Last week, on Friday morning, I took my husband to the Methodist Hospital ER Unit on S. Voss in Houston. For the prior four days, he had been running temperatures which got up to 101-102. For about a week before that, he had been complaining of feeling tired and not very hungry. I had been trying to keep him hydrated, and putting ice packs on his neck and head when the temp got high. I had been sure that I was losing the hydration battle, and now water was making him nauseated and he was throwing it up. So I took him in, believing that he needed more care than I could provide.
Their ad said they accepted people regardless of ability to pay. I told them up front we have no money. They treated him for blood sugar and slapped saline solution in his arm. Three hours later, the doctor tells me the ambulance is on the way to transfer him to the hospital. I haven't driven alone in years, much less in a heightened state of anxiety. By now his fevers were spiking to 103.
My brother took my car home so I wouldn't have to pay humongous parking fees. My mother-in-law called. Our cell phone died. The room phone died. Tuesday night, they still didn't know what he had, but he was hitting and passing 105, and his face and neck were turning beet red. Wednesday night, I came unglued. I was scared he wasn't going to get well, or he would be disabled in some way. I was scared of how we were going to pay for it. I started crying. My brother doesn't "do huggy touchy feely.' I did not have a single person, other than my husband, I could talk to, and he was sleeping and running a fever. Maybe if I had a tablet, I could have chatted online. There's not one person in Houston I could talk to, except a cousin I couldn't call at that hour. I prayed and cried and prayed some more. Then I cried some more. Then my husband's fever broke and he woke up, and I talked to him. What I know is that life without him would be unbearably lonely.
The hospital finally released him Friday. They still didn't know what kind of virus he had, but his temp and blood pressure and blood sugar had all stabilized. I have no idea what the bill was. A young woman had come up to talk to us Monday, and I told her we had no money and no assets, and she went away saying she'd turn it over to the woman who handles charity cases. That was the last I heard, and while I know a bill still might show up, I suspect the hospital donors took care of it.
When I got home, I saw that 5 or 6 people had responded to my post about going to the ER with wishes and prayers, and after I posted that we were home and he was ok, another 2 or 3 posted comments. I have prayed for about 30 of my FB friends when they have asked for it for themselves, their spouses, their children, their parents, etc. I cover everyone in a general prayer daily, and I am sure that there are a few who did that without posting anything to me. I'm not going to stop being me; I'll still pray for those who need or request prayers. I'll vote for them to win contests. I do feel a little sad, however, that I am as alone as I am. It would have made me feel a lot less alone if more of the people who are real life friends would have posted something, just so I would know that they care about me.
Today was a very special day for me. For the first time in close to forty years, I got to spend time with a very special friend from my childhood and her absolutely amazing college bound son. We went to brunch, but we spent so much time talking (well, yes me mostly, but not entirely) that the truly delicious meal was almost forgotten. Something happened during the course of the meal that really made me suddenly see my life in a different light.
We came to talk about how the closest I had been was standing at the ferry port on the Isle of Anglesey and looking at the bright green island across the water. This prompted my comment that one of the reasons I hated the divisions and the religious emphasis on political issues here was that I didn't want to live in a Northern Ireland. Her son commented that all he knew about Northern Ireland is that the people there weren't very nice. To which I said "It used to be a lot worse." Then it hit me! HE had been born since the Northern Ireland Peace Declaration in 1993! That whole bloody conflict of decades that I grew up with was something he knew nothing about! The Kennedy Assassination -- such a big event for his mother and me, and it's history to him, not an emotional impact like it was for us. The Vietnam War. Watergate.
I must admit that a similar thing happened to me back in the 1980s. I was babysitting for my statistics professor, and her children were watching a TV movie about Kent State. The daughter turned to me and said "Why did college kids behave so badly back then?" Like a blow to the gut. Kent State was May of my senior year. When I read about it, I felt as if I had been shot. How to explain this feeling to that child?
How to explain any of the things that felt like opening doors, or like closing doors, to someone who hadn't been born yet, and couldn't possibly feel the event the same way? Someone who could maybe never even understand how the things that are going on today feel?
My friend astonished me by quoting something I said after the Kennedy Assassination, something I don't even remember saying. I don't doubt her, but that was the year my father had died in March, and I hadn't recovered from that. Having Kennedy assassinated in my state, dug up all that sorrow -- I felt so deeply for the Kennedy children -- and what I mostly remember is feeling devastated and frightened about the future. Not just because my father had died and that me feeling frightened and alone, but because I was part of the "Duck and Cover" drills generation, which taught us to fear nuclear war, and NOW OUR PRESIDENT WAS DEAD!
I came away from this breakfast elated, but already grieving because this dear friend, with whom I could talk for hours, doesn't live near me and who knows when I will see her again? I also came away determined that these things are something we MUST communicate to the kids her age. How the world was when we grew up and how it's changed. What we feel about those changes and why it's important for their generation to understand why we feel that
First, I want to say that there are few things I want to hear endlessly on 24/7 news than this trial. Except perhaps the other things they cover endlessly, especially about the Kardashians and Beyonce and their babies. So when I refer to this as a trial, I'm not just speaking about the legal proceedings.
This morning on Fox I stumbled over another completely useless discussion about whether it's "fair" to call the law enforcement calls for "no violence" racist or not. Consider for a moment a trial in which the crowd outside were White Floridians, and the defendant was a black self-appointed neighborhood watcher who had done exactly what Zimmerman did, but to a white teenager. Do you think the law enforcement officials would be pleading with that crowd not to become violent?
I doubt they would. The presumption that a crowd of blacks might well turn violent is, yes, racist. Even the arguments that it has happened in the past are hollow. I do not recall hearing law enforcement pleading with white Alabamans not to be violent during the Civil Rights marches. In fact, I find the entire presumption that there will an acquittal racist. The law enforcement office seems to be presuming Zimmerman will get off. If they weren't there would certainly be no call for no violence.
While I have my mind made up, and so do most folks I think, I think the jury will indeed try to follow the law and reach an honorable verdict. I do not see any reason for Zimmerman to be acquitted.
I know that if I were walking through my neighborhood, and a man in a pickup was following me, I would have been exceedingly eager to get home and safe behind a locked a door. But, then I'm a woman, and at any age, a man following me is a threat. I might also have been wise enough at 17, had cell phones existed and I had one, to have terminated my chat with a friend and called 911. However, I'm white, not a black kid in Florida. I also might have hung up on the girl and called my father. Perhaps Tracy Martin was not home.
However, there is one indisputable fact. If Zimmerman had followed the dispatcher's instructions and STAYED IN HIS VEHICLE, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. Zimmerman had no authority to provoke a confrontation. He did not identify himself as a neighborhood watch. He followed a young man he thought was suspicious and under the influence. We have no witnesses claiming that any sort of conversation between the men occurred. A conversation in which Zimmerman could have said to Martin "I'm with the neighborhood watch. We've had some breakins. Where are you going?" To which Martin could have replied, "To my father's house, Tracy Martin, Unit nnn." Had Zimmerman remained in his vehicle, there would have been no physical confrontation. The duration of time between the end of the call Zimmerman made to the police in which he was told not to follow Martin until the gunshot is three minutes and 14 seconds. The following things had to occur in those 194 seconds. The two men had to close the distance between themselves, the pummelling had to occur, the gun had to be drawn and the shot had to be fired. The first patrol car arrived 5 seconds later. FIVE seconds.
First, I have to ask whether Martin should be given the same Stand your Ground defense Zimmerman is claiming. If someone is following you, do you have the right to defend yourself with knuckles if you feel threatened? Second, if you are carrying a gun, would you REALLY feel in fear of your life from someone hitting you? I think I'd holler, really loudly "Stop or I'll shoot." If you know the police are on the way, as Zimmerman did, why don't you holler "The police are coming. You better stop." Are we to believe Zimmerman was so inept that he didn't get in a single punch? Or do we believe that rather than use his words or his hands -- and surely if Martin attacked him with punches, wasn't it clear that Martin had no weapon?
I think Zimmerman behaved irresponsibly, prejudicially, and irrationally. I think he was mad that the situation turned on him, pulled his gun and shot out of cowardice. I think any rational jury will see it the same way. Zimmerman provoked the incident by not staying in his vehicle. Trayvon Martin felt threatened, and indeed he was. By a man who lacked good judgement, which is probably why he didn't make the police force. Trayvon is dead. Zimmerman showed a callous disregard for the life of this young man, and of the law. He is just as guilty of manslatu