Letters from a Lesbian August 2014

On Medical Issues

Dear World,

I recently injured myself. I have a fracture on my L3 vertebrae. There is also a significant amount of inflammation in my nerves and muscles. As well, I seem to have some progression of and complications from my idiopathic peripheral neuropathy. The bottom line is: my back is a wreck right now.

It has been a very difficult ride so far. I am unable to work my day job. It has even been difficult to write due to the severe pain and the effects of the pain medications I am taking. I am no longer able to do my normal household chores like vacuuming, laundry, etc. It has been a very humbling experience.

With all of the doctor and hospital visits, tests, MRIs, x-rays and the like, I’ve had a lot of time to think.

For as difficult as this has been, I have also been incredibly fortunate. I have not had to face any “problems” being a (Latina) LGBT. My wife has been included in the information and decision making processes. She has always been allowed to be by my side.

With my gratitude comes pity. How many Hispanics and members of the LGBT community are disregarded or unable to receive proper testing and treatment? Whether it’s in our home countries or here in the States, so many of us are denied access to the health care we need. We are also denied the rights to be with our spouses and partners when they are ill. How many of us cannot partake in the decision making process for our partners?

It’s sad that in a country where everyone is supposed to be free and equal, we are not. We do not have equal rights. Day by day, we are seeing improvement. The US government inches its way towards equality, but we still have a long way to go.

In times like this, I am so incredibly grateful to live in a state where my wife and I have marriage equality. It is a blessing to be able to be by her side and to have her by mine when medical crises like this arise. I am grateful, but I cannot stop there. I need to help fight for my fellow Hispanics and LGBT community. We must all work together to ensure that all of our friends, family, and our communities can share in the same rights and needs as everyone else.

I am quite restricted as to what I can do physically, right now. But I still have a voice and a computer. These will be my aids and tools so that I can continue to fight for us all in my own manner.

Live life in your own special way,

Lauren

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