It was quiet when my eyes were closed. It was when I could be at peace despite my world falling to pieces. I could be in the middle of a crowded room, or in busy store, or even now, as I lay on this cold bed in the middle of the local emergency room… With my eyes closed, I could shut the ugliness of the world out, maybe even pretend I was well again.
Not even a week had passed of 2018, and here I was with an IV in my arm, my mom sleeping next to me in a cold hospital chair. As per usual, no one had any idea what was wrong with me. A fate I had grown accustomed to. Leaving five hours later with a prescription for painkillers I’d never fill, and a suggestion to “get some rest”.
My problem is I can never get enough rest. Not if I want to attempt to have a life by any standards. I can’t sleep my life away afterall.
So in that hospital bed I lay with my eyes closed, waiting for no news. And in that quietness I fell asleep, mulling over a dream. A dream I’ve had many times. One that I know now will unlikely come true. Not so much a dream, but more of a memory…
The last memory of my other life.
The life I had before this was all I knew.
A life that wasn’t filled with medications, cold hospital rooms, and the constant threat of more pain, more fatigue, and a new diagnosis every six months.
Furthermore, a life where I would find someone who loved me for me. Where they wouldn’t look at me and see broken. Where they would marry me no matter how many years we may have together. A life with choices, and maybe children.
It was a good dream. But eventually I woke up and opened my eyes… Back to the cold hospital bed, to the doctor telling me she could do no more. Back to my reality.
I slept for a long while that day, once I had climbed back into my own bed, and my mom departed for the long trip home. I was used to this aftermath of hospital visits. Used to the bed rest, dehydration, and exhaustion that inevitably followed. Used to the loneliness, the unbearable loneliness that came with my disease.
But this time something new followed, I was not so alone. He came with food, and hugs, and the support I needed to get through it without falling apart. And in the days that followed, I realised his love allowed me to mull over a new dream.
When I first decided to follow my roommates advice and open a GoFundme account for donations, I was a bit skeptical. I’d seen people use sites like it before for a myriad of different reasons… Fundraising for that dream honeymoon, getting through college, replacing a car that had been totalled by a drunk driver, and then of course all the many medical reasons, like hospital bills, surgery/procedure payment etc.
At first I wasn’t sure if I was worthy of a fundraising page. Sure, I was sick. I’d been out of work for a year, my joints were deteriorating, they recognised my face at the ER, and I knew the insides of the hospital more than some of its oldest employees. But I’ve always had a really hard time asking for help, especially asking for money. I’ve always thought it was one of those things that shouldn’t be asked for, only accepted if offered. But times change. And people change. I had to go out of my comfort zone. And to be honest, I’d already had practice asking from the week before. And this way I don’t deal with rejection face to face. If people don’t want to help, then they don’t have to.
When I give money for charity, I like to know where it’s going. I don’t like giving a dollar at the supermarket checkout, or donations at doors of shops. Sure, they say it’s going to help put food in kids mouths, or help research for cancer, but how do you know what funds actually make it there? Is my $1 paying for more ads? More plastic donation buckets? The pockets of the heads of the fundraiser?
That’s why my philanthropy is selective. I like to keep bottles of water or granola bars in my mom’s car for the homeless veterans that stand at intersections. I’ll donate money to friends for whatever they may be fundraising money for. Or drop off cans and dried food at the food drives they do at libraries, supermarkets, and schools. I like to see my money actually helping. So I can understand why others get skeptical as well when donating. That’s why on my description page of my gofundme account I was very clear what I was fundraising for. Rent, medical bills, necessities. I want people to know how they are helping me.
But fundraising is still really hard. My gofundme page records stats of how many people visit each day, and the number is surprising. A LOT of people visit! I’ve had it up for 18 days now and have received 17 donations totalling in about $3200, which is about 13% of my goal. Pretty great start I think. But then I get disheartened when I see that 300 people have visited my donation page.
I get paranoid that my cause isn’t an important one, or that people don’t believe I need the help. And I understand that not everyone has money to spare. It’s hard times. Not many of us have the luxury to give away money. When I donate, which is honestly probably only twice a month or so, I just think about it like I’m giving up one trip to Starbucks. When I was working I used to go to Starbucks pretty often and get a grande drink and a cheese danish. It’s a splurge that I don’t often get these days because of my financial hardships. But on average back then I’d say I used to spend about $8 on one trip. When I was more financially secure I used to donate up to 10 times a month, which in my mind was two trips a week to Starbucks. So instead of getting a Starbucks, I’d spend money on someone who needs it more than I needed a blended coffee. And now, while it’s not 10 times a month, every other week I forgo the thought of that icy beverage, and donate to someone in need instead.
I hope that others in the future can do the same for me. And if not, well that’s ok too. Not everyone likes to help out. It’s not a bad thing. Just personal preference I guess. I was told two weeks ago that to receive help from others you have to earn it. Interesting thought process. A bit close minded for my taste but we are all entitled to our own opinions. Freedom of speech and all that jazz.
But to the wonderful people that have donated so far, or intend to in the future…. well, thank you. I appreciate you giving up your Starbucks.