Her eyes still drooping from anesthesia after surgery Trisha said, "my soda has aspartame, I won't drink that poison."
On the table beside her hospital bed was a miniature can of diet ginger ale with a small bent straw sticking out of it. I laughed. It's true, she won't drink aspartame. She won't even drink soda usually.
Her mom looked at the nurse and said, "it's true, I taught my children not to drink poison."
Aspartame has been linked to brain tumors, diabetes and psychological problems. This is not some obscure knowledge I pulled out of a secret text book. A quick google search of "what is aspartame?" came up with all those issues and more.
Yet as she was coming out of surgery her healthcare providers, the people who are supposed to help her body heal, gave her poison. When we asked for something healthier they had nothing they could provide for her.
And this is the good hospital in our area.
I overheard a woman at the hotel the other day telling her son that the juice in the bistro was too expensive. "I will pick you up a soda when we stop for gas," she said.
I often feel like I can't afford to eat healthy. I cringe at buying the $3 package of vegetarian-fed, organic eggs versus the $1.88 for the cheap eggs. But really, what's $1.12? And if I don't spend that $1.12 on healthier food what will I spend it on? Probably a slice of gas station pizza.
For years we've been hearing about the maltreatment and harsh conditions of the workers piecing together our clothing in countries around the world. People have talked about the children who were putting soles on designer sneakers and the $0.03 per day they are being paid.
Now people are talking about it because of the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh, but in just a few weeks it will be forgotten again. We'll go back to buying clothing without a second thought to who put those stitches in that fabric.
I will probably still buy clothes from the Gap.
With all this knowledge, with all this awareness, why do our actions not change? We know these chemicals aren't healthy for us, but they continue to sell them. And why? Because we continue to buy them. We know people aren't being treated right, but we continue to support the companies who are making a profit off of their pain. We all hate Walmart, yet they are still the top retailer.
We don't need to wait for the government to change these things. We need to stop buying the items with the chemicals in them.
I can't guarantee that my actions are about to make a complete change, but I can say that these are all things I'm thinking about when I make my purchases, and it has changed how I shop over the last few weeks. I already bought healthy food, but it's getting healthier. I'll even put up with the snobby customers and shop more at the health food store.
Oh, and next time one of us is in the hospital Trisha and I will review the "aspartame is poison" thing with the doctor ahead of time.