I have for most of my life lived in clouds, just like you. Saving princesses, fighting evil wizards, and slaying dragons. This is the world I prefer to live in, the world of fantasy. If you were unfamiliar with my gamer lifestyle you may ask why and the simple answer is that I have control there. I am the hero and the only person who can save the world, its a chance to escape harsh reality on occasion. The brutal hard truth about "real life" is that its unfair, unyielding, and unrelenting. There is no magic sword, no black and white, and no stars to make a wish upon. The clouds are safer and far much more pleasant.
Today isn't a day to live in the clouds, today isn't for princesses or magic or whimsy. Today I am firmly on the ground and I am afraid. Afraid for my loved ones and people all across the United States of America. I have been living in denial, saying things like "They won't remove it without replacing it." Or, "They aren't going to let people just die." Then everyday I get up and read the news and I get more scared. I can't keep lying to myself.
I am not scared for myself, I am fortunate enough to be healthy for the most part. I am scared for the one thing that anchors me to this Earth. So I thought about how best to express how I feel and the answer was very simple. I would use the greatest skill that I have, I can write.
Fifteen, that is the number of medications my wife takes to survive, cope, and live a normal life to the best of her abilities. My wife has an incurable auto immune disease called Scleroderma. It's so rare and unheard of that auto correct thinks I misspelled something. While I could spend a books worth describing what its like to live with this disease, I will put it into a form you may understand.
Remember that disease Stannis Baratheon daughter had from Game of Thrones? Greyscale they called it. Poor Shireen the little red-headed girl had it. It makes your skin harden and crack and turn grey. In later stages after it consumes your skin it attacks your internal organs and turns them to stone and you die a horrific and slow death.
Now unlike Game of Thrones where magic and other mystical things have a chance of curing this disease. Here on Earth, Greyscale is real and we use cancer medication to slow the effects, because there is no cure. My wife has a hard time swallowing food because her insides are becoming hard. It gets worse every day, month, and year.
That isn't why I am writing this today. My wife is alive and for the most part happy to be alive. What scares me is that the government might kill my wife. That isn't a dramatization or exaggeration, she will die without her fifteen medications. The disease will accelerate and she will die as her lungs, heart, and bowels harden. She might starve to death, not be able to breath, an assortment of nightmare scenarios.
The ACA or "Obamacare" saved my wife's life. She wouldn't be here anchoring me to this Earth if it wasn't for her health insurance. I am powerless to help her, all I can do is read the news every morning and hope. Hope that the right decision is made. Hope that they think about twenty million people who will suffer and possibly die.
I am powerless to help her but I can do one thing. I can write, and give you the reader a dose of reality. While we play our games on our TV's, phones, and computers and live among the clouds, people could die. As a gamer I get that its hard to look down and its hard to face reality, I get it. If we truly love the heroes we play then we cannot simply ignore the true and real problems in our world. Your world, my world.
All it takes is one decision from a place most of us will never ever see. One decision that will change twenty million lives. So what can I do? I can write and hope somebody out there reads this and maybe it inspires them into action.
What can you do?