I Fear for My Father

By Jimmy Streich

My father has been through a lot. Out of high school he joined the army and saw the world and came home to marry the women he loved. He was blessed with three children and spent his whole life working in the same factory until 2004 when a botched surgery left him mentally and physically disabled. He needed help doing the most common things that most of us take for granted like eating and using the bathroom and for 8 years his wife took care of that for him until she was diagnosed with cancer in 2012.

In the last 10 years he’s seen every penny they had stolen from them (over 150,000.00) and the women who did it got away without any prison time and only paid back 10% because she was a friend of the judge and everyone in the courthouse. In 2012 his wife was diagnosed with colon cancer the surgery almost killed her, she was given a 10% chance of survival after collapsed lungs and 2 deadly infections including MRSA but survived only to see the cancer return in early 2013 and spread.

Last year we lost her to the cancer after it spread to her lungs and only weeks before we buried my brother at the age of 45 (an Iraq war veteran) who went into the hospital with chest pains and was given a clean bill of health, only to die from a heart attack just four days later. The debt of not one but two funerals almost cost us our home and we’re still fighting to get caught back up but none of that compares to the fear I felt on November 8th upon hearing Donald Trump announced as the next president.

My father is only able to stay at home through a government waiver program, one that allows me to be his full-time caregiver while getting paid a few hours a day. Our only source of income is the money from the waiver program and his social security, being almost 80 he’s on Medicare and Medicaid or we would go without his medication more often than we already do.

I am now living in fear that the waiver program will be cut and I won’t be able to keep him here at home with me (a promise I made my mother before her passing). What will happen if Republicans cut Medicare and Medicaid like they have been trying to do for almost twenty years, or worse, cut Social Security benefits? I’ve lived every day the last twelve years worrying his congestive heart failure, kidney failure or diabetes would get worse and take him from us but none of those compare to the fear I have that now politics will.

He didn’t survive the army and all the hardships that followed including burying a son and his wife (weeks before their 50th anniversary) only to see it all for nothing. I’ve made a lot of friends on social media who have helped us get caught up on what we fell behind and even helped us save our home when it was about to be foreclosed through a GoFundMe account I set up for him.

He has feared the last couple days if there is room for someone like him in Trump's America and it pains me that I can’t tell him honestly that there is. I don’t know what the future hold but can honestly say for me it holds fear, fear that I won’t be able to keep the promise I made to my mother and fear there really is no room for brave men like my father in Trumps America. I’m keeping a positive face because my father has been through enough but I am truly scared for the future, with my low income I will probably lose the Medicaid expansion from Obamacare and I’m fine with that, as far as sacrificies I’ve made the last twelve years going without insurance doesn’t even crack the top five but after all the sacrifice if it’s all for not and Robert can’t stay home with family where he belongs it will all have been a waste.