Finally my cab arrived.
Although there is a cut-out for vehicles to pull over for drop-offs and pick-ups of patients, my cab driver chose to stop in the center of the drive-thru.
While I was watching from my power chair seat next to the neurosciences "MS Center" Starbuck's, which is situated next to the large windowed main entrance, cars started lining up behind my cab. Four cars back was another cab. Since I had waited so long with no suggestion of any cab "...in your area..." I had called, first using my first name and much later using my partner's last name---speaking to the same, always rude, dispatcher, whom I have spoken to many times.
A traffic jam ensued, with honking cars, cussing, a mini-cooper taking off over the grass, so I rolled outside. The first cab's driver was standing in front of his door, looking around. The man who is supposed to direct traffic (I guess) was headed his way, then back. I shouted to that man, "Can't you tell him to move up here and park?" There was a wide open empty spot directly in front of the entrance!
Shrugging his shoulders, the man said, "I tried. I don't think he understands English."
First I mouthed to all the disgruntled car drivers who were now boxed in, thanks to what was obviously my cab, "WTF?" and other such terms of endearment. (I wasn't going down for this!) Then I began shouting at my driver, who was soon to be joined by the driver in the second cab. "Pull up here! You can't sit there and block all the cars."
"Are you...you...what is your name?"
"Dane. Yes. Okay." He started lowering the cab's lift with no room for me to manuever into the cab.
"I can't get in there. PULL OVER HERE, MAN." Now the other driver was speaking to him in their language. He got back in the cab and tried to park. The cars behind him began driving over the sidewalk to get around. As soon as I could I rolled to the cab. Then the second driver, looking at a small piece of paper in his hand, says, "You KaOh?" I say, "WHAT?" He shows me the paper where my partner's name is written, but spelled wrong. "Not me!" I shout.
As I am being lifted into the cab, the two drivers are now talking with each other. I jump in, "There is another woman in a wheel chair in the building." (Come on, you KNOW that had to be true. MS CENTER.)
"What is your last name?" askes my genius driver.
"-----" (I make up a name close enough, what does it matter at this point.) He turns to second driver and in their language they figure it out. They both are laughing, smiling, feeling real proud of themselves for figuring it out. The second driver splits and off we go. I tell the driver, who looks to be about 60, what address we are going to. It is a large, well known street in Seattle. Our destination is a few miles away. (The street just blocks away.) He turns on that device that tells them when to turn, but quickly turns it off and begins asking me to repeat the street name. I do and he says, "I get on the highway."
He says this as he is going down side streets...it is hard to see from my planted spot at the rear of the cab. For those of you who know Seattle, he is on John St. approaching Broadway. At this point he has raced through two yellow lights. I ask how long he has been in Seattle. "Many years." I ask how many. "13."
My blood pressure is surely rising (see previous post) as I tell him I do not call my street a highway. I call I-5 a highway. He says, "Oh, no no, it is not a highway. I did not mean that." I asked him what he calls it.
"A big street," he says with no hint of laughter. He comes upon a traffic circle, those cement bordered planted circles placed mid-intersection to slow down cars at precarious corners. He races around it, but another car from our right is doing the same. He had to almost stop and becomes angry. "What was that! He should have stopped!" (I can't take it anymore.)
"No. HE had the right of way. The car on your right has the right of way. You have a driver's license, correct?"
"DO YOU HAVE A DRIVER'S LICENSE?"
"I have a license to drive a taxi cab." (HUH?)
"Do you speak Swahili?" (Let's end this game-playing crap. You want to play? I'll play.)
He looks at me in his mirror. "What?" (Sure)
"ARE YOU FROM KENYA?"
Suddenly he can't clear his throat or speak except in a mumble. "No. Are you from Kenya?"
"No, but I speak Swahili (I say a few howdy-dos)."
"I don't speak Swahili. I am from Africa."
"Where in Africa?"
"Tanzania," he mumbles quickly. (Come now. Swahili is THE language of choice there.)
"Well, you are not a good driver."
"I said you are NOT a good driver." This was followed by silence until I would speak next. I'm thinking this man gets no tip. "Why did I have to wait over an hour for you?"
"I was at the Space Needle."
"That is not an hour away."
"Handicapped rides take a long time. I lose money. I have to do more. I give you example. Today I pay $65 for morning cab. I only take 3 rides, all morning, handicapped. If I go to airport, I make money." (WOW, just wow. See, their van is larger than regular cabs, it used to be they were made for airport runs, tourists--good distance, good tips. BUT, these drivers SIGNED UP for this new gig. Most tell me it is God's calling for them to do so, tell me they love helping...this is a new conversation. I stare at him in the rear-viw mirror and my silence speaks volumes. He suddendly realizes what he said.)
"So, you don't like to drive people with disabilities because they take your time, getting them in and securing their chairs?" (I just remember that he hadn't put on my seatbelt when he picked me up. I had to TELL him to do it. RED FLAG)
"No, no, I do, I mean I, no no, yes I want to help I mean I no no..."
"Forget it. Just drive me home safely."
Then he pulls up behind a car at intersection of Broadway and John (Broadway is a busy 4-lane main drag). The light is yellow, he speeds around the car and goes right through the red light. (Are you effing kidding me?)
My mouth drops open, "Hey! You just ran a red light."
"No, it's ok. I had to, I was in the middle."
"You were only there because you sped through a YELLOW light."
"This your street, right?" He is turning onto my street. No normal cab driver is unfamilar with that street.
But wait for it----
After he pulls up to my retirement home, unloads me, I ask, "How much?"
He gets all sweet and says, "No big deal, just give me $17, $18, that is fine. No problem."
Well, Hell yes, there was a BIG problem, buddy, I looked at the meter when you stopped here and it read $15.40. "Oh, well, yeah, NO, the meter said $15.40. You made me wait over an hour. You sped through yellow lights and ran a red light. You don't even deserve a tip."
"I don't care about the meter. Those meters can be wrong. I..."
"I have made this same trip many times and every time it is a little under or over $15. YOU set the meter. That's what it is for. If it is broke, then get it fixed. What is your name?"
"WHAT IS YOUR NAME?"
Turning away he muttered, "Ma."
I choose when and for what purpose I call a cab. While I have had many good drivers, those were usually ones I had "wait for me." I would pay wait time, bring my cost to around $60-$80. Now before you think that outrageous, if I call a "cabulance service" the cost is $140 round trip. (at least) Once even THEY "forgot" to pick me up at the agreed time. I spent an hour waiting that day also, but their excuse seemed valid, I guess, "traffic." (I had used them for years M-F when I worked and they never failed me, so...) And, no, insurance does not cover this.
Lack of safe, affordable, reliable transportation is a burden on our health care system, since many simply will not go to a doctor. Whatever might have been treated early, will become a high cost illness. Many will die too soon. It is an issue I NEVER would given a thought to, until I became engulfed by it.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Finally my cab arrived.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
When I told my new physical therapist that I had anxiety about being able to use the toilet at her facility (a HUGE neuroscience center in Seattle, with a Starbuck's at two entrances!), she told me that her patients take care of that before they come. That made me mad. I shot back with, of course we all do that but our bodies are unpredictable and even though my appointment with you may be short, I still have a cab ride here and back and whatever waiting time that involves. I told her, "Not everybody can just hop in their car and head here, then home." How accurate I was on that day.
After my appointment, my friend who met me there had to take off. I called for a "handicapped van," and headed for the Starbuck's located next to a big window where all the vehicles drop off/pick up passengers. I ordered an iced mocha to take home with me, and pulled up in my power chair at a small table with no chairs---to wait.
The chairs had been ensconced by 5 doctors at a table just in front of me. They were in varying degrees of doctor attire, scrubs (plastic coverings still on...?!), white coat, suit, expensive LL Bean casual, and I really paid them little attention at first. My eyes were focused on the window behind them.
As time passed, I listened to what they were talking about, they were discussing starting their own clinics or some such rot. My ice was melting. I called the cab company again. "It will get there as soon as it can." I was familiar with the dispatcher, a nasty young woman I had complained about numerous times over the years. One driver told me she was lover of a boss at the company. I figured as much.
A woman in a power chair pulled up in front of me, "Hi, " she said. "Hi," I said. People say I am an extrovert, but truly I prefer to be left alone, unless I am out to meet new people. This outing was a mission not accomplished until I was safely home. "I like your Jazzy," she said. "I like your chair too," I said, having no idea what it was. We smiled, she rode away. Then a man with a cane came up to me. "Is that a good drink?" he said. "Uh, yeah," I said. "Is it from that Starbuck's?" he said. (DOH) "Yes," I said. He walked to the Starbuck's. My phone rang. I had been waiting 30 minutes now. It was my partner.
"Uh, Hi. This is Karenlee." (No? REALLY? Thirty four years and she thinks I can't recognize her voice? DOH)
"Your PT just called and said to come back to have your blood pressure checked before you leave the building." (WAAAAT?)
"Are they nuts?! I'm already in a cab. See ya soon."
The doctors sitting at their table stopped talking for a dash, then started up again. What did they think of that lie? I was laughing inside. I began looking at each one, until they looked at me and seeing me look at their eyes, they darted their glance away. Each one was checking me out now. Funny.
After sitting up, fast, from the PT table, I got very dizzy. A nurse ran in to take my BP---very high, never been so high---180/100. I usually am Cool Joe lower than 120/80. I wasn't concerned, since being dehydrated, anxious, and I'd get it checked when I got home. I called the cab company again, 45 minutes had gone by. This place is located almost smack downtown.
"I need a cab."
"(I gave it.)"
"(I used my partner's last name.)"
"It will be there shortly."
I called the cab company. An hour had gone by. I told her an hour had gone by, where is my cab, can I have an ETA. "I'm sorry, there are no cabs in your area."
Let's pause right here for a trip back in time. 1992. The ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, had been signed into law two years earlier, one month after my MS diagnosis. To give my MS a "reason" I became an ADA advocate. On top of my list: Taxi Cabs that people in power chairs and scooters couldn't use. My partner took a cab with her cane: $9.50; I took a service 'cabulance' $60; I was closer to MY job than she was to hers. Understand my beef?
So began my fight to get cabs that were accessible. It took discussions with city council members, county councilman, cab companies---only the cab drivers were sympathetic to my plight. They were the most supportive. It took...wow, I think a decade, before the right people took the right steps. But, still, there are issues. It saddens me.
After receiving the disturbing news, I called my retirement home to see if the handicapped bus could pick me up. Nope, the driver was away on a trip with the residents. I began shouting one of my speeches (to thin air just right of the doctor's table) about THIS is what doctors don't understand, and how when they make us wait 30 minutes it adds time to a body that may have to use a rest room, yet no one is around to help us to the toilet---I went OFF. They ignored me as if I were invisible. Been there before. One by one they started leaving. My phone rang.
A recording: "Your cab has arrived."
I looked, no cab.
I called the cab company.
To be continued...
Saturday, May 18, 2013
The biggest challenge for people like me with the inability to stand, is transferring. I can't transfer by myself to toilets, for example. So the minute I leave my assisted living home, I must be prepared to "hold it." People don't seem to get that. And by people, I mean the medical community.
Now, I can hold my bladder fine, as many people with my disability do, we drink no fluids before we leave on that 10 minute ride to our doctor. (10 min. for me) But the other need for a loo, well, that is unpredictable. I do the best I can, but Dr. appts. must be made far in advance.
The first thing I told my new PT was, "I have anxiety and fear that should I need to use a toilet, you won't be able to help me get on it." She looked at me like I was a Martian. I have seen that look so many times before---up goes my anxiety.
She did what many do, she led me to the restroom and said, "There. You fit inside fine." (REALLY? This was a PT at a MS CENTER?) So, I asked what I OFTEN find I must ask, "Am I the only one who ever needed this?" And as usual, the answer was (wait for it...) "Yes." Do you see why I feel like such a fool? A freak? Am I so bad off that I am the only one?
The look of "You have got to be kidding me," must have reached her frontal cortex, because she then began to dissemble, saying she had not worked there long, they DO have Hoya Lifts, I could wear Depends. I asked if she knew of anyone, EVER, who had an accident in Depends. "No." So I told her Depends are worthless and make a bigger mess than you can imagine. (I know from experience.)
I left my appt. very disheartened. Later the next day, she called me. "I was awoken middle of night, thinking about some things I wanted to tell you. First, I want to apologize for having to end your appointment so abruptly. And I wanted to assure you that Sara (not her real name, but a nurse type person who took my blood pressure while I was there) and I would be able to help you onto the toilet."
Wow. So nice of her to call. My faith had been restored. I didn't know the appt. was only 45 minutes, my own fault for dragging out the standing---BUT IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.
More on my outing in next post. (So MUCH happened!)
Friday, May 17, 2013
Multiple sclerosis gobsmacked me. It was a hit and run accident with one man down--me! As with all things in life, I suppose, push come to shove,we go it alone. If you have MS and are not doing any physical therapy, then you are not going to be a happy person. MS attacks on so many fronts, eat well, get rest, exercise---those are your goals to start your battle, never let them down.
Physical therapy is a way to focus on immediate needs of our nerve-covering challenged bodies. As our healthy nerves try to compensate for the failing ones, we need to help as much as we can.
Now, since I was diagnosed in 1990, the need for ongoing physical therapy (PT) is a given, a fact. That wasn't always the case. In the 1970s it was "Diagnose, Adios." go home and rest. Now we know moving as much as you can is the best choice. Even if you can't move at all, get someone to move your body for you. ROM (range of motion) exercises are crucial. And though the MS medical community has learned much since 1990, I have always stayed active.
When a series of accidents led my body to not being able to walk, then stand, I started seeing PT therapists in earnest. My experiences were alarming and apparently (from comments on this blog and elsewhere) unusually disturbing---suffice to say I was getting no help at all.
Finally, as I grew worse, weaker and weaker, needing to move into the assisted living facility I am now at, I decided I had to take matters into my own hands. I would walk again. I would stand for more than a few seconds. There had to be a way.
My blog posts chronicle some of my attempts, but after 4 years my progress was too little too late for me. All my life I have felt I had to "go it alone," but, this monster was getting the best of me. I decided to hit the PT route again.
The MS Center here in Seattle has come far from 1990 when it was in a cramped, dingy old building where walkers could barely fit through the tiny restrooms. (The MS Director asked me to write a letter to the powers that be regarding how inaccessible the entire office was. I did so, with pleasure.)
Now it is huge with all the latest equipment, loads of specialists, MRI machines, and a Starbuck's. I posted photos of its beauty in previous posts. I highly recommend it for anyone with any kind of neurological disorder.
My first appointment with a PT there was last Weds. I had 45 minutes to put my history in her mind, get evaluated, and hopefully stand. I ran over by 10 minutes, in part because once I was standing at the parallel bars, I refused to sit down. IT FELT SO GOOD! I was so happy.
Even though I tell PTs that I have had problems with other PTs, I think they just either don't believe me or blame me. Even neurologists couldn't believe I had never had the chance to use parallel bars. Why would I lie? Do they think my past experiences were FUN for me? Good grief. Anyway, this PT, Kim, was slow to take to me. Matter of fact when she was moving my body parts around on the table and I said, "This is the best day EVER," (she was speaking aloud assessments so fast and so much I needed to know to help myself---amazing!) she asked, "You are being sarcastic."
My friend/caregiver of many years who stayed with me said, "No, she's serious!" Because, my friend has been through some of the useless PT appointments I have endured. I learned more in 15 minutes than I had in 20 years!
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Jon unpacked all the equipment and had it set up in minutes. Mikki got to work and painlessly my teeth are now clean. I'll be using them often now. So easy for me, a woman with MS who must waste so much time getting around. I will suggest their services to all of the seniors here.
If you recall my post about the dentist I first found after moving to this new neighborhood, she told me I had numerous cavities, horrible decay, perhaps even a root canal required and I had to have a "deep cleaning." I stopped her dead in her tracks, BUSTED, when I informed her that I had had a "deep cleaning" just two weeks earlier. In her over-decorated office, water gently trickling over lovely rocks, she began dissembling. Needless to say, I never returned. (One time I was told I had 6 cavities, received a total job estimate of about $30,000, and at my next dentist's X-ray---none were to be found. NONE. And all the additional work, the next dentist just shook his head in disbelief.)
Mikki told me about something no other dentist ever could explain, my extra tooth. My beloved (and oft mentioned on this blog) great-aunt Violet had an extra tooth exactly where mine is. Mikki explained that is hereditary. In that moment, I suddenly felt so young. In that moment, I felt I might have another 40+ years to live. Aunt Vi lived to 103. It does seem I have a few of her unique genes.
When so many people with disabilities and from dementia to cancer related issues, teeth health can be too much to hope for. But science teaches us every day how important good dental hygiene is and how it can affect so many health related problems. A house call is so simple and at $175, very affordable!
HOUSECALL HYGIENE, LLC
Mikki Burns, RDH and Jonatha Burns, Office Manager
In Seattle area: 206-265-1532
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Every Mother's Day I gave two gifts. One for my mom and one for my great-aunt Vi.
My father was never in my life. We, my 2 older brothers , mom, and me, lived in the lower apartment of Aunt Vi's large 3-apartment house, until I was 9 years old. Yes, those were my formative years, Aunt Vi was like a mother (actually a father, but that is too complicated for this post) to me, so she always got a gift and card.
Mom liked candy and paperback romance books; Aunt Vi liked ceramic nick knacks, especially dolls and birds. She had quite a collection of dolls. The glass birds I could afford, so that is mostly what I gave her. Every year of their lives---a Mother's Day card.
When I had a good job, lived many miles away, they got flowers every year. Mom always loved whatever she got; Aunt Vi always exclaimed: "I'm not a mother!" But she was a second parent to me.
Friday I had my teeth cleaned. As often happens with a new hygienist, she said, "Oh! You have an extra tooth!" I do, just like Aunt Vi, located in the exact same spot. For the first time today I was told the "extra tooth" is hereditary, in the genes. I felt very close to Aunt Vi and we were alike in temperament. We were alike in many ways. She lived with the same woman, whom she had met as a teen, until death did they part.
I thought more than once that my mom felt bad about the special connection that Aunt Vi and I had. I even asked her about it once, because *I* felt kind of bad about it. Mom said it was fine. She said she was happy for me.
My great-aunt Vi was my mom's aunt. When Grandma (Mom's mom, and Aunt Vi's oldest sister) died at age 56, my mom was only 15. Many times Mom stayed with Aunt Vi, who was 21 years her senior. When Mom finally 'ran away' from home (she didn't like her father's new wife), she ran to live with Aunt Vi. When money was scarce after my father (COUGH) left for his much younger mistress, it was Aunt Vi who always helped Mom out, with rent, food, and clothes for us kids.
Shortly after Aunt Vi's longtime companion died, she moved in with Mom, and they lived together until Aunt Vi was in her late 90s heading for a nursing home. Both were, by then, in the throngs of dementia and/or Alzheimer's. Aunt Vi died at the age of 103. Mom is 85, living with Alzheimer's in a nursing home. I sent her her favorite candy, fudge.
Yes, I had two mothers. It was wonderful. They were very different...one stubborn, bold, brave, the other shy, reserved, easy-going. In myself I see all their influences. I can't imagine me without both mothers.
Happy Mother's Day!
FIRST PHOTO: My mom in aunt Vi's living room, about 35 years old.
SECOND PHOTO: Aunt Vi with two Amish dolls I bought for her. (I forgot about them!) That chair and wall paper was red VELVET in her bedroom.
Friday, May 10, 2013
WOULD YOU BELIEVE one can't buy just an accessory like that, oh no, one must buy an entire new pole WITH the accessory. (I know some of you will Google this, knock yourself out---I wanted to knock myself O-U-T after searching online for hours.)
Well, I bought the pole with an extra lift chair (this one is about due to retire), but the lift chair was not as described so I had to resell IT. But, I did feel like I kind of got this pole free, so, lesson learned. Hey, I gave it a shot.
Cost of next pole: over $200
Friday, May 3, 2013
The first thing I noticed was a Starbuck's across the street from the grocery. Yay me!
Now, I must confess that after 4 years of living here I still am not familiar with this neighborhood, called Queen Anne. Yes, I have looked at online maps, but it still baffles me. The area we went to is called "Upper Queen Anne," yet it seemed we drove down all the way. Anyway, the first trip I took 3 weeks ago was thrilling. There were cool apartments across the street from the grocery and an entire block of quaint shops, plus a big name drug store and Starbuck's! My mind went to the day I walk again and how nice an area to live in.
That was then, this is now---yuck. The wheel chair ramp cut outs were awful, tiny and steep. The sidewalk uneven, no stop light at the main cross walk, just a blinking red light, WHICH in Seattle should be just fine, but after a recent horrible DUI driver killed two grandparents, severely injured a mother with 6 day old baby in a quiet residential neighborhood, I'm not chancing a 4-way with no WALK sign button to stop cars. Today I did, just to test the 'hood.
The Starbuck's was a disappointment too. Again, no ADA approved door, not to the INTENT of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)---I couldn't get in or out on my own. The guy selling "Real Change" newspapers (see my side bar for their link, a great idea for homeless people and the poorest among us, to sell papers produced by them and they earn $1.40 on every paper they sell.) opened the door for me. (I had not a dime on me! Grrrr I am a big supporter of this concept and used to know the vendors by name in my old 'hood.)
My mocha was not made by Starbuck's standards. (I have been allowed behind the counter to make drinks, read their handbook, etc.) Of course, when I point this out, they usually look at me like I'm nuts, but not the managers---they know I know. This barista gave me attitude, tried to fix it, kept making it worse, until he called a manager who told him what to do.
As I was leaving, I thought, 'Maybe I can just force my way through the doors,' that used to work when I was in a scooter, but now my feet and knees at front and center--ow. There must have been 10 people sitting, drinking, watching me, do you think ONE of them got up to help me? No. Speaks to that 'hood.
I rolled back and got the store Mgr., explained his door problem, and sure enough, AGAIN, I was the only one to ever have a problem with the double doors. It is at that point I want to kick them and scream: "BECAUSE THEY SEE THEY CAN'T GET IN!"
Instead we had a chat. He thanked me and said he would try to get auto openers installed. Out of sight out of mind, it will never happen. THOUGH....
When I lived in my previous neighborhood, Capitol Hill, the city was about to build a subway there. We were flooded with informational pamphlets, requests for input and such. I kept looking and thinking---how in the world can someone like me use it? The current news is that it is finished and guess what, yep, people like me can't. Now, to wit, I called many people involved in that project over years and they all told me it would be "no problem," then, "I'll get back to you," no one ever did.
Let me tell you, I am at the age where I am sick of this ignoring of the ADA. I am ready to sue. It is all that gets through to people, got to hit them in the pocket, not the knees.
When I crossed the street to meet up with my retirement home bus, the, ok, SAFEWAY store had plastic child cars lined up by carts all along the wheel chair ramp route. I had to roll through the parking lot, behind cars (not safe)---no that neighborhood has lost it's appeal---too much drama.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Can you believe it? So I emailed them, called and left message---no response. Now I wonder where my money really went all the previous years. Those nickels probably were a years salary to the people who made the labels. SIGH
I remember TV ads where "Made in America" was a selling point. I never understood the full reason back then.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
No pain, so I know I didn't puncture my ear drum...memories of my mom and her bobby pin, "digging for gold."
Somebody on Face Book suggested I do what the Hopi's do and stick a burning candle in my ear...something like that...hmmm, anyone have a better suggestion to "pop" my ear? I am doubting ear wax is the culprit.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
This is or was a phenomenon across the United States during the 1980s--2000s: gay people moved into cheaper neighborhoods, fixed them up, then after the neighborhood became desirable (wonderful) yuppies moved in which raised the rents so that the gay people who built it were forced to move to another run-down, 'hood and the process started all over again.
When I moved to the Seattle neighborhood called Capitol Hill in 1982, it was just beginning the gay-rebuilding process. (Now it is over-flowing with expensive condos.) Another cultural change happening during my years on Cap Hill was the influx of drug users as our mayor would chase them out of one complaining neighborhood into a new one.
In the 1990s, people were shooting up heroin right on our main drag: Broadway. And in front of my prominently located apartment complex was the most incredible winding wheel chair ramp, designed by a famous Seattle architect. It remains the best I've ever seen. It also mad a delightful place for drug users and dealers to hide. Behind the large, flowering bushes that divided the three levels of the ramp, was plenty of nice space (my ramp) to shoot up in privacy.
One fellow was often passed out in front of the main door. I had to shove the door with my scooter and wake him each morning before heading off to work. "Sorry," he would mumble.
That was not so bad, during the cold months I think he hoped a tenant would leave the door open long enough for him to crawl inside. (Our lobby was large and inviting.) But, I didn't like having to move couples off of the ramp. Sometimes my shouts to "wake up!" didn't move them and many was the occasion when my Access Van driver had to walk up to kick them away. The van drivers would rather have left me, and a few did. (Grrrr)
One Sunday morning, a guy was sitting there shooting up, blood dripping from his arm. "Hey, come on, I can't get past."
"Sorry," he said as he stood to walk away, "I'm a diabetic. This is not heroin." (Good one.)
"Whatever, just stay off the wheel chair ramp, ok?"
"Yeah. I'm really sorry."
When I returned from getting a Starbuck's mocha, the dude was gone, but his needles and blood remained on the ramp.
Ick and Yuck. I had to laugh at the thought that I too "shot up" each day with my needles of Copaxone, a drug for MS.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
One of the duties of my job with Seattle City Light (the city's electric company) was to staff the main entrance, where we took payments, opened/closed accounts, answered questions, and the like. I usually worked in a larger center, staffing the phones, never seeing our citizens/customers face-to-face. It was a nice change of scenery.
In line, waiting for an available employee, I noticed a little old lady wearing worn clothes, dirty boots, and clutching a very used-looking purse. She seemed to have been crying, her hands trembling. She headed for me.
"Good morning. Have a seat. How may I help you today?" She said not a word, just began opening her tattered bag and pulling out papers. One was our City Light bill. She pushed it towards me as she began speaking in a quivering voice on the verge of crying. "I can't pay my bill and I can't live without my power. I have two cats and they need their milk warm, my stove, my TV, I don't know what I'll do. I always pay as much as I can but my social security is going to be late they said on the news..." Her story continued as her desperation grew. She started emptying a small coin purse onto my desk, dimes and nickles trickling out slowly. I had already started typing in her account number to access her account.
Cases like this I enjoy because I feel confident I can find help for poor seniors. Seattle has many agencies that help with bill payments and I prided myself on knowing them all. Also, by listening to her story, and this is true of many seniors, their bills are usually quite small in the scheme of things, though I keep in mind to them, to a person on social security living in low income housing, alone, a bill of $15.00 can be huge. Many must choose food or rent or electricity---I never let that leave my mind.
As she continued her sad story, imagine my surprise to see she had a CREDIT balance on her account of over $10,000.00!! Her bi-monthly bills were small, some less than $11.00!! As she spoke, she told me that she always paid in person. THAT made me furious. For years she had been paying the credit balance on her bills. I had seen this (not going on so long) before, our bills needed to have printed on them in big red letters "YOU OWE NOTHING. SEND NO MONEY," but my suggestions were rarely heard in those early days of my job. Instead they had printed "Balance Due -$38.67" which often prompted a call or visit or as in this little, old, ladies case a payment. But to go on so long and no employee ever stopped to tell her she didn't owe anything?!
After explaining that she owed nothing, that her bill was paid in full for an entire year, plus I was going to give her a large check back, well, she was floored. Literally, I thought she was going to fall off her chair. We discussed how she wanted to handle the credit. She did choose a year's full payment and a check, which I made sure she had a way to safely get to her bank---just a block away. I also took her on as one of my special customers until she moved away a year later. I checked her account ever bill, called her to explain it, but she really did understand what had happened.
Not once was she angry with us, just blamed herself. I had enough anger for both of us. I spoke at a staff meeting with the cashiers who had been taking her payments for so long. Now, after reading about some of the scams out of that office, perpetuated by unscrupulous employees, I wonder if it was all planned and one day an employee would transfer the extra money to their own account and then take it out. At the time that never even crossed my mind.
It is amazing, after over 25 years, how many of "my" customers I remember. They were all special to me.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
This is part two of my hunt for someone to come to my home and clean my teeth. You might want to read the post before this one. I started my search by asking for help from my Multiple Sclerosis Society. They have never been much help to me. I Googled a dentist's name they gave me, but found nothing. I called the phone number they gave me.
A pleasant woman answered the phone. I began my story of having been referred by my local MS Society's data base to Dr. Milligan and I was having a terrible time getting to a dentist due to my daily disability misadventures. She jumped right in, "Yes, " she understood, and "Yes," the dentist would be happy to help me. (WHAT?! My jaw filled with needy teeth dropped open.)
Our conversation lasted a good 15 minutes, but I didn't want it to end. Not only could they address my special care issues, but they could come to ME! (Was I dreaming?)
SHE was the hygienist who would be cleaning my teeth. We touched on the issue of dentists being so full of their power, still fighting any attempt at hygienists unionizing. Let me tell you my tale of THAT.
One of my dentists in Seattle came highly recommended as "the best." He was a professor of dentistry at the University of Washington, very respected. I was told, "Oh, yes, we are wheelchair accessible." Great, just in case, but at the time I only needed a cane. When the taxi dropped me off---nothing but stairs, and plenty of them, to his front door. As usual during the early 1990s, people with disabilities entered through the back of buildings. I slowly climbed my way up that day, but my mood was not great to start. When I mentioned the entry issue, he dismissed my words. During my visit 6 months later, Washington State was voting on allowing dental hygienists to clean teeth on their own. WOW---a firestorm from dentists, no way, never ever ever, ever. Their rich to the toothless gills American Dental Association (ADA), went into fighting mode. No lower educated woman was going to cut into their lucrative business by keeping patient's teeth clean and healthy without them looking at the teeth and charging several hundred dollars! Personally, I was surprised the hygienists hadn't unionized already. If the dentist wasn't having an affair with them, then they were bossing them around like they were Gods.
So, on that day I spoke loudly about MY vote FOR the hygienists, and my many reasons it was a great idea for the health of many people. I also refused to allow another X-ray of my teeth, saying I was getting over ovarian cancer and the facts about x-rays causing cancer were not sounding good to me. Thanks, but no thanks, just clean my teeth. Two days later I received a letter from that dentist saying he could no longer see me since I would not abide by his plan for my care and he didn't want to be held liable. Hahahahaha I wrote back to him saying: very well and I will pray that neither you nor anyone you love every gets cancer and is faced with a decision such as I had to make. But I knew the truth was that my strong vocalizing of support for the hygienists (the entire office went silent while I was there) pissed him off.
The vote ended in the dentists having their way. The money they spent on ads must have been in the millions. Scare tactics---hygienists will miss cancer in your mouth, etc.
So while the nice woman on the other end of the phone didn't know my strong convictions in support of hygienist freedoms, we did agree about how many seniors and people like myself were just going without any dental care because of few options. I asked what she thought of Dr. Milligan and why I didn't see anything about him when I Googled him (Good thing I insisted the MS Society email all their data base showed, so at least I got a number.)---well, "He is my father, so I think he is pretty terrific." And: his name was Millington. (Too bad I am not allowed to give info to my local chapter. That is exactly what the representative from the NMSS told me. I also know of an optometrist who has a machine made JUST for people in wheelchairs! Oh, well.)
Then she told me her father's story. I will quote from the Seattle Business Journal, May, 2000, it started with a Dr. Moore:
" As a mobile dentist, Moore's tools of the trade are three boxes of portable dental equipment and a Lincoln Navigator SUV.
He and other mobile dentists have built their practices by contracting with nursing homes to care for disabled, sick and elderly patients who would otherwise receive no oral care.
After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University's dental school in 1978, Moore considered missionary dentistry in a foreign country. Then he discovered a need right in his own backyard.
"What I'm doing fits my core philosophy," says Moore, who remembers that most of his dental school classmates were motivated solely by money. "I wanted to use my gifts for the most, like doing God's will."
Moore, whose practice is called Mobile-Dent, is one of only a few full-time mobile dentists with an active practice in the Puget Sound region. Dr. Charles Millington is another.
Despite the relatively low overhead -- no office rental, minimal staff, portable equipment that is less expensive than that found in an office -- Moore and Millington earn a lot less than their peers who work in an office environment.
"You have to have sort of a social service bent to do this," says Millington, who had a traditional private practice for 15 years before starting a full-time mobile practice -- House Call Dentistry -- in 1988.
Rossman's 95-year-old mother is a resident at Kelsey Creek, an assisted-living facility in Bellevue. Moore -- who Sonja affectionately calls "Dr. Pete" -- has slowly been taking out Rossman's mother's upper teeth, with the ultimate goal of putting in a permanent upper denture.
For Rossman's mother -- who has always prided herself on her smile -- Moore's mobile dentistry service has been nothing short of a godsend.
"It would be impossible otherwise, because she can't go anywhere. She's in a wheelchair or on a walker, we can't transport her, and it's too expensive for a cab," Rossman says. "It's just unbelievable that it's possible."
Millington contracts with 17 nursing homes and also visits one retirement facility and 30 adult family homes. He got the idea for mobile dentistry from his mother-in-law, who told him about an interview she had seen on TV with a mobile dentist on the East Coast.
He did some research and discovered Moore, who had been practicing mobile dentistry for years. Millington, in fact, purchased his mobile equipment from Moore.
One of Millington's patients -- an elderly woman on Capitol Hill -- had several broken and decayed teeth and hadn't visited a dentist in years when Millington first paid her a visit. The woman, a shut-in, is now able to eat normally and looks forward to Millington's visits on a social level.
"This is probably the most welcome I've been in my career," Millington quips.
Both men have taught at the University of Washington's DECOD program, which trains dental professionals to treat people with disabilities.
Pam Matiko, an administrator at Anderson House -- a retirement, assisted living, adult family home and nursing facility in North Seattle -- says residents look forward to Millington's visits.
"At least 70 percent (of the patients here) could not go out," she says. "You know, it's just a great service."
The woman, Dr. Millington's daughter, told me (I asked what drives people to care in this way about others.) that her grandmother had leukemia and they had such a terrible time getting her to a dentist. It as so hard on the entire family and they thought, "We can't be the only ones with this problem. It just isn't right." Then her father went about finding a way to fix the situation for others. I hid my tears over the phone, but after I hung up I couldn't stop crying. Not only was I finally going to get my teeth cleaned, but angels, people who walk among us doing what is right without regard to greed or their own best/easiest interests, had just entered my life. Oh, and when I mentioned how the NMSS had treated me, she immediately replied that she knew of several podiatrists who made house calls! The stress just rolled off of me. Now my retirement/assisted living home will be made aware of these services. I will see what I can do to make people with disabilities aware of this. I knew many seniors living on Capitol Hill in Seattle who would have given anything to have had this option. Current regulations prevent the good work still to be done by in-home hygienists. It is a David vs Goliath battle. But, I look around at the baby boomers now placing their parents in places like where I live and I believe the tide will soon be turning. My generation does not see any doctor as a God. My generation is on to the games of the wealthy lobbyists, union busters, and we are an activist bunch. I look forward to posting more about this topic. Stay tuned! (And support your local hygenist!)
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Yesterday started out so beautiful, sunny, birds chirping (gossiping no doubt or planning how to attack my window screens), and I was full of good intentions! Today I would grab a handicapped taxi to a part of Seattle called Ballard, visit my old neighborhood, hang out with an iced Starbuck's mocha in my hand. There was some personal business there that I'd been putting off.
Next I would come home and call my dentist, call 'my' florist (Ballard Blossom---hey that could have been handled in Ballard!) for our new assisted living home's manager who fell down a flight of stairs here breaking a lot of bones. (None, thankfully, in her neck or back---head also escaped injury! SHE IS NOW A RESIDENT HERE)
After I posted on Face Book what my plans were...Face Book, Alice's rabbit hole where it is easy to slip in but almost impossible to get out as sane as you once were. An hour quickly passed, I laid back to stretch my back, yep, fell asleep. When I woke up the sun was not as bright, trip to the loo necessary, and well, I was not happy with myself. The TV news ticker was saying something about an attack on the White House! (WHAT?!) So, of course I had to unmute it and hear how the Associated Press Twitter account had been hacked causing a brief but money-making (for the elite players) dip and up tick for the stock market. (A millionaire makes another million of fun money! Woot.) Now my trip to Ballard window had closed. OK, fine, I'll make the dentist appointment.
After I ordered the flowers, I called my dentist of 15 years. His phone message box was full. (?!) Slightly panicked, I phoned a dentist I used to see who had his office next door to my guy. The girl who answered had never HEARD of my dentist and the other fellow retired. Nooooooooo I fell into a funk. Time to share my funk...on Face Book.
Many of my FB friends have MS and one suggested I contact the MS Society, since my needs were out of the ordinary, thanks to MS. I told her something like, "Sure, I'll do that and then tell you how very helpful they are." (Written with all due sarcasm.) My mind now turning to writing and this blog (I call my book-writing "writing," and this writing "blogging," but I suppose soon both will be dubbed "keying" or "pressing?" NO INK AND PEN ANYMORE, sigh.)
Anyhoo, I called my local MS Society which is technically a chapter of the National MS Society. To the positive, they answered within minutes, transferred me, again answered in minutes. My question was, "I have MS. I'm in a power chair. I can't stand or walk. Can you refer me to a dentist who could handle my situation?"
The very polite woman was into her computer, going through the data base sent to her by my local chapter. She was in Denver. There was much stuttering, hemming and pausing, I asked if this was a strange question? "Oh, there are many, I just, well, oh, here is one that says it is wheel chair accessible." I knew that one, it is extremely expensive and they are big on putting patients 'under.' (I wanted a cleaning.) Long pause. So I say, "If there are so many, just give me another name."
"They don't all say they are wheel chair accessible." (WHAT? RIDICULOUS, all the dentists and doctors I had been to were always accessible---that was not my issue.)
"If they are not even wheel chair accessible, what would they offer that would be special for people with MS?"
"I'm just reading from the data we were sent by your local chapter. Here is one under Home Care, Dr. Milligan."
"Fine, what is his number?" She says she can email the list to me. I say, please do. And I ask, "Can I give you the info on doctors who have experience with special needs and people with MS?" (I'm thinking, gees, I know more than she does.)
"No, we can't take information from you."
"There are forms the providers must fill out. That is how your local chapter got the names. There are, um, probably certain things they have to tell us."
"I have gone to my local office a few times, can I still go there? Is it staffed?"
"Um, it may be (she is slowing, likely searching for info on Seattle office), but calling this 800 number is more efficient." (Really? Money saving for those glossy brochures and your web designers?)
"I see, well then can you refer me to someone who can help me fix my toes, they have hard nails and fungus."
"You want a pedicure?" (And here we go.)
"No, I'm talking about a common problem with toes that people who can't walk often experience. Our feet swell, nails grow upward, get hard, have you never heard of this? Am I the only one?" (A final question I usually find myself asking reps from the NMSS. To which they say and I quote, "Yes." SERIOUSLY??)
"I'm sorry, there are no podiatrists listed."
"One used to come to the assisted living home I'm in, but she quit."
"I'm sorry. I'll email this to you..."
"How about anyone who can check my eyes, you know, like I need a new prescription for my glasses?"
"No, there are none listed." (Now, I know of one for a FACT that has purchased a special machine so you can stay in your wheel chair to get your eyes checked...but she can't take that info from me and I can't speak to anyone at my local chapter...very efficient FOR WHOM?)
And this is my problem with 'our' MS Society. I called them when I first needed a scooter, just until I got my own--nothing. I called when they advertised free tickets to MSers for our pro basketball games--nothing, finally after angry letters, after years and after I could no long GO to the games---"So sorry, we will send them right out." My dearest co-worker who also has MS experienced same "sorry" from them on her issues.
I called the number for Dr. Milligan, but first I Googled him (her?) and found NOTHING. And this was how my day started...then, as they say, the clouds parted and a rainbow was appearing.
***To be concluded***
Monday, April 22, 2013
It is not only MS drug makers who stretch the truth to get us to buy their product. Lying seems to be a rule of good marketing. Often I find myself thinking, "When did this start?" and knowing that my years are over fifty, new generations know of nothing else so how will they do something else? Will "truth in advertising" one day be unspoken as "scouts honor?" I remember hearing both phrases quite often "in my day."
Anyhoo, I bought a package of onion ring-snacky things last week. I read the nutritional label, low calories per serving, no trans fat, hey, I was just looking for a potato chip substitute that was inexpensive and tasty to nibble on with a sandwich. Sure, we are all on to the big bag, bigger priced, smaller product amounts of chips and such, but I wasn't expecting what I got.
Inside the bag, yes, only half full (for sake of not breaking the product or freshness or whatever the company thinks we will accept), of what I can only describe as salt. No, maybe parsley flakes size. Looking again at the serving size, it was "a teaspoon." My brain must have been too psyched about how un-bad nutritionally for me, that it refused to process the obvious "SAY WHAT!?"
They certainly can't say they didn't print right out front on the bag, under the beautiful, big photo, "Size made larger to show texture."
I'll try and make the fancy bag last the week. They are already at the place where I do need a teaspoon to get them out.
Buying such snacks is a fool's game. I'm sticking with carrots.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Current People Magazine has ad for newest MS drug: GILENYA
(What I wouldn't have given for the choice of a pill over my daily injections.)
"GILENYA is a prescription medicine used to treat relapsing forms of MS in adults. GILENYA reduced the frequency of relapses 54% in a 2 year study vs placebo." (And if that looks pitiful, they lead with a 1 year study against an interferon, 52% reduction there.)
OR, a placebo---taking NOTHING reduced the frequency of relapses by 46%!!! Is that right? And by the way...reduced them compared to WHAT frequency? One relapse a day, month, or year?
Oh, and turn the page---there you will find TWO PAGES of side effects, precautions, and "WE WARNED YA!"
From A Stellarlife: MS is a disease that usually begins in the relapsing/remitting stage. In other words, symptoms will come and go. NO DRUG IS PROVEN TO STOP THAT FACT.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Arthur was quite "a character." He always has a devilish grin on his face in old photos. At family get-togethers he made us laugh. He liked gambling, smoking cigars, whiskey, his wife and his boxer dog.
He was closest in age to my beloved great aunt Violet. They were very close.
After joining the Army by saying he was older than he was, he enlisted and his girlfriend promised to wait for him. She didn't. While he was gone, she married. It broke his heart, but Arthur was young and off he went to the big city, Chicago. There he started a business, bought property, made his fortune. He married, divorced, married and had a daughter.
We all loved his 2nd wife, Sadie. They reminded us of Hepburn and Tracy. She took no guff from him and he was mad about her. When she died, he was inconsolable. It was hard to see such a vibrant, happy-go-lucky man sitting, staring, with sad empty eyes and no will to live. He was about 80 years old then.
So Aunt Violet, never a shrinking violet, told him he needed to consider dating. He had no intention of such a thing. (The men in my family are quite the romantics.) But, Aunt Vi was a determined lady. One day she read an obituary in the paper and noticed his first true love, Genevieve, had just lost her husband.
Aunt Vi told Arthur to "call her up." He refused. I remember watching her coax him as he sat, head down, back hunched, at her kitchen table. "Then I'll do it!" she pronounced. And by golly, she did, right then and there. "This is Violet, Arthur's sister, he wants to talk to you," and she thrust the phone into my shocked uncle's hand. I couldn't believe it.
Well, the rest is history. They started talking, dating, and he moved in with her.
They fell in love again, and were only apart when he had to drive back to Chicago from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to visit his daughter and his grand kids. His only daughter, as you can imagine, was not too keen on this new woman in his life. Genevieve had a beautiful home and her deceased husband was a man of wealth enough so that she never wanted for anything. Above is a photo of them out to drinks with friends. They were such a delightful couple. Genevieve was great and Arthur was his old self.
Over fifty years parted their love, but that spark remained. Arthur died at her home after driving all night to be with her. She remained a close friend to our family and especially my aunt Violet. We all played many card games together. Arthur's spirit seemed to join us.
If there is one thing I have always known and am reminded of every day at the retirement home I find myself in, it is that romantic love does not grow old. It is something within us that remains young, strong, with the power to transform the oldest body back to a younger self. True love never dies. Never.
Friday, April 19, 2013
My MS doctor, or as we in the biz call them, "neurologists," showed me in one MRI taken over a decade ago, that my brain had shrunken. His words brought back memories of my great-uncle who took pleasure in showing off odd trinkets he had purchased, one being a shrunken head. (For a kid in Indiana, that was a true gem!)
But truth is the atrophy which shrinks a MS brain is no joke. The more brain, the better, but as we age all brains start their descent into the realm of shrunken heads. Still, at 38 years old, I was not happy to learn I had a brain the size of an 80 year old's.
Luckily, I happened to know a few 80-somethings who were sharp as tacks. Since they were family members, I had some clues to what might have kept them so sharp. My conclusion was card playing. Our Indiana game of choice was Euchre (pronounced in our family: You-Curr,as in current, emphasis on You).
The multi-brain-tasking involved included adding, remembering, listening, holding 20 cards, manipulating 20 cards, and lots of talking on other topics. I would love to PET and map the different areas of the brain that get a workout during a game of Euchre! As luck would have it, after I moved from Indiana, nobody had ever heard of Euchre. Believe it or not, I even put an ad in the Seattle Times asking for Euchre players. No response. Not one. (Now, on Face Book there is a club of mostly former Midwesterners who meet and play Euchre! Now, when I can no longer get around on my own.)
Giving up on Euchre to help rebuild my shrinking brain, I decided to learn a new language. I joke that I have taken 4 years of French. The punchline and truth being that I flunked every year. (Though after one surgery I dreamt in all French---another post.) So, I bought a Spanish tape and began learning en espanol. My brain loved it. If I say I felt it growing, you will laugh, snicker anyway, but I did notice after a year that my brain was working faster and easier.
The important thing is giving your brain something new to do. So, I began adding as many new things as I could---including writing, which led after years to blogging. I also took courses in computer science and math. (Two subjects I used to hate! Take THAT, brain.) Guess what? My next MRI showed improvement. And science proved for the first time that brain cells can be rebuilt by us. This rebuilding will be a life long goal of mine. Why not?
So, while my serious blog readers know I struggled with my goal to learn the card game of choice at my retirement/assisted living home, BRIDGE, I stuck with it and I am glad I did. It was a real work out---I know I built some new cells. In fact, during these cell building adventures my MS improves. Yes, a finger that hadn't moved in years will move. A leg muscle will start twitching. I am a believer.
In the Jan. 9, 2013 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, brain images of bilingual speaking people 60-68 years of age, were faster at switching from one mental task to another, than those who only spoke one language. In brain speak, faster means easier, and that is how we want our brains to operate. I see how Euchre playing in my family was like translating one language to another, as we had to 'speak' Euchre and English at the same time. (Online Euchre is fine, but without the side gabbing, it is just one language.)
So I reiterate what I will repeat many times (How redundant is that?) until there is a cure for MS, keep your body as healthy as possible so that when the cure comes (AaaSTEM CELLSchoooo; excuse me) you will be ready to accept it physically.
Now, repeat after me, "Euchre." (Did you remember how to pronounce it?) Building brain cells can be fun!!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
One of the reasons I wasn't posting on my blog for awhile was a terrible cold I had. It started with a cough unlike any cough I had ever experienced before. In fact it stayed so long and was so aggressive (I timed it at a cough every two minutes), that I went to my doctor.
Unfortunately, my internist-guy of 20 years, was off on a skiing vacation. (Yay him! He is the nicest man.) His replacement looked at me briefly and diagnosis was common cold, no big deal, go home. Would you believe when I arrived inside the exam room I stopped coughing?! Needless to say, my caregiver and I were furious. Oh, well. Had this new doctor magically cured me?!
An hour after leaving her office my cough came back. Then I felt awful, vomited (something I never do), and was sick as an Airedale for two days which messed up my multiple sclerosis big time. I was so weak, well, it was as if I were a bag of bricks. Good thing I'm in an assisted living home.
After that "common cold" showed its true colors, or morphed into the flu, my partner got so sick she was rushed to the local ER. The diagnosis I then made was: I had a cold and then got a stomach bug, since partner only got the bug and no cold symptoms. The bug stayed two days, while my cough held on, heading for the THREE WEEK mark.
That cough was like a 'catch' right at my esophagus. Everyone was telling me my cough was lasting too long to be normal, but a recent report in The Annals of Family Medicine says that people they researched expected their cough to be over in 7-9 days, but the truth is that the typical cough lasts nearly 18 days. I think mine surpassed that because another bug slipped in.
The good thing about coughing is that it really works your abdominal muscles! I'm no doctor, but any lasting cough without cold symptoms attached, should be checked out sooner than later.
We keep cold meds for the winter season, so I had cough drops...that had expired a year ago! Reminder to self to re-stock meds ever year.
Wednesday I joined my retirement community and took a van ride to the grocery. It was a beautiful sunny, if chilly, spring day in Seattle.
Once inside the store I headed for some greek yogurt. My last purchase was sour as soon as I got home, so I dug as far back as I could reach and grabbed one. Then I grabbed a clerk who gladly bagged a zuchinni for me.
The deli smelled so good, I stopped and asked for the smallest container of mac and cheese. Clerk said they were out. I asked if they had any other pasta salads, she started calling out, "We have cheese meatballs, cheesy grits, cheese crackers," my desire was not getting through. I pointed to some shell pasta behind the glass counter.
"What about that? Isn't that pasta?"
"It is macaroni shells." (Uh-kay)
"That will be fine."
This made me think about our terrorist bombing in Boston and our fight over gun control. Yep.
We are one species, one goal to be happy. Clerk will be happy to get my money. I will be happy to buy some pasta. But our individual focus on what we think the other means to have for THEIR happiness overshadows truth. Calm heads prevailed, unemotional questioning, honest answers---and everyone goes away happy.
No matter our differences we all die in the end. We all started the same and end the same. The majority of every day people get along. Why can't our people in power positions learn to make us happy? I am not happy today with the NRA.
Best quote I heard was, "This is NOT about the NRA." I have to agree, it is about the many people who voted into office the politicians who voted against the meek gun control laws. Maybe 90% of Americans do want those tighter security checks, but behind closed curtains many more voted for men they knew would vote against any gun controls. Did NRA fear tactics and truth distortions scare them into voting for those men? Perhaps, but then it is up to the rest of us to explain the truth, expose the truth, EDUCATE our populace.
I am not happy with the media reports about the Boston bombs. Where did they get their journalism degrees from, or are they communication degrees? They report TWEETS and FACE BOOK entries! Just lazy? Or do we have just one Media owner now? I can't even keep track of all the mergers? Does China, Korea, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, own some of them? Who knows?
My yogurt was delicious! The sun was bright all day in Seattle. My retirement neighbors and I laughed all morning, mused about the flowering bushes---now I am 56, so much has changed and so little.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
This is actually a post about writing a post, how odd is that?
The day before the Boston bombing, I had written a post about "What I Wish I Hadn't Done." I was trying to fit "Boston Marathon" in the title because it is the main issue.
When the explosion happened, in fact, I was finishing the post talking to a friend on the phone, while I had MSNBC on mute just as my partner shut our apt. door on her way to lunch. (I am a multi-tasker.) After that, I just couldn't publish the post.
1.) It would seem unreal that I had been thinking about the incident from my past involving the Boston Marathon---an event that I have NO OTHER connection with whatsoever.
2.) It makes what I did sound that much worse, and now makes me feel that much worse.
3.) It seemed in poor taste to write such a frivolous incident, all considered.
But, the entire coincidence of my obsessing on that incident during the week before all this...just freaky. It also brought to mind how there was a time when we hid and guarded our diary entries with our lives! Now, we post them for the world to see! Our fears, secret (?) fears, dreams, regrets, desires, even our sexual encounters and things that we once were so afraid someone would judge us about---like psychic influences in our family or personal life.
Odd, isn't it?