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Friday, July 31, 2009

A Day In The Life

Just want to record a typical day of my life.

At 8:10 the doc's office calls to inform me that I cannot have pain meds unless I come in to see her. I tell them I've been waiting almost 3 months for a wheelchair and have been searching for any doc in VT who'll make housecalls to the homebound. There are none in the state. Even the State Ombudsman office, who were very nice and quite thorough in the investigation, didn't find one. She says, basically, tough shit. Come to the office or goodbye.

At 9 I call the med supply in New Hampshire to ask when I'll have a wheelchair. The owner's daughter says they're working on it; maybe next week. This is what I was told 4 weeks ago. I tell her that I must have it to go to the doc within two weeks or I won't even get meds anymore. She says maybe next week. And my calling card has mysteriously cut my long distance minutes to 22 minutes when I had 128 3 days ago and have made no long distance calls.

At 9:10 I call my RN caseworker and get her voicemail. I tell the short form of what's happening, choking up at the end. It's 2:10 and I've had no call back.

At 10 I call the doc's office to make an appt. She's on vacation for 2 1/2 wks; I get an appt for August 20, well after the 2 week red flag. No, I can't get in before then. Hopefully I'll have a wheelchair by then; if not, no more doctor, no more pain meds.

At 10:20 I call ATT to ask what's up with my calling card. After pressing every number known since the Arabic system was created, I get a human who tells me they can't do anything and implies that I'm trying to rip them off.

Between and amongst the above I return emails and work on annikee's bits for Sunday, make the shopping and errand lists for my aide who with God's help will be here around 3, read today's news, write the check for this exorbitant internet service and pray that nothing more will fuck up today. Nonfood shopping will have to wait til next Friday as there's no $ left after the bills and payday is Monday but I'll have no aide to shop til the 7th. So the dirty floors will have to wait til Tuesday, August 11th when the housekeeper comes. And at least I have baking soda and peroxide to brush my teeth with, so I shouldn't complain. 75% of the planet don't have a bed, closet and fridge. I do.

At 12 I call Stevil to confirm our plans for him to come over for spaghetti dinner next Weds. We kvetch about life and what dinosaurs we've become. At least we have each other, we still get the cultural references we make. A young coworker of his never heard of "The Sound of Music".

At 1 I griddle a burger for brunch cuz if I don't finish the rest of the package it'll go sour and I can't waste food. It's already going brown so it's getting there. Turns out fine.

At 1:49 a bill collector calls. I hang up on them.

At 2 :10 I begin writing this blog so there's one last July post.

At 2:45 I call the pharmacy (love them) to check they can deliver my meds after my aide drops the scripts off today. She'll have no time to go back for them. It'll cost me more on top of the co-pays but I'll give em a check and it won't go thru til Monday. They can deliver after 4; ass covered once again.

At 3 my aide gets here! Hooray! We go over the events of this week with the ongoing VNA problems. Great news- the woman who used to be the Scheduler is going back to it on Monday! No more nasty lying person! My aide is terrific; we go over the lists of what's to do and where to go and she's out the door, shopping cart and bags, lists, coupons (15 bucks in food coupons!) and cards, keys and gel cap bottle in hand at 3:15.

Meanwhile I reply to a few more emails and add the last couple links to "a's b's", clear a counterspace for the incoming groceries, combine tomato sauces for dinner and update this.

At 3:45 I have a worry that even though the 1st of the month is tomorrow & a weekend day, the Food Stamp Program may not credit us today but Monday and I won't get food til next Friday. My aide will call if there's a problem, I hope... I do have cans of beans, some hot dogs and boxed mac'n'cheese if there's no incoming food.

At 4:10 the pharmacy delivers, but the doc's office hasn't refilled the anti-inflammatory. I'm guessing that's part of the blackmail to come to the office. They're OTC, so when I have money I'll get them myself. My Tuesday aide can walk that far.

At 4:20 my aide calls from the supermarket (told ya she's terrific)- they're out of a couple things & she wanted to know what to do. So far so good. We'll see what happens at checkout.

At 4:35 my aide called. I have 5 bucks on my FS card. No food for me. But at least there's enough for milk; the rest will have to wait til next Friday. Back to nothing, but I should be used to that.

At 4:45 I email Stevil that Weds night dinner is off. My heart is beating in my ears.

At 5:10 my aide returns. She stopped at the office & they said the state isn't crediting FS til tomorrow. And she didn't get a paycheck.

At 5:20 I'm filling the gelcaps the pharmacy delivered with ground valerian.

It's 5:45. I've surveyed the freezer and fridge contents. I have one egg, so I can make scones tomorrow. I also found a half pound of ground pork, with that & the last bits of the browning burger & the mixed sauce I'll make marzetti tomorrow. That'll hold me a few days. There's still some frozen waffles and Brown & Serve sausages, and Kathleen's son's strawberry syrup, so that'll be breakfast for at least the week. It'll be okay. I've no appetite for dinner tonight.

Just another delightful day in the life. I'll be turning in early tonight. Enough's enough.

UPDATE:
A good friend (Barb, I call her SABS- Stupendously Awesome Big Sister) read this blog & has volunteered to shop for me tomorrow! It's hard to say what a relief it is. But that's why I call her SABS. And Stevil offered to lend me funds/food. He has next to nothing himself. Like I said before, ya gotta have friends. :) We live to fight another day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Small Miracles

In the past weeks, three friends managed to turn my attitude around.
I'm not sure how to explain it all, except to just tell it as it is and was.

Over the last three years I've gone from a working stiff to a housebound cripple. While the physical effects are obvious, the psych effects aren't. Aside from the expected- depression, anger, etc. that come with grieving anything, come societal judgments. This extends to family & friends. Nobody likes a gimp. You're suspect, first and foremost. You're lazy, not trying, living off the government, making it up, making it worse than it is, being a Drama Queen, a slacker, a crybaby, (add your own here, you know you have the labels). It's what we, as US society, do. We aren't kind. We're soaked in the "work ethic" all our lives. And I'm ashamed to say, I was once like that. Perhaps it's one of those things you can't know until you experience it, like "seeing thestrals". There are things in life that you cannot fully understand until it's personal- death, being in love, having a child, being poor, tolerating abuse... so many things. One's experiences not only shape, but isolate us.

Disability is one of those things.

In the last week an old friendship has rekindled and set me going on a new focus in spirituality. And two other old friends treated me to nourishments of body and normalcy. One made dinner for me, one took me to the movies. May not seem a lot to others, but inestimable to me. To be treated as valuable again does wonders. Over dinner I told my tale and wasn't criticized, just accepted. And the movie upheld a tradition and gave sweet escape from my four walls. Given entirely without ulterior motives, with necessary and willing physical help, they gave me an oh so needed boost in spirits. A wonderful happy surprise, I guess. Isn't a happy surprise something you didn't know you wanted til you got it? Its effect is doubled when it comes from unexpected sources.

So, while the physical condition isn't better, the wellbeing condition is vastly improved. Now I have to get over the labels I've put on others- cold-hearted, hard, uncaring, selfish, ignorant, etc. It may simply be the thestral effect and nothing more. In any event, unlabeling is a good way to start paying some needed kindnesses forward. Kindness breeds kindness, forgiveness breeds forgiveness. It's gotta start somewhere. Might as well start here.

And thanks, Bruce, Ellen and Stevil. Ya gotta have friends.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

And that's the way it is, Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Anchorman, journalist, live Normandy reporter, space program enthusiast. He announced President Kennedy's death to our country, choking up; he went to Vietnam himself and covered the ongoing war personally in the streets and jungles; he chuckled and rubbed his hands together at the Apollo moon landing like a gleeful little kid, exclaiming, "Oh boy!". Edward R. Murrow recruited him to work at the CBS News Service in 1950, when television was just becoming popular. He reported each day's news straightforwardly, and clarified when he occasionally offered his own views, with a simple, "but that's just my opinion," unlike the celebrity broadcasters of today. He was The Most Trusted Man in America. He was present at moments of history- he interviewed Menachim Begin and Anwar Sadat, interviews that opened communication between them in a way unachieved theretofore.

The only personal story I know of him was his telling of a story in a midtown Manhattan bar. He'd been to the MTV Studios down the block, showing up for a meeting there. The receptionist greeted him enthusiastically, gushing that she'd loved him on TV since she was a child. He thanked her, and she called the upstairs office to announce his arrival, "Yes, Captain Kangaroo is here for their meeting."

The NY Times' obit is here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/us/18cronkite.html

I've always admired Walter Cronkite. He died last night, at the age of 92.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just Passing By

Lotsa big name deaths lately- David Carradine, Farrah, Jacko, Karl Malden, Mollie Sugden, Oscar Mayer, Robert McNamara, Rita Keane, Billy Mays, Fred Travalena, Gale Storm... yet Shane MacGowan lives on. Remarkable.

Rediscovered a favorite band, somewhat defunct but always wonderful:
http://www.myspace.com/octoberproject

There is a sun! After weeks of rain, it sunned on our July 4th- and since then, has tried to sun every day. Some big boomers the last couple of nights. I miss having a porch when it thunderstorms.

I've had too many personal issues to keep up lately on our local politics, but my friend Lise posted a great report on our latest Selectboard Shenanigans:
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/2009070800462498

And my friend Christian has a daring post at OpEd News (Go Christian!):
http://www.opednews.com/articles/US-Policies-Empower-Taliba-by-Christian-Avard-090706-465.html

By the end of the week I should have some time to do real writing. When I do, I'll be writing on
http://bluenewstribune.com/

And here's a thought-provoking youtube post from a good guy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g6mawU5bAQ

I'd be remiss if I didn't give my local radio station a plug- they're streaming:
http://wvew.org/

See ya.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ghostbusters 3?

With much trepidation I contemplate a threequel Ghostbusters. The first 2 are cult classics, they say. Hard for me to call a huge blockbuster a cult classic...a moniker usually given to films that were sleepers when released and developed a following later. Whatever, I love the 2 originals. They're fun and were meant to be. They are classics of a sort, in that they were popular and loved, and starred actors that were at career peaks at the time and perfect in their roles.

Supposedly the main cast will return- but in the story lines I've read, they're just there for prepping a new generation of GBs. That's just wrong. We don't want Ghostbusters, The Next Generation. The original cast all being in their 50s and 60s now, I see opportunities for great comedy there already. It's not like they aren't funny or incapable of starring now. Bring in some younguns for the sake of box office? Why?

It's the youth obsession of the culture, that's why. Why does everything have to be new, "hot", sexy? What's wrong with the GB crew as they are, all these years later? Tap into the ghosthunting craze (no pun intended). Give us the GBs trying to do a TV series and let them do what they always did- screw up, make us laugh & ultimately save NYC.

Is that too hard? Too much to ask? In the impending doom of these days, it'd be nice to have something left unfucked with.

Don't even get me started on the remake of An American Werewolf in London.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another July 4th

This is the first July 4th that I didn't watch "1776". In years past (at least 8) I needed to see something that represented what we were about. Though I'm not happy about watching Obama sucked into and aged already by the office, I'm still hoping that he won't be completely morphed into the puppets we've seen since Nixon ruined the Presidency. At least we had a belief that we mattered then; there's no conscious human alive now that can believe an individual matters at all to the State anymore.

Really, from my HS yearbook, when I quoted Fitzgerald, "So that old libel that we were cynics and skeptics was false from the beginning; on the contrary, we were The Great Believers.", it's been downhill. My gen did still believe that we could make a difference, and some of us still do.

In trying to report and interview my town's local election candidates, I was blackballed by the candidates because of one's paranoia. The editors of the website I was reporting for didn't support me, and so I stopped doing citizen journalism. Instead of communicating and bridging the chasm, they indulged the politicians, who weren't even drawn onto the carpet for refusing to answer.

Really, I love being a citizen journalist- it's the best thing in these days of commercially-sponsored yellow journalism non-truth in papers, TV & websites. But even "independent" websites aren't perfect. Right now all I can afford is a blog (no cost). But I'd love to start a real news website that answers to nobody, not even me. I'll promise not to change titles, rearrange/edit text, or criticize what contributors post. If there are no ads sold, there's no sucking up. God knows we need outlets without agendas. And God knows we need to get behind people who have something to say without bowing to outside interests, or fear, to protect and defend individuals who may have no other access, and to face down the powers that be. I've found too many agendas in the sites I've contributed to, to consciously give them my hard work gratis.

So this 4th has me looking, scrutinizing, at what to do next...

Independence of written expression. What a concept.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Discovering Gertrude Berg

Gertrude Berg was the writer, creator and star of The Goldbergs. Running on radio from 1929-1946, the series was based on a Jewish family living in a Bronx tenement. On radio, the 15 minute show was a serial that dealt in real life situations, with Molly Goldberg as the worrying, loving matriarch. When the show went to TV in 1949, it became the forerunner to all later family sitcoms.

The Goldbergs raised serious issues, as All In The Family did, decades later. In 1939, Kristallnacht was discussed and a rock thrown thru the Goldbergs' window during Seder. Family discussions included Nazi Germany, with The Goldbergs concerned about family members in Europe. During the McCarthy Era, Gertrude's co-star, Phillip Loeb, was blacklisted. She refused to fire him, and the show was dropped. She moved on to another network with a new co-star, quietly paying Loeb his salary on the side anyway. He later committed suicide when he could find no work.

Though much of The Goldbergs is lost, the radio show lives on here:
http://www.dumb.com/oldtimeradio/radio/32/comedies/Goldbergs.html

Gertrude Berg was a force. I'm just now starting to investigate all she did, and will post about her again. Now I know where my Dad got his catchprase, "Yoohoo, Mrs. Bloom...."