All of life is a journey; which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there, and how happy we are when we get there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I almost left without my trusty ziploc

So for those of you who may not know, I am leaving for Italy in the morning. That's right, this currently small town girl is busting out for two amazing weeks touring the world (more specifically parts of Italy). I have never been outside the country before, so you can imagine my combination of jitters and excitement. I have been planning this trip with my best friend for literally years, and the packing list was detailed and expansive. I want to be utterly prepared for this departure. I thought I had packed everything that I would need. Luckily, my friend asked a very crucial question, do you have your ziploc? To my horror I realized I had not moved my tried and true gallon sized ziploc out of my purse and into my backpack. I remedied that immediately and went to Walmart to make the final and essential preparation. Now I know you must be wondering why on earth a ziploc is so important? Well here it is...

When I was young my best friend, her family and I went to Disneyland. I grew up in California and was able to go frequently, but it was none-the-less exciting. On the drive there the car was unbelievably warm and the stop and go traffic was exactly that. Stop suddenly, go quickly, stop suddenly, go quickly (well you get the point). I was not one to get car sick often, but it happened, and despite earnest efforts to get a bag, stop the car, anything, I threw up all over their car, myself and the seat. They were wonderful about it. Pulled over and got cleaner, new clothes, etc. But I was mortified. I vowed that day that I would never be the cause of such a mess again. From then on I kept some kind of bag with me when traveling. Usually a paper bag, until I was old enough to realize how futile it would be when moist. Then a grocery bag and when older I began carrying a ziploc in my purse. Sometimes accompanied by a brown paper bag, as to not gross people out should the dreaded occur. My best friend and her family caught sight of my ziploc once and enjoyed teasing me about my eccentricity. Well it was years later, but it finally paid off.

I was in Washington visiting my best friend and her family, when we went up to the falls to visit and have breakfast. Her other close friend came, but on the twisting road back to the bottom she could no longer hold back breakfast. She began to throw up and what was the first thing I yelled? "I have a ziploc!" It got over to her quickly and saved the day. Needless to say when we arrived home I was quickly given a replacement and never teased again. It is because of this experience that I never doubt the power of the ziploc. And as I begin this new adventure in a plane, in cars and buses, I am never going to be far from this valuable tool. Because whether it saves myself or someone around me, it is a win win either way. I hope to come back in a couple weeks with great new posts and stories, until then I bid you farewell.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Enough is NOT enough

So this post is unique in comparison to the others I have included. I have tried during my time here in Small Town X to learn from my experiences and look at the positive things that living in a new and different place has to offer. But here is where I draw the line.

I have heard stories of the hospital and physicians in this town. It has the nickname of the "band-aid factory". I knew these may be rumors, and I had not had any personal experiences to validate this label. Until today... I had a friend go into the hospital under dire circumstances that required some extensive evaluations to be done. Once their immediate health was stable, the hospital wanted to discharge them without any follow up. This was not the first occasion that this condition threatened their very life, and yet despite numerous hospitalizations, nothing had been done to help them beyond the first 24 hours. This individual is the epitome of vulnerable and cannot advocate for themselves. They have entrusted their life with the the very members of this community that have taken a oath to serve and protect them. And yet the bare minimum has been acceptable. Well no longer. Just enough is not enough. It is unacceptable, and it is time that this community tells them that small or not, they deserve better than what is being currently offered. Members of rural communities are already burdened, often times, with a lack of resources and options. This shortage of availability opens them up to becoming victims of complacency and sub standard service. To insinuate that an individuals worth is directly correlated to the population size of the area is ludicrous. I am very much aware that this is a problem not unique to this one particular town. It is something that rural areas all over struggle with. But when do we draw the line between being grateful for services in less than desirable locations, and saying that location aside, there are expectations that need to be met by these professionals? Well I am saying it now. The people of Small Town X deserve better. Better than what they are being offered. Better than what many think they may deserve. They are entitled to the best care available, and to be offered anything short of that is unacceptable and completely unethical.

So where to go from here. Opening a forum in the community to educate and stand up and say we deserve better. The paper is used as such a forum. So this is just the beginning, this will grow. And I only hope that I will not stand alone when saying that the time has come. The time to act and be unafraid to say with conviction that just "enough" is not longer enough.