart, people. SIX. FEET.
  • When out in public, wear a cloth mask (save the *real* masks for the healthcare workers!)
  • And — for the love of all those Essential Workers out there that WISH they can — STAY. HOME.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Time for bed now … this Keister is done with this year’s Easter 😂🤣

Soul Searcher

Hubby & Me on our Hawaiian Honeymoon in 1996

An unexpected trip to Chicago this past weekend had Hubby & me enjoying the nice warm weather mostly in the comforts of our car. But that was okay, since we had good tunes to listen to … and even better conversations.

Oh, and not to mention, a great dinner in Bucktown Saturday night followed by some delicious Dim Sum in Chinatown the next morning as we left the city.

The weekend wrapped up with a movie; a perfect way to keep cool on an unseasonably warm Spring Day. I had wanted to see something uplifting and inspirational, so Hubby & I decided to go see “Soul Surfer.”

Okay, so the inspirational part was more secondary to the fact that I just really wanted to see surfing. And Hawaii. I just love any movies with Hawaii as the backdrop. And it’s all because it brings back some incredible Honeymoon memories, oh so long ago. So yeah, a movie filmed in Hawaii would make a very happy Emily.

Bethany Hamilton still surfs

So yeah, uplifting and inspirational. And boy … did I get both.

For those that haven’t seen trailers or haven’t heard about this movie, it’s based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, then this probably will: Bethany was the 13-year old girl who, in 2003 was bit by a shark while surfing in Hawaii. She had lost her arm to the shark, but had gone on to continue to surf even after that incident.

I won’t give much of the movie away here, but what I will say is that within 15-minutes of the movie I was crying. And I continued to cry (intermittently, that is) throughout the entire movie. It was that good.**

One particular part of the movie had seriously gotten under my skin. After sustaining her injury, Bethany obviously began to question herself; question what her bigger picture in life was. After all, surfing was her life … and what could she do now that she no longer could do it well enough to successfully compete? She had gone to her church’s youth group leader, Sarah Hill (played by Carrie Underwood, BTW) and asked her, “Why?” If she had been given this incredible gift, why would God do this to her?

In the midst of crying, Sarah told her exactly what I thought she would her: That there must be a bigger plan out there for her. And that only God knows what that plan is.

Yes, I can see all my IF friends rolling their eyes and saying, “Yep. Heard that one before.”

And I can tell you that, in the midst of tears, even *I* rolled my eyes. But it’s what Sarah said afterwards that had me crying even more:

First, she said “I don’t know what that plan is.” This always gets bonus points for me, since my experience with the “God must have a bigger plan” statement has always ended with just that one phrase.

If only one time, I could’ve heard the added phrase, “I don’t know what the plan is” from any well-intentioned family or friends … that would’ve lessened the burden in which I felt *I* had to carry this burden on my own. That one added piece would have given me the comfort of knowing that I wasn’t crazy for being so angry and so confused over something that no one (not even an IF Doctor) had control over.

Then Sarah goes on to say, “I don’t know why terrible things happen to us sometimes.  But I have to believe that something good is gonna come out of this.” And that’s the statement that had me weeping.

See … that’s the one thing that had been missing once Hubby and I stopped all treatments for Infertility: The belief that there’s something better waiting around the corner for me. That there was something else I could look forward to.

In the midst of deciding what Hubby & my next steps would be after stopping treatments, I was too close – too involved – with the smaller picture, that I couldn’t see what the bigger picture was for me and Hubby. At first I couldn’t see past the anger and pain of being barren to see what else was in my “bigger picture.”  But eventually, as the storm clouds pummeled through and the dust finally settled, we both took a step back and decided that living child-free was part of that bigger picture.

But now, almost two years later … I feel like I’m lost once again. If I can’t be a Mom, then what will I be? What can I do? How am I now going to be able to measure my “successes” in life … especially since other women and couples can measure there’s by the success of their children? ***

Honeymoon Sunset in Hawaii

It’s no mystery that I’ve been experiencing an ongoing identity crisis. And that Infertility has played the biggest part into questioning who I am … or who I could become. I know that, as this movie portrays, I should have faith that God knows what my bigger plan is for my life. I just wish I had the strength and conviction that Bethany – despite being so young – has that something … anything good will come out of something like infertility.

I just wish I could, at the very least, get a glimpse of that big picture.

So with that said … go see “Soul Surfer.” Not only will you see beautiful shots of Hawaii (Kauai, in fact … my favorite of the islands we’ve visted) … but you will see an incredible story of a girl who overcame her fears to do something that was within her soul.

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 ** Okay, so the acting wasn’t exactly stellar, but the story was.

 *** And when I mean success, I mean those milestones in their kids’ lives. First word, first step, first day of school, first date … it can go on and on and on. Graduation, wedding, grandchildren … need I go on more?

Forty Days of Night

Forty days ago, my Dad past away. Today, amongst our Filipino-Catholic family and friends, we will be celebrating the 40th day of remembrance.

For those of you that aren’t familiar (or haven’t read this previous post), the 40th day is believed to be the day that a loved one has “finished” visiting his/her loved ones on earth and is ready to ascend into the heavens.

I won’t lie … it has been an incredibly emotional and physically exhausting couple of months. Throw the holidays into the mix and … well, yeah. Let’s just say the hamster on the wheel inside my head has been working overtime.

As I had expected, there are those days where I’m so busy that I don’t have time to think about the loss of my Dad. And then there are those times … usually during the most random moment … where it hits me square in the chest.

My cousin and I, during the initial 9-day Novena period, started to refer to those moments as “Meltdowns.” Something, typically some off-the-wall memory of my Dad, would transform me into a blubbering mess. And although these “meltdowns” don’t happen as readily as they did in the first few weeks, I still wonder when I’ll start to feel a bit better.

I have many stories to share … some of them involving stories of “visits” from my Dad over the past 40 days … yet I feel I’ve got little strength to write by the end of the day. This is obvious, as I haven’t had the inclination to blog over the past few months.

So yeah … this is my sad attempt to start writing again. And maybe when those every-day memories of my Dad don’t hurt so much, I’ll be able to tell you some of those stories.

But for now, just know that I’m around. And I’m reading. And I’m hoping to get back into some sort of “normal” again soon.

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Related Posts:

Emily Prays for Nine Days

Emily Hits a Previous 40-Day Mark