The Perpetual Child: Life On The Dole

  • She’s being mean to me.
  • I don’t want to share.
  • It’s mine and I don’t want anyone else to have it.
  • I guess he just doesn’t love me.

All things you’d expect to hear from a child. Yes? No. This all came out of the mouth of my 48-year-old sister!  The perpetual child. S-, who is becoming more obnoxious every day. Her perception of the world (and her place in it) is so skewed. Trying to make any sense of it gives me a headache.

It’s the overwhelming sense of entitlement; “I paid into the system” therefore I deserve everything I have (and oh-by-the-way everything you have too).

My sister hurt her back in 1990. By around 1993 she decided to trade in “living” for a lifetime of doctor appointments and medicine. She shopped every doctor from Los Angeles to San Francisco until she found one willing to diagnose her with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Opening the door for her to apply for social security disability.  Her application was approved. She has not worked in more than 20 years.

She moved back in with our parents. She laid in bed popping ambien every few hours. Hell, I’d be tired too! During her waking hours she feasted on tootsie rolls, sunflower seeds and coke. She blossomed to a hefty 350lbs. And yet never could quite figure out why she felt so bad?

She never did anything the doctors told her to; eat better, stop drinking soda, and exercise.

In fact, that’s what has me so riled up right now. She was dishing about how much weight our sister has gained (as if). Proceeding to tell me she’s okay with being overweight the rest of her life because she’s “tried everything” and nothing has worked. Going on to tell me she “can’t exercise.”

Now, if she had said, “I don’t want to exercise” or “I’m not going to exercise” that would be different. But to say, “I can’t exercise” is an absolute lie!

For 20+ years she has used her illness as an excuse. She had my sympathy for a lot of years. But my goodness. That just takes the cake! I know other people who have CFS/FM who work full-time jobs and have families; spouses and children. People who live full lives. S- made the decision a long time ago to stop living.

The kicker; she convinced someone she needs a live-in-caregiver! I have seen people wheelchair bound do more than she does.

It’s getting harder and harder to keep my mouth shut. Especially when she makes comments like, “I paid into the system.” I hear that one a lot. As if she’s trying to justify milking the system.

She gets free healthcare, section 8 pays nearly all of her rent, she receives a small amount of food stamps, oh, and she always knows where her next paycheck is coming from.

She runs to the ER or the doctor’s office for every little thing. Never pays a dime. Never has to worry about paying a dime. I could be dying from pneumonia and wouldn’t be able to afford to go the doctor! I remember one year the state decided patients were going to have to pay $1/prescription. She called me crying; the world was ending because she was going to have to start paying for her meds! One whole dollar! Meantime, I’m paying premiums and copays out the wazoo! Yea, I feel real sorry for ya!

How does someone develop such a sense of entitlement? She has CFS! It’s not a life-threatening illness. It’s at-best a life-altering illness. I get it. So find a way to work around it. Just like all the other people do. You’re no better than the other people with CFS who get up and go to work everyday, who take care of their kids, run a household.

Instead of expecting the whole world to “do” for you, why not get up off your ass and “do” something to help yourself for a change! Grow-up already! Get off the dole!

– J. Ela

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