I Blew It

It is so easy to have an Us/Them mentality.  Us good.  Them Bad.  Us smart, Them dumb. Us openminded, Them not.  Us arrogant!  I’m past 50 now and have obtained a tiny amount of wisdom.  Unfortunately, that newfound wisdom doesn’t undo all the stupid, insensitive, arrogant and closed minded things I have done.  It doesn’t mean I won’t still do these things, but being aware has made this far less likely.

I attended the “Coffee and Conversation” with my Long Beach rep the other morning. The room was a small, but full, and there were plenty of people standing.  We even had the added treat of having a few Trumpsters attend as well.  One woman stood up,her hands and voice shaking, to protest the fact we are giving minors poison that will give them cancer.  Turns out she’s talking about the Pill and wants to defund Planned Parenthood. I must say we were not very kind, and simply told to her please shut up and/or leave.

I blew it.  This woman was waiting outside and stopped people as they passed.  I blew it. I should’ve taken that chance to speak with her.  I lost the opportunity to listen to her.  She was moved to show up at this event, we should respect her resolve, and her opinion, no matter how misguided.  She feels this is an important issue and we are wrong to dismiss it this way.  This would’ve been an opportunity to understand her side, find the common ground of caring for the next generation, while calmly explaining to her the realities of withholding birth control of any kind to anyone.  I’m ashamed of my knee jerk reaction and anger.  Now that I am aware of the opportunity, will I take it in the future?  I plan to.

We must all learn to control our angry reactions to Trump and his supporters.  Avoid dehumanizing the Trumpsters.  Once a group becomes ‘less than human’, the chance of violence increases.  Trumpsters are not the enemy.  Not directly.  Sure they may have voted for the egomaniacal wizard in the orange wig, but many are uneducated, mostly unaware, and were misled and lied to.  If we shut them down when they show up at rallys and meetings, we will never make any progress.  We must include these people in the discussion.  We need to help them understand they’ve been lied to.

The American Revolution didn’t start overnight.  It came after years of anger and not until the majority of the population felt pinched did the war begin.  Armed revolution will come to the US and it won’t take 10 years.  If TrumpCare passes the Senate as is (which is unlikely), people will begin to really feel the impact of Trump personally. The GOP will continue to cut these benefits and deny them outright to more and more people.  When people are barely surviving or dying because of lack of services like Welfare, Food Stamps, Disability, Medicare, they will stand up.  The tighter one is squeezed, the less one has to lose.  It’s as simple as that.

We have the chance to ensure that we avoid violence by choosing conversation rather than confrontation.  Let’s take it next time.  I will.

Grammar and Vocabulary

I try very hard not to be a “Grammar Nazi” when reading Facebook and similar things on the internet.  As to Facebook I realize not every writer has the education level, or for whom English is a second language.  As for the grammar used in posts on Yahoo and Google, that’s another matter.

These two entities like to provide news stories that after reading them I’m not sure what the article was about.  Was the writer pro or con on this issue?  I hoped the bad English would eventually be weeded out, but I decided I would just stick to the more reliable information sites:  CNN, Al Jazeera, Politico, Huffington Post, etc.

Now with Trump in power we can kiss our vocabulary and grammar good-bye.  Just like we have to accept “alternate facts” as real.  Now our anti-bullying campaign is a complete waste of time, money and effort, since our Commandeer-In-Chief has the diplomacy of a 6th year old playground bully.

I read an excellent, though dated, article  from Politico on Trump’s vocabulary, and it got me thinking: just how many words does Donnie have in his repertoire?  So I did a little more looking and found another, more recent, article from the Washington Post.  But no one actually counted the words Donnie uses.  Excluding articles (I, me, he, she, them, from, to, an, and, etc.) I decided to put together a list of his most frequently used words:

big, huge, bigly, biggest, best, worst, sad, bad, stupid, weak, lousy, horrible, deal, good, terrible, loser, hater, moron, dumb, smart (only when referring to himself), tough, dangerous, worse, lies, fake news, media, amazing, tremendous, terrific, zero, out of control (OK, I know it’s a phrase), beautiful, classy.

That’s just a taste.  Now, try to read the transcript of one of his speeches:

“Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”

Help Us Diagram This Sentence by Donald Trump! This is probably the world’s longest run-on sentence ever! Nineteen lines and the man didn’t even say anything!

Our world is in chaos and we are being lead by an ignorant beast!  We need to find a child therapist to help us interpret and clarify what he says, not Sean Spicer, who speaks nearly as well as Trump.  But given the material he has to work with, I guess he does pretty well.

Please help us or we are doomed!  We Stand

Health Care

cropped-cropped-we-stand1.jpgOK, we all know what’s at stake here with the new Trump NonCare.  They ‘guarantee’ everyone will ‘have access’ to health care.  “Access” to healthcare insurance is not the same as “having health care.”   The GOP cannot be ignorant of what they propose; these changes will hurt more people than it helps, especially with the MacArthur Amendment, which will let states obtain waivers that will allow health insurance companies in that state to:

  • Not cover mental health and substance use treatment (also known as letting insurers scrap “essential health benefits”)
  • Charge people with mental illness more

Many addicts are self-medicating because back when Oxycodone was being pushed by every doctor on the planet, some poor guy who has been taking this stuff for 8 years, suddenly he’s cut off because of new regulations.  These new regulations only made criminals out of people who are/were ill or hurting.  They can’t get a drug strong enough for the pain.  Of course not.  Oxycodone is strong and the guy’s got an immunity.  But the doc will only give him tylenol.

It’s hard enough for people with mental illness to get through life.  I’d guess more than 60% of all addicts have an underlying, undiagnosed mental health problem.  Mainly because GPs are not skilled in identifying mental illness.  They are also not trained in the best course of treatment for an addict.

So our poor addict is in  withdrawal and extreme pain.  He goes to the ER hoping for pain relief.  For 6 1/2 hours this poor addict lays on an uncomfortable, too small bed in a 60 degree room as he begins to withdraw.  When he finally sees a doctor, they view him as an addict and therefore will not provide him with anything stronger than tylenol for the pain.

What’s a guy to do?  He goes online where he can get anything from anywhere at any price at any time.  He finds a supply of his drug and finds relief at last.  But now he is using an illegal substance.  He doesn’t know how to figure out the proper dosage because the stuff comes in powder form and he has to fill his own capsules.  One day he takes too much and doesn’t know, he gets in his car and gets arrested.  Now he’s a criminal.  His boss finds out and he loses his job–no one wants a druggy working for them.  His wife leaves him, and he ends up homeless.  Now he’s “in the system.”  Now he needs a homeless shelter, Welfare, Food Stamps, job training.  Now he is trapped.

Why do we go to the ER for an addict?  Because we don’t have anywhere else to go, it’s not like there is an urgent care specific to addicts and the mentally ill.  Someone on Medi-Cal (and many other government programs) is extremely limited in their choice of doctors.  Finding a mental health provider is pretty hard when there are only two psychiatrists in your area and neither will take on a new patient.  Or worse, you find one and they turn out to be a quack.

You can’t get your adult child into a half-way house or outpatient therapy because he’s still using. You can’t get him detoxed because there is a wait list a year long.  I say that again for emphasis:  a waiting list a year long!  I guess you just let the addict in your life continue to use for another year in the hope that at the end of that year they will still be willing to enter detox.   ER staff do not understand addicts or recognize someone who is mentally ill.  They aren’t trained to.   That needs to change.  I know medical staff are always getting additional training and there is no reason that can’t include a crash course on the most likely cases they’d come in contact with.

 

Our healthcare system is very good at making us addicts, but really really bad at providing good complete healthcare.  I guess if the new health care bill passes with mental health provisions slashed it just makes our national insurance (DumpCare) as bad as our national insurance (Medicare).  Which begs the question: why are there three national programs: One for Congress, one for the poor or retired (which is often the same), and one for the rest of us.

I feel so defeated by this administration, but I’m not giving in.  I have to believe that the protests work.  They certainly get Dumpty’s attention.  He demanded there be a “probe” into the Tax March.  How do you probe a protest?  And the idea that protesters are being paid by Obama to undermine the new administration.  I don’t have to tell you how ridiculous and paranoid that sounds.  And as for protesters being paid. I’m thinking someone owes me money.  What is the going rate for a protester?  Is it by the hour, by the day, specific to the event.  Are travel expenses covered?  If so, I’m going to the next march in DC.

Don’t forget to call your rep and tell them to vote No on the new plan.

 

 

 

This Was Bad

It happened again.  We saw it coming and had no way to stop it.  How have we not learned how to curb Son when he goes manic.  This time was so frightening.  I’m not sure he’s going to fully recover.  I think it’s because of his benzodiazepine addiction of a few years ago.  Which he still has, apparently.

Things had been going so well.  The four of us were getting along better than we had been in years.  I was getting out and doing my own thing and feeling good.  I should’ve known it wouldn’t last.  Damn that optimism!  Son had been in a great mood for weeks, his business was doing very well.  He’d started some cannabis seeds and his plants were looking good.  He was staying up late; 2 and 3 AM.  But he didn’t seem bothered by it.   This went on for three days or so.   Then on Wednesday he started acting odd.  Muttering, shuffling, off balance.  Mostly confused.

This we recognize and we do as we had agreed, that if Son started acting drunk or sleep walking we were to give him an extra 1/2 dose of Seraquil.  He stayed up very late and was agitated, bumping into things, dropping things.  We sat and talked for a while, but he was pretty incoherent.  He asked the same questions: what’s going on, I don’t understand what’s happening,  why is this happening.  Then he’d ask what day it was or what time.  He was always surprised by my answer.  He began to hallucinate.  I started to record him, but had to put the camera down while I cleaned up the mess he made urinating in the middle of his room.  By then he was calmer and sat down on the couch, where he finally fell asleep.  I went to bed about 4 AM.

Next morning he seems better.  He gets up, talks with his dad and has some coffee.  But later in the day he started acting weird again.  Still, he wasn’t as bad as the previous day, so maybe he was still getting better.  But that’s not how it played out and we spent Friday night in the ER.  He admitted himself and I went home.  Husband is picking him up as I write.  Don’t know what good it did for him to just stay the night.

Still, I spoke with his caseworker and she was probably the most helpful one by far.  It’s been a different person every time he’s been in hospital.  She told me she didn’t any reason Son wouldn’t qualify for disability.   She told me to call my local SS office.  They’ll send paperwork which Son takes to his doctor.  We have an appointment with a psychologist in two weeks.  We make an appointment with the SS office and meet with their counselor.  Then in about two months he should have an answer.

I’d never heard of this, but the caseworker said she’d been doing this for 10 years and she’s rarely heard of anyone in Son’s condition be denied disability benefits.  I hate the idea of him being permanently disabled, but if he had these benefits, he wouldn’t have to work so hard out of our living room.  Plus he would then qualify for Medicare, which is much better coverage than Medi-Cal.  That’s the most important thing.

I was so angry when I tried again, in vain, to find help.   All I got was recorded messages telling me to call another number.  I called a dozen phone numbers for an hour and in the end had no where to go but the ER.  Where I had to sit and keep him calm for 6 hours, because you know they won’t give you any drugs until all the tests come back and you see the doc.  Once Son was medically cleared he finally was seen by a caseworker.

Son kept asking us if he took something or if we gave him something.  He also asked what we found in his room.  Did we take something from his room.  So we checked out his room.  A small bottle of a type Benzo in powder form.  He and his dad just came back and I told him we found it.  Now he is angry and wants it back.  He wants people to leave him be, that he’s better when he’s on them.

It’s going to be a long, long two weeks before he meets with the psychologist.  Maybe I can get him into the psychiatrist sooner.

Sometimes life just fucks you.

 

Join the Movement

I’ve been reading Trump stuff all morning.  I’m making myself ill.  It is so frightening, what is happening here.  The good thing is we are working to get rid of him, and his cabinet. Unfortunately, the only one I don’t see implicated in the Russia thing is Pence.  Was that planned?

At the moment it appears nearly his entire cabinet and most of his advisers are involved in lies about Russian ties.  The bad thing about it will be tying up the courts for the next four years with a constant stream of impeachments.  Nothing will get done.  But at least it would stop these cretins from doing wholesale destruction of the US and our Constitution.

There are plenty of protesters.  Don’t believe the Faux News when they tell you that we are paid protesters.  That’s completely absurd, though I know there are plenty of Trumpsters who do.  Who would be paying us to protest?

And protesting works.  We are building sustainable groups.  Indivisible is a nationwide group actively involved in protests, marches, getting Reps to hold Town Halls.  We are calling our reps to get them to vote down all of Trump’s nominees, bills, etc.,  We are writing cards to the White House demanding resignation of Bannon, and firing Trump (#TheIdesOfTrump).

We have a group meeting with the Police Commission and the ACLU next month, as well as the Tax Day Protest, and the environmental march.  We are halting the progress of the #Freespeech bus.  There are many of us, but there is power in numbers!  The Trump team and Russia stole the election.  A virtual coup by Putin.  We need your help to take our country back.

Here are links to just a few groups you might look into.  It doesn’t need to become your second job or take the place of college.  Be as involved as you want.

http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org/

Resist Meetup

The Nation

Indivisible 

People Power

Doctors

Doctor #1

Saw my neuro this week.  She doesn’t think I have MS.  Just because certain diagnostic tests don’t show the expected results, my flares have been documented.  I had one flare that lasted 6 months.  I was treated with the standard MS flare meds by IV for three days, every month for three months.  If that wasn’t MS, tell me what is, doc.

Yet she continues to treat me, because my diagnosis came from UCLA, which has a specialized MS program.  Still she has me coming in every six months.  When she asks me about new symptoms, she dismisses them as not MS-related, and therefore not her problem. I guess if I’m not blind or in a wheelchair, I’m not worth her time.   She will be replaced.  I can see someone else in that office.  Why did it take three days for me to realize this?  Why didn’t I say something to the Doc?

Doctor #2

I’ve been having an eye problem where it felt like my eyelids were sticking to my eye balls. This has been going on for a few months, and wasn’t getting better, but not a real big deal, eye drops seem to work. So brought it up to my GP.  So she looked a little more closely at my eyes, and had me read the eye chart. I’m really shocked. If you measure by number of lines of the chart, my vision has consistently been only one line apart; my right eye is a tad better than the left, which has an astigmatism. This time it’s 4 lines! I can only read the second line of print with my left eye. I’m a little concerned and say as much to my GP and she gets me a rush referral to the Ophthalmologist.  I really like her.  I want her for my new GP, my old one is moving.

Doctor #3

I couldn’t get into the Optho until mid-March, so they referred me to another office.  I call and get an appointment for the next morning!  Wow, cool.  The doc examines my eyes, pretty much a routine exam, I read the eye chart, he dilated my eyes. He seems thorough. He tells me that I have an issue with glands in my eyelids not working.  I never knew there was anything except lashes on my lids.  These glands are supposed to secrete oils necessary to keeping eyes naturally moist.  He gives me a script for Restasis, and gives me a list of three more eyedrops I’m to use everyday for the rest of my life.  Four different types of drops, basically I’m to put drops in my eyes about every two hours.  Ok, it’s inconvenient, but not really something I can’t adapt to.

That’s when I ask him, “What about the sudden decrease in the visual acuity in my left eye?”  He shrugs, looks at my chart and sees I got new a prescription in my glasses Nov. 2015, so I should wait till this November, when my insurance OK’s new glasses.  I’m not really thrilled, but I figure he’s the doc, I trust that it’s not a big deal.  I go home.

Then yesterday, I’m updating my calendar and find the doctor’s card, which I just grabbed and put it in my pocket as I left.  I only read his name, not his title.  This time I read the title.  He’s an optometrist.  I had a referral specifically for the ophthalmologist. When I made the appointment, I assumed since they knew I couldn’t see the ophthalmologist in my office until March, that I would be seeing theirs.  I could have seen our optometrist, who I’ve been to before.

It’s been two weeks using all the eyedrops and my vision in that eye seems to be getting worse. My vision seems blurry, colors seem to merge and shift?  Can’t describe it. Suddenly I can’t properly identify a certain size or shaped or colored object until I am two feet away. This is not normal for me.  I’m worried this is not the dry eye issue, this might be the Fuchs Dystrophy I was told I had 20 years ago.  It’s a slowly progressing problem in the cornea.  When it gets bad enough the only option is transplant, but that’s still years away for me.  I hope. (Hmmm.  How likely is it that Medicare will pay for that by the time I need it?)

Then I talk to my brother, who I haven’t seen in 25 years and he mentions one of my sisters.  Says shes going blind.  Now I’m worried again.  I haven’t spoken to A in 25 years either, but I’m going to have to talk to her.  I think since my referral is good for two visits, I’ll just keep the appointment in March with the ophthalmologist.

What the hell is wrong with me that I don’t notice these things?  I used to be so thorough.   But I never asked the office what type of doctor I was seeing, something I once would have made sure of.  I used to speak up for myself, and I honestly don’t know when that disappeared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resist- II

Since about October, I have struggled a little with balancing our new ‘reality’ with some of my Buddhist way of thinking. “Things are happening as they should and I need not interfere” is kind of the gist I came away with during my studies.  In fact I spend quite a bit of time with my therapist discussing that balance between life, and a fulfilling life.  You know, the whole Buddhist “root of all my trouble is wanting” idea.  Yet I want things to change.  So much.  So much more every day.

I want Trump–No.  Not impeached.  No, poor man is sick.  I’d like him put in a small hospital room for the rest of his life.  A soft room with bars and bullet-proof glass on the windows, the gentle light of a tv as it plays The Apprentice on endless loops.  I’m all for hiring the handicapped, but the man is absolutely certifiably delusional.

I know a little about delusional from personal experience.  I know he truly believes what he says.  I know he doesn’t think we’re stupid.  He doesn’t think of us at all.   He truly believes he is entitled to anything or anyone any time he wants.  He believes it when he says he thinks he’s doing a swell job, and accomplished so much in so little time.  His claims of being prosecuted.  The ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ fit in perfectly in the life and mind of the delusional.  You must buy into his delusion, or you are the enemy.

His brief press conference of yesterday has only hardened my resolve to be involved.  He thinks he’s a 5 year old and can stomp all over your sand castle if he wants, just because it was better than his.  He is still that spoiled, confused child.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a lot of sympathy, but just thinking about him that way makes me a little less angry, but a lot more scared.

I want us to get rid of Trump (and the rest of his swamp creatures if at all possible) as soon as possible.  It becomes obviously more urgent every day.  You did see at least some of his so-called press conference?  And still, there is this niggling feeling that I maybe shouldn’t interfere.  Shouldn’t be involved.  Maybe I’m just trying to find an excuse to stay in my own corner, complain and pass along worrisome memes.  It’s much easier not be involved.

Then today I read this article out of the Huffington Post:  They posed this question:

What can Zen Buddhism teach us about the art of effective activism in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency?

to  Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen master who has been a social and environmental activist for since his early days protesting the Vietnamese War.    This article addresses the issue of balancing Buddhist thinking with activism.

The article quotes from his book At Home in the World where he says:

“Mindfulness must be engaged.  Once we see that something needs to be done, we must take action. Seeing and action go together. Otherwise, what is the point in seeing?”

“Nonviolence is not a set of techniques that you can learn with your intellect,” he goes on to say. “Nonviolent action arises from the compassion, lucidity and understanding you have within.”

 

This article finally set to rest my qualms over my level of involvement.  And I hope I can bring his teachings of non-violent protests with me.  I hope we all can.  So teachers, parents, and concerned citizens, arm yourselves with the knowledge of peaceful protest and let’s get to work!