Thursday, October 25, 2012

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD

I'm not political at all.  I'm more pop culture than political.  There is an issue though that is a concern to me and has me upset enough to blog about it.  That issue is the future of health care, in this country,  for the disabled. Medicaid.

While I'm not on Medicaid, the majority of disabled people I know are.  Services should not be cut and all states should want to participate in the funding of Medicaid.  I was watching the news last week when I noticed the crawl at the bottom of the screen.   If I read it correctly,  it said that the state of Missouri would begin considering putting disabled individuals into managed care facilities in 2013.  I'm assuming this means people with chronic or pre-existing conditions. 

I'm not going to give you a lot  of boring statistics.  Disabled people deserve good health care choices. They should not be penalized for not being able to work a full time job.  And, they most definitely should not be warehoused in managed care facilities just to cut costs.

I love my country , but I think sometimes lawmakers forget that the disabled are people who deserve the same rights as everyone else.  The United States is always ready to help other countries.  Yet, lawmakers would consider cutting or changing services to the disabled citizens of their own country.  It just doesn't seem right or fair to me.

My home care is costly.  I went to a state agency several months ago and asked if I could get a little assistance from them in paying a portion of my monthly home care bill. I was told to get any help from them at all I'd have to be totally on Medicaid. I. could have no funds at all.    I have always tried to be a productive member of society, but I can understand why a lot of disabled people don't work.  It's because they are afraid of losing their assistance.They have no real incentive to work.

I just wrote from my heart.  It seems to me the answer is clear.  Having a disability is enough of a challenge.  Disabled people deserve to have a good quality of life.  They shouldn't have to worry about changes or cuts to their services.  Before lawmakers make cuts or changes to services for the disabled, they should stop for a moment and remember, "There But For The Grace Of God Go I."











Tuesday, October 16, 2012

HOME IS WHERE MY HEART IS

I suppose most people think of their house as bricks, mortar, plaster, wood and paint.  Four walls and a roof.   A place to live.  That's it.  I have lived  in the same house all of my life and my house means so much more to me than that.  It means home.

If you look behind a door in my family room you'll see where my mom measured how tall my brothers and I were.  Our height is written in pencil with the year  on the wall.   I remember being supported against the wall while my height was recorded.  Numbers and initials that wouldn't mean anything to anyone else, but they mean something to me and I find comfort in knowing they are there.

Thanksgiving was a joint effort between my mother and grandmother.  (Really all holidays were a joint effort  between them.)  It meant getting out the big Nesco cooker to cook the bird in.  One year, the turkey was so big, the lid had to be tied down.

Christmas is different now.  If I close my eyes I  see the living room all decorated and the big Christmas tree in front of the picture window. i remember the year my dad got one of those silver trees with the rotating color wheel. My dad thought it looked great.  My older brothers were horrified.  Christmas Eve they brought home the discarded tree from the neighborhood school.  It was HUGE and seemed to cover half of our family room because it came out so far, but we had a green tree that year.  it was great!!  

Easter meant my mom's Easter lamb cake.  It was a two day process.  One day to bake them in a cast iron mold that was given to my grandfather and was almost as old as my mother.  The second day she iced and decorated them. 

My last birthday party was given to me when I was ten years old.  My cake had a ballerina figurine on it and my mom got a clown to entertain me and the other children. (never liked clowns, but this one was okay.)

My mom thought about moving when I graduated from high school.  Instead she just made the house more accessible for me.

I close my eyes and I see everything.  The memories comfort me and bring me peace.  Living in the house I grew up in has allowed me to be able to function and build a life for myself since my mothe's death two and a half years ago.  If I hadn't stayed in my house,  I don't know if I would have made it.  I know nothing lasts forever, but I do know wherever I go in the future,  the house i grew up in will always be home to me.
























Thursday, October 4, 2012

JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE

I hear disabled people say they want to be treated just like everyone else.  Sometimes I wonder if they really mean it.

I went to undergraduate and graduate school and found employment before the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed..  I think it has made me a stronger  and more resourceful person.  I was not provided with people to take notes for me. When I started college,  I would take a tape recorder to class and tape the lectures. I'd  playback the tapes when I got home and type out my notes.  Later, I discovered  note paper with carbon paper attached.  This made my life much easier. It helped me to make friends too because I'd have to ask someone to share their notes with me. Automatic doors were virtually nonexistent and elevator buttons were well beyond my reach.  Again, I viewed this as just another way to meet people.  Although, in the winter, sometimes I thought I'd freeze to death waiting for someone to open a door for me

Graduate school was a nightmare.   They made minimal accommodations for me. The advisor I had my first semester told me he'd rather see me fail than help me.  The second year I couldn't get to the student center because construction work was being done. Between classes, I studied in an office used by part time faculty.  While my friends would stop by, I was still very isolated and alone.  My last semester,  I found out about four courses that  I needed to take in order to graduate.  My first advisor failed to tell me about these courses.  I had to take the four most difficult courses in one semester.  Had it not been for the unwavering support  and encouragement of my mother I would have dropped out.

I have written in a previous post how I created a part time teaching job for myself at  a community college. I began by volunteering in the computer lab.  I saw that older adults were feeling lost and overwhelmed trying to understand computer software.  With the support of the staff in the lab, as well as other faculty, I created a teaching position  for myself.  I saw a need and I filled it.

I'm kind of glad the ADA didn't exist when I was in school or when I  was trying to find employment. I think having to do things myself gave me a strong work ethic.   Sometimes I think the ADA has made it too easy for disabled people.  I get the feeling some disabled people think that because they are disabled, they don't have to work as hard.  That mistakes are okay.  People will forgive their mistakes because they are disabled.  If we,  as disabled people, want to be treated just like everyone else, we have to work hard.   Our work has to be as good or better than everyone else's.  When given a job to do,whether it's in school, doing volunteer work  or paid employment, we need to take the job seriously and complete tasks to the best of our ability, not halfway. If we do, we'll feel good about ourselves and we'll send a positive message to our community.