Sunday, July 26, 2009

Moving Day

This is a day coming up for me fast. Because of things like divorce and the fact that I didn't know the finances well enough yet (my ex-to-be was handling that before me), my rent check got shorted and returned. By the time the bank was done with me there was no way I could pay my rent. I had to close out the accounts and start over again. That's not good enough for these landlords and frankly they just aren't very nice people to begin with. So it's a good thing I have to move.

The gas for things like hot water and laundry have been shut off downstairs, I can only presume in retaliation for having bad luck. It's illegal in just about every state and they have had me served. That's too bad for them because they've done just about enough to legally hang themselves. I can't say much more than that for legal reasons.

The new landlord is very understanding about the fact that I have to wait for our next disability checks in the mail before I can pay him for moving in. After that, my finances will restart anew.

Currently I'm trying to find people with strong backs that don't have permanent head injuries like me. Trying to recruit help in a place where I know precious few people. I've talked to a church and put a blog on one of the newspaper sites I go to. I'll be talking to people all week

I'll be okay and soon I'll be back to blogging full force but my hands are kind of full with things at the moment.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Honoring the Fallen

Well, on July 2nd I went to my father's funeral in New York. Ever since then my head has been filled with concepts and I've been contemplating. First of all, the Wisconsin Patriot Guard took care of my expenses for the trip, thank and bless them very much. I also understand that some of other chapters road with my Uncle part of the way to bring the Urn from Kansas to New York.

My father's last wish was for one last long ride on a motorcycle. The man had Harley Davidson in his veins and he was a true biker of true bikers. Better yet, since he had the mind of an engineer combined with a Vietnam vet of Special Forces, he always had something cool someone could do to make their bike just a tiny bit better. Or whole lot better depending on who you ask. Well, my Uncle gave him his wish and a funeral procession to end all.

In the carrying bag for my father's urn were five flags for the service, or was it four? In any case, somewhere a long the trip, he switched the flags so that each one spent part of the trip around the urn. Awesome in my book and very thoughtful.

At the service in Woodlawn Cemetary in Elmira, New York; the Patriot Guard came in a force of at least dozen and circled around us holding flags. They also rode in with us and it was quite a sight. My Uncle made all the arrangements and I don't think he could have done it any better. It was a great service that honored my father very well.

I had to leave for home after the service. I couldn't stay and I had a lot on my mind. I learned from my sister that my aunt also passed away within around 2 months of my father. I didn't know her as well as my Uncle per se but I gave to the contemplations that carried me through a twelve hour drive. Yep, I turned grief into energy and it took me all the way through.

This has to have been hard for my Grandparents and Uncle. It's a hard hit to the family no matter what, but still. They meant so much to so many. I have to say, after seeing it happen a few times over, I hope I don't outlive my children. I've already outlived a god-child. That's enough for me or so I pray.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Morning Trials 2

As I've mentioned before, mornings are a special time of day. Before Denver gets his meds in the morning he can be a very random child and way off task or focus. I will repeat myself several times and may even have to take him by the hand and lead him to what he needs to do. He hates that, by the way.

A simple task, like putting on a shirt, could take several minutes to a half hour to get him to do. I can get him to move on it if I give him a time limit. Yes, there is part of it where he's just plain oppositional. He really isn't a morning person.

He gets lost in fantasy and strange erratic behavior. He puts up his hands like a small animal and sort of "flutters" around the apartment. He even has to be reminded to finish chewing food that's in his mouth. He stores it in his cheeks.

This morning, he sat at his little desk for breakfast and perched on his toes on the seat. I can't stand this and you're about to see why. He went into "little animal" mode and dumped his bowl of cereal all over himself trying to eat like one. So, start the morning all over again. New clothes, new breakfast and hopefully that doesn't make us late to summer school.

As an update, Denver actually gained 2 pounds! Guess those shakes work after all. He is still under weight. Yes I feed him.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Destroying Lives

In this post I want to talk to you about stigma and discrimination. These are just words, but they carry the power to destroy lives.

Stigma is a negative attitude toward any given characteristic of a person. This is often a broad and community issue fueled by discriminatory behavior of even a few and belief in untruths about those characteristics. Stigma is considered to be a negative portion of discrimination.

Discrimination is the treatment or consideration of a group by way of class or category rather than individual merit. It is the assumption that all persons of a particular class or condition are the same whether a negative or positive idea. Discrimination follows the ideas of stereotypes created by stigma in society.

There is an assumption that all people with bipolar disorder are dangerous or "crazy". The key to recognizing discrimination for what it is, is the broad and all encompassing assumption. The key is the word "all". It could be substituted with "every" or other similar words. This is how you recognize the falsehood that is discrimination. It is an unrealistic idea and belief in it hurts innocent people.

It just isn't possible for every individual with a medical condition to be the absolute same. Just like we have had to learn for race, religion, sex and age. So when are we going to learn?

I am going to use myself as my own best example once again. I worked in a career I loved dearly. I was an Animal Control officer and I was looked to with great trust and appreciation of my work for five years, until I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Suddenly, I could do nothing right. I was written up and threatened constantly with disciplinary actions. They were even taking steps to have me put before a comittee to have me even more punished and stripped of my rank. They even decided who they were giving that rank too, long before they got there. If you don't think that's ridiculous yet, try this; on my last review, a reason for me not to get a raise was that I was suddenly afraid of dogs. Never mind the hundreds of them that I had taken in regardless of their attitude or demeanor. Never mind that I handled some of the most dangerous animals the city had to offer. Suddenly and out of the blue, being afraid of dogs (which was not any part of city policy) meant I should not get a merit raise.

They lurked over my shoulder on the job and even took complaints they never would have given a thought of, to use against me. They accused me of being sneaky and trying to cover my tracks. Tracks from what? Oh they came up with all kinds of fantastic things. Things that you might take for granted on any given day, but may have been "construable" to appear against the rules.

I went to the Equal Opportunity Commission and it took them a full year past the time I had to give up my job. Why did I quit? Because my Union attorney said I was going to be fired if I didn't. The EOC did very little to actually investigate, they barely considered any paperwork I offered and didn't question a single one of my witnessess. They gave me a right to sue letter though. Very flimsy and gave me little chance of justice. After a year of searching, I found an attorney. We filed suit and after a great deal of paperwork a judge decided he just "didn't like it" so threw it out of court. See how they all line up for the same belief? Don't think so? How about the assumption that all city offices must be honest?

Yep, every single one worked in and lived in the same city and had practically the same beliefs. I was sunk before I even began. Now it's too late. I will never see justice. I suffered an immense breakdown before the discovery that I actually had Asperger's Syndrome which quickly explained everything they thought about me. Not that they cared, they didn't want a crazy person working for them. One of my therapists called what I suffered as "loss of identity". Now, because of them making all of my conditions worse with traumatic levels of stress, I will never work a normal job again.

Did I deserve that? Maybe I deserved a write up here or there, but not permanent disability. No one deserves that. So here I am, at my home in Wisconsin because I couldn't stay in Nebraska. And I can tell you that there are plenty who are treated this way for no justifiable reason who take their own lives. I almost did.

They are in my nightmares, to this day. Do you know that the laws on discrimination for mental disabilities do not accurately cover anyone who has them? You have to show that your condition actually disables you. Otherwise it is considered perfectly legal to discriminate against you and that is what they told me directly and word for word in Nebraska.

It's a good thing they don't do it like that for any of the other categories, otherwise you might have to prove that you are black enough or jewish enough to be discriminated against. Just an example folks. Think about it.

Education, it's the answer.

Denver's Blisters?

Just to get started, I have to say that my father's funeral honored him perfectly. Just so I can say it.

We went to Elmira, New York on the second of this month for that same funeral and stayed at the Mark Twain Motor Inn. A lot of things in that little town are named for the famous author who was born on the passing of Haley's comet and died when it passed again. Just a little trivia for you. In the nearly endless front yard of this establishment, stood a large gazebo. In it, Denver found some childrens toys and one of them was a little red bicycle.

I have had some difficulty in getting Denver to ride his bike at home because of balance issues that we autistics have in major scale. He wants to, but then doesn't want to. Well, as he often does, he took to his own schedule of learning and being prepared and started riding the little red bike. I was only too pleased to let him.

The area boasted a large placement of concrete around the gazebo so riding wheeled toys was a snap. However, it wasn't until my uncle and cousin arrived on their Ducati motorcycles that he made an interesting change.

Denver has always been scared of motorcycles. That has changed. My cousin Scott let him sit on the back of the big bike and he reached out and held the handle bars. He became even more fascinated with bikes when the Patriot Guard arrived for the funeral the next day. The Patriot Guard is an organization of bikers for the respect of fallen soldiers and veterans. Look them up on the internet, they are incredible.

Now, did I say he was fascinated? I had no idea. Just yesterday, here at home, Denver told me his thumbs needed to be trimmed. I thought he meant his nails, but I was wrong. Bits of dried skin stuck out from an equal reddish area on each of this thumbs. I asked him what they were.

"I had bubbles on my thumbs, and they popped, and stuff came out, and now they're all dried up."

Blisters, he had blisters. I always found those little buggers quite painful, how had he put up with them? I told him he had to be rubbing something an awful lot to get blisters. What was he doing.

"I was playing motorcycle at the hotel in New York."

Motorcycle? Then I knew. He must have seen how the riders revved up their bikes by turning the parts of their handlebars. The motorcycles enthralled him so much that he played at this on the little red bike until it gave him blisters. His thumbs are fine and I certainly don't want anyone to feel bad. These things happen with kids who can get stuck in a rut on an activity so much that they can't let go.

That's just something that autism of his kind can do. An interest can become so intense that it overwhelms any other distractions. I did have a hard time getting him off the bicycle so it makes sense.

I do have to get him to stop twisting his hands on his bike, but I'm glad he's so excited to ride it now.