Who Do I Have To Be?

My head hurts tonight because I’ve been yelling to a sky that won’t stop raining on me with torrential downpours of indifference. I’ve forgotten how to replace my depleted stores of energy, and every day is an attempt to weather a new hurricane of miscommunication. While my mother’s health has improved over the past 2 months she’s been in the hospital, I have no answers as to why they have, how much they’ll continue to improve, or what really caused her issues.

Low Expectations, High Praise

I have fairly low expectations of the U.S.’s healthcare system although I have great respect and admiration for the healthcare professionals who are currently overworked and underpaid. This pandemic is not their creation, but they are burdened with being the primary line of defense. They wouldn’t have to be if unvaccinated people wore masks and kept a physical distance from others. Yet, they valiantly come to work each day afraid, exhausted, and often in grief. The construction of this flawed system is not their responsibility, but they unfairly receive a lion’s share of the blame.

Who Do I Need To Be

I don’t have the presumption of knowledge or intelligence because of a system built on top of racism and sexism. My status as a student or socioeconomically is the litmus test for whether eye contact is made with me or an explanation of a diagnosis is given. The moment I become a potential PhD candidate is the same moment that my mother’s care becomes a greater concern. She suddenly matters within the system. Who does she have to be to deserve better? More than a human being, I presume.

Good Enough Is Not Enough

I haven’t asked for more than what I’ve been told she deserves, but I’m being forced at every turn to demand those things. To demand a basic level of care. To demand necessary follow up. To demand needs to be met. To demand humanity. Anything less than that is not enough, but my mother has only received less.

They all tell me she’s gotten better and will improve with more therapy. I’m beyond thankfulf for that, but how can she improve when she is denied the opportunities to or not provide the necessary environment?

What do you do when someone tells you the door is unlocked, but the handle is broken? How can you ever open that door?

Shaurita D. Hutchins

Shaurita D. Hutchins

Graduate Student Trainee

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