How in the world…?

September 29, 2011 at 10:38 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Seems I’m always doing personal stories, and this is another..
My thesis in this one is that people with disabilities may be (in some situations) more able to adapt to crisis, more flexible in finding ad hoc solutions than their able bodied counterparts….

I think about how my former roommate, also a woman with disabilities from a car accident, and from Type II diabetes… has begun to come out the other side of economic and health disaster…without the supports that I may be getting…and I sometimes get uncharitable thoughts about the able bodied…

“Man, if they’d just been through this they’d probably be weaving baskets in a hospital sun room with Nurse Ratchit by now…”

I’ve detailed previously how she lost her job and home.
In September 2010 she wasn’t on the medicines she was able to find later, and pain from her diabetic neuropathy was bad enough that she couldn’t sit through eight hours of a cubicle phone call center job. She filed for disability. That got denied.

In Feb 2011 she got better medicine (samples) for the neuropathy, and tried to look for work again. She’s able to handle call center work again, but she’s still in a great deal of pain each night.

In March 2011 I had to relocate to Ohio to take wheelchair accessible housing and be near family there.

She and our dog drove cross country in a van, from Denver Colorado to the suburbs outside Charleston SC with her small store of possessions to her brother’s house…where the TV is set to Fox…

He had agreed to take her in temporarily. She’d had two very successful phone interviews with a company, and She had a job with them the day after she arrived. There was some irritation and scorn from the brother, annoyed that she didn’t get a better job, that her salary was close to minimum wage with no benefits, less than half of what she’d made at the prior call center…part time, but a job. She’s been promoted already, and they like her work. She has a bedroom to hide out in when Fox news is on, but sometimes her family comes and asks her rather strongly to go sit and watch Fox with them…She’s running out of excuses not to…

Our dog got the best part of this deal…a real fenced yard to play in…

That was in April. She has paid him rent from the moment she got paid, and purchases her own food in order that her brother not have to spend food $$$ on her behalf (the food part actually seemed to offend her sister in law, who felt her hospitality re: food was being rejected. They talked it out, and now my friend does participate in some mealmaking planning and eating with the family.)

She had money for one asthma medication and no diabetic medication. (And no insurance) So…she went without… for five months. Moral Hazard zombies about healthcare can just go spit, because this is a classic example of what really happens. You forgo care…

Luckily, nothing happened.

She just recently found a once a month free clinic in her town. she now has samples and prescriptions for everything she needs including test strips for diabetes she could never afford even at the old job w/insurance etc. And a doctor to list as her primary physician and a follow up appointment in December.

(I had researched for months and not come up with this for her. I hang my head in research shame. Evidently that Masters in Library Science I’ve got ain’t worth anything.)

She’s discovered that southern hospitality can be a real, true thing…her co workers have heard her story and take her out to lunch, give her connections to repair her car, offer some housing options (they haven’t panned out yet, but the offers are heartening.) She’s also giving back by picking up a co worker who has no car and driving them to and from work because his housemates won’t bestir themselves to help.

She has been given a deadline by her brother. She must move out by Oct 31…her decimated credit rating will make finding an apartment difficult…but she’s looking.
She’s got no working laptop right now, but hits the library computers to search on her days off. She’s confident she’ll find a place.

What really irks me is that nobody’s given her props for driving across the country alone to a strange town knowing only one person and getting and keeping a job in this economy. Nobody’s proud of her for hanging on to this job for dear life even when she hurts.

I believe part of the reason she’s managed this has to do with disability.

When your level of pain and level of function are fluctuating weekly you have to adapt to a new paradigm perhaps as often as daily…so you get used to doing that and can apply it to other situations in your life. You have a more visceral understanding of what it means to hit the reset button, start over, and for god’s sake have-the-crying-jag-later-but-not-now.

I just wish they gave parades for this sort of thing. After all so many unemployed/foreclosed folk have similar stories to this…it would make sense…

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