September 25, 2010

Cap Metro–how disappointing yet unsurprising

Media Dis&Dat reports on how CapMetro, the bus agency in my city, is justifying its slashing of services to people with disabilities:

“We, I suspect, have historically let people in (to MetroAccess) who should not be eligible,” board member John Langmore said. “So it is ironic that we are having to change our eligibility process to correct our own failings in the past.”

So blatantly untrue. Cap Metro’s traditional process for approving people with disabilities for service is to to first ignore their requests for the paperwork; second, lose the paperwork; third, pretend to be getting new paperwork out; and fourth, approving the request if has made it past the paperwork delay hurdles to appear on the appropriate desk some time between 4:20 and 4:45 on a Tuesday afternoon that falls on a date that, when the digits are added, is a prime number in a month with an R.

Perhaps Mr. Langmore suspects that anyone who has managed to persevere and gain services must obviously be de facto disqualified by reason of being able to jump through hoops.

September 18, 2010

Me, me, me

Yes, I am actually going to talk about me! So exciting. I know you are all a-tingle.

And what can I say? Life has been going along pretty well. Way back last December, I got new orthotics, and they continue to make my everyday almost normal. Seriously, if I ever meet the doctor who designed them, I will kiss him for re-aligning my legs so nicely. I still have pain flare-ups where I wake up to every single joint on fire and spend the day trying not to touch things, which is really, really unworkable, no matter how much I don’t want to touch anything. Stupid material world needing to be interacted with in a material way. But the daily sick pain in my legs is gone and I’ve even begun to rebuild muscle. So sweet! I am grateful for this.

I moved back in June, and thus needed to get a new doctor. The new one is OK. He isn’t much into ongoing management of conditions, though, so next time I see him, I need to arrange to get an allergist¬†and a pain management doctor. Maybe a rheumatologist, also. The bright side is, new doctor is completely uninterested in ordering tests for complaints I don’t have. The last doctor I had was all about the tests, and this was a sticking point since I strongly feel that, if it isn’t bothering me, don’t worry about it and let’s worry instead about what is bothering me.

What else? I feel like I am stuck without progress in learning Japanese, though I did manage, with a lot of internet help, to translate a short passage recently. I need to do that more often so that I don’t forget the meanings I learn. Still, even if I learn new words, I have very bad grammar so that makes it hard to pull the sense out of a passage.

I’m currently teaching a class in addition to my regular job, with the hope that maybe I can pay on my stupid student loan. But since that is semester by semester, there’s no assuredness there. The law on student loans really needs to change. Right now, it is pure usury with those earning the least ending up paying exorbitant amounts for the crime of not having been able to find a decent job fast enough.

September 6, 2010

Adios, blogger; hello, wordpress

After two months of not being able to log into my blogger account or comment on friends’ blogspots, and this not even being the first time I’ve had that trouble, I have had it. Maybe WordPress will be less user unfriendly. It would have to really try hard to be worse.

I’ve migrated most of Yet Another Never Updated Blog over here, and changed the name just because I felt like it. Perhaps the updates will be less unreliable now that I have switched.

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August 10, 2010

Me v. Plants

Plants win.

This past summer, I moved back into Austin to be near work. I was just so tired of losing two hours a day to driving and of all the associated expense.

I have lately been reminded, quite harshly, of why I was willing to commute an hour into and out of town for work rather than live near work. Austin is a sink for pollution and pollen. I have severe allergies. We are not a good combination.

At any rate, this past summer has been mild and moist, a perfect growing environment for nearly any plant. And what plant is most annoying come August? Ragweed. And it is everywhere, and worse than usual, and I feel hellish. I’ve been on steroids since Friday and can’t say that I feel particularly better. I can’t get the crap out of my lungs, and the medicines I’m on, while keeping me out of the hospital, add their own layer of lethargy, stupidity, and clumsiness to that so helpfully already provided by asthma. I do OK as long as I am semi-reclining in bed. But bills get paid by me getting out of bed and hauling my ass to work, so into work I must go even though I get exhausted just surfing the net.

And work? The air conditioner is broken. Lovely. Nothing to filter the air or remove a few ounces of water from it. Yesterday, I ended up begging to go home for a bit, just so I could rest enough to close up the office later. Since it was either that or me slowly crawling on hands and knees unable to summon the strength to get up, the boss agreed. Fact, people: Oxygen is vital to good health.

Enough whining. I have to get myself ready to go in again. Maybe the AC will be working.

July 19, 2010

Shougai Yakusha

A while back, I was reading an English language blog on life in Japan. The post was about a government report that seven of ten Japanese people with disabilities have experienced discrimination. The first comment, from someone with disability: “And the other three were in a vegetative state and couldn’t answer.” All comments after that agreed that the first comment was correct, that discrimination is extremely wide-spread and the report was likely understating the problem.

So, it was with great interest that I read that Kotaro Yanagi, a member of the ikemen* acting troupe, D-BOYS, had published an autobiography of his life since sustaining a severe brain injury. Great interest, and despair, because my ability to read Japanese is pretty much limited to distinguishing the men’s and women’s toilets. But now one of his bilingual fans is taking it on herself to translate for all the people who have bought the book but can’t read it. Seeing as I was hopelessly pondering how expensive it would be to find someone to do that very thing, I couldn’t be more delighted.

She has just started and only has the prologue up, but if you are curious, you also might want to read Hicchan’s Translations. And, like she says, buy Yanagi’s book even if you can’t read it.

At any rate, I am very eager to read how Kotaro has managed to continue as a performer. And also, I am delighted that he’s still considered an ikemen actor. I wonder if the same thing would hold for a young American actor who faced similar difficulties.

*good-looking (only applied to men)

July 4, 2010

Ashley treatment, writ large

I have been incredibly busy lately, and so quite late in checking blogs, email, festering sores that need attention…. OK, I did manage to work in the attention to festering sores. But I have had a deficit of web time. Yesterday, I was finally able to work through my RSS feed. Huzzah! And good thing I looked instead of just marking all as read, as I was tempted to do after three weeks of neglecting it. For there in Pharyngula, was a post about some perversely diabolical doctors essentially recommending taking poison to prevent the calamity of lesbian daughters. He is shocked and horrified, calling it “a convenient anti-uppitiness pill for women” and supplied a link to Alice Degner’s criticism of the experiments at Bioethics Forum. A commenter also gives a link to Degner’s commentary on the matter at Psychology Today.

While both of Degner’s articles are worth reading in full, I call your attention to this sentence from her Psychology Today piece: A democratic medical establishment does not alter people’s bodies to fit regressive social norms; it advocates for patients by demanding the social body get its act together.

This, this, this. This is why the attacks on people with severe disability, the failure to respect basic bodily integrity and human rights, are not an attack on just people with disabilities. It’s convenient and self-assuring to assume that what happened to Ashley X, the maiming of her body for her parents’ convenience, is something that only happens to a special class of people for whom it somehow a “good.” But it shouldn’t be so hard for people to understand that there are a whole lot of groups of people who aren’t convenient. As David said “Ashley is me. I am Ashley. And you are Ashley, too.” (Sorry, I lost the link to David’s blog post and now only have this CNN article.) And now a medical “cure” to fix the main problem of being inconvenient!

This is much in keeping with the historic “destroy the Indian in order to save him” tactic of late nineteenth century US humanitarians (and, I understand, the practice of forced deculturization also has been done by Australians against native peoples there). “Of course,” they say with a patronizing tone, “nobody actually hates the _________ (disabled, blacks, Indians, women, gays, etc.). This is for their own good. Because we care!” And, yes, I suppose it is a better approach than Phillip Sheridan’s “nits make lice” genocidal one. But, my dears, it is the same damnable attitude. If the “other” is acceptable only when made convenient, the “other” isn’t acceptable at all. And what of those who can not be made convenient under any circumstance? Then there is Sheridan’s approach, which the patronizing will let happen while they wring their hands over how sad it all is.

April 22, 2010

Post deleted

I just got tired of having to delete spammer comment requests.

Back soon with posts that will hopefully not become time-sinks from dealing with dingleberries trying to sell s e ks. (Weird spelling in the hopes of killing spambot interest.)

April 4, 2010

Look, Ma, an update!

It was bound to happen. The past few weeks, I had been thinking how well I feel, how I was able to get all sorts of things accomplished and that my pain levels were completely manageable with hardly any narcotics at all. Oh, sure, there were other things. Asthma attack. Gluten contamination. Some minor narcolepsy-type events. But nothing all that serious. Thus, I planned a busy Easter weekend doing housework and getting paperwork taken care of.

Which means, of course, that first thing this morning, my right foot went out of place and all I can do is wait for it to reduce itself. As long as I stay completely off it, I’m fine. But as soon as I get up, I’m hurting. I can’t do housework, can’t cook, can’t rummage through my files looking for the papers I need, because all that requires that I stand and walk and use my hands. And I can’t stand and have free hands since I need them to hold onto the canes to keep the weight off my foot. Not even my fancy-schmancy shoes help.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is better, because there is so much I need to do. I want to at least put my new plants in pots.

March 13, 2010

How dare they!

My friend Frida was verbally abused by people paid out of tax money, in front of her children, because she uses a mobility device.

There are people who insist that “nobody hates the disabled.” Those are generally the words that one hears prior to explaining how discrimination against people with disabilities isn’t actually discrimination. Don’t tell me this isn’t hate. Don’t tell me it isn’t frightening and intimidating, that it isn’t meant to be frightening and intimidating. Don’t tell me they hadn’t intended to degrade her. I am sick of excuses.

February 24, 2010

The end of the world is nigh

Yes, boys and girls, the unthinkable has happened, and we had actual snow that caused the people in suits to send us home early from work. Just a smattering of snow, you say? Aha! Spoken like someone who lives where there are enough sand trucks to get to all the bridges before the carnage mounts.

Frankly, I would have preferred to have been told not to come in at all, since driving in a mix of hail, sleet, and snow is not my idea of a fun time for all.