Monday, February 16, 2009

hope is not lost...

I'm crashing off of way too much sugar today, please excuse if this makes no sense, and the fact that I'm about to write a novel, but there is meaning behind the madness, I assure you.
In the place where I work, a domestic violence shelter, I've seen my share of every situation you can imagine, and some you probably would never want to. Against my will, I have become unaffected by so many people, places, and things. It's the only way I can remain working there without losing my ever-loving mind.
I've seen women who have come to us with nothing on their backs, with 8 children in tow, single women with more money than I will ever hope to have, and everything in between. Every situation is different, every face, every tear, every shout of anger...
Some of these women are truly in desperate need of the type of service that we provide, which is 30 days in a safe place with everything provided at no charge, from food to counseling...Many of the women who come to us are, without a doubt, much more suited for other agencies than ours.
Now I'm not going to get on a ranting soapbox, and I hate to offend anyone here, as that is never my intention, ever... but day in and day out we see women who abuse the system on a regular basis, whether it be shelter hopping (dragging their families from shelter to shelter constantly), sitting at home on welfare when they are fully capable of working at least a part time job, always demanding anything and, more often, everything, from a group of staff who only have very limited resources with which to work. I have seen many a mother within our four walls who abuses her children on a daily basis, from sun up to sun down.... I have had women scream in my face telling me that I'm nothing but a piece of crap that's done nothing to help her and her children because I won't give her steak and lobster to eat for dinner. (this is no lie)
I could go on and on and on until you'd get tired of hearing it (if you aren't already), but let me assure you, every bit of it happens day in and day out, every day of the year, in one way or another. It's frustrating, to say the least, and makes it quite difficult to remain understanding and forgiving regarding the situation as to why or how they ended up a certain way. After a while it just doesn't matter anymore because it is what it is....
I have learned that people who work hard can sometimes get the short end of the stick. That's another thing that is what it is. And now, I'm not trying to play the martyr or pat myself on the back, but my husband and I try to be the most honest, hard working people that we can. We do the best with what we have, and never live beyond our means. We don't have credit cards, and don't ever buy anything that we don't have the cash to pay for. We don't ask for handouts from anyone. We worked long and hard to pay off any debt that we have incurred in the past, such as our car and student loans. Every year, somehow, we end up owing on our taxes, we don't like it, but we pay it, because it's the law - and we are law abiding citizens. We understand that sometimes the situation we are in is fully due to our own lack of planning for a better future and don't lay blame on anyone but ourselves. But on that same note, we lay our heads down on the pillow at night, worn out, but satisfied in the knowledge that we did the best that we could, regardless.
There have been many times that we have needed a little bit of help with one thing or another, such as a gas bill that's too high to pay all at once, medical assistance because we couldn't afford insurance, food enough to make it just 3 more days until payday and there's nothing left in the pantry.... Only to be told that we make $10.00 too much to receive any assistance at all, no matter how temporary, or how much of an emergency it is. Assistance that we have paid for with the 1/3 of our checks that go to the government each month, assistance that we have never insisted that we wouldn't pay back as soon as humanly possible.
So after a while a person can tend to feel a little resentful toward the people that seem to be given everything but won't do anything to help themselves, while hard working people who ask for a simple loaf of bread or help with prescriptions are completely turned down flat. As Christians we try so hard to remain steadfast in our faith that in the end all things work for the good and that God will never give us more than we can handle, or less than what we absolutely need, in His eyes.
I won't pretend to understand the system, but I do know something needs to change before there are no resources left to give. But that's for another day... I'll now move on to the whole point of my story...
My husband has been sick for 4 days now, he's sicker than I've ever seen him in the whole 13 years that I've known him. He doesn't have insurance because he hasn't been working at his job long enough to qualify and the next enrollment session isn't for a while. He applied for CHIP, which is a statewide medical assistance program for all families in PA, a program that has a monthly fee that we are more than willing to pay. I think you know where I'm going with this..... he didn't qualify because we make about $10.00 over the limit. So he was left with no coverage and now he's sick. He wouldn't go to the hospital for 3 days, for fear of not being able to pay the bill, until I finally couldn't take it anymore and forced him to go...
Well, with all that being said, our hope has finally been restored! The wonderful staff at the hospital never asked, until he was being discharged, whether he had insurance or not. They treat everyone equally, without regards to method of payment. Hallelujah! A financial counselor came in and spoke with us, filled out some paperwork and said not to worry because we would get it all figured out and they would work with us down to the last penny. Can I get an AMEN?!
Then when I went to the pharmacy to get his meds., one of them came to over $100.00 and the pharmacist could tell that I was about to start crying when she offered to call the doctor at the hospital to see what else they could prescribe that might be less expensive, and don't you know he did and it came to $11.00?! Praise God!!! (Sherley at Walgreens, you are an angel!)
Human kindness and God's goodness has triumphed on this day and our hope is once again restored!
Today we had a happy ending...

11 people had this to say:

luv2teek said...

Hi Tiff,

So glad your story had a happy ending...I too get frustrated by the abuse of the system. I was a volunteer counselor in a Pregnancy Support Center. I too saw and heard how various ones sometimes worked harder to work the system than they would have at a real job. It does get frustrating when you yourself try to live an honest, hard-working life.

I hope your husband is on the mend now...smiles and sunshine...Bev

Rebecca Jo said...

PTL on the prescription!!!

I cant imagine having to see it in my face every day like you do - the abusing of the system that people will do & then to BE or know the people who are doing things "RIGHT" & then have to struggle... it breaks my heart. My parents are like that as well.... my dad worked his whole life - had cancer & had his insurance dropped - they've been without insurance now for 6 years - cant even go see if he's still in remission - how sad a state we live in... but as Christians - we gotta submit to authorities & know God is in control!!!

Bless you friend!

(BTW - your winning package is going in the mail Friday!)

Ellen said...

Tiff, you are really a good writer. Have you ever thought of pursuing that?

Great job on putting into words the cracks that people can fall into. You've seen them from both sides and have some great insights!

whitey said...

This reminds me of a story I heard once of a women who was in desperate need of medical attention but because the husband like you say made 10.00 to much they could not get the help, the only thing they could do was get divorced and her go on to welfare so that she could get the help she needed.(crazy) Hope the meds kick in quick and gets him over this illness.

Queen Beeeeeeee said...

Amen sister!

Growin' with it! said...

wowzers. what a post. what a great post. and truly tiffany, i don't know how you people do it. like nurses w/ cancer kids and other jobs that i don't know HOW in the world their heart can take it each day.

so first off...THANK YOU. thank you for being in this profession no matter how hard it is. for being a person who takes the flack, lives the hard times and still comes out a beautiful, grateful, happy and wonderful person.

i love hearing how God shows up BIG in situations like this!

Tiff said...

Oh my gosh, I can't tell you what this means to me. I was really off kilter yesterday, but felt like I had something to say. I didn't want to come off sounding ungrateful or petty, you know? But I feel like there's no way I'm the only one out there that feels the way that I do and if someone can read what I say and relate in any way, and know that they aren't alone, then how can I not write what's on my mind... I think it's important for people to know that just because a person is Christian, doesn't mean that life is any easier, or that we don't get frustrated as anything at injustice or unfairness.
Every day I go to work saying how much I hate my job, but something has kept me going back there for 6 and a half years! It's been a long test of will power and patience, and a huge lesson for me, one that used to be hot headed and never think before I spoke, ever... Now I have no choice but to bite my tongue and just keep rolling with the punches, trying to leave a decent impression with everyone that I come in contact with there.
You all ROCK for being such a great source of friendship and support!!!

From A Creative Heart said...

Oh Tiff...sweetie, I feel your pain. I am so glad things worked out so well with the hospital and the meds..we have had a couple of incidents when the meds were going to be huge (when we had to get them locally and couldn't get to the VA) and the pharmisist was wonderful!!!
Hope you hubby is doing much better...sorry I have been "off" for a few days.... HUGS to you dear friend!!!
Debbie

binks said...

Tiff - It burns me up that those people do nothing and get a free ride. They milk the system and know all the loopholes. The system is never going to get better as we reward those who do nothing and penalize those who pay their bills and work hard. Sending hugs and prayers of prosperity and healing.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

As I started reading this I thought, "Uh-oh I'm going to cry with this one"...but then it turned out good! that it all worked out, even though it would've been better if they would have just given you a freebie for that hospital visit right?

Maggie May said...

what a truly fantastic story, one i needed to hear today!!! thank you for sharing, and i'm so very happy for you and your husband :))

 
design by suckmylolly.com