Tuesday, November 8, 2016

One Migraineurs Thoughts on this Election Day

Hubby and I got up a little early this morning and went right to our designated polling location. We stood in line for about 40 minutes, despite arriving about 5 minutes before it opened, before we were finally able to cast our votes. Immediately after I felt a wave of relief wash over me. I'm so glad to have gotten that over with. I'm even more glad that all campaign advertisements and election coverage will come to an end after today. 

Tonight, as polls begin to close and results begin to trickle in, my nerves will no doubt ramp up. The possibility of a Trump presidency is frightening to me for many reasons. One of those reasons is because he wants to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with Health Savings Accounts. Obviously the ACA has plenty of problems that need to be fixed but, as someone who isn't lucky enough to be completely healthy, I understand the importance of the protections offered by the ACA. Protections like, not charging women more than men, eliminating lifetime limits and not allowing providers to deny coverage for people with preexisting conditions. No HSA is going to protect us from these sorts of discriminatory practices. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about how glad I am to live in a state that holds primary elections instead of a caucus. The idea is that for someone living with chronic pain (along with many other populations) a caucus is exclusionary and I happen to think that's wrong. To that same end, I wish all states would offer early voting any time there is a presidential election. Voting has hardly begun and already the news and social media is full of the images and stories of long lines. Heck, the man in line behind us this morning had to leave before he could vote. Who knows if he will come back and vote later.

Thankfully, it wasn't terribly cold this morning so waiting outside in line wasn't too bad. But what was bad was being on my feet on the concrete for 50 minutes, the bright lights in the school where we vote and the fact that I woke up with a mild migraine. By the time I was done, my head felt worse and my feet were quite sore. It would have been much worse if I had to stand in line after the sun came up, or if it had been colder, or if that line had been any longer (as I see many other lines are), or if my head was in worse shape. 

The unpredictable nature of living with chronic migraines, fibromyalgia and endometriosis coupled with the large turn out we see during presidential elections makes voting a challenge. I suppose I could attempt to get an absentee ballot during these elections but I am resistant to that idea because it seems like those votes only get counted if the margins are just so. The idea of that bothers me so I prefer to cast a vote, which is why I wish we had early voting. 

Early voting is great. Plenty of people besides those of us with unpredictable chronic health problems would love to vote early just as a convenience. Plus it would cut down on the crowds on election day. Even though Missouri doesn't currently participate in early voting, it does seem like the country is trending in that direction. I'm hopeful that one day soon, it will be an option for me.

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