Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sanctimonious and Shameful


Two little Bangladeshi girls, both almost 3 years old, conjoined since birth by the head were separated today. Found in an orphanage, rescued by a well-meaning Australian, Moira Kelly of the "Children First Foundation".

Surgeons at the Royal Children's Hospital successfully separated Krishna and Trishna at 11am and after 32 hours of surgery, these little girls are now in intensive care at Melbourne's Royal Children's hospital and we wait to see if they recover.

I wonder about the ethical dilemma here. Had they remained in Bangladesh, they would surely have died. Unable to ambulate and showing signs of intellectual disability, in an orphanage that could not afford their care.

Nobody has mentioned the cost of the surgery or who's paying. We can only hope since they are not Australian nationals (for whom the surgery would have been free) that the charity will cover the expenditure or the wonderful doctors who performed it and the hospital which provided their facilities have given their services pro bono.

Either way, it makes me wonder, perhaps cruelly, about all the children who might have benefited from something more simple and less costly in a world where charity is dwindling thanks to the GFC and our perceived need to tighten our belts. Eye surgery, immunisation, occupational therapy to correct rickets, AIDS education and care or simply a fresh water pump in their village. Am I cruel for thinking that a glamour event with 25% success rate is denying other children a chance at a better life? I don't begrudge these little poppets their chance at life. I am grateful that a wonderful Australian charity has taken up their cause but I just wonder how you choose . . .who to save . . who to leave. Triage at it's most heart-wrenching.

Sanctimonious and ultimately shameful words from me, while I sit here with my cheapo chardy, dinner on the hob waiting for the family to return and plooking away on my computer. Me, who has just paid $185 because her stupid dog who eats better than most third world families, chose to eat a bee this morning at 7am and puffed up like a Sharpei before 7:45. So distraught was I about her plight, I didn't even take a photograph!

Not Lily but a damn good impression . . .


My priorities are so hypocritical. That's it. I'm doing something about it. I whine about having no money, working 45 hours a week, having recipes that cover a million ways with mince, complaining about not being able to sell my nest egg. I have absolutely NOTHING to worry about. My tap water is potable, I have hot water and a flushing toilet. I have a fridge, access to free health, fabulous cheap fresh food, a roof over my head and the necessities of life. For goodness sakes we have three cars between us - clapped out but working! I'm not flogging my horses to carry firewood or pull tourists around some middle eastern city or to provide food for the hungry although they're well fat enough!. They're just paddock bashing organic lawnmowers bought at a time when money was plentiful and whims were to be satiated. And if all else fails, they can be butchered and eaten! I have a dog that is on weight management dog food, I'm fat as a house and I sleep in a Queen sized bed ! Ashamed doesn't cut it.

"I iz itchy"

Today I am feeling fortunate that by nothing more than sheer luck of birth I was born into a middle class western family. Even the Troll Bitch cannot dampen my gratefulness . . . . my frustration, loneliness, lack of liquidity are absolutely meaningless compared to the trials of others who by some whim of fate ended up in places so much worse than me.

I hope these little mites make it and I hope others are driven to do something pretty special to help the less fortunate who are not brought into the limelight, no matter how small. I know that I am grateful for the things I have even if I whinge constantly for the things I don't.

36 comments:

Mrsupole said...

Maybe there is something in the air. I just posted another shameless promotion for "made4aid" and then I come here and see your story.

I do not know the answer to many of your questions. I do not know how we can possibly choose who to help and who not to help. I think we can only try to help.

And yes, in many ways we should feel guilty about all that we have, but I think we would go crazy if we let the guilt consume us. We are very blessed to be where we are, and I think that what goes on has always gone on. There is no equality in life. What makes one person happy does not make another person happy. There are people who have what we would consider nothing, and they are very happy, while there are those who have what we would consider everything, and they are unhappy.

I guess that we just are what we are, and that life is just life, and we help those we can, it is all we can do.

I hope the little girls are okay. Someone was looking after them. And I am glad that Lily is well and survived the bee bite. I am allergic to bees and would be in trouble if I got bit. Bees scare me. Wasps scare me even more.

I love the itchy picture.

God bless.

Mrsupole said...

Whoops, I also wanted to ask if everyone can help me to shamelessly promote "made4aid" again.

It is that time of year for giving and there are still many things available to bid on.

Oh and have you seen the black emerald necklace available right now, it is gorgeous.

God bless.

Susan at Stony River said...

Aw, poor things. I hope they're doing well.

I was once told that these big-time cases are often taken on to help raise awareness of the condition and/or the charities involved, so that they can gain more sponsors, more donations, and ultimately have the funds to help more people. Hopefully that's what's going on here too, but who knows? Meanwhile I can't help but wonder what the rest of the babies' lives will be like, after the hoopla dies down.

Anyhow, amen to gratitude: there's a lot I wish I could change but compared to 80% of the world's people I live like a queen. I'm happy enough with a roof over my head and all three of my children alive and well.

nick said...

We shouldn't feel guilty about being better-off than millions of other people. Unfortunately that's just the way of the world and we have little control over it - governments vary, national resources vary, climates vary, economic know-how varies. We all end up in very different circumstances. All we can do is help those we're in a position to help and hope those who're worse off can somehow better themselves.

Brian Miller said...

you cant choose...you just save who you can...each one a hope of life...a hard lesson for my self appointed hero mentality...

stay grateful. smiles.

Roy said...

Not sanctimonious or shameless at all, just the normal dilemma of someone with an actual conscience. If you didn't worry about your reactions, then there'd be cause for concern!

Don't Bug Me! said...

Don't feel guilty, be grateful and appreciate what you have. Then do what you can to help others, knowing that there is no way that you can help everyone. Being happy is not the same as having money and being well fed and having a fat dog (or cats, in my case). You can have nothing and be happy. You can be hungry and be happy. Happiness is different for everyone. Some of us are and some of us aren't, for no obvious reason.

laughingwolf said...

we do what we can, at any time...

Grannymar said...

We cannot help everyone. If we did sell up and give all our belongings to the poor, who would feed and clothe us?

I am not walking the cold streets of Ireland naked for anyone. The bumps are bad enough without goosebumps on top of them!

OK,so I sound like I am not taking things seriously, but when you think of it.... the leaders of the G7, G20 or whatever they call themselves this week, CANNOT solve the worlds woes so how can we? These worthies are staying and eating in the top hotels. I wonder if they were under tents in a war-zone or the middle of a desert UNGUARDED - would it make their thinking any clearer.

Renee said...

I hear what you are saying dear friend. I hear that the money could help 100 children instead of 2.

I hope that the 100 get help but I am also thankful that the 2 got helped and I know you are too.

I love you.

Renee xoxoxo

Kate Hanley said...

What a lot to think about. I too, wonder about where to send my money when I get solicitations from Doctors without Borders and local food shelf. I can't give it all away. I do hope the girls are okay and I'm glad they have this chance. Thanks for writing this.

kj said...

And you have friends who love you. Count me in on that.
Hells, we do what we can. I am earning two thirds less than I earned as a consultant, but I feel I am paying back for the luck of my birth. We shouldn't ignore what we see, once we know--that is my guideline. I'm lucky I can afford to work for less

I wonder if we as a world society got rid of money as currency altogether if we could then let generosity as a way of life....

Don't forget how loved you are: it's wind for your sails

xo

Christopher said...

Others have said it already, but I'll add again that you should do what you can and take joy in what you have--don't let the guilt consume you. Your priorities are not "hypocritical", nor are they necessarily even unjustified. You don't consider yourself more worthy of the things that you have than others--you wish others could have it as good as you do. And no matter how good you have it there are going to be times when you're frustrated, when you'd like something to be different or you'd like to have something you don't. But you also enjoy the things you have.

I actually know people who, if they got everything they wanted, would still be miserable. I used to work for a man who owned his own company and was worth $25 million. I'd say "Good morning" to him and he'd always reply, "What's good about it?" The company's business was customer service, which is ironic since I don't think I've known anyone less interested in helping others than he was--and he had the resources to help lots of people who needed it.

You are nothing like him.

Ronda Laveen said...

Perspective. It is easy to get lost in our own little tunnel of limited vision. You've shone the light on the end of the tunnel.

Megan said...

Oh, Baino. How I hear you on this. I've felt the same way before, and I'll feel the same way again.

And now I'm going to have to trash the post I was going to put up today, but that's a good thing. It was one big whine!

Cheers to you, and I echo Roy's comment. And all the comments here, really. LOL image of grannymar with goosebumps on her goosebumps!

e said...

Thank you for posting this---a reminder to spare a thought and some action for others and to be grateful for what we have is far from shameful...

As someone pointed out, it puts things in perspective.

GayƩ Terzioglu said...

I think surgeons actually like to stay on top of the medical technology by taking assignments like these. Yes it is costly and someone has to foot the bill but they can only improve their own skills in this area so much without working on real patients.
They need the practice, so to speak. Other areas of medicine or social / community services need separate interest groups working to improve the conditions of people who need it.
Usually when there is a rare or relatively rare medical condition, there will be doctors from all over the world interested in sorting it out or at least trying.
Thankfully they do, because if I do have Siamese twins then I know they have some experience to be able to work on my kids.
I know what you mean though, I usually feel a bit peeved at people who go thousands of miles to adopt children just so they have a different colour skin and be eccentric, when there are kids perhaps in the next suburb who could use a hand in life.

Tom said...

we're all very lucky to be where we are, and thanks to you for being aware of the plight of others...btw, hope your doggy is doing ok; it's crazy what we spend on our animals--animals that don't even contribute in any way, except by being rascals...and cute.

Gledwood said...

This is such a shitty world I just count anyone lucky who gets anything they need, especially something as major as that ...

Mim said...

When I heard about this story this morning I wondered what you would think about it.

It's all so tough to grasp - way beyond my comprehension. I also wake up grateful, and then bitch all day cause its cold and my toes are frozen. I should be thanking the gods that it's not my whole body that's freezing, and that I have a warm house and a warm office to go to.
KJ is right, friends help

Kath Lockett said...

You've really hit the nail on the head, Baino. Whilst running this morning (my key 'alone and thinking' time) I too was pondering just how randomly lucky some of us are to be born in a western, well off nation when others are not. The questions of who lives or dies; or who is adopted, rescued, given charity or aid is one that I'll always wrestle with.

Having said that, it doesn't stop me from knitting blankets for the homeless shelter (gives me something to do when I'm slobbed out in front of the telly), being a Litter Ninja (local council grant for 2010), being a subscriber to The Big Issue but also giving vendors a gold coin when I pass by; sponsoring a world vision child; buying heaps and heaps and HEAPS of raffle tickets.

We just do what we can with what we've got. What else is there?

otin said...

I had a convo with a coworker today about why the media chooses certain child abduction cases to focus on, while there are so many others that never get national attention?

Life is the biggest lottery of all. So much depends on where you are born.

Baino said...

Thoughtful comments everyone. I'll never get around tonight if I answer you all but yeh, we should just be grateful and indeed I am. I won the lottery in this life!

ebony said...

Hey Baino! I've missed your blogs :). I'm still too busy to write..and I'm starting to be afraid that I won't know how to write when I try.. oh well

I hope the girls can lead a healthy life...

Kate said...

I hear what you're saying but there really is no point in beating yourself up.

Instead just enjoy what you have.... I do... so I'll never be rich and never change the world but I look at my kids, dog and cat and know that I have more than most when it comes to love!

Baino said...

Hi Ebs. Just tried to email you but it bounced. Can you send me your current email address?

Rowe said...

Ah, Baino. I like people who think laterally, a little deeper than the average Joe Average. Your thoughts are relevant, I think your heart is in the right place, that is what counts. I bet you I could out-whinge you. I am far better off than the myriad of misfortunate souls on this planet, yet I manage to find something to have a good whine about, most days. Love that spoiled rotten photo of Lily.

Miladysa said...

(hugs)

I'll say a little prayer for the girls - every little helps.

I was reading about the Brazilian who has something like 10.4 billion £s and is donating £10 million to Madonna's new venture in Brazil. It doesn't make sense that he has so much money in the first place.

I doesn't make sense that most of the world goes to bed hungry, sleeps rough and lacks medical care etc.

I wish I did more, I know I should do more. I know that the human race should do more to help one another.

Kurt said...

You're a girl?!

Baino said...

I haven't had time to respond to all the wonderful comments on this post but Kurt. . . what planet are you on .. Yes I'm a GIRL! Nay . . I am a WOMAN . . .Friday Fuckwit is suspended this week due to travels with she who love shoes . .Kurt . .you're IT. And no that doesn't stand for Information Technology

Candie Bracci said...

Hey Baino!Nice post and yes lucky to have been born in a country that allows freedom of speech too!

On one side,there is nothing,on the other,there is too much,but we don't have the finances to buy them and I'm not talking about clothes or toys,I'm talking about food and rent..yeah soon,it will be that way with king the dwarf..I know nothing has changed since the time of kings,it always been,but now..we are returning completely in that crap,perhaps he'll be the next Louis XVI?Sorry I know I complain,but when I see people dying of hunger on one side,and the supermarkets throwing many items of food,cause they have too much that they sell at a high price,but they have paid peanuts to the people who are the ones who are waking up in the morning,to work hard,for them to open their supermarket..I'm sick.And more when I seen old people searching for those items they have thrown up earlier cause they have been working all their life,but now they have to survive..again,I'm sick.While king the dwarf is having the serious look ans proud when he remembers all those men during the WWII and want to honor the ancient,start by giving them a decent life asshole!

Ok,sorry Baino,I had to throw this on your blog,lol.There are so many things wrong in the whole world!

Have a nice day!

Sandy Kessler said...

perspective my dear some days I feel like th emost blessed individual ever..and others when I look at the falling down gouse, and the fact that I cannot swallow I feel all alone and old and sad and then I remind myself of what you wrote here..sandy This year I think of all the returning soldiers without legs.angel soldiers

VE said...

What I struggle with is that there isn't enough world for all the people in it to live adequately. There are simply too many humans on the planet now and it's growing exponentially. For example, if every single person used toilet paper the way the western world thinks is normal...there wouldn't be a tree left on the planet. Still, life is beautiful if you choose to make it that way...

nollyposh said...

...and these dear little mites reach out to our hearts and teach us to be grateful ~Bless em~

Jay said...

I hear you, Baino, loud and clear.

It's something which has angered me in the past, both relating to human charity cases and animal. I heard of a lurcher recently who has been taken in by a greyhound charity. Now, this charity, like most, is busting at the seams and can hardly cope with feeding the dogs they have, yet this lurcher is down for some seriously expensive tooth veneer treatments because his enamel isn't forming properly, and they'll need re-doing in a few years. Fundraisers are under way for several thousand pounds and I was thinking 'just how many perfectly healthy greyhounds could you save if you just gave in and yanked the teeth?' But ... like you I'm a hypocrite. If it were Sid, I'd do the veneers.

I think the best we can do is to assess each case as we personally come up against it. Could you look the twins or their mother in the eye and say 'No, sorry, I can dig 45 wells and do 300 cataract ops for what this will cost' and then walk away? Of course not, and I doubt the doctor who found them could, either.

There's a story about a man walking along the beach with his friend, and they find hundreds of stranded starfish all along the edge of the water. The man starts picking them up and flinging them back into the sea as he walks along. His friend scoffs at him saying 'You're wasting your time. You can't save them all, you know'.

And the man picks up another, throws it out to sea and says -

'I saved that one'.

Sarah Lulu said...

Children First Foundation raised $250,000 and an anonmyous benafactor paid all the hospital costs.

Money well spent I believe.