Apologies in advance for this post, because it may be upsetting to some readers. I don’t mean to upset people. This post is meant more of a reminder to be considerate.
Earlier this year, I found out that some people take what I write much more seriously than I ever realized. It was funny how it happened, too. This person reacted inappropriately to one of my posts. I shared a viral photo of someone and she said I looked “great”, mistaking me for the person in the picture. I probably should have just laughed it off. That’s the (unsolicited) advice people usually give me in such cases. Unsolicited advice also tends to piss me off. 😉
I ended up venting about that incident in this blog. My former Facebook friend (also a relative by marriage), who had been so complimentary of a picture that wasn’t of me, read the post, got offended about my vent, and blocked me. It’s not a big deal. I don’t miss her, since she pretty much proved to me that she’s not a real friend, anyway. What I feel is more disappointment than anything else.
What puzzled and upset me most about that exchange is that it started out perfectly innocently. With no malice whatsoever, I shared something I liked, and thought was important. My former friend reacted inappropriately and mistook the person in the photo for me. Instead of excusing herself, she just “laughed” it off… which made me feel belittled and disrespected. After a lifetime of that kind of thoughtless treatment from so-called loved ones, I got kind of mad about it, so I processed the disrespect by writing about it my blog. I naively figured that was better than telling her off on Facebook. She read my post; and the next thing I know, I’m an even bigger asshole to her. Oh well. I guess our family reunions will be more awkward from now on. 😉
At the risk of sounding like an asshole again, I’m going to write a similar post today. Once again, I’m feeling kind of disrespected and need to unpack it this blog. If you see yourself in today’s post and feel offended, please know that I do feel your pain. But I’m writing this because I was offended, and my feelings count, too. This is just my way of processing stuff. It helps keep me sane. The alternative is me either bottling up my feelings or ripping someone a new asshole in a more public setting. So I’m warning you now… don’t keep reading unless you can handle the truth.
Still with me? Okay… here goes.
A few months ago, a college friend of mine was in a really terrible car accident. She was very badly hurt. Her mom and a cousin posted a little bit about the wreck when it happened, but they never really followed up on my friend’s progress after that. They kind of left us hanging about her well-being. I kept checking my friend’s Facebook page over the summer, wondering how she was doing, but there was never an update.
Yesterday, two of my friend’s family members shared a crowdfunding post on her behalf. With their post, they included a rather disturbing picture of her right after the accident, which I’m sure was shared as a way of provoking shock, sympathy, and emotion. Personally, I’m not a big fan of taking photos of unconscious, intubated people who are hospitalized in intensive care units, and then sharing them publicly. But, under the circumstances, I guess I can understand why my friend’s family did it that way. They really need financial help, hence the GoFundMe post. A dramatic photo of someone who is grievously injured, hospitalized, and on the brink of death, is much more effective for fundraising, than a photo of someone who is conscious, somewhat healed, dressed, and sitting in a wheelchair.
I decided to donate some money. I know that people who are dealing with medical crises need financial assistance, and at this point in my life, I’m in a position to help. There was a time in my life when I had no money and people helped me. This is my way of paying it forward, and I do it with Bill’s blessing.
Although it kind of made me cringe to do so (mainly because of the scary, dramatic photo), I also shared the GoFundMe post on my Facebook page, because my college friend and I have mutual friends who might also want to help her. I know sometimes people stop following other people on social media, but still think of them as friends. It’s happened to me a few times. 😉 Maybe some of our mutual friends still follow me, but don’t follow her anymore. That’s probably unlikely, though, since she has never been a particularly frequent poster on Facebook and probably annoys people less often than I do.
Minutes after I posted the GoFundMe, I got an “angry” emoji reaction from someone who doesn’t even know my friend. This person didn’t explain why they were angry, so I was left to wonder about it. Were they angry at my friend’s family for asking for money? Is it because her insurance has run out and she’s being “kicked out” of the rehab hospital? Were they angry because she got t-boned by a 19 year old who broadsided her? Or were they angry at me for sharing the post and messing up their feed? I really don’t know, because they never explained.
I asked what was wrong. I didn’t get a timely response, so I deleted the post. Or, at least I thought I deleted the post. Then I made a new post, this time with a little more information about my friend.
Later, I got another “angry” emoji on that post. It was someone else who doesn’t know my friend, but works in the healthcare field. This person decided to leave a rant about how “greedy” rehab hospitals are, and how they can’t just kick her out if she has nowhere to go. That may be the truth, and as someone with a background in social work and public health, I certainly do know there are people who are trained to assist in these situations. But that post wasn’t the place for her rant.
I was also irritated that she had left an angry reaction on a post I thought I’d deleted and reposted, as a means of getting rid of the first angry reaction. But looking at it more closely, I realized that she had commented on the first post, which evidently wasn’t deleted after all. So now there were two inappropriate angry emojis. I started to respond to the rant, but then decided to try to delete the post again.
Imagine my unpleasant surprise this morning, when I woke up to two more angry reactions on the first post, which I thought I had deleted but clearly it hadn’t disappeared from my timeline. One person left a comment that I didn’t read, because I was further pissed that–
1. People were not keeping in the spirit of the post, which was simply asking for help for someone who really needs it.
2. There were a bunch of aggressive orange emojis staring back at me, when all I was doing was trying to help a friend… someone I actually know offline.
3. Twice, I had tried to delete the post, but people were still inappropriately responding to it.
Meanwhile, the new post I put up, edited with a request not to leave rants about the healthcare system, went completely ignored. I wondered if anyone could even see it. In fact, I just took it down, because I don’t like looking at that frightening photo of my friend, and I can see that other people have donated. I don’t want to feel angry today, especially while looking at people’s orange emojis on a post that was meant to do something good for someone else.
I wish Facebook would allow people to disable things like reaction emojis, comments, and gifs on serious posts. Far too many people are careless, situationally unaware, or just enjoy being trolls. Then they leave reactions that cause negative reactions in me. And, while I totally agree that the healthcare system sucks, and my old friend shouldn’t be threatened with being “kicked out” of rehab due to losing her insurance coverage, that post was NOT the place for a soapbox rant.
I should also mention that I’m not aware of the specifics of her case or the local laws where she is, nor do I know what type of facility she’s in. As I mentioned before, her family wasn’t very forthcoming with information in the weeks that followed the accident, not that it was anyone else’s business. But, because I don’t know the specifics, I can’t really speak to whether or not what the rehab hospital is allegedly doing is “legal” or standard.
However, I DO know, from being a social worker with a health administration background, that people in my friend’s situation pretty much always need financial support, regardless of what kind of insurance coverage they have, or what the official “rules” are. And that was the spirit I had when I initially shared the post for people who know and care about her.
If you can’t or aren’t interested in helping, just keep scrolling. It’s not that difficult. Leaving inappropriate angry reactions and rants isn’t useful to anyone. And leaving the first angry reaction is basically an invitation to other people to follow your lead, which is obviously what happened in this case.
I don’t want to tell people what to do… and God knows, I don’t want to tell anyone to “refrain” (hate that word) from doing anything. But I do wish people would be more thoughtful and considerate, and not make things about themselves. I’d love it if Facebook would let us just share things without allowing reactions or comments, so this kind of thing doesn’t happen.
On a side note… I noticed that my friend and her family members are folks who wholeheartedly support(ed) the orange overlord who is about to be booked in Fulton County Jail this week. I wonder if this situation might help them realize that everyone needs access to affordable healthcare, and that asking your friends and loved ones to send financial support is kind of akin to taking welfare– only instead of applying for government assistance, you’re playing on people’s emotions and hoping they’ll be kind and open their hearts and wallets.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind helping my friends when I can. But we all need access to healthcare that doesn’t break people financially and put their loved ones’ livelihoods in jeopardy. It really is for the public’s good that decent, affordable healthcare be a human right. I know my friend never thought she’d be in a horrific car accident right after she took a vacation to Hawaii. Now, according to her family, she’s homeless and about to discharged from a rehab hospital she evidently still needs. That shouldn’t happen in the United States in 2o23.
So ends today’s rant. If you feel like blocking me because of it, have at it. I just hope it inspires some consideration in a few people.