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Lemons to Lemonade
by Leah Sellers
2009-07-05 11:04:34
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This is a True Life allegory.
One in which I did not intend to participate. But as Life would have it (for all Human Beings), we often find the Path of Life writhing and alive with unexpected twists and turns created by a myriad of Environments, Situations and unforeseen Consequences. In every Circumstance, sweet and sour, the question is always ‘do I hang onto the lemons (and pucker up the ‘ole sour puss) or Make lemonade to Enjoy and Share with Others?
For the sake of allegorical fiction, we’ll call our primary character Cheyenne (meaning - The Tribe).
Cheyenne has been a member of the American Society’s Work Force (meaning that she had a job at which she was paid) since the age of fourteen. During the summer months, when schools nationwide let all of the Children out to roam the city streets and country back roads freely, Cheyenne Worked for her father’s business as a receptionist/secretary/file clerk. On the weekends, throughout the year, she earned monies Singing at local weddings and funerals. She found tremendous Joy and Life Lessons being able to participate and share her talents within the Cycles of New Beginnings and Loving Endings. She was proud of her Work, and proud of her earnings, and saved her monies wisely.
A few years later, Cheyenne found herself waffling between a Singing career and becoming a Nursing Instructor (Teacher). So, she decided to work as a Nurse's Assistant for a Medical Center in Texas, which would pay her way through School and Training, if Cheyenne contracted to give the Med Center a year of paid Service for every year she had to attend Nursing School.
It was an Ideal Opportunity. You help me and I’ll help you. I’ll scratch your back and You scratch mine. Everyone Benefits. It was Healthy deal (and Ideal) making at its best.
During the first year, Cheyenne spent many long, but satisfying, hours working with Patients, attending Nursing School classes and Singing at local coffee shops, live music venues, and leading Sunday ‘hymn-a-longs’ at the Med Center for Patients. It was the Best of all Worlds.
Then, one Fateful, unexpected Cross Roads day, while two other Nursing Students and Cheyenne were attempting to get a 450 pound Patient (with recent hip surgery) from her wheelchair to her bed manually with pull sheets (because the floor’s chair-lift was broken), the direction of Cheyenne’s Life took a sudden detour.
Detour! There’s a bumpy Road ahead! Wish I’d Seen, that Detour sign!
While carefully maneuvering their rather heavy Patient toward the bed, one of Cheyenne’s companion Nurses Assistant’s tripped over the Patient’s wheelchair. The companion Nurses Assistant #1, let go of her end, the other Companion Nurses Assistant #2, let go of her end, and being in the middle, and still hanging on, Cheyenne and the 450 pound Patient went down to the floor together.
One, Two, Three! Buckle your knees! Three and Four! Hit the Floor!
Fortunately, for the Patient, she landed on Cheyenne. Unfortunately, for Cheyenne, becoming a floor cushion for the weight of her patient broke her back.
After a couple of months of pre-surgical therapies, Cheyenne received a laminectomy. Pieces of her hip bone were fused to her spine in order to repair the damage.
Cheyenne jumped right into therapy. If they told her to walk a block with her walker, she walked two. If they instructed her to perform daily exercises in a swimming pool, Cheyenne became a Mermaid.
Luckily, the only sports activities Cheyenne had to give up were tennis, squash and racquetball. She was able to maintain and continue to enjoy all of her other physical activities: hiking, back packing and camping in state and national parks, kayaking, biking, archery, horseback riding, dancing and various other team sports she enjoyed participating in with family, friends and students.
However, the Nursing School was leery of Cheyenne’s being able to continue to fulfill the necessary body mechanics of a Nurse’s job. And she would be required to Work on a hospital floor for four years before she could be considered for the position of a Nursing Instructor (Teacher). So, with a sigh, a shrug of her shoulders and singing Que Sera, Sera (What will Be, Will Be), Cheyenne decided to complete a Degree and Certification Programs for Teaching within Public Schools (while continuing to pursue her Singing, Writing and Visual Arts interests). It would be the Best of all Worlds.
To the surprise of Everyone at the Medical Center (her Family and Friends included), Cheyenne refused to sue Anyone or the Med Center for getting injured while on the job. The Center’s neglect for not maintaining a properly functioning chair-lift, and her companion Nursing Assistant’s accidental tripping and letting go of the rather heavy 450 pound Patient were all Forgiven.
Cheyenne told them, “I do not believe in law suits. They are the bane and ruination of Civilizations. Accidents happen. At times, things get overlooked. You gave me the surgery needed to Fix my back. So, we’ll call it Evenly-balanced. I’ll go my Way and you go Yours. And they did. But the Worker’s Compensation Division also compensated Cheyenne with $8,000 in order to help her get back onto her feet after her injury and during her recovery process.
She Made her Lemonade. Drank it, and went on her merry Way.
Life was good and Cheyenne Worked as a pre-school and kindergarten Teacher, and as a Therapeutic Technician at a Rehabilitation Center for head trauma Patients, while completing her Teaching Degree and Certifications.
A few years later, Cheyenne was diagnosed with cervical and uteran cancer. She was Working as an ‘on the road’ Teacher, Speaker, Visual Artist and Singer for the Foundation For a Compassionate Society.
Luckily, the cancer was caught early. Also, Cheyenne decided to combine western and eastern Medical Practices, Philosophies and Meditation Techniques in order to be proactively involved within the process of Healing herself from the deadly disease.
Much to the skeptical chagrin of her doctor, the head of gynecology at M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas, Cheyenne refused chemo and radiation treatments. She did not want to poison her entire Body in order to get at diseased Cells in a specific area. She told him, “Please, sir, you cut out every bit of what’s diseased with cancer, and I’ll help you take care of the rest without chemo and radiation.”
So, before and after the radical hysterectomy and cervical surgeries, Cheyenne infused her Body with every herbal cure known to Mankind, a very rigid vegetarian diet, daily white light meditations and prayers and water therapy. Oh, the marvels of the Internet’s Search Engines! All the while M. D. Anderson continued to Work their Western Medical Voo-Doo. They Saved her Life! Her costs were covered one hundred percent (that is another story within itself, due to the blessings of good friends, and a doctor who proved to be a Good Man). She would be Forever Grateful!
She would never be able to bear her own Children, but she was Healed. She was Cured. As a result, every Child she encounters is Given the Love and Attention she would have showered upon her own Children.
She Made her Lemonade. Drank it, and went on her merry Way.
Three years later, while on her Way out the door to an Independence Day Party and Singing event, being held at her sister’s country place, a fierce cramping took hold of Cheyenne’s guts. She had just completed her masterpiece, a giant homemade Strawberry Shortcake. One of her Family and Friends favorite desserts. So, she was determined not to pay any attention to her tummy. However, while gathering things together at the kitchen counter, in order to leave, the pain in her guts took her down to her knees. She could hardly move and was barely conscious. She pulled the phone down from the kitchen counter and called her sister’s house. That was the last thing Cheyenne remembered.
The next thing she knew, she awakened from emergency surgery. It appears, that during Cheyenne’s major cancer surgery (three years previously) a medical student had been given the task of ‘closing her up’. But, through some accidental oversight had forgotten to remove two of the metal clamps which had been used during the procedure.
Cheyenne’s surgeon joked, “I’m surprised that you didn’t set off all of the alarms at the airports. Ha!”
Cheyenne later surmised that in today’s heavily guarded airports she probably would have been arrested and placed in detention for interrogation and a strip search. Her metal ridden Guts probably would have given a whole new meaning to the practice of - Body Search. Ha!
For three years the two overlooked metal clamps had been wriggling around in Cheyenne’s intestines, and against the side walls of her abdomen creating adhesions. One of the adhesions had inconveniently wrapped itself around a small portion of Cheyenne’s small intestine and almost squeezed it completely shut - like a pressed sausage. Her Body had begun to poison itself and shut down.
Fortunately, some of Cheyenne’s Family and Friends had been prompt in responding to her call for help and getting her to a hospital in time. Plus, they all later admitted that they had not wanted the Giant Homemade Strawberry Shortcake to go to waste. And in this particular case, haste saved a lot of waste. Giant Homemade Strawberry Shortcake and All!
Cheyenne’s insurance covered 80% of the medical costs. It took her over two years to pay off the other 20%.
Once again, everyone had expected her sue Someone and M.D. Anderson. Once again, she told them, “I do not believe in law suits. They are the bane and ruination of Civilizations. Everyone makes mistakes. Accidents happen. The hospitals Need their monies for the Many. I do not need to corrupt myself or the effectiveness of M. D. Anderson by getting vulturistically rich off of one inexperienced medical student’s oversight. I am Alive. I am Grateful for that Fact. Just fix me, and I will go my Way and Everyone else can go Theirs.
She Made her Lemonade. Drank it, and went on her merry Way.
A few years later, while driving to her Teaching job in another little town outside of Austin, Texas, a policeman sped out onto the highway, from out of the blue, and totaled Cheyenne’s little truck, Betsy. The policeman had been in hot pursuit of a car who had run a red light. It appears that the policeman decided to run the same red light in order to chase the man down and give him a speeding ticket. The accident took place at around 5:30 in the morning. The policeman had hit Cheyenne’s little Betsy so hard that the truck had been turned 180 degrees around in the opposite direction, in the middle of highway 290. Cheyenne took it as a good indicator that perhaps she should seek another teaching job elsewhere. The truck was pointed due north. Cheyenne decided that she would look for her next Teaching job somewhere up north around the Austin area.
Once again, everyone expected Cheyenne to sue someone or the town of Manor. Once again, she told them, “I do not believe in law suits. They are the bane and ruination of Civilizations. I was not hurt, only shaken up. However, the policeman was hurt and eventually lost his job. The taxpayers need their monies to be spent on ‘the Many’, not just one person choosing to corrupt themselves and Others by looking to get rich off of someone else’s Mistake and Poor Judgment. We all make mistakes and poor judgments from time to time. I am Alive. The Policeman is Alive. I am Grateful for those Facts. Just Fix Betsy, good as new, and we’ll call it Even. You go your Way and I’ll go mine.
She Made her Lemonade. Drank it, and went on her merry Way.
Approximately 25 years later, one of Cheyenne’s Special Needs Students (a high schooler, who is deaf, blind, MR, approximately 180 lbs. and 6 feet tall) accidentally fell on top of her during gym class. Because of the way her body was twisted, when she tried to break her, and her student’s, fall to the hard gymnasium floor, Cheyenne’s back and left hip and leg were severely injured.
Once again, everyone expected her to sue someone or the School. Once again she said, “I do not believe in law suits. They are the bane and ruination of Civilizations. I admire and love my Student’s Guardians. And the Love they have, and Work they do, for all of their Special Needs Children. The taxpayers need for their monies to be spent on their Children‘s Needs. Not on someone who chooses to corrupt themselves by getting rich off of the mistakes, accidents or misfortunes of Others. Just Fix me and we’ll call it Even. Y’all can go Your Way and I’ll go mine.”
Two and half years later, Cheyenne is still begging - still pleading - still going to one Worker’s Compensation Division hearing after another - in order to get the back fusion and possible hip surgery her doctors (and the State Designated Doctors) have recommended. Due to the Insurance Company’s iron grip upon the throats of the American Health Care system, all doctors can do is recommend the treatments and procedures they think are best for their Patients. The Insurance Companies let them know what they will or will not pay for - what they consider necessary or not, and the doctors bow to the Insurance Companies decisions, edicts and demands.
Two and a half years later, Cheyenne is still begging and pleading to be helped and released from the constant and severe pain she suffers throughout every day. To be helped and released from having to hobble around in a crippled body that has become her Prison. A Body that refuses to Run, Dance, Sing, Play and Explore the way it did before her Student accidentally injured her. Injured her while she was performing her Duty to her Students - to her paid Vocation.
Two and a half years later, while continuing to struggle for the return of her previous Good Health and her active and fulfilling Quality of Life, Cheyenne is now financially ruined, as well. While being forced to live off of $281.00 weekly, she has lost her residence. Lost all of her savings and retirement monies (which were heavily penalized for early withdrawal). All of her belongings are in storage, and she has fallen behind on many of her monthly bills.
Yesterday, she received a letter informing her that the Worker’s Compensation Division agreed with the Insurance Company that Cheyenne should pay back 50% (make what They call ‘contributions’ of 50% to) the Worker’s Compensation Division for the Compensation which was given toward her back injury 25 years ago (when the 450 pound Patient broke her back), while she was Working and attending Nursing School. So, Cheyenne’s weekly benefit payments have now been reduced to $140.00 weekly. Cheyenne’s storage bill is $210.00 monthly. Her auto insurance is $130.00 monthly. Her truck payment is $398.00 monthly. You do the Math. Cheyenne’s in the proverbial black hole financially, before she can even consider any of her other living expenses.
She has lost her Good Health and Her Quality of Life. Must she lose Everything else she has Worked to achieve and own as well?
The Worker’s Compensation Division, and the Insurance Companies which Bully and Rule them, the doctors and the Injured Patients, have for two and a half years made a nonsensically unethical and abusive Situation even more nonsensical - more unethical - more abusive.
It has become amazingly and catastrophically clear to Cheyenne that the Worker’s Compensation Folks and the School’s Insurance Company intend to leave her physically crippled - disabled - and in pain for the rest of her Life. They also do not care - have no Conscience toward the Fact that their Actions ( and non-Actions) have made her impoverished and homeless. They do not care whether or not Cheyenne will ever be able to Walk normally, Run, Dance, Sing, Play or Explore the World again.
Cheyenne is just one of many Yellow Files - many Aging Ciphers they just want to close down - crunch up - shred up and throw away into the trash heap. Worker’s Compensation and the Insurance Companies seem to have no Awareness that when they do that, they will be throwing away some very major parts of Life As She Once Knew It, into the trash heap, as well. She is being converted into just more refuse for the already circling vultures to clammer and yammer over.
It appears that modern medicine would rather turn Cheyenne (and as many Other Human Beings as possible) into a Pain Pill Popper. Pharmaceuticals are a rapidly growing business. Pharmaceutical commercials show up on television’s many channels every moment of the day. “Take this or that Pill and your Troubles, Worries and Pains will all go away”.
Keep her (and everyone else) doped up and quiet. Slowly destroy her (and everyone else’s) liver and other Body parts with the powerful toxins in Pain Pills instead of spending the money to Fix her (and anyone else her Age). They don’t like the fact that Cheyenne has refused to remain on the Pain Pill Poppers voluminous Menu. That she sees Pain Pills, as a short term remedy for pain - not a lifelong protracted remedy which becomes a ‘toxic habit’ - another eventually destructive factor to have to deal with. Instead, Cheyenne titrated herself off of the ’medication cocktail’, and is opting to take 2300 mgs. of ibuprophen daily.
Worker’s Comp and the Insurance Company have no Intention of allowing Cheyenne to Healthily go her Way while They UnEthically go theirs.
In fact, Cheyenne has even been forced to hire a lawyer, just to be able to successfully deal with the high paid lawyers the Insurance Company has rooting for and winning for its side, during every hearing. Healing has no place in those hearings. The hearings are about Rules and Laws, and who can play the Game better than the other. The Patient’s Pain, Health, and Overall Quality of Life are of no meaningful consideration or consequence. They are an afterthought to one lawyer’s ability to win over the other.
What’s worse is that, since the Texas tort reforms of the 1990s, the Game is rigged in favor of the Insurance Companies and their Interests. The lawyer Cheyenne hired told her so. There is only so much they can do. They have to play with the hand dealt to them - within the parameters of the Games Rules - and, as a Consequence (justly or unjustly) so does she. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. It’s all a matter of who Plays the Game Best. That determines who walks (or hobbles) Home Singing the Blues.
What is Cheyenne’s Crime? She was injured while attending to the Needs of her Students. She is being Punished and Penalized for being one of ‘those People’ - one of ‘those Workers’ who always Gives 110% to every Job - every Endeavor. And as a result, sometimes finds herself being at risk while striving for the Care and Safety of Others. It’s a Catch-Two scenario. You’re darned if you do and darned if you don’t.
She is having tremendous difficulty making Lemonade this time around. Cheyenne is being forced to swallow whole and choke down the Lemons thrown at her. The undiluted, sour acid of the Lemons is beginning to eat her up from the inside-out - the outside-in. Perhaps, she can make Lemon Pudding, if she gives it a spin! Too bad that she can't shake and shimmy the way she used to. That would certainly shake and shimmy things up for the Better! Oh, if only They would Fix her. Set her Lose. And Let her!
Where is Justice? Where are the attempts to make this situation Even - Balanced? Why is she being Forced to spend the rest of her Life as a (shimmyless and shakeless) Pain Ridden Cripple? So much Lost. So little Gained. The Stone's been cast and fallen flat onto Hard, Parched, (seemingly) Unfertile Ground. There's no Pulsating, Healing, Living Water's Ripple.
Where are the Makings for Lemonade? Lemon Pudding?
When is Enough....Enough?

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Get it off your chest
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happylion2009-07-22 21:35:36
I'm sorry you are hurting Leah.

Leah Sellers2009-07-25 20:03:46
Hello Happy Lion,
Thank you for your words of Compassion.
Through many hours of prayer and meditation involving bio-feedback and my own brand of physiological atomic visualizations of my spine and affected nerves and muscles, I have been able to sustain a fairly balanced overall mindset regarding this whole unnecessary, unethical, impoverishing and degenerative ordeal. However, I do have days when I have my moments (normally right after I have had to deal with some litigious or systematic ridiculousness) !And the day I wrote this article just happened to be one of those days.
Honestly, if I were not having to live through this ludicrous Life Experience, I would have difficulty believing it actually happens to thousands of people within our modern, technological (so-called) Enlightened Society and Nation.
By the way, I like your moniker. The lion, in many cultures symbolizes: strength, energy, courage, strong Family ties, the ablity to let go of stress, the Power of the Sun (and all it symbolizes), and the assertion of the Feminine. On top of all of these wonderful attributes, you have Chosen to be a Happy Lion !
I bow to the Wisdom of your Choice !

happylion2009-07-28 00:21:41
You don't remember me do you Leah? Think of your home town.

Leah Sellers2009-07-28 07:00:54
Yes, Happylion, I remember you. My best thoughts and wishes are with you and your Family.

happylion2009-07-28 19:49:02
thank you, and my love to your family as well.

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