Sunday, April 18, 2010

Politics as Usual?!

As much as I didn't want to talk about this here, I guess there has been enough said that I think maybe I should.

We have a lot of people who are really focusing on the health care issue and trying to put Malkolm's story puzzle piece into a puzzle where it doesn't belong. Trying to say that if our health care system was not broken, this young boy wouldn't have to worry about paying for his own surgery.

Let me make this very clear. This young boy was not stressed out about paying for his own surgery. He was not "worried" in the sense of the definition of the word. He was aware that it would cost a lot, and he just had the idea, something that was within his realm of understanding, to help in some way. For him, this is no different than him wanting to have a lemonade stand at our next garage sale to raise money for Ronald McDonald House (where we stayed for a week while our youngest was in ICU right after she was born).

I know this is hard for some to understand, because the purity of my son's idea is something that isn't tied to any emotional or lifetime baggage. He is a young, sweet, smart (and I gotta say, pretty darn cute) boy who saw an opportunity to help, and as a proud momma, I jumped at the opportunity to acknowledge it and give him the chance to do so.

Of course we are happy to be able to pay these bills up front, to be able to stay in a hotel during the surgery, for me to be able to miss my creative firm work for over a month, and pare down my ebay listings for a while. To have the money to make the follow-up trips to Atlanta. BUT, these are not things that would not have happened if Malkolm's story had never been in the equation. For me, especially, just being able to focus on Malkolm and not worry about money coming in from my work to pay bills -- well, that was just COOL.

Even if the health care was FREE, I still would have had to work during his surgery to continue to bring in money to pay bills that we need to pay, and that would have been really hard. Not impossible, but definitely hard, and something I'm so glad that I didn't have to worry about. To not to have to worry about missing work so I could tend to Malkolm? Well, that is a gift that I can't even begin to thank people for. And then, on top of that? To have the surgery paid for and the follow-up trips to Atlanta? BONUS. HUGE blessing.

Yes, we are on a tight budget, that is one of the things we knew would be the case going down to a one and a half income household. Yes, I own two businesses and work too many hours (something I would do no matter what job I have), but this is our choice. Our choice for me to have the opportunity to be available at home to raise our children. I missed the better part of the first three years of Malkolm's life. I will not make the same mistake again.

There are certain sacrifices you make as a family in order to make this happen, but again, it is our choice, and no "fault" of the government or any failing health care system.

I have to be honest, I am not a fan of the new health care bill. Especially considering my son's situation -- I don't want to have to wait for approvals to get procedures he might need at the drop of a hat. Does anyone think that if we were under the new health bill that we would have gone 23 days from the time the docs said he needed to have surgery to the actual surgery? I doubt it. Twenty-three days to get through government-run red tape and paperwork? I'm sorry, but from my experience with government-run agencies, the turn around time just isn't that great. As many families dealing with a condition like this, we know that time is of the essence.

Please note: Again, we were prepared and willing to pay for this on our own. We have good insurance. Cash flow is an issue with a one-income home, but we make it work. We work hard and we don't expect handouts from anyone. In fact, I can almost guarantee you that if we had known how everyone would have responded to this, we may not have let him sell his story on ebay ... well, I know my husband would have said no, beyond a shadow of a doubt and that would have been the end of it. We would have made it work.

PLEASE don't put my son's puzzle piece in a puzzle where it doesn't belong. Please don't tarnish this young boy's intent by bringing politics into the mix.

Ok, that said -- I remember when I was in the newspaper a lot growing up, as I was playing high school basketball in San Antonio, and then later on playing college volleyball and basketball in New Mexico -- anytime things are in the news, there are inaccuracies.

I remember when I missed a game, injured, and somehow I was reported to still be the high scorer (when it was actually my sister). I remember when I played with a broken pinky on my right hand and the newspaper reported it was a broken thumb on the opposite hand. Things like this happened all the time. It's just something you get used to when you're in the news a lot.

I have found that with medical conditions, it is even harder for facts to translate. I cannot even begin to address the inaccuracies in all the stories and news coverage -- but the important thing here is that Malkolm Poyer had an idea to try to help when he would have had every right to just be focused on everything he was going through. When facing a life-threatening surgery, a life-threatening condition, he was totally excited to not only have the surgery with unabashed faith, but also wanted to help in any way he could.

The reporters we spoke with were 100% across the board super kind and I don't believe they in any way meant to misrepresent things, but in some ways they did. Not just about the medical issues either. I guess I should not expect people to not focus on the money in an economy like this. The money is just a piece of a bigger picture, and shouldn't have been the focus of the picture. The kid who wants to keep up with his friends, who is cute and smart and totally unaware of the scope of this -- he is the main thing in the picture. (How anyone can get past those long eyelashes is a wonder to me, but anywhoo.)

Sure, it's a groovy thing to be able to have this extra income in a hard time, don't get me wrong, but I think it's important to view the whole picture and not take out pieces to suit an argument or two.

In other news, Malkolm is doing well, and signing away. We hope to get the remainder of the stories out to everyone who bought one early next week. He's almost up to 1,000 now!

On that note, I've got some chicken in the oven and a few hungry kiddos. Better get to it.




  1. Jen, great article.
    I feel so bad that you have to explain this over and over again. Trust me my friend it will never turn into something that you never intended too, because the people that matter the most are next to you and the rest of us that have the privilege of knowing you and Sia very well, are aware of your intentions and purpose.
    I wanted to say to you and Sia THANK YOU for giving Malkolm the opportunity to use his inspiration to help. THIS IS HOW AMAZING PEOPLE AND THINGS HAPPEN.
    Stay strong and focus my friend. This story is amazing and it is just getting better,


  2. Thanks Carmen -- there is so much good that came from this outside of my little comfort zone that has made the journey worth it. Not just good for our family, but especially for the many people who wrote and were encouraged while they encouraged us.

    I think one of the things that meant the most to me is how people who have known us for years, and who we have not really kept in contact with were so quick to offer to pray for us and send us encouraging emails in support of Malkolm as soon as they found out. There's so much of this I can't even put into words because it is so meaningful to me personally. I almost feel selfish for that, because I know am just a little piece of a bigger picture.

    It's a little weird to have my feelings all out here for everyone to see and read, but then again, I have really found some peace in just writing about it and now that I can look back and read through the emotional roller coaster we've been on; I think I know myself a little better than I did before, and am definitely walking closer to God than I have in a while. Both are good things, I think!!


  3. ADORE this post. You should speak your mind. Good for Malkolm having enough forethought to try and make money--help himself and his family. Novel concept, I suppose. No, he wasn't asking for a hand out--quite the contrary! I applaud him and you. Malkolm, way to be part of the solution and for thinking outside the box. There should be more people like you.

    I have an idea. Let's turn Malkolm loose and let HIM solve the health care woes. He has my vote.