I am not saying I am unruly, uncouth and lacking decorum. I am just never going to be ‘nice’. ‘Nice’ is what they tell you you must do, in order to manipulate you and keep you under control. I control me… nobody controls me.
So the reactions from yesterday’s blog post have been coming in. My righteous indignation has turned into a groundswell of support I hadn’t been expecting. It seems that doctors charging willy nilly and being opaque in the way they conduct themselves and their businesses, is not something I alone have experienced. I was kind of shocked to hear some of the stories that I have heard in the last 24 hours since I broke this story. What I am observing in the manner is which some of this is reported is a little scarier.
I have realised two things: First, that doctors–not all of them obviously, but enough to quite frankly straighten my hair–seem very readily and willingly charge you arbitrary fees for unneccessary tests. I’ve heard now of multiple incidents of doctors taking blood for tests when your condition is neither serious enough or urgent enough to warrant it, charging you for the tests, but never submitting the blood for testing. I’ve heard stories of doctors losing your paperwork, charging twice for things, all manner of ridiculousness but still continuing to practise. I’m sure this is the tip of the iceberg… but what I am hearing is enough to know, my indignation is righteous and warranted. So many people have told me to continue to fight. To fight Lisa Pinto and to continue to air this shit out… it needs to be ventilated and circulated, because Barbados needs it quite desperately.
When I told my godmother–a brilliant surgeon in Houston–about this incident, she was horrified. Not merely by the unprofessionalism Lisa Pinto engaged so wholeheartedly in either, because she said failing to discuss with the patient the monetary commitment and the reason for the tests, and to then present an invoice without that prior conversation just CANNOT happen in a legal framework in the United States. To begin any course of treatment, insured patients must get permission from their insurance companies and uninsured patients MUST be completely informed of everything to be done and the costs involved. She asked me if I knew how many people she saw everyday who owed her money, and that if she ever did what Lisa Pinto had done, accosting me in the manner in which she did, it would have been her (my godmother’s) license on the line. Of course, this is America and the differences between here and there are never more evident in the quality of healthcare we receive here.
Unless your doctor is a friend, and possibly not even then, you have to be so very careful. Of course, I must own my own responsibility in this. As I was at seven, thinking that everyone is and should be open and friendly, honest and truthful, grounded in integrity and scruples, is the person I grew up to be. I am always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially if they’ve wronged me before. I should never allowed that bitch within five feet of me. Once I knew she was sharing an office with Dr. Greenidge, no matter how much I liked him–and I did–I should never have returned there for any reason. I just have never trusted Lisa Pinto. Never, ever, and especially that goody two shoes bullshit she used to pull in school to hide the fact she was a Nazi in her heart. I mean that both figuratively and literally.
I am not so spiritually ignorant that I don’t know that the shit you throw out, comes back to you star. Believing in karma, I was always willing to give Lisa another chance to prove she was a human and not the total wanker I knew her to be. I believe in working out karma wherever possible. She disappointed me only slightly, and merely affirmed what I knew after years in the same school yard with her. That Lisa Pinto and I have had such personal history, is irrelevant to the facts according to the LAW of the situation. However, the LAW is built on personal shit, and since I have always used this space to speak out against that which I perceive to be wrong and unjust–the evidence is literally all around you, just go clicking and find out for yourself–I will not allow myself to be silenced on this matter.
I have had people express concern about Lisa Pinto suing me for defamation. Ok, I won’t rule it out of the realm of possibility, however this blog’s binary code does not reside on any server located in Barbados. So unless she is willing to go to the expense–and I am pretty sure my blog is protected by Freedom of Speech in this instance–I doubt there is much she can do about my blog post. My blog is not a Barbados blog, as I am not a Barbadian. Although I live here and grew up here, I have rarely written about my life in Barbados in this blog. My blog’s life span has covered my life in Trinidad, my life in London, and very little of my experience beyond that (although there have certainly been posts since I had Dayo). It cannot be said to be covering local Barbadian events, it’s got newsy elements, but it’s not a news blog like Barbados Underground, Barbados Free Press (both of which are PROTECTED and are able to write as they wish because of it, although anonymously if I am not mistaken, but I’ll talk about that a little more later). This is a personal blog where I write about personal experiences and I’ve done so from the jump off.
As a journalist, a former newspaper editor, I do remember the sessions I was required to take regarding defamation and slander, and unless I publish the original blog post on a pamphlet and have it delivered to every human in Barbados, or it is published in it’s entirety by the Nation or the Advocate (and there is a Radio Edit version without the ‘colour’ for those kinds of purposes) there is very little I perceive Lisa Pinto being able to do to me.
She has to deal with me about this invoice, and unless she is willing to perjure herself and say she was ABSOLUTELY correct about informing me prior to performing the tests and the exact cost of these tests, she hasn’t got a leg to stand on.
Believe me, I know I can say what the fuck I want in here. I plan to continue to do so as long as I can afford the hosting fees, and fuck every last one of you bitches that vex because I do. I collect haters darling… I wear them like jewelry.
This kind of leads me onto the second of the observations I’ve made now that people have begun to share their own thoughts and experiences that relate to this last blog post. There is a real atmosphere of fear that Barbadians seem to live with. We seem to be excessively afraid of self-expression, as though it has been utterly beaten out of the population by the white slave masters and the petite blancs (of which Lisa Pinto is squarely a member of). Despite this realisation being more of deja vu than news, I don’t understand how a country could be so complacent about their lives, livelihood and their damn quality of life! Our healthcare, while I understand it to be better than other Caribbean islands, is still fucking rubbish.
I gave birth to my son in a hospital ward with 60 other women, and there were no window panes on the window where my newborn and I had to sleep. There were no ceiling panels above our beds. There was one jug of water to share among all of us, once a day. Say nothing of the bathrooms.
My recent experience with Lisa Pinto was preceded by a ghastly experience with the public clinic in Black Rock, where the wait was hours long with a puking five year old while they had to deal with the ‘back to school’ certificates, and the receptionist told me that I had to go ‘down dey’ in a labrynthine rabbit hutch of a building, and refused to clarify.
Here is what disturbs me most: How willing Barbadians are to be short-changed, cheated by doctors who drive lovely new cars, and whose children attend schools like the Convent and St. Winifreds and Wills. Why is it that bad service is acceptable? That being cheated is rarely enough to rouse Barbadians into action? Although I see a lot of changes with social media, of which this blog has always participated, this fear of speaking out about these things is still very strong.
Not only that, I have had people express concern because I named names and called the bitch a fucking cunt. Oh dear. Oh my. So shocked, so shocked that I am a real person and despite the voluminous nature of my vocabulary, I choose such ‘vulgar’ words to express myself. I have had concern because the anger with which I wrote “School Yard Bullies & The Lady Warrior Of The Sea” was so palapable it felt it obscured, somehow lessened or weakened my argument.
I have a damn right to be vex, and I quite frankly don’t give a tin shit who has a problem with it. Like I said: My nickel, I will play any damn tune I want.
I’m not interested in speaking my truth in quiet, modulated tones. I can’t be this mad and be sweet or complacent about it. When I get mad I type. I type it all out and get it out of my system and put it out there so other people can see me grow in every step I take on this journey of my life. I share these posts because I never believe I am alone, and in posting I am rarely disappointed by other people’s capacity to understand. Maybe someone else can pick something useful out of me writing about these things. Or get the courage to battle demons and dragons, when before they were silent. I was this way when I was raped on the beaches of Barbados at age 19, and it’s become a lifelong habit. When I am in pain, or angry, or happy, or confused, whatever… I write.
While I respect other people’s right to not read, disagree, dissent and have their own opinions on a matter, I will NOT be told to ‘settle down’. I will never be a ‘well behaved’ woman. If you’re looking for someone who can emotionally distance themselves from their lives and the events contained in it’s seconds, minutes, hours, days and years, you will be disappointed in the likes of me. I passionately feel everything and remain the sensitive child that fought those four fucking devils, and came home to cry my anguish into the Sea. I will not say it in any other way or use any other language to assuage someone else’s need to control MY experience as it is told to them. These are MY words. I choose each and every one carefully and I say it just how the fuck I see it. See my general disclaimer for more about that.
I think people are shocked that I am willing to write so honestly about frankly about my experiences and be utterly unapologetic about doing so. Alas, I’ll be shocking you all until I die and perhaps later, because as long as I can string a few sentences together I’ll be at it when moved to do so. So to my friends who are concerned because I am allowing myself to publicly display my outrage, thank you. However, I am justified and righteous so regardless of whether this ends here–as Pinto truly ought to let it–or I continue to fight that asshole all the way down the line, I will always be honest and truthful and in court, if that’s where I have to go, I will refrain from cussing that fucking idiot coming and going. However, in my blog, my space… different matter entirely.
Take it as an object lesson if you like: We need to shed our fear of Bajan white people. They are people. They shit and fuck up just like you, maybe more than you. We need to shed our fear of ‘better classes’ because… well I just said it, not typing it again. We need to shed our fear of expressing dissatisfaction and dissent for fear of retaliation. That keeps you a prisoner of people who are predators and you will always be FUCKING SHEEP. Wake up bitches, otherwise you’ll be a slave again and it will have been your own damn fault. We need to stop feeding the atmosphere where if we speak up, we expect to be victimised. Re-victimising victims is compounding evil. We need to stop accepting bad service, poor medical care, over-priced every goddamned thing, and bullshit in general. At least be willing to open your mouth and complain. Loudly.
Shit, I almost want them to try and ‘run me out of Barbados’. Ha! I will write about every single one of the fuckers and search engine optimise it, from wherever I land. Unless you plan to make a martyr out of me, When anyone searches one of the names, they will find this post and whatever else I choose to write about it. I have no real power in Barbados. The legal system is not designed for people like me, it’s designed for people like Lisa Pinto… blonde blue eyed vampires. My only power is in the ability to write exactly what I feel and having this place to post it to. So I’ll exercise my right to do so, and if people think I shouldn’t say ‘fuck’, maybe they need to stop worrying about the words and pay attention to what I am saying. Ya’ll need to stop getting caught up in the package and focus on what’s inside.
Maybe that’s the difference. Crossing a street in London, a taxi driver might blare the horn twice and cuss the woman not moving fast enough across the road. The Barbadian woman is startled, and more British than the British, will apologise and scurry. The Trinidadian woman is more likely to shout back, “Beep beep ya muddacunt!” and take her own damn time crossing the road in some bad ass high heels and her ass looking as good as it wants to be.
I will never behave in these situations. I will show my half-ghetto ass every time. Mansa, my father, wouldn’t expect me to lie down for Lisa Pinto and I swear on his memory I won’t. If it was anyone else, I might have let it slide. I am just as guilty of shutting my mouth to get through faster… but there are some times, when shouting and cussing, and making sure everybody in the damn vicinity knows that this is some bullshit and buck the fuck up or get it, actually is the right course of action.
To Barbados and Barbadians, stop taking pee on the neck and the promise it’s rain. You can do better, and you should be doing better.