Super

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And for once I was SuperMom

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Is it just a movie?

"What do you want to do with the evening?" is the inevitable question that Scott asks me each night once the children are put away and the house picked up.  This question is often heard with a sprinkling of guilt and indecision.  I should spend the evening writing.  I should spend the evening painting.  What I want to do is curl up on the couch with Scott and stare at something on TV.
I try to see TV and movies as a treat.  After all it is entertainment, and isn't that something you only do when you don't have anything else to do?  An agreeable distraction for the mind?  After all, ladies and gentlemen, I have shit to do.
Occasionally I do give in, an evening is sacrificed on the throne of mindless enjoyment.  Friday night I gave up the evening of potential productiveness to snuggling with Scott, drinking a summer ale, and watching the movie 'Elysium.'  The movie is about a dis topic future where humankind has laid waste to the Earth and the wealthy have retreated to a space station that is akin to paradise.  The plot focuses on the fact that all citizens of Elysium have 'med bays' in their homes, a futuristic MRI-like machine that heals them from all ills.  These 'med bays' are not available to the citizens of Earth.
Without even viewing the movie I knew that the plot was an analogy for the developed world and the developing.  I like movies that provoke thought...

When we lived in Kenya we noticed that the Kenyans often overdressed their babies in super warm clothing.  Down coats and hats in 80 degree weather.  I was constantly asked if Emma was cold.  Eventually we learned that almost every Kenyan knew someone who had lost a child to pneumonia.  The warm clothing was to combat sickness.
When Carys was nine months old she came down with pneumonia.  She had been acting a little off that day, during her nap I read an article in Parents magazine that described the symptoms of respiratory distress in infants.  I went in to her room to check on her, her nostrils were flaring raggedly, and her ribs were fluttering in and out.  Through a series of phone calls I got her to a doctor in about an hour.  She was admitted to the hospital that night and we spent two extremely un-fun nights until the doctor felt she was healthy enough to go home.  Through the whole ordeal I kept my emotions stable by assuring myself that we were in a developed nation, Carys was hooked up to monitors, and there was a room full of trained professionals that would rush in here the moment anything misfired.  I asked my doctor what I could've done to prevent her illness, 'never let her near another child,' was her answer.  I could not have controlled the situation.  But because I live in a developed nation with good medical care Carys lived.  I knew that...
Carys in the hospital.  Being visited by her sister.


But the movie provoked more thought, if I was truly in a nation where I didn't have a doctor's office a five minute drive from my house, and a hospital a twenty minutes from my house, how would that have progressed.  Say I didn't have access to a magazine that told me what symptoms to look for in my baby?  Say I couldn't even read, because my family couldn't afford to educate me or didn't value educating girls?  Say I didn't have access to a car?  Or couldn't pay for a doctor's visit.  Or didn't have a husband that believed me when I called him and said, 'something's not right with our baby, come home and take us to the doctor.'
Where would I have been then?
Where would Carys have been?

The one thing that does bother me about sci-fiction movies like Elysium is that they are so out there that some viewers can miss how truthful they really are.  We watch and think, 'gosh it would be nice to have a med bay in my home, those bastard citizens of Elysium, why don't they share?'
I guess we can start sharing.
Pneumonia is one of the leading killers of children.  We can donate to Unicef.
Malaria is another leading cause of death in the third world.  We can donate to malaria.com.
Both of these diseases are extremely preventable.  Of course pneumonia is an infection that stems from the flu, so educating about hand washing, breast feeding, and treatment of the flu will help.  Think about all the basic knowledge you have to help your children.  Now imagine that you can't read...
There are countless ways we can help, please write me with ways that you have thought of and charities that you have found to be exemplary, I would love to hear from you.

1 comment:

kim @ attract a man said...

Hey Lara,

That was really thought provoking. I didn't see elysium that way.

When the day comes and I have my child...
I want to live close to the doctor and the hospital.

thanks for this!

Kimi