A PTSD Memoir: That Health Care Bill

David-Elijah Nahmod is a film critic and reporter in San Francisco. His articles appear regularly in The Bay Area Reporter, South Florida Gay News and Hoodline.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Today I join millions of Americans in rejoicing at the GOP’s failure to “reform” health care. For all of Mitch McConnell’s posturing about “keeping my promise to the American people,” many of us have heard enough to know what this is really about. As when he stole a Supreme Court seat from rightful nominee Merrick Garland, McConnell is trying to bully his health care bill through because he wants to erase the legacy of President Barack Obama. A “good old boy” from the South, white dude McConnell is furious that we had an African American President for eight years.

The polls show that a sizable majority of Americans want to keep the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, yet the evil, mentally unhinged (in my view) McConnell keeps babbling on and on about “keeping my promises to the American people.”

Last week on MSNBC I saw an interview with a guy who lives with spinal atrophy. He can’t even sit up, yet he smiled and spoke of what a good life he leads at home with him mom and with his friends. The Medicaid cutbacks which McConnell wants would literally kill this young man. It was a profoundly moving and humbling interview. It made me question what an “Obamacare repeal and replace” might mean to me.

Well, two months ago I checked into the hospital and underwent full knee replacement surgery, which was followed by six weeks of intense, sometime painful physical therapy. I’m now around 80% recovered and my mobility is rapidly returning–this includes the ability to ride my bicycle, which I’d not been able to do for 2 1/2 years prior to my surgery.

Before the operation, I wore a knee brace for 5 years, without which I could barely walk–my knee would buckle under me without that brace. Last year my doctor told me that my knee was literally disintegrating. Without the surgery I’d eventually end up in a wheelchair. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act I had the surgery and am doing great, not that Mitch McConnell gives a shit.

Then there’s my PTSD.

I developed PTSD–Post Traumatic Stress Disorder–as a result of growing up in an abusive home–this included being subjected to gay “conversion” therapy. In the distant past I had terrifying flashbacks to that awful childhood. At times I had psychotic breakdowns—today I can barely remember some of the things I did in that awful state. Before the Affordable Care Act I had access to second tier medications which helped, but failed to completely eliminate my symptoms. Thanks to President Obama’s signature legislation I now get the full dosage of the medications which properly treat me, all at no cost to me. My symptoms are gone–there’s not a trace of them, all because of the Affordable Care Act.

I don’t doubt for a second that McConnell would take that away from me along with the knee surgery, considering the senator’s strong opposition to gay rights.

None of us are immortal. At some point we will all need medical care for one reason or another. And make no mistake about it, a medical crisis can hit anyone at any age. It is therefore imperative that we continue our opposition to McConnell’s terrible health care bill, and to show up for the mid-terms so we can vote these GOP bastards out of office before they kill us, as they clearly would like to do.


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