Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Today's Lesson on How to Rid Society of People with Disabilities

Just when you think that you've heard all of the ways that the USA tries to eliminate people with disabilities, the USA comes up with another strategy to catch more of us in the net. Today's atrocity can be read about here:
Cindi Silvers Davis and her husband, have tried very hard to work with their bank, Wells Fargo, but they say they have been mislead, they have been treated poorly, and now Wells Fargo is trying to put an advanced stage cancer victim out on the street.

I have an incurable cancer, but these days lots of folks like me and others with advanced stage cancers can go on to live decades beyond diagnosis IF WE RECEIVE THE PROPER TREATMENT.

In order for me to get it, my partner and I had to forgo any state-recognized marriage. Cindi Davis is married with a (modest) home. It sounds like she's stuck in the same situation that I faced. She's not going to be able to get Medicaid without selling all they have. The state expects the person to use all of your resources before it will even consider letting you into the program.

If she was pregnant, she might qualify for a Medicaid program in some states, but not all. Of course, getting pregnant while you're in cancer treatment is disastrous, ill-advised, life-threatening. So, she's stuck.

Cindi and her husband tried to hold on to some sense of stability by continuing to make payments on their house, despite having to bear the cost of her needed treatments at the same time. The bank could have accepted the payments that they tried to make. They could suspend their payments for a period of time and just tack on interest.

Wells Fargo could work with the Davis family, still make money off of the loan and allow the family to stay in their home. But they don't want that. Instead, they're foreclosing on them. If the succeed, it will mean that all of the payments that the Davis' have already paid would be money down the drain. The bank would have their previously paid payments and the house. Doesn't that sound like a pretty sweet deal for the bank? I think so! It's unconscionable and the Davis family would be homeless, but why would that be a problem for Wells Fargo? They can simply re-sell the home and sucker yet another family into a mortgage they may never be able to pay off.

The Davis' are already struggling to afford Cindi's treatment. If Wells Fargo takes house, then they won't have to make any more mortgage payments. That should make it easier to afford her treatment right? Wrong! Anyone who has ever had to live out of a motel room for an extended period of time knows how much more expensive it is than when you're in a home.

There's no stove, so you have to eat out for each meal. There's no privacy. "Room Service" comes in whenever they want to. There's no storage space. So, if you have any belongings you're trying to hold on to until you get back on your feet (e.g. your great-great grandmother's dining table, your bed, your pots and pans, a refrigerator, washing machine, stove) they have to be put in storage. Unless you have a friend whose willing to allow you to keep this stuff on their property for an undefined period of time, you will have to pay for storage space. The more stuff you try to hold on to (so that you don't have to spend money buying it all again, if you do find an apartment or house to rent), the more you'll have to pay to store it. If you keep fewer possessions, your storage fee will be cheaper, but it may wind up costing you more in the end, because you'll need money to replace those items if you find another home.

I hope that anyone reading this will now understand how easy it is for someone to find themselves living on the streets for years, just because you or your partner made the mistake of getting sick in the United States of Hellmerica.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

To the Jerks Who Still Say that Louisianians CHOSE not to Evacuate During Hurricane Katrina

Most people did evacuate. Those who didn't were folks who had no way to leave. Or do you imagine that people just watched the water rise around them and decided to just save their gas for something TRULY important?

See, I know folks who didn't even have a reliable car, but drove as far as their automobile would take them. I remember the folks whose cars broke down on the highway in the 12-16 hour wait to reach Baton Rouge. Some of these folks were so desperate to get out that they started begging and offering money to any random stranger that would agree to at least drive their children or elderly parent to the first safe spot out of town that their money could convince the person to agree to.

Now, perhaps you have no sympathy for the elderly who died in their attics, scratching their fingers until they were bloody in an attempt to open some kind of hole that might have allowed them to get on top of their house. Perhaps you have no sympathy for those post-surgery patients in intensive care at hospitals that couldn't convince any medical facility to let them send these patients to safer areas.

Perhaps you know nothing about the folks out in St. Bernard Parish who didn't even have running water, much less cars to take them out of the danger zone. Hell, some of them can barely speak anything other than French! They couldn't even understand the evacuation order unless they had a bilingual relative or neighbor to explain it to them. None of the ignorant, but mouthy, outsiders are even aware of the fact that St. Bernard Parish suffered more damage than New Orleans. The Cajun white people out there are still pretty pissed at y'all Anglos about that.

Perhaps you have no sympathy for the families of first responders who believed that, while they were risking their lives for others, the American government would at least make sure that their own families were taken care of. After all, it's not like there were any hotel rooms available out of town. All of the hotels and motels in Baton Rouge, LaPlace, and Lafayette were packed to 100% occupancy even before the evacuation order was given.

Of course, we don't expect folks like you to care about your fellow Americans. Y'all know nothing about what it means to "Love thy neighbor".  Say what you will about the black people of the Gulf region who were labeled "refugees" and the white people who were considered not-quite-white-enough to be worth saving. However, I'd rather spend my life surrounded by any person down here, before I'd live with people like you as neighbors. At least we help each other down here. Folks like you would crumble in an instant if you faced these problems.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Why I Used Cloth Diapers for my Baby

When I had VanGoghKid (that's the online alias I use for my child), I was 18 and a single mother with few independent resources. My mom showed me how to use cloth diapers and that's what my child wore whenever we were at home. I saved a ton of money that way.

I kept a little bucket in the room, containing water and a touch of bleach. I flushed the wipes and major #2 deposits into the toilet. Dirty diapers went into the bucket and then when it was full, I deposited it straight into the washing machine.

A bottle of bleach could be purchased for less than a dollar. I used an empty detergent bucket to hold the diapers (the top made it perfect, because it could be sealed shut). I purchased about 6 or 7 dozen cloth diapers and some safety pins. That was basically all of the supplies I needed. For less than I would have spent for a month of plastic disposable diapers, I had everything I needed for close to a year of usage. I could have saved more money by using wash clothes for wipes and thrown them in the bucket too, but I did use the disposable flushable version instead.

It was a great investment for so many reasons. My child has very sensitive skin, so all but one brand of plastic diapers gave her an allergic reaction. It was just my luck that this one brand was Pampers Premium and it was one of the most expensive brands in the store. However, a big package of plastic diapers would last an entire month, because they were only used when we were out and about.

Cloth diapers never gave her any problems, because we used a mild detergent for people with sensitive skin. Plus, cloth diapers are extremely versatile. They can be used a diaper, a bib, a wash cloth, insulation for cold or hot foods, and so much more!

I Support Mothers Who Nurse in Public

In my family, all of the women breastfeed. It was a point of pride for us. I nursed until my daughter was 13 months old. I planned to keep on until she was ready--some of the babies in my family have still nursed until they were a little over 3 years old--but I got sick and had to take medications that made my milk unusable. She got used to formula and a bottle during that time and wouldn't go back to my breast afterward.

My mom told me that when she was nursing, in the 70's, there were diaper services and milk services that women could join. For a reasonably affordable fee, they would supply mothers with breast milk and launder cloth diapers and deliver them weekly.

 I wish nursing mothers had that kind of stuff available today. It would be best if women could get together and do this stuff for each other without having to make it prohibitively expensive for even the poorest of mothers, though.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Jennifer Livingston Takes on Fatphobia

Jennifer Livingston is a morning anchor for a television station in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. She recently received a fat-phobic bullying e-mail and decided to use it as an opportunity to speak out against bullying. She did an excellent job, in my opinion.

I'm 5'5" and a size 2. Even though men are usually portrayed as being most attracted to ultra-skinny women, my experience has suggested otherwise. I get the most flirts, second glances, and compliments when I'm heavier. I remember one summer I got up to 145 lbs and I couldn't believe how different men reacted to me. I felt like a walking, talking love goddess!

I haven't dated a skinny person since high school and I've always preferred partners who are obese (according to the charts). I love the silky softness of every embrace, the abundance of places to kiss and explore, and I think that a substantial body suggests a certain durability that any lover should be able to appreciate. I honestly don't understand how anyone could NOT like having more of their partner to love.

It bugs the hell out of me when people assume that being skinny means I will laugh at their fat-phobic "jokes" and comments. I won't. I think it's disgusting, because I'm not shallow enough to believe that weight equals worth. The best way to make me stay as far away from you as I can is to start praising women just for being skinny or dismissing women who aren't skinny. Ugh! I'm glad that there are folks like my "obese" partner who see through the bull$h*t obsession with weight and understand that there is so much more to love (no pun intended...or maybe it is).