Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rough Day Which Ended Well, But Just Only... ...

Okay, firstly the trip to North Carolina went very well. Spent about a week down there helping my Dad out and boy oh boy did I earn my keep. Dad is putting on some years so I was able to physically do somethings that he hadn't been able to buck up for, enter your oldest son. Even with my injuries I was able to be sufficient for so many things it was a God send that I had that opportunity. To challenge myself physically, with my Dad, and mentally, with my many many nieces and nephews. I will be thanking God for the opportunity for a very long time.

On to today:

My day started bright and early, like usual but with a sad difference. My Krempels member friend, Brie Louise Bourn, has been staying up here in Somersworth with a friend for the past week. Given that I liked her, I have made myself available to supporting her activities. (Unwisely so.) She texted me this morning about her father being injured and needing to go home, so home I took her.

After we spent sometime at her home we were heading to the Krempels Center, which I needed because I hadn't gotten breakfast and it was past lunch, when I was rear ended. Nothing major thank you but the gist of the accident is this: I was the first car at the light in my lane. Three lanes mind you. Next to me, in the middle lane, was an eighteen wheeler so I did what an old military driver does, I did not slam my accelerator down when the light changed. After all, the front of a truck is a very big barrel of a loaded gun, who wants to trust that fate won't pull the big trigger? However, seeing some cars move the woman behind me shifted her foot to the accelerator and slammed into the back of me. 

The emotional distress caused me to PTSD. I immediately became a motorpool Sergeant. I slammed the car into park, engaged the parking brake, and hopped out of the car screaming at my passenger "Are you okay?" When I got a positive response I looked at the driver of the other vehicle and asked her the same question. After receiving a positive response I reached into my side bag, pulled out my camera and took pictures (in this order) of her front end with license plate, the driver, and then a long angle shot of her back license plate with her car connecting to mine. Then I got wobbly from the stress.

The driver of the impacting vehicle started treating my like I was panto-mining. Her incredulity reached it's maximum when I slowly wobbled to my knees. Little did the driver realize that she had hit a car with 2 brain injured victims in it. The driver, which was me, and the passenger Bumble Brie. I asked passerby drivers, from my hands & knees, to please call an ambulance as I could feel a seizure about to take me. Thinking of calling the police I took my own phone and dialed 911. The cohesive questions from the operator helped me to calm my thoughts and regain stability.

All in all, the damage was a small scratch that I thanked the offender for. ??? With that scratch my car looks more like a Hoop-D than before. I bought that car brand new in 2004. It is paid off, completely, but not even the radio has been replaced. You would have to pay a chop shop to take my car apart! So, ironically, this accident was in my favor. In two distinct ways... ....

Firstly, it is not likely to be stolen. A sleeper car it is as the engine and underneath components are top notch. Taken cared of by a combat veteran motorpool Sergeant. I don't turn wrenches but I get the wrench turned when they need turning! Secondly, proof of how much distress I can endure without passing out!

So there I was, afterwards, at the Community First Center eating lunch when the Social Security adviser called to discuss my submitted claim. I immediately reiterated my point, "I am not looking for financial assistance! I just want the Gov't that sent me to war to acknowledge my disability."

There are good reasons for this. I don't need the Gov'ts money to live, I've got plenty of my own. Equally once you are under the payroll thumb some idiots, >sorry<, some politician thinks you belong to him for whatever his/her feelings. Sadly, the forgotten thing by these politicos is you don't belong to them. That the State is the servant of it's people, that this person is not, nor ever has been, the servant of the State. However, I do feel that if the State is paying your bills you should maintain a credibly minimum standard.

The adviser explained to me that I had not worked enough in the past 10 years to be eligible to be designated "disabled". When I pointed out that I simply wanted the government I bled for, the government sent me to war, just to acknowledge my disability w/o any financial obligation from the State I was told nope. Medical determination of disability costs money and since no money was involved on my part it was NOT going to be done. Basically I was told to screw off. Politely off course but screw off.

So, finishing my lunch I packed my things and was headed to the Restore to apologize for being late for my volunteer shift. In fact, I was going to say sorry but I was so disrupted that I might not do the volunteer time at the Newington Restore. I went over to the locker, I made, and proceed to unlock it when the Store Executive entered the room. She asked me if I was working today to which I replied sorry but no, my calm is too dicey to work a full shift. She then said goodbye and went out to the floor.

Little did I realize that she went to the floor to talk to Nirvana. Nirvana is the Restore's floor manager and a damn good one. Nirvana and the Store Exec then came into the gear room and Nirvana grabbed my attention. As I said hi I looked over and noticed that both women looked worried. My first statement, being the Dennis the Menace that I am, was "I'm sorry, what did I do wrong?" Nirvana asked me why I thought I did anything wrong and I pointed out the concerned looks on both the faces pointed at me. 

Nirvana pointed out that I did nothing wrong, nothing at all. When I asked why the worried faces Nirvana then dropped the other shoe. Since I had been late Nirvana (and the Exec) thought that I was not going to show up. Apparently that would have made life much easier all things being what they were. However since I did show up Nirvana was then coerced into informing me that the Exec (who stood there like a worried rabbit) was not comfortable with me being a Restore volunteer. 

I absorbed my being fired like I have many distasteful things in my life, quietly. I left the Restore and took Brie home, where I dropped her off for the final time, and then drove back to the restore. This took me about an hour or so given the traffic congestion that was building up. I then realize that inside the lock box that I had bought and designed for my Restore use, they don't have lockers or personal areas of any kind, I had Restore property. Essentially brass dead weight so that no one would accidentally pick up my lock box and mistakenly, or not mistakenly, walk off with it.

As I decided to return valuable metal I realized that my hat was a Restore hat as well. Wearing it marked me as Volunteer of the Restore and could in fact be misleading to customers. It did not matter that I got the hat over two years ago when I was an accepted Volunteer at the Dover location of the Restore. In fact, I got the hat when I was an Assistant Director of Southeastern New Hampshire Habit for Humanity. Faith Relations was my job however being a volunteer my motivation.

So I explained to Nirvana that I needed to know "what" worried the Exec. Why's are confusing, debatable, and can lead to discord. In my current, newer Brain Injured condition, "what" is clear while "whys" foible me up like crazy. In fact, I pointed out that my memory is a bit dicey, that I would appreciate an email explaining the what and defining my appropriate boundaries to be great desired. With Audible conversation I can very well be an Alzheimers patient but with the written word I am clear as a bell.

So Nirvana kindly told me, after I assured her that I was not seeking discord or legal action, that the Exec had little confidence in my mental stability. Now, to be honest that is a fair concern regarding a brain injured person. However, I have only said "Hello" to this Exec two times and today being one of them. In fact, I've spent much more time at the Restore setting up my volunteer position, self made locker for example, I have as an actual volunteer. Sadly, the Exec wasn't around for any of that time. Apparently being an Executive requires you to spend a lot of time outside the office handling matters like getting the decent workers to fire volunteers you haven't even met... or are brave enough to meet.

So when I handed in the dead weight I also handed in my well earned hat. After all, I am not banned from the Restore. Heck, I am a valued customer all things considered. There is not a room in this house, not a small house, that does not have a piece of furniture that came from the Restore. In fact, some rooms are filled be nothing but furniture bought from the restore. So, please come on in but only bring your wallet. Your spirit of giving should be limited to cash and nothing else.

I had thought the Restore had improved with the removal of Doug Willey.  My wife hated that man because he was an unmitigated ass who engaged in sexual base banter at my expense at a dinner. Doug felt so threatened by my example that any discord he could attribute my direction, he did. This kind of office politic environment led to my resigning my illustrious position, whatever illustriation that could be imagined by morons, and my avoiding the Restore. My wife & I thought, "Damn, they got rid of Doug! Restore is better!!!" Boy were we wrong.
In fact, my overall treatment by the Restore, and SENH Habitat for Humanity, has been appalling. I did one time try to raise my concerns about how things were being handled at SENH H4H. When I did it through the Facebook group page I ran to coordinate volunteer builders - someone from them complained to Facebook that I was infringing on their trademark. (Group page deleted!) When I sent my complaint through National - plink virtual digital black hole. To this day no one has tried to get in touch with me however the local Habitat did have a meeting with me, asked me what I would change, then dumped me into the circle file while making the changes I suggested.

Apparently if someone isn't running away with Habitat's money, every thing is okay. If Habitat is running away with everybody else's money or ideas, GREAT.

Yeah I implied that the day ended well. It did, I'm still alive and cognizant today. Sadly, there was a few days were I only had half that and I had better have been happy. I had no other choice. Why is it that Brain Injured isn't just an invisible disease, it is treated like an invisible plague.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Where Am I Going?

Today I am traveling. I am also traveling in Cosplay mode. I have selected a very unlikely subject to imitate. I am going to imitate someone who is Brain Injured.

This "someone" has suffered Traumatic Brain Injury and is traveling home to let his parent's see him. These parents have not seen him in almost a year since his trauma. Some family members have suddenly all shown up at the parents house and someone has decided to just drop in on them all if possible. This someone is traveling via Trailways and Amtrak to their parent's house.
During this travel, of just over 800 miles, someone will be dressed as a Vault 101 dweller. His transformation served specific purpose:

Here we see him dressed in traveling gear.

Now we see he is wearing some medical devices. This is to indicate his injuries as without these indicators no one would know. Consider this "truth in advertising" methodology.

Now we see his Vault clothes while wearing the indicators.

Hopefully being dressed so unusual while attract attention. Once that attention is gained, the indicators will serve as warnings, and eventually (even through a 4 hour layover in DC) someone will get to see his parents.

That being said, if you wish to contact me during my journey feel free to use Facebook Messenger to contact me. I would love to hear from whoever is speaking and someone would love to meet interesting people along his wasteland travels. (I should have added that someone is traveling alone like any good vault dweller at the beginning of a momentous journey.)

[To be updated]

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Am I Angry? Yes & No

Why are you angry?

This was a fair question my wife asked of me after having read some of my recent Facebook postings. She feels that I might be feeling some negative bias towards my occasional caregivers. And she might be right.

To be fair, the caregivers I have had have treated me decently even when I could not form a proper sentence. They endured ME, through Aphasia and all the cognitive issues. I think I was chipper and forward looking but I'm sure I was still Dennis the Menace in every available manner open to me at the same time. In fact, the negative thoughts I do possess have not happened with any kind of frequency and have been squelched down the moment I point it out... mostly.

This is where seeing the problem is all about experiencing the problem. Even my wife, who is all too familiar with enduring slight bigotries on a regular basis, does not see the problem. She is filled with sympathy for me, NO DOUBT, however she is not quite empathic to my situation. However the one example I could use, to get it across to her, is a very dangerous area to tread; let alone boldly walk to point things out. Especially when my wife sometimes forget how empathic I can be on matters best described as "racial".

One word and one name makes the point of this sentence.

"Obama is proof that bigotry no longer exists in the United States of America!!"

Now most of you reading this agree. After all, you have had little experience with bigotry already. How can you recognize its trail-markings from the very small signs it leaves in your presence? After all, the President is black so our society must have embraced all kinds of blacks without question.

I currently live in one of the most progressive anti-bigotry states in America (New Hampshire) but this is mostly true because of one simple fact: as of the 2010 Census Black Americans make up a whopping 1.1% of the population. I think it is slightly higher but that is from anecdotal experiences. Because of the color of my skin most people who don't share it just plain avoid me. However my empathy makes me notice kindred of spirit no matter where I am. (Yes, I am very empathic though I have not given you the "why".... yet.)

The common form of bigotry that I've encountered in New Hampshire is not of an active hostile form. I almost wish it was as that can be most effectively cured... or at least answered. The bigotry that does exist is made up of Ignorance. Not ignorance of behavior, oh no that would be easy to identify and respond to without any trouble. It is ignorance caused by lack of experience and know how. This level of ignorance is complicated by two things: The low population of Black Americans and the Media.

The media is the most insidious factor. Most people readily accept that the Media is often wrong with the ideas that it spreads. Most people know that the Media is not to be trusted, ever. However, when the Media is the only source of your information, no matter how wrong it is, you are influenced by it regardless of your valid opinion of its voracity. So the common form of Bigotry that we experience from the white people of New Hampshire (93.9% of the population) is built on the disingenuous Media exposure that they have endured. They know that the Media is wrong but when something comes up what other influence do they refer back to when trying to figure out how to handle a situation.  Exactly!

Now, I can spend a lot of time on the various sides of this problem, there are many and most of them are innocent well meaning experiences. However they are, without a doubt, forms of bigotry. Maybe heinous forms if you are overly sensitized to it. Yet when it is a form of bigotry that is not obvious, unchallengeable, and so ubiquitous your sensitivity might be a bit more increased then a person who does not experience it at all.

Wow. That paragraph succinctly describes what I am enduring. So succinctly that it might make an honest reader empathic with what I am feeling. What am I feeling? Not just left out (of decisions and conversations that affect my life directly) but too easy to disregard.

See because I am "brain injured" there are often conversations and debates about my life and my treatment. Many of these take place behind closed doors... supposedly so as to not upset me in any unwarranted manner. (First clue on bigotry, decisions are based upon what you MIGHT think or feel.) Of course once the decisions regarding your life is disclosed to you options available to you are limited down to just two. Go along or don't go along.

"Don't go along" has a host of problems for the planners. However there is one easy answer that requires no effort or thought. (Second bigotry warning sign - No effort or thought solutions.) Shrugging off non-compliance of behavior is dirt easy since the person can not be trusted to have any thinking worth listening to in that "damaged" brain of theirs.

Now, are you ready for some eye opening? Before my accident I was a Freemason Mensan Purple Hearted Airborne Veteran who has been married twice, painfully buried one child and the raised white child of a wonderful black family. Before my accident I was a person of immense value, a person who has seen many aspects of life not commonly experienced in one place. Common experiences, heck yeah, but all in one place? Only the Grand Architect.... errr.... God could have designed my poor before accident life.

So what I am distinctly struggling with, and maybe you can answer me, is what part of my accident removed those important parts of my life. I mean removed them so completely that I am simply not to be listened to, not to be of any significance regarding how I am treated (even as a person) or how I may care is determined.

I guess more important is this: How do I express it in such a humble polite manner that I won't be summarily dismissed as a problem child? Hunh? How?

So am I angry? Damn straight. I just have nowhere to place my anger. No recipient ... ... even on myself. So I am angry but not angry at the same time. What else is left to me?