So I was reading something today that just really bothered me. Because I sometimes lean to the left politically, some people assume (and you know what it makes you when you ASSume) that I am anti-God and anti-country. Lemme just clear the air on this. I lean to the left because I believe in social programs. Why? Because I believe in helping others. Why? Because my religious beliefs (yes, I am a Christian) are so strong that I feel that we should live by what it says, which is to help others. Another reason is that without those wonderful social programs I wouldn’t have gotten the medical help I greatly needed as a child and couldn’t afford. So before people spout off about how un-American I am, I would like for them to ask WHY I believe the way I do.
So here’s Amy’s story: I was born with a cleft palate. Thankfully it was just my palate. Typically it affects more than just the palate. Approximately 2,600 children are born in the United States with a cleft palate only each year. That’s very few people considering the number of births annually. I was born in 1971. They weren’t really looking for it and thankfully mine wasn’t gaping. But it caused severe medical problems. I wasn’t diagnosed with the cleft until I was five years old. Medical difficulties from the cleft palate include problems with swallowing, choking, ear, nose, throat, dental, speech, and hearing problems. Guess what. I had all of those.
We were poor. We didn’t have insurance. In order to get help, Mama would pack me up and take me to what was called the Alabama Crippled Children’s Clinic. We didn’t call it disabled back then. No, it was an ugly word for the problems that people dealt with: crippled. And let me tell you what, I was lucky! There were people there that were going through hell on earth. I saw one family there that had survived a house fire. I still cry at the pain those people endured. They were wrapped in bandages as they waited in that hot, crowded waiting room while people stared at them like they were freaks.
The clinic was only open once a month on certain days of the week and you couldn’t get an appointment. It was first come, first serve unless you had surgery. Mama and I got there early and packed a lunch. It was 1976. There were no cell phones or fast food. You couldn’t leave to go grab a bite to eat or you’d lose your place in line. I had to sit there and behave for the day. The place was tense. Nobody wanted to be there, but we all needed to be there.
When my diagnosis of a cleft palate was finally given, it was a relief for my parents. There was finally an answer for what was going on with me. There was a reason I choked so easily. There was a reason I stayed sick all the time. But what to do? The answer was surgery. The roof of my mouth didn’t develop properly and hadn’t closed during development and was the culprit. It needed repaired. This was not a simple surgery. It wasn’t a cheap surgery. Thankfully, due to social programs, the State of Alabama paid for it. I had a wonderful surgeon, Dr. George Walker. I may have been five years old, but I still remember his name. He was such a good man. The only thing I would have changed about how things were done was I would have explained what was going to happen. Nobody really did that and it scared me to death. I didn’t have a clue. If I had known, it would have been a lot easier to handle. I had surgery on my mouth and was unable to talk for quite a while because of the fear of the strain it would cause. I think I couldn’t talk for almost two weeks. I was five and couldn’t spell. Thankfully I loved to draw and I was pretty good at charades. I could only eat soft food for six weeks. I ate more scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soup, and ice cream than you could imagine. You’d think that I would hate those foods now, but they are now my comfort foods.
After the surgery there was still work to be done. Just because the roof of my mouth was repaired, it didn’t mean I was suddenly all better. No. I had learned to speak with that hole in mouth. I had to go through speech therapy. Is that cheap? No. Again, social programs! I had to go to speech therapy at least once a week for several months after surgery. I had to learn how to force those sounds to come out a different way. It was frustrating. I had spoken this way for years. I even had to go to speech therapy in school the first year I entered public school.
Without social programs I would still have a hole in the roof of my mouth. I could have suffered deafness. I did have several ear infections which did considerable damage to my ears. I have had to have tubes in my ears more than once. And just because my palate was fixed when I was five, doesn’t mean there weren’t other problems. Because the palate didn’t close properly when I was developing, it caused the sinus cavities and eustachian tubes to be somewhat off as well. I still suffer sinus issues to this day, which we can’t say are related to the cleft palate or just climate. I have had two surgeries because of sinus issues and really need surgery for my deviated septum but after two previous painful surgeries and lack of funds, I am just not sure about undergoing that much pain again. Whenever I have had to have a new doctor examine me, they have been amazed at the work on the roof of my mouth. They have seen few cases of cleft palates and my plastic surgeon did excellent work.
So this is my story.
Is the left unChristian? I don’t think it always is, just as I don’t think all right wingers are always very Christian. But I do believe social programs are very Christian. Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”
Am I anti-Country? No way! I am so proud of my country my heart could burst. I admit not everything is perfect, but nothing ever is. I love the United States of America! I can’t imagine living anywhere else and I am blessed and lucky to live here. God bless America!
If you want to find out more information about cleft palates, you can visit the March of Dimes website and see what they have to say about it. It explains things better than I can.
- Cleft Lip/Palate Cause Much More Than Cosmetic Problems (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Cleft Palate (walterdgraciamd.wordpress.com)
- Why Women Lean Left (aleksandreia.com)