Handbook for the Recently Disabled, Part I

Finding yourself recently disabled? Gimpy? Crippled? Love someone recently removed from the ranks of the TAB (temporarily able bodied)? Well, you have come to the right place, Dear Reader. Here are some practical bits of lived in situations for yours truly!

The Handbook for the Recently Disabled will show up sometimes, with a handful of bite-sized pieces of advice I wish I knew or have observed along the way. YMMV (your milage may vary), of course. I am not a medical professional in any way.

First, enjoy this picture of Lucky, a tiny, tawny chi-wowow.

First off, no one is actually allowed to call you a cripple and be seen as a reasonable adult in the US. You can call yourself whatever you want. I frequently use words like that to refer to myself because language is a tool I wield wildly.

Remember to get your disability parking! Indiana gives out both plates and tags, but you need documentation from your doctor that you need it. It comes in two flavors: 6 months and No Expy. So check with your BMV or doc to find out what you need to do if you qualify. I needed proof from my doc, so folks that think you can fake it need to know the following: faking is more complicated than parking – why bother? Not like you will get to use a special spot anyway, read on!

Third, remember when you go out of the house this hard learned lesson: there is never enough handicapped parking. The days you need it the most, those paltry places are never sufficient. No, it is not worth it to get into a conflict with a person that appears to be parked illegally – if they gave a damn they would not have parked there in the first place. You have no authority, most shops and stores will not make someone move, and you are already having a hard time getting around – do not waste your efforts on assholes.

Everything has changed. Maybe you just need a cane, maybe you can only move your eyelashes, I have no way of knowing, Dear Reader. The newly disabled, me and some of mine included, found ourselves reevaluating every movement of every day. Spoon theory sums this up incredibly well. Figure out what you must do, what you need to do, what you desire to do and prioritize as you see fit. 

Lastly for this piece: know your help. For me, help came mostly from family and a few close friends. Be honest with yourself about who you can really lean on and trust with your health, your emotional well being, and your business. Depending on your life and people, you may place a lot on a few or try to spread it out depending on the strengths of your folks or your trust. Some folks will let you down, be prepared. But be ready to be amazed, surprised, humbled, and deeply gratified, too. Folks will surprise you: users will disappear in puffs of jerk-shaped smoke, and some will leave you wondering how on earth you earned that kind of dedication and love.

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No More Excuses

In the midst of all the heartache, here I am believing I have no more excuses to ignore my few, precious Dear Readers. So here I am in the midst of a post-truth, post-Trump mindset. Here are the things I am working to accomplish:

Nissi at rest. She is maybe 6 months old here, black with tuxedo like white markings. Here she is napping on the corner of a grey couch. 

  • Training the puppy is going well. She is so much smarter than I thought, so it is much more like having a toddler in the house than usual.
  • My head hurts. 
  • My teeth need attention. Professional attention. I am working on it, appointment after appointment – now I have to see a hygienist four times a year to try to save what I have left. I am starting to sometimes actually look forward to being rid of them some day. 
  • I need to write more. A lot more. These brain droppings are cluttering up the works and so I exorcise them with you.
  • My gaming will never be better than the upper echelon of mediocre, and it is only very rarely even that good.
  • Learning Spanish is slowed to a stop, but I have not given up. Thanks, Duolingo.
  • I have the fortune to discuss the nature of reality with the author of Quantum Sorcery – have you read that yet? I learn, aid, and keep the candles stocked – apprenticeship!
  • I can now draw a sad coffee cup that other people can recognize and say “nice” without appearing to bullshit me. That is kind of cool, will keep working on it.
  • My cleaning projects had unexpected progress, which is great. Our black carpets frequently get vacuumed before they turn grey from pet fur.
  • Woot! My craft room is accessible and useful again. It does need some work. It will always need some work. D valiantly offered to get a new sewing machine if I got the room right again – I will be talking about that soon.
  • I gathered all the stuff to start learning recorder, but there are too many people home all day for me to feel comfortable going back to fourth grade right now. I can read music and I played clarinet for a decade, this so not be super difficult. But thanks to my teeth (see above) I cannot play clarinet without killing my head, so recorder it is. Well, it will be once I have some private time on the regular again.

My Buddhism may be causing this existential crisis. I have not the resources to take any great practical leap: week or month long retreat. Hell, I can barely afford a new read. But I feel like I am on the burning edge of something… I am not sure if there is much difference between a leap and a fall – besides the landing.

Sometimes I feel something… precious. Dust mites in the sun glinting like diamonds, special in their transience, their worthlessness. Connection to the suffering of others, an empathy uncontrolled in reach and depth, dangerous without the rest. 

A frustration with the things I own owning me, but raised too poor to give away all that I should, let alone minimizing as I sometimes want. Once a poor person has a thing, unless we must leave it behind it is very difficult to give things up. 

An unnamable desperation to stop feeling so fucking desperate. A coming together that keeps falling apart. 

I hope you are getting by, Dear Reader. Find comfort where you can. We are regulated to the fringe again: Outlaws that have done nothing truly wrong. 

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Blog Busy-ness

As I get used to changes here and on other services since I last knew them well enough, there will be lots of blog business & changes. I want to keep you up to date on them, but will save up for posts like this maybe once a week or so when making changes.

Most importantly: this is still a safe space, and a commercial free space. 

You can reach this blog through the blogspot address or by my own url.

In the “For Your Convenience” gadget I have added “Where is PatientC” which may grow a little. 

I have removed the “Team Blackness” page, but folks that need that information can get it by contacting me if desired.

A “Profit” page was added regarding commercial contact.

The Uptweet button appears to be broken so I removed it.

The old Facebook button was broken & so removed.

I reviewed the themes, etc and decided to keep things as they are for now. I like the simple, elegant look – let my ideas stand for themselves.

Yes, I will probably keep up the snapshots with posts thing. I like it, it helps when linking to graphic oriented pages, and keeps you and me both grounded.

The Facebook page is a neglected mess, I know. That will get fixed but I felt flustered by it after everything else and it will have to wait.

If you find issues, and have a free moment, I would appreciate you passing the word along. Thanks!

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PatientC Lives!

It may be news to you, but PatientC still lives. Yes, yet another “get blogging again” effort shows fruit, so let us get fruity!

A happy, large tuxedo "pit bull" puppy with a content PatientC.
A tuxedo “pit bull” puppy with a content, silver haired PatientC.

In recent times I have been writing again, and thinking of you, Dear Reader. I finally decided that it should be up to you whether or not you expose yourself to my various news, ideas, and brain drippings. I will share what I want to share, and you can read what you want to read. Consent is a great thing!

Some family, some Family, friends, and associates will now read this, so I have to give this caveat: while I appreciate your attention, please understand that I have to write as if you will never see this space. That does not absolve me from hurt feelings, misunderstandings or other results of us meeting here, it just means that we will have to deal with them together, if you want to deal with them at all. 

Life was in a weird place for a while: I am getting around better, sleeping better, loving more demonstrably, being there, and doing some things more. This has a lot to do with the love and support I have at home, with dealing with ailments and problems more clearly, celebrating victories honestly, and with managing the pain that interfered in every aspect of that life.

The past year saw me lose 50 lbs (because I can move again!), be there for my family (they were the ones in and out of the hospital this time, how weird!), get a dog (Nissi!), and commit myself to learning more about Buddhism even if my attendance at meditation practice has been spotty.

I intend to resume a lot of my regular features: Gimpy Gamer, Buddhism, social justice, disability, Things That Make My Life Easier, reviews, sex – most anything I can hold in my head long enough to get it to you. This means updating most of the whole damn blog, so changes ahead!

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ObamaPhone or Indiana Lifeline Assistance

So I received my “ObamaPhone” application in the mail recently. I know there is so much to talk about right now, but since I have this in front of me and there is a ton of false information and ignorance about this particular subject I think this is necessary. Also: I want to contribute to the works that actually help people on occasion – this blog is not just for me sounding off about things that are wrong.

No big info, just for reference.
Picture of the flyer that came with my application. I wanted to show you the application, but I could not come up with a way to show you, Gentle Reader, what I wanted to show you without displaying personal information. 

They are cracking down on fraud and abuse on both corporate and individual levels. Do not falsify anything on your application.

Let me say right now that there is nothing wrong with needing a lifeline phone. They will only ask you about how you qualify, not about how or why you believe you need their phone. Even if your situation is okay but perhaps subject to cataclysmic change it is something you should consider. Maybe your need is obvious and undeniable. Maybe everything is fine today, but the finances are out of your hands. Maybe it will only take one big couple fight to find you in desperate need of a phone. Maybe you are at home taking care of a parent that uses access to cars, phones and whatnot to control you and your business. Only people that could really need one are even eligible, so do not let internalized classism keep you from help you need no matter why you need it. 

My application came to me though my health coverage. I am disabled so I have the state’s health program. You can see if you are eligible for Indiana’s Lifeline Assistance program here at Safelink. As with all things “free” it comes with ad offers and such, but you can opt out of most of them. But I am getting ahead of myself. 

You can apply straight up at the website above if you do not receive a pre-approved application in the mail. (Note: that approval only lasts a few days, so use your application right away if you receive one.) You can also apply at your local library. If you are having extreme trouble, you can apply over the phone, but they do save that for folks having trouble with the process.

The application I received is in English on one side, Spanish on the other, and I think they have other language options at the web site. All I had to fill out was my name, address, last four Social Security number digits, and a contact phone number if you have one. There is also a box to check if your address is temporary. 

Next you pick your plan. The choices are 68 minutes a month, 125 minutes a month, and 250 minutes a month. Each plan comes with different options. The most important one is that the 68 and 125 plans have roll over/carry over minutes, whereas the 250 plan does not. The first couple of months have bonus minutes, and my offer included free calls to my docs even if my time is used up. Speaking of, you can of course buy SafeLink cards to extend your time if you have used it up for the month.

Once you get though that, you have to swear under penalty of perjury that you belong to the plan they believe qualifies you and a handful of other statements like that a qualifying household can only participate in the plan once. If you have trouble reading small print I definitely recommend using the website so you can use your browser options to size the text to your comfort level and ability.

That is it. You can fill out the paper application, go online, call their question line, fax it. As my own application progresses I will update this article. I am happy to say that the process seems to be fairly easy so far

Updates will go here. Corrections to the above, if needed, will be added where appropriate and clearly indicated.

  • This process immediately showed itself to be a government program, in that it is difficult to navigate in ways that only the government can produce (and I mean in general, no offense to the current administration).
  • I filled out the paper application so I could walk through it in this article, but my plan was to go online to file. However, the first thing Safelink wants is your “enrollment ID.” Guess what? There is no such thing labeled on the application. There is a member ID, and promo code, and a bar code, but no such number labeled.
  • My call to the help number at the bottom of the paperwork was promptly answered, filling me with false hope. The support personnel on the other end of the line was difficult to hear, and stuck to a script which did not answer my question at all. At one point there was an indication that it might be my insurance number (my qualifying program), but that is also used as my “member ID” and was not usable as my “enrollment ID.” So that was a 14 minute exercise in futility.
  • I could not start a fresh application because their web form would not accept my hyphenated last name. Later even the tech support agent helping me had trouble and even asked me if I had changed it on my government paperwork. (Yes, I did, sexist coder that wrote this form, I did.)
  • Next is my call to the help line listed on their web page. They have separate numbers for account help and tech support. The line is automated at first and is designed to help without connecting you to a real person. I needed a live person. It took two minutes to get connected to live help, which is not bad in my experience.
  • Again, the script given to assist customers was almost the opposite of help. It took another thirty two minutes to suss out that the only way to get past the lack of “enrollment ID” and the last name business was to apply over the phone. Now, the person I actually dealt with was heroic in trying to stick to the script. She also actually wanted to and eventually did help.
  • At one point I had to give the “I have worked in tech and tech support, I would not be bugging you if anything I could try worked!” speil. 
  • It was assumed I wanted the 250 minute plan, the others were not mentioned.
  • Applying over the phone is tedious, repetitive and irritating. If you can use any other method, I recommend quite strongly that you do so.
  • So now the wait is on! 7 to 10 business days should produce an Indiana Lifeline Assistance handset…

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Farewell Ferguson’s Faux Friends

So the apologies from all the fucks bleating so wrongly about Ferguson, MO’s protesters and racist cops and racist policies and tactics and racist everything should be rolling in any minute now…

…yep, any moment…


Because they were wrong. So very, very wrong. 

When you back up bad cops you hurt good cops. You leave impoverished, under privileged, under siege communities feeling like people only care when they can cluck their tongues about “riots” and “looting” and “boot straps” and “the race card” and “working harder.” 

You see, in the uniform, no one can tell a good cop from a bad cop. Because “decent folks” and “good cops” bend over backwards to protect bad cops. Maybe they watched Thin Blue Line too many times at too young an age. Maybe they watched COPS too many times at any age. Maybe they just think that only those with the intent to actually protect and serve are drawn to the job. But that much unsupervised power over fellow humans is a draw to the wrong kind of people.

If you defended Ferguson’s power, you need to apologize about Ferguson. Unless you still do not think the cops were wrong. Then just shut up, because you are a racist.

Personal notes: not a lot of links for a while as I am getting used to a mobile platform more kind to my shaking hands. 

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