Monday, July 25, 2011

Mistakes I Have Made But Survived

1. Listening to people tell you tales of woe should not go on for five consecutive years. This is particularly bad if this person is your neighbor. Cut that person off early. Just do it.

2. When you tell your date you are half English and he says he sends money to the Irish Republican Army via a group in Boston, do not go on a second date with him. He was not joking either. Freak.

3. If anyone offers you a cure for anything that requires you to pay them and it is not scientifically proven, just leave the area. Before you leave though, tell this person you have no money at all just so they never try to victimize you again.

4. When someone tells you your cane does not appear to be necessary because you don't look sick, just thank the person and smile. Then leave the area. You don't have to explain and trust me, you don't want to explain.

5. Never trust any employer's offers unless you get it in writing. Oh this is such an error for the young new worker.

6. Remember that no matter who you are, the daughter of the man you are with will hate you. She will hate you because she hates herself and everyone in the entire world because she is a teenage girl who has suffered her parents divorce. Under no circumstances take this personally. Pretend she is dead. Sometimes you might just hope she really is. Don't hold that against yourself, just keep living your own life and if she does die, remember you are not God. She is not dead because of you.

7. Do not date anyone who has changed religions about five times. This person is completely unstable. A change or two is okay, but five indicates some serious issues that cannot be solved.

8. Never date anyone who just blames the other person entirely for the end of a marriage, relationship or anything. Eventually this person will blame you for anything she or he can think of. Look for people who take responsibility for their choices.

9. Remember to water your plants.

10. Clean is okay, but injuring yourself trying to be too clean is just pathetic. Stop that right now.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Can Be Serious About Writing Poetry, But....

I amused my oldest brother Mike when I was a teenager with the following poem I had written:

I tried to write a poem today,
But a mental block got in the way.
So if this poem has no rhyme,
I'm sorry.

I guess he is or was easily amused. -Alison Whiteman

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ten Crazy Things That Will Be In Our Book

Dear ten or so readers:

A team of three writers with disabilities have decided to write a book. Of course this includes me. Our book will be about what it is like to be disabled in America, trying to have a life and even trying to remain employed.

1. A sociopath tried to swoon me and did not get his way even though I am disabled. However, he did manage to convince my friend that he needed her car. He stole her car. She got her car back but it was damaged. The police are still trying to find him.

2. A friend decided to get retrained for a job. When ordered to perform occupational therapy on a 90-year-old woman who was begging to be left alone, he was dismissed from the program for adhering to her request. How cruel to the patient! Don’t patients have any rights at all?

3. After being nearly killed by a drunk driver, a student teacher advisor chastised me for not being able to complete a sixth grade math problem. Well, obviously I had some cognition issues after being hit at 50 miles per hour and thrown into a semi-truck. She, however, demonstrated great skill in whacking a student right in front of the entire class. I was kicked out of the building of course.

4. Despite having MS but not even knowing it, I made a six hour long trek along the beach at Point Defiance Park in 1990 because my then friend and I did not know the tide had come in. I kept yelling for the coast guard until she said, "The coast guard is NOT coming!" We kept walking until we emerged on Salmon Beach, WA. We were quite cold and very hungry. It was December.

5. My claim for social security was approved on my first attempt. I even got a call from an adjudicator who said she was sorry I was so ill. I don’t recall filling out the paperwork to be honest. I later learned only one-third of all claims go through on the first attempt.

6. I fell down at Safeway in 1998. A team to rival that of any code called in an emergency room swarmed around me until they figured out I am ill, not a slip and fall lawsuit. I was mortified. They told me I did not have to pay for my items. I went from potential lawsuit to something to pity in less than a half an hour.

7. I was 32 when I had to use a cane for the first time in my life. Men stopped looking at me. Well, I did not mind this. It’s not that I ever take men looking at me personally, it’s just annoying. Men are visual creatures but I think they need to leave women alone sometimes. I would advise using a cane. It just upsets men to think you are not fit to bear their children due to illness.

8. My former landlords used me to get their apartment upgrades via government funding. Now that the apartment actually meets the standards one in the competitive market would demand, they have a renter who pays the full amount. In other words, they bilked me and the government to get a better renter. Oh, and they told me to wash my dishes in the bath tub when my sink broke. Go team exploit the disabled!

9. Paratransit in Pierce County approved me for services yesterday. Today I got a printed apology card. This means they are sending them out in mass. I mean, a handwritten apology would mean this is personal. A printed one means they are just sending them out as they have to. Meanwhile, they are hoping most of the disabled just give up while they keep getting paid to exploit the disabled.

10. Oh that’s about enough for now. –Alison Whiteman

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ten Recent Moments Of Bizarre

1. I went to get an appetizer at the nearby dining establishment where we dock the sailboat. The woman sitting next to me was totally drunk and said she had had a brain tumor removed recently. She then said she is a witch and could suck my energy out of me. I was kind of glad that she left. I still have my energy.

2. A man with obvious brain damage told me recently that he had to attend a "John" class. He tried to tell me more. I just moved away from him.

3. More than one aggressive driver in the north end of Tacoma in an SUV has nearly crushed my Saturn lately. If it stresses you out to maintain your high end lifestyle, trade it in for a less stressful lifestyle.

4. The MS Clinic in Seattle has deemed me "MADic" on account of my level of anger over not being able to get the state of Washington to give me transport to my medical appointments. I did finally succeed today by calling the Gov's office and threatening lawuits and east coast media exposure. In fact, a three-week problem was solved in forty minutes.

5. Pilates. I can do this for about ten minutes even in my current MS state of flare.

6. I am so fatigued I am down to reading mostly just headlines.

7. I sleep about twelve hours a day now and not because I am depressed, but because I am having a MS flare.

8. I had a weird dream that everyone I knew was going hiking. I would need a scooter to go hiking. Shit.

9. Telemarketers are not enjoying my complete lack of tolerance lately. I don't care.

10. My MS shot is for subcutaneous or fatty tissue only, not muscle. OMG! I thought I was going to die. I did not die. I am very much alive, although I need to go to sleep now. -Alison Whiteman

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Obama Quote On My Calendar Today

"I'm tired of talking about what we can't do, or won't do, or won't even try- I want all of us to stand up and to start reaching for what is possible."

Well, okay, Obama. However, for those disabled folks who cannot stand, they need to have someone write a sign that reads: "We cannot stand up and we are not going to take it anymore." I want all the diabled across this nation to hold this sign up either themselves or by anyone who taking care of him or her.

Now, go out there and enjoy your day. It is overcast and damp again here in The Pacific Northwest. Summer is apparently not going to arrive, but that's okay. I have a full spectrum lightbulb and take 25,000 mg. of Vitamin D per day. A complete lack sun will not harm me. I am not suggesting anyone who does not have multiple sclerosis take this much Vitamin D, but it's okay for me on account of my dis-ease. -Alison Whiteman

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Visit To The AARP Travelling Medical RV

Dear readers:

A fine group of young people are touring this nation in van sponsored by the AARP and Walgreens. By the way, Walgreens offers full time employees full benefits. So check them out if you are unemployed.

These are my personal results of the tests performed on me today:

Blood Pressure: 126/76 (That's pretty good considering leaving my house in my car in east Tacoma frequently scares the crap out of me for reasons that are truly not based in baseless fear)

Glucose: 93 (A little low considering I had just eaten half an entire sandwich, but perhaps I needed to eat a Reeses as well, which is what I did right after the test)

Cholesterol: 143 (Less than 200 is good, and this is mainly because I cannot afford to eat steaks)

Bone Density: -0.4 (Oops. Despite not having children, I am in Osteopenia which means I am on my way to Osteoporois. However, I don't drink milk as it makes me break out in hives. So I just need to get some calcium that absorbs, because trust me, most over the counter calcium pills just shoot right through you with no benefits)

Body Mass Index: 21.9 (The goal is apparently 23.0 - 33.9 so I am below the goal? Oh come on now!)

Body Composition: Well, despite my being below the Body Mass Index, I am two percent above the recommended amount of body fat. I am told to lose the fat and gain muscle. Okay. Sure. I will work on this while also trying to gain more weight. No problem. Any suggestions that do not include having to pay for a gym membership since I cannot afford one? Perhaps I could try to lift my car daily to build up my biceps?)

Vitamin D? Damn! I take 25,000mg of this daily because I have MS. And I never test toxic for it either. Now, I am not suggesting that anyone do this, so don't sue me. Besides, I have nothing to sue for, so just forget that fruitless pursuit.

I am not telling you what my waist measurement was. I just know that to achieve that body fat goal, perhaps I could take the fat and move it around and look a bit like a brunette Barbie Doll with curly hair. Oh, like that would sell. The company that made wheelchair user Becky had to take her off the market because people found her "offensive." Yes, they did. Twenty-one years after the Americans With Disabilities Act passed, I think people still find the disabled "offensive." Well, I personally find people who find people with disabilities "offensive" to be either stupid or "offensive" themselves. So there.

Thank you mobile AARP van. I look forward to receiving mail daily from you now since I love recycling. No seriously, these young adults are trying to make a difference and that's great. Prevention is the best cure! -Alison Whiteman

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Psychometry- A Thriving Business?

I stumbled across this business card today. It reads as follows:

"Psychometry is a psychic ability in which a person can sense or 'read' the history of an object by touching it."

Well, sure. I think however, a company that just fled the city of Tacoma has this down via a much more scientifically proven method. It's called fingerprinting. In fact, I read an entire very long article about this in The New Yorker last summer.

Famous paintings by artists that have not been identifed are now being traced via fingerprints. However, I would challenge anyone to try to pry my last few dimes from me by informing me that the origin of my say, well, dishes come from ancient Egypt. Actually, this is a clever way to make money. It is probably made under the table tax free. Oh well. Again, this is not my problem. -Alison Whiteman

Monday, July 11, 2011

Things My Dad Said To Me That He May Not Think I Remember

"Girl, I took Logic too and did not understand it. Now, stop throwing that book around and just go out and get a "B" in that class like I did." Well, that is exactly what I did. Didn't understand much about this class at all.

"Girl, you can always come home. But you cannot reproduce and come home." I took that one seriously. I have never done that.

"Girl, do not run from police officers. Ever." Well, I learned that one the hard way. I wasn't even in trouble either. I just started hauling on account of Mr. Officer appearing kind of big and scary.

"Girl, just wait until you find out how hard it is out there. Then you won't pick on me so much." I went out there. I did find out. I don't pick on my dad anymore.

"Girl, you really can't date men that still live at home." Learned that one the hard way once. Once was enough, thank God.

"Girl, I just don't know what to say about you challenging Homeland Security over a probable act of terrorism." Okay, I made that comment up. However, I did challenge them and broke the line of lies right here in Tacoma only to ask an official if it was such a threat, how come he wasn't wearing a hazmat suit? Suffice it to say, I am lucky he didn't kick my ass flat onto the ground.

After that, I was high fiving the peeps all around the non-scene scene who are onto The Man and his scare tactics just so we keep increasing military funding. -Alison Whiteman, self professed anti-war hippie.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ten Hours On A Plane

It was the year 2000. It was springtime. I am writing like Hemingway. I was going to England. My parents were across the aisle from me. They were guarding my MS medication for me in a cooler. It had to be cooled. Now it does not have to be cooled. It was nice to be going on a trip.

I spent ten hours sitting next to the worst alcoholic on the plane. After he asked me to join the mile high club, I moved away from him. He hurled big time. It was awful. The stewardesses were angry.

Later, he could not get off the plane because he was too drunk. I could not walk off the plane because I have MS. So later at Heathrow airport, he spotted me. "What's wrong with you?" he said. "I have multiple sclerosis." I said. He said, "Oh. I just got too drunk."

He sobered up. I still have MS. Something is not right about this entire story. I can't believe I even told it. I am going to throw up now. Not really. But I might. -Alison Whiteman

This Is All True

Dear Readers:

There is a Congressional mandate requiring the federal government to hire the disabled. There is no mandate to retain disabled employees.

In 2001 I was hired as a token disabled employee by the feds to answer questions about social security benefits. It took them three months to train us to even figure out how to figure out how to answer those questions. All of this for thirteen dollars an hour plus benefits.

The building we were in was reportedly used to store Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. I wondered why I was having such bizarre shaking episodes. I thought I had a seizure disorder, but this was not confirmed by any testing done at the University of Washington. However, there were just a lot of people who got sick all the time in this building.

My union representative would not speak to any press about the Agent Orange. He also told me to hang in there because I would likely get fired for any reason because the feds just hate the disabled even though they are required to hire us. I hung in there.

September 11, 2001 happened while I was there. I have never seen a group of people flee in terror like that day. The next day was eerie. Someone had hung a huge banner over the freeway overpass that read: "Don't Tread On The USA." Someone had gone around the facility where I worked and placed an American flag in every single cubicle in the place. I mean, probably a thousand flags. The next day, I put a British flag appropriately under the American flag.

My supervisor asked me what country that flag was from. I said, "Uh, England. You know, our major team player in World War II?" Duh.

I found another MS patient on the employment chopping block. We were slightly distressed but holding the line until management ran us both out. Well, I had to be transported out. After being chased down and grabbed numerous times by my extremely large supervisor, I seriously had to be transported out by some EMTs. I had had enough. The shaking episodes stopped.

My former union representative has reportedly gone out on a medical retirement for a seizure disorder.

I think they are still hiring. Check it out. If you like shaking a lot. -Alison Whiteman

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hey, You With The Smurf Hair

Sheesh! It's hot. There is one thing MS patients should not do when it's hot. We should not think we can run around doing errands like we did before we got MS.

There I am in line at a major corporate store and I politely ask the clerk if I can check out as the heat is going to make me fall over. Trust me, I know when I am going to fall over. She told me to ask all the people in the line ahead of me. I said, "Really? Every single one of them?" The nearest one was a large woman with smurf colored hair. I have not seen that color since the 80s.

Well, suffice it to say, I did fall. Now MS falls in heat are like ice cream sliding off a cone. It's a melting fall. "Do you want me to call 911?" the clerk asked. Said smurf customer was very angry with me. Now that's some compassion right there. I said, "No. I just need your help to check out and then I need to sit and cool down."

Smurf woman is still really angry. I am not that large. She was very large and very angry and I am on the floor of the store. I was kind of scared. I wondered, "Is this the day I get crushed by a smurf?"

It all ended well. I got checked out, cooled down, and the clerk even gave me some water. Hooray for underpaid clerks and boo to smurfs! -Alison Whiteman

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Volunteering In The Broke City Of Tacoma

Well, I did a Public Records Disclosure Request to find out how much the Eastside Advisory Council volunteers receive to do their work. Keep in mind, a lot of great work has been done. McKinley Park is very nice now and clean.

Other parks are nice and clean. At the end of any day, this makes our community a cleaner place to live.

Since 2006, this council has received, according the Excel spreadsheet I have received from the city, $91,100 in city funds for their "volunteer" work. If anyone would like to explain to me why it costs $91,100 dollars to "volunteer" then anyone is welcome to explain this to me.

My next question might be where all that money is spent. The actual volunteers who go out with no funds to do the cleanup work are not paid. So where is the money going? I suppose some of it could be to purchase plastic bags to collect trash and things like that. However, I get those plastic bags for our family at the dollar store. Why doesn't the city buy things at the dollar store, or do they?

I am on this. Someday. Perhaps. Or maybe not. I don't want to find anything else out about why our city is "broke." I guess I am so self-centered, I wonder how I can figure out a way to make $91,100 in city funds to "volunteer." Oh well. -Alison Whiteman