I was a part of a living book event this weekend. A woman in a biracial relationship needed advice for her kids. And a woman with a healthcare story afflicting too many in silence.
This was a great weekend. As usual, I spoke to many people, whether it was about my living book or just in general. Being a part of a living library is always fun. People read a synopsis of your book, and if they like it, they check you out, and you sit at a table and tell your story. I always leave a few minutes for questions.
The first story comes from a woman who checked out my living book, which was excerpted from my latest Amazon Vella serialized book titled “Tribulations of an Afro-Latino Caribbean man: Racism didn’t Stop My Smile, Hope, Or Journey Forward.”
I told the story about coming to America and all that I went through. I told her about some real issues, then, often being the only black person in my engineering classes at the University of Texas and having many bad interactions with professors. I told her about business contracts that were canceled when it was in-person signature time. I told her about when my Taiwanese partner finally figured out what this Panamanian immigrant looked like.
I wondered out loud why did she choose to check my book out. She is a white woman in an interracial relationship, and her kids are having problems in the area. Her husband just wanted them to toughen up, but her motherly instincts just felt for the kids. After listening to all that I went through in the country, she wanted to know how I could cope so well and maintain a positive outlook. I told her we choose how to let externalities affect us. I came from parents who told me I was no better nor smarter than anyone and that no one was smarter or better than I was. I grew up from I was in elementary school knowing that. I told her kids should be told that they are not the problem, but it is the problem of others, and to find a niche that always exists for one to be a part of. We discussed other things, and she found our discourse helpful.
As I sat at a table waiting to be checked out again, I was speaking to a woman north of 65 about Medicare Advantage and healthcare in general. She then said something that lit me up.
“The happiest day for me was when I turned 65,” she said. “At midnight, I cried with joy. And two weeks after that, I had to have gallbladder surgery”
WOW! WOW! WOW! Had she needed surgery 2 weeks earlier, she could have gone bankrupt. I took out my phone and asked her if I could video her story. She accepted.
The woman was an adjunct professor. Universities and colleges get the use of well-educated people that teach thousands of their students for a fixed fee that is generally effectively less than minimum wage. Worse, there are no benefits. To pay the bills, many adjunct professors go from one college system to the next to get as many contracts as they can.
This nice lady said she got her well-woman exams and service at planned parenthood for free. She said at times, she had to be on government assistance. She had to go through hoops as she did not have health insurance until she turned 65 and qualified for Medicare.
Her story is the story of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, too many Americans suffer in silence. Imagine if these productive citizens who often, because of the luck of the draw, do not have health insurance were to find a way to unite and demand a humane healthcare system.
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