The webcomics blog about webcomics

Love And Hate

Those that read this page know that I’m basically in the embloggenation game solely because of Jon Rosenberg; he persuaded me to start (for his own nefarious purposes), he hosts this page and provides assistance when things break, and he once bought my soul for a dollar. We’ve got a history, is what I’m saying.

We haven’t had regular Thursday night beer since about the time his daughter was born; she’s a full person, nearly double-digits in years if not already. It’s been thanks to electronic means of contact that I’ve kept in contact since, and particularly watched Jon and his wife Amy deal with a series of terrifying medical challenges — their twin boys were the result of a especially high-risk pregnancy, that beat some very long odds to produce two alive children. The cost was a literal multi-million dollar medical bill, and a case of cerebral palsy for one of them.

As CP cases go, it’s far from the worst you could have, and Alec has already defied expectations by learning to walk when that was doubtful. But the misfiring nerves that make that such a challenge for him will not behave on their own, which will lead to a lifetime of struggle to maintain that ability. That struggle will impair him in many other ways; bluntly, if you have to spend half your conscious brain cycles on putting your feet where they belong, there’s not so many left over for everything else. His physical condition will deteriorate, and it’ll be much tougher for him to achieve educationally.

So imagine for a moment — three kids, including twins with a medical bill that you’ll never pay off, one of whom has needed special therapy for the entire six years of his life. It would break the highest dual-income couples I know, and we all know that while Jon’s cartooning is great, it’s not a seven-figure income gig. Any reasonable person would crumble in the face of the challenge, or optionally fake their death and light out for the territories.

Jon has thrived at being a father, and especially at being a special needs father. I don’t think he would have told you he ever thought he could do it, but that’s what capital-L Life handed him, so he dug down and did what needed to be done. The scotch helps. Anybody that’s ever bitched in his direction about the frequency of his updates, eat a sack of something deeply unpleasant; he’s taking care of his family first.

For the past year, Jon and Amy have been exploring an option that will give Alec a shot at avoiding the worst that CP has in store for him; it’s a surgery (best applied before kids turn seven) that will shave out the spinal nerves that send garbage signals to his legs. It’ll require a year of intensive therapy to learn to walk all over again, but when he does, Alec won’t face the continued degeneration that would be a certainty otherwise. They’ve got insurance, but it won’t pay for the follow-on care that’s necessary.

So Jon’s launched a campaign to raise the money — US$65,000 — that’s needed to give Alec a shot at a more normal life. In the (as of this writing) 14 hours since it went live, people have very generously donated more than US$14,000. That’s amazing, and I love you for it.

I hate that it has to happen.

I hate that with insurance, a family that’s employed has to make decisions like Does our son get to live a normal life, or do none of the kids go to college? I hate that an insurance plan would cover a surgery of this nature, but not the follow-on care that prevents it from being a waste; the money spent now will not only spare Alec disability and pain for a lifetime, it will prevent later costs associated with his condition. Did I mention that Amy’s job, the source of the insurance in question, is with a medical insurance corporation? Even their own aren’t cared for. It’s unworthy of a wealthy society, and the sooner we get back to the idea of medical care being a nonprofit endeavour, the better.

Jon’s going to be away for a while; Alec gets his nerves trimmed at the start of November, and it’ll be Jon’s new job to get him to and from rehab, to work with him through the toughest year of his young life¹. Comics can wait until that’s done. He’ll let us know how things are going, and with any luck in less than a year he’ll have a video on Twitter of Alec racing his brother and sister across the lawn and we can all have a good cry and know it was worth it.

Then we roll up our sleeves and make it so that the most fundamental needs — food, water, shelter, healthcare — are not subject to a godsdamned libertarian myth of self-sufficiency and are instead recognized as the human rights that they are.

If you can be generous now, please do so. If you can be loud and insistent later, please do so. But let’s stop this crap where people get healthcare based on how wide their social circle is, or how sympathetic their stories are². For the moment though, it’s all we’ve got. We’re all we’ve got.

Spam of the day:

Find the best treatment options for specific cancers

Why do I have a feeling that this will lead me back to GoFundMe?

¹ Arguably, he’s already past the toughest year — odds were not good that Alec would be born alive, and he managed that.

² Not to mention moralistic gatekeeping. I loathe GoFundMe, for doing things like preventing seriously ill sex workers from raising money to save their lives, because platform rules don’t allow GFM to be used to support pornography. And if they cure their illness/injury, then they could be alive enough to make porn. Fuck GoFundMe in the ear-hole, but only after my donation is processed.

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