Susan Speaks: Help Save My Sight

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I like telling you guys about interviews I do. Usually, I am out and about talking about writing, about fiction, about being an editor or (more rarely these days) being a writer.

But these aren’t usual times, as all of us know.

And so I’m talking to other people. New people. People who love to help spread the story of my January 29016 bicycling accident. That’s because I am not fighting a genetic illness. I’m not obese and dealing with Type 2 Diabetes. I’m not any of those things certain factions of the health care legislation community points to as drains on the medical system.

Okay, I’m a woman. But beyond that.

The thing that journalists love is that I am an accident victim. Something happened — and we’ll never know what, according to my concussion doctor — and I wound up with an injury that will never fully heal. I’ll never have 20/20 vision out of my damaged eye again. I require ongoing care to make sure I can maintain my vision. Because something happened.

I’m a pre-existing condition of the worst kind: the accident victim.

And accidents can (and do) happen to anyone. Life happens, you know? And I now need ongoing medical care.

I have never been hugely political. But now, I find I have to be. My joke about renaming the business to Cyclops Editing: I do with one eye what everyone else does with two is… not so funny when faced with the reality that I’ve spent a year and a half fighting to save my vision. My house, my career, my freedom.

So, yes. I’m asking you to join me. Here’s the latest article about what the proposed changes to our health care system will do to not on me, but others. Amy Zellmer did a great job writing it. Now, I’m asking you to read it. To think about me. To think about yourself, and what would YOU do if this bill passes and you have an accident of your own.

Share the link. Encourage others to see it. To stand up for all of us, really.

Because tomorrow, it can be YOU lying on the floor with a hand over your eye, screaming not at the pain but at the horror of what’s just happened, even though you have no idea what just happened. All you know is that it’s black like you’ve never seen black before, that the image of a pink-taped handlebar is forever seared on your brain as it came closer, that the feeling of inevitability flooded you and held you down and allowed it to happen.

Because tomorrow, it can be you coming out of a surgery with no one waiting for you at the hospital, no one who can or will tell you how long it took them to clean your eye up, no one there to hold your hand when the resident, cute as he was, tells you that yes, you’ll be able to drive with only one eye, as though it’s a foregone conclusion that this is your new future.

Because tomorrow, it can be you who follows the surgeon’s instructions like you’ve never followed instructions before, and it can be you with the miracle outcome of an eye, of vision in that eye.

And because tomorrow, it can be you who goes from being perfectly healthy and riding your bike to, in an instant, needing ongoing medical care for the rest of your life, but you don’t know, thanks to the government’s crazy ideas, if keeping your vision means losing your house, your scant life savings, the business you’ve worked so hard to build up and nurture and grow.

Yes. You can be where I am, and that’s why this fight really is about every single one of us.

Join me in it.

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