Thursday, September 29, 2011

My History Of Closed Head Injuries

Whiplash - Traumatic Closed Head InjuryUh, ouch!

1989: A man in a large station wagon failed to yield and turned left. I was going straight down Pacific Avenue in Tacoma and when we hit, the impact was so hard it broke his axle. Both of our cars were a total loss. He got the citation for failure to yield. It hurt a lot, but I still went to a gathering to honor the priests shot in Central America that day. I sure did.

1991: A drunk driver hit me on Highway 101 near the Black Lake exit in Olympia, WA. He was fish tailing in his 1979 Ford pick up truck going about fifty miles an hour. Major, major ouch!

2011: Paratransit Services managed to delete me from their system so my transport to Swedish Neuroscience was denied. It takes six months to schedule and appointment with my neurologist. I decided to be superwoman and get there by express bus, a transfer and a train ride home. I hit my head on the luggage bar in the train due to MS fatigue and lack of balance. It's a hollow bar. I recommend testing it for say pitch. Perhaps it is some kind of unintended tuning fork for musicians. Uh, major ouch!

Nurse Ratchet at the ER today lectured me about using the ER for something unnecessary. Due to the pain level and her patronizing bullshit, I got mega snarky. She told me I am irresponsible. I tried to explain the unlikelihood Paratransit would get me up the freeway to my University of Washington doctor that I see for a number of reasons not excluding I am in a clinical trial at The University of Washington. Given Paratransit's history of approving me, denying me, approving me, wiping me out of the system, perodically actually helping me, I decided to get myself to the ER.

Fortunately it is a closed head injury versus something worse. However, I have this bruise moving down my head to my eyebrow and the prediction is my eye might turn black. Nurse Ratchet, you major beeeoootttchhhh! As for the rest of the staff, I commend you on the amount of kindness you showed me today to make her seem like spec of sand in a sea of kindness. -Alison Whiteman

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Proposed Cuts To Services In Washington State Aimed At Most Vulnerable

Susan Dreyfus, Secretary of DSHS in Washington State
Susan Dreyfus, the Secretary of The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Department does not like the proposed cuts in services looming in the wake of an ongoing recession. Dreyfus has worked in Washington since 2009 and was candid about her father dying of alcoholism. Dreyfus spoke to an audience that flowed into the hallway at Tacoma's Catholic Community Services headquarters Tuesday, September 27th. One pending cut would eliminate all alcohol and substance abuse services except to pregnant and parenting women. This cut would impact 55,000 people.

The cuts examined on a large level do not have the impact of personal stories. One woman sat with her gravely disabled son she cares for daily. She shared her story of choosing to stop working at a job paying sixteen dollars an hour to make ten dollars an hour to keep her son out of a group home. She said it was more important her son has someone who knows and loves him with him daily than to keep her job and utilize state funds to care for him in a group home. Instead of group home funding, she relies on state funds to care for her son and keep both of them housed and fed. The cuts, she noted, would put both of them on the streets.

Another man talked about having to possibly displace all the residents of a 200 bed in-care patient facility for Alzheimer's patients. Also displaced would be 120 full time workers and 120 part-time employees. His facility is ninety percent funded by Medicaid. Washington has ranked second in the nation for the best long-term care and that rating may soon end.

Oddly, the state's Constitution does not prevent other programs in the state to be cut, only social services. Even pay to legislators is protected by the state's Constitution. The legislature is Constitutionally required to balance the budget, and this could potentially victimize the most vulnerable which would have far reaching economic impacts. Front line workers such as police and fire fighters would be forced to handle the release of dementia and traumatic brain injury patients from Western State Hospital in addition to hundreds of mentally ill people. Our criminal justice system would be filled with patients who need mental health care, not imprisonment. Layoffs would actually result in less revenue for the state as formerly employed residents would no longer be spending money and paying taxes. If one thinks the state has not already made cuts, this is not true.

Since 2008, there have been three thousand DSHS employees laid off which amounts to a fourteen percent reduction in staff. Allegations adminstration is the drain on the budget is also not true. Administration accounts for one percent of the entire budget. Reduction options include suspending all pharmaceutical benefits for eighteen months to adults, at which time federal funding changes are to take hold. This would amount to a savings of 127 million dollars. Other cuts would include eliminating the Basic Health Plan, eliminating maternity support services, and all non-emergent dental health care. In fact, dental health care has already been eliminated.

The disability lifeline, money people rely on while trying to obtain federal social security disability benefits would save the state 110 million dollars but leave people who have no safety nets with nothing. With no address, SSI and SSDI claims would be denied since homeless people would not receive mail to inform them of the oftentimes confusing appeals process. Only one-third of all SSI/SSDI claims are approved initially. Right now the state has such a backlog of claims, they are being sent to other states due to a shortage of adjudicators to examine them.

Controversial and debated cuts include 34 million dollars in savings for immigrant and undocumented children when a national welfare reform act included citizenship as a requirement to obtain Medicaid. Ten states currently provide interpreter services and eliminating this service would save the state 4.8 million dollars. A proposed cut to payment methods to hospitals would save 33 million dollars, though specifics of such changes were not clearly stated in this presentation.

The definition of "most vulnerable" is crucial to this entire looming budget proposal. DSHS defines this class of people as "persons whose poverty, age, health, disability or language leaves them unable to care for themselves and susceptible to physical, emotional or financial exploitation."

If anyone has a personal story they would like to share with DSHS which will also be shared with elected officials, please send them to: thomas.shapley@dshs.wa.gov Shapley said he wants stories. The final decision will be made at a legislative hearing in November. It is important citizens speak, those who cannot speak for themselves must have representatives speak for them, and the voices of the people must outweigh a legislature that has written in protections for their own salaries versus the needs of the citizens they represent. Many legislators have given up portions of their salaries to date, but not some of them. Those that have not ought to be contacted.

Start with Jeannie Darneille, 27th District State Reprentative who not only has a retirement and salary from her current job, but a spouse who is an attorney. Since she reportedly recently called a member of the Tacoma community who has schizophrenia a slanderous and unkind name on Facebook, perhaps she could donate funds to mental health services, another service on the chopping block. Her number in Olympia is: 360-786-7974. Darneille is seeking a higher office and is running against longtime civil rights attorney Jack Connelly. The choice for the person to fill that higher office is quite obvious: Connelly. -Alison Whiteman

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thank You R.E.M. For Thirty-One Years!

The 20 Best R.E.M. Songs of All Time

I started listening to R.E.M. when I was sixteen. Their initial albums were quirky. You could not understand what they were saying, but the beat was good and the music was upbeat and fun to dance to.

I was an eccentric child and teenager. I was studying classical violin and loved to go the symphony with my parents. I think part of my attraction to R.E.M. was their use of many instruments. If you play in a band or orchestra or have a passion for classical music, I think it sticks with you for a lifetime. I can still here single instruments in just about every song I listen to.

I loved the response the band gave to critics regarding people not being able to understand their lyrics. They put a snarky MTV video on that had subtitles with a bouncing ball following each word.

Later, in college, I grew to appreciate all the music I skipped listening to as a teenager. I became interested in Boston, AC/DC, Dylan, Credence, Bruce Springsteen, etc. I was a late bloomer. I am forever grateful to one of my three elementary schools for encouraging me to start playing the violin in the third grade. I am particularly thankful to my parents who transported me to and from lessons for many years. My parents also provided me the opportunity to go to the symphony. I hope they know how much I appreciated everything they did for me, particularly since they were small business owners who worked far more hours than corporate or government employees. Thank you to mum and dad. Thank you R.E.M.! -Alison Whiteman

Troy Davis Set For Execution Based On Circumstantial Evidence

Troy Davis Case Appeal

Please call the Gov. of Georgia to demand a stay of exeuction as Mr. Davis is set for lethal injection at midnight tonight.

The number I have tried is busy, of course, and I already called The White House comment line and spoke to an asistant. Even the FBI does not support this execution and leaders around the world are watching our nation with disdain.

It is not likely he is guilty and he should have a chance at another appeal. I will provide two numbers here. The Georgia Gov's office is: 404-656-1776. The White House is: 202-456-1111.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

These Women Represent Real Housewives?

Image: The 'Real Housewives of New York' cast (© Bravo)

Do I live in some kind of surreal world? This is a television show? I have not even heard of this show. Does anyone out there have a housewife that looks this way? What kind of housewife is she? Does she have a makeup artist come to the house every day? Does she cook?

What the hell kind of reality am I living in? Why does the television make no sense to me? I have been in Sun Valley, Idaho several times in the past six years. The women there wear diamonds that could feed my entire city for months. I never say anything to them lest I get dented in the jaw with a diamond, but I do think the economic disparity in this country is getting more and more bizarre. I also find the televison to be an annoying unrealistic noise box. I have issues. My issues have issues. I don't care. -Alison Whiteman

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rutka Laskier Must Never Be Forgotten

Scholars say this book reads like The Diary of Anne Frank. Rutka Laskier writes from January to April of 1943 before she is taken to a concentration camp because she is Jewish.

We must never forget. -Alison Whiteman

Friday, September 16, 2011

Charismatic Men Are Red Flags!

An Education

How many times must women learn the same lesson? He seems amazing at first, but after a whirlwind tour, you find out you've lost yourself and been wrapped up in a web of lies.

Set in the 1961 in Britain, sixteen-year-old Jenny must choose between charisma and a chance to attend Oxford University. I am not sure but I suspect a vast majority of women have made this mistake at some juncture in their lives.

I made my mistake in the spring of 1986 when I left The University of Puget Sound to chase what I thought was love. I spent a miserable semester in Lincoln, Nebraska and was quite literally unable to keep food down I was so out of place. I also discovered the love of my life was not, in fact the love of my life and to this day he remains the love of no one's life. What drove us apart ultimately though was my intense disdain for Ayn Rand's bizarre philosophy. We fought over the phone about Rand and I ended the relationship. He has never married, never had children, and once bragged to me about being with dozens and dozens of women. He follows her philosophy of all for one and one only to a tee. I am completely unlike him and have been my entire now half lived life.

I escaped with what matters the most. I escaped with my soul. I came back to a place I love. The Pacific Northwest with its fog and water, islands and writers is my home. The large trees and mountains ferries and seagulls make it my home. I love soggy days when my feet sink into the mud or get sucked into the mud. I love slugs and green grass at Christmastime and snow melting leaving sprigs of green grass poking through the white. I loved studying English Literature and Writing and getting my degree at The University of Puget Sound. I graduated just slightly off schedule. I graduated in the summer of 1988 versus the spring of 1988. I was on campus today for Homecoming weekend. I live within fifteen minutes of the campus that was and remains my home. -Alison Whiteman

The Symbolic Loss Of My Earring

I bought these earrings as a reward for making it to my third MRI at Swedish Neuroscience in Seattle a few weeks ago. I have been in a flare of my MS which seems to be subsiding.

I lost the other earring. I take this lightly and yet seriously. My MS is going back into remission. I might be able to run again soon.

I do not need this earring as a reminder. Perhaps I will turn the remaining one into a distant memory. I think it would make a great Christmas tree decoration or funky thing to hang in the bathroom or office. -Alison Whiteman

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Really Want This T-Shirt

Hooray for Becky, The Retiring Assistant For Gov. Gregoire

I would highly recommend not ticking off a disabled unemployed constituent. However, Becky, who answers the telephone in Olympia, Washington basically told me she does not care about anything anymore because she is retiring. She didn't exactly say that, but she did say she is retiring.

My response to this was atrocious. I said, "Oh you think you are retiring until the state goes broke and you have no retirement funds." Becky hung up on me. However, after a seven hour battle to get transport to medical appointments I am unable to drive to due to a flare of my multiple sclerosis, my transport was approved. This makes it the second time my transport is approved. I got approved, then not approved, then approved. Oh thank you State of Washington. I think our state has been mismanaged into the ground and perhaps below the ground into some kind of dysfuctional coffin. Our schools are a shamble. The programs that have been slashed pertain primarily to people or children with disabilities.

As long as my fingers still work, I will not try to stop this trainwreck. Becky, congratuleffinglations on your retirement. However, you have some bad karma now. I have no idea if my half dozen calls to her made any difference in my being approved or not. I just know I did get approved. I did note Becky did not respond when I said I know she gets paid more to answer the phone and thwart constituents more than teachers get paid. She just hung up on me. Give Becky a call. I hope she is six or more months out from her retirement. Let's make her last days her best days. Her number is: 360-902-4111.

I wish more public officials would just realize it is best to work with Alison than tick her off. I guess I must not be that well known yet. -Alison Whiteman

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tina Fey And Her Book "Bossypants"

Click to view full size imageTina Fey is one of the most hilarious women to ever live. I thought the poet Dorothy Parker was hilarious, and Parker certainly is hilarious with her snarky poetry that was far ahead of the curve of the women's movement.

Tina Fey's book "Bossypants" is so funny it makes you laugh until it  tightens your abs. The descriptions of how women are supposed to look and how cultural norms shift are totally spot on. It starts with girls who read too many magazines and buy into air brushed expectations which continue into the adult lives of women. I hope to see the day women collectively refuse to purchase such magazines and certainly redefine what is beautiful in our culture. I hope to live to see the day when nose jobs and plastic surgery on faces disappear.

Fey had her face slashed by a stranger when she was a young girl. The ongoing odd comments about her scar are just that: bizarre. She handles this with such grace and total humor. For me, it's how I am learning to handle bizarre comments if I used a disabled parking space or cane because I have MS. If someone says I don't look sick enough to have a cane, I have learned to simply say "thank you." If I get screamed at by some ignorant shopper if I park in a disabled space, I just keep walking. If someone wants to know why I have disability I just say, "I have a disability." If I say I have multiple sclerosis, people most often think I am one of Jerry's kids. Worse, they want to know what MS is. Explaining MS is so hard I think it is not worth my valuable time. If they truly want to know, which they generally do not, I refer them to the National MS web site and just move along.

MS is an energy robber. I don't have the energy to explain it. In fact, I am not going to explain it anymore unless I get paid to explain it. I am important and I am tired of wasting my time. At my age, I don't have a ton of time left. Tina, I applaud you for making a very nice life for yourself and for making so many people laugh. In times like these, we certainly need to laugh. You are the pro, Tina. -Alison Whiteman

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One of the most powerful films I have ever seen about addiction, post-imprisonment and the struggle to rebuild one's life. I come late to films since I never never pay full price in a theater. This 2006 Sundance nominee presents an incredible performance by Maggie Gyllenheal. It is an honest portrayal of life after prison, rehabilitation, trying to find a job with a felony conviction, living in a group home and being under the watchful eye of a parloe officer. As if that is not enough of a struggle, Sherry attempts to build a relationship with the child she had to leave behind, and fights to rebuild relationships with the incredibly dysfunctional  family that led her to make bad choices at the tender age of sixteen. I give this five stars! -Alison Whiteman

Friday, September 9, 2011

Just Thought I Would Stir Up Some Controversy

Ask Me About Herbalism T-Shirt

Yes, I am getting sick of MS pain. I would like to treat it with medical marijuana in moderation.

If more government officials would get MS, then I suppose it would be legalized by the federal government. -Alison Whiteman

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An Example Of American Grammar: Note Found On The Ground

I probably should post this on the "things found" blog that already exists in cyber space, but this is my blog.

I am going to tell you what it says. I want to keep the names confidential, and if you can see the names, I apologize.

I think this note illustrates quite clearly we are not teaching our children grammar. Boot to the head to our school system! Okay, that was ranty. Well, I am known to be ranty so why stop now? The note, typed verbatim is below:

"(Name confidential) I'm not sure if I want to get the gr friendship necklace because I'm not sure if we are friends

I dont care if there reading this If they are I want them to know there ditty little brats

right now I'm probiby cryin

I hope you still my friends

Your friend (name removed)

PS I cant wait till next friday at 3:30 - Girls Play"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lip Service Volvo Liberals



This is a classic Volvo, not really the ones driven by lip service liberals in high income neighborhoods who work in high paying jobs. I want to talk about lip service liberals.

Lip service liberals talk about racism, but never talk to people who are different than they are.

Lip service liberals don't volunteer at local food banks or serve food at missions. Many of them are highly educated but unemployed because quite frankly, they have interest to live off of from their trust funds. 

Lip services liberals put their kids in private schools with trust fund money and don't have to send their kids to the public school because they had no students loans to become who they are.

A lip service liberal drives her Volvo with her kids to a gas station, sees a homeless person and flees in a panic because she does not realize that statistically, lawyers are more dangerous than homeless people. In fact, the homeless are more likely to get injured or killed than a lip service liberal.

Yes, I am a little angry about this. My brother is not a lip service liberal. He adopted four children. Two of them are not caucasian. I mean, four children! He and his wife have cared for four children, two who will need group homes for the rest of their lives.

Damn be to the lip service liberals who are likely getting manis and pedis or talking about how they are going to get their kid into the best pre-school. -Alison Whiteman

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Night We Nearly Got Squished On The Bridge Post, 1990

There was a time Tacoma only had one bride. Galloping Gurtie was her name, but because it had a major engineering design flaw, it blew down. The only victim of the bridge blowing down was a reporter's dog. The reporter did not have time to get the dog and the dog flew into The Puget Sound. I have long thought the second bridge should have been dedicated to the deceased dog, but it was not. I am not sure what the dedication is or if there even is one. I am, quite frankly, too lazy to research that right now and I want to tell the harrowing story of nearly dying one night on a sailboat while going under the original Narrows bridge to the left.

First, I should confess I was dating a man seventeen years my senior. I commend my oldest brother for not flying out here and beating the crap out of the man because honestly, he deserved it. Mike, my oldest bro probably would have at least threatened to do this had he not been living in Denver. My parents were allowing me to make my own mistake and my other brother, well, I never want to talk to him again. He just called me a filthy name instead of thinking about protecting me. Quite frankly, the rest of the family ought to beat the crap out of my other brother, but we don't. He certainly deserves it the piece of shit.

The point of this story is this. The current under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is very strong. Good sailors and motor boaters have no problem getting under it. The former need a solid wind, the latter a good motor. Sailors without a strong wind need a damn good motor. Our motor quit on us. That's right, our motor quit. You know what happens when your motor quits in a strong current and you are heading to a large post? You're about to die! However, I was young, about twenty-three, and obviously stupid to be dating a man who was forty, and I thought I could just push the boat away from the post.

The man, a lawyer of course, because so many of them are just effing idiots, began yanking furiously on the starter and screaming, "Jesus Fu---ing Cr--st!!!!" He said this numerous times and just before we hit the post, the motor started almost as if Jesus himself heard him and forgave him or was protecting me since he nearly qualified as a sex offender to be dating me. Neither one of us died that night. Unfortunately he did live and I only say this because now he reportedly dates a woman ten years younger than I am. I mean, how young can this man go? Does he card his dates? "Let me see your identification, please. Oh, You are eighteen. Good."

I have said so many offensive things in this blog I just don't know what to say. Sue me, Mr. no longer licensed lawyer. I have no assetts. Sue me asshole estranged brother of mine, I have no assetts. Furthermore, the likelihood of him reading this is so slim it would be like finding an ice sculpture in hell. The lawyer dumped be likely because I turned twenty-five I presume. I was going to graduate school to be a teacher so he decided to see if he could get into the same school the same year as me. He did not get admitted. He went somewhere else, thank God. The best thing that ever could have happened that he just moved on to other young victims though I do feel sorry for them. Those crafty lawyers and their crafty large words and lying ways. I could tell lawyer jokes here because just last year a complete stranger and I had a lawyer joke smack down. It was hilarious. There was no clear winner. -Alison Whiteman

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This Is A Brain, And This Is How Much My Brain Has Cost This Year

Photo: Lateral view of human brain

It has cost taxpayers $18,415.33 to treat my multiple sclerosis with medications only. This does not include the cost of appointments, transportation, and rehab. Let's please cure MS. It is too expensive and I really want to work again. Namaste!

Wasson High School, Class of 1984, Twenty Year Reunion in 2004

Colorado Springs, Colorado