Friday, December 23, 2011

Blogging 'Til Homeless: Countdown Day 39

How to Leave the House And Actually Accomplish Something When You're A Cripplei

One of the main drawbacks to being a cripple and being in pain most of the time, is that it wears you right the hell out. You have days where the pain will keep you up forever, and you have the days where your body just won't cope with it, and shuts down.

If you actually get ill on top if it, you're down for the count.

So of course right now is when the seasonal cold/flu/virus/lurgi/yuck decides to strike. The weird “my brain is infested with parasites and has been stuck by lightning” headaches that I've been hospitalized for are now accompanied by the sinus version. I've had sweats & chills that only let me sleep for an hour at most...that is, if the sinus drainage doesn't wake me by cutting off my breathing every ten damned minutes.

The worst thing is, I HAVE STUFF I NEED TO DO. Stuff which involves leaving the house. Leaving the house to accomplish stuff is one of the most painful, wearying and actually dangerous things that I have to do. Let's start with the basics, shall we?

  1. Take a shower.

This is easy, right? Not necessarily, if you're disabled. Ideally, I need to shower when there is someone actually home, in case I fall. Sometimes, the pain is so bad, I need someone in the bathroom with me while I shower, to make sure I can continue to stand. Showering is so painful, and leaves me so exhausted, that I need to lie down for at least an hour afterward, just to...

  1. Recuperate.

'Nuff said.

  1. Make it out of the house safely

I live in a rental, which, according to city code, should have handrails off the front porch, If this place did, it would prevent me from dangling from the support beams, trying to manage my cane while attempting to descend the stairs. Luckily, I don't have to leave through the front door very often. There is a railing in the back...but it isn't in reach of the actual door. And there isn't a real stair. I have fallen out the back door so many times that it isn't funny, and leaving this way is always painful, if not dangerous.

  1. Make it out of the back yard safely.

Well, now that I've gotten out the back door, I'm now in the back yard where my van is parked. You'd think, just get in and drive away, right? Not so simple. We have a privacy fence with two huge doors that need to be opened, and a sea of mud to walk through to get to them. This property does not drain properly, so, especially at this time of year, the mud soup is pretty awful. Right. So. Slog through the mud, drag the gates open, go back to the van, get it out of the yard, slog back through the mud, close the gates, get back in the van and rest for a few minutes.

You may ask, “Why not park on the street?” The answer there is simple, and in two parts. Since losing my jewel-box-restored-by-me cottage on the other side of town, I had to move to a neighborhood that borders the projects. Crime is high, here, and an unattended vehicle that does not move for long periods of time is a target for vandals. The second point, is that I live on a corner where several cars have been hit by speeding vehicles and buses. I can't afford to lose my vehicle, so in the back yard it stays, and I continue to struggle with moving it.

  1. Get to where I'm going and pray they have handicapped parking and/or those goofy carts I need to ride around in if shopping.

I can't walk, stand or sit without pain, Of the three, sitting is the most manageable, especially if I can lean forward to take the pressure off my lower back. If there is no handicapped parking present (yes, I have a hang tag), then I cannot go there, as it is impossible for me to walk very far. This also limits me to shopping at places that have those carts, because I simply cannot stand in line for more than a few minutes, as I will literally collapse from the pain. This is why I can go shopping very rarely, and am limited to the “box stores” that have these carts. If all carts are in use (which happens frequently), I must turn around and leave.

  1. Accomplish actual tasks.

Self explanatory.

  1. Go back home

By this time, I am fairly exhausted, and in a great deal of pain. Add to this, the headaches I get that come without warning and feel like taking a lightning strike directly to the brain, makes me have to drive home VERY carefully. And honestly, sometimes I am in far too much pain to be careful. I fully expect to lose my driver's license if the neurologist cannot figure out how to stop these headaches. The pain and the double vision are insane. When things get bad, I pull over (luckily, I'm sensible) and wait for things to pass, then continue slowly on. THIS is the main reason I rarely leave the house anymore.

  1. Get into the back yard safely.

This is just #4, in reverse, though much more slowly. At this point, I'm usually in a great deal of pain, and pretty well exhausted.

  1. Make it back into the house safely.

This is a reverse of #3, except the railing IS accessible from the exterior...but it doesn't really do much good, since it's too far away from the door and there isn't a proper stair here.

  1. Collapse for 24-48 hours.

I have to go to the bank and get bank statements for the state-supported medical care, for which I may get refused, since all the donations for Mark's fundraiser went from PayPal into my bank account (since he didn't have one), and I sent him money orders (saving $$ on Western Union) that he could cash right at the Post Office for FREE. (Yay, save more money!) Unfortunately, all these program people see is the two grand in my account, even after the withdrawals where it goes back to the same $28 that was in there solely to keep the account open. That $28 is about all I've had in there for a year, so I have to supply back statements as well. Plus, I'm going to print out the blog to see if it helps, since of course, the money matches! Hope these folks can actually comprehend that it wasn't my money...sigh. So, I have to go to the bank.

I also need copies of my tax return for last year, which actually had income in it. The previous year, I had withdrawn the remains of my 457 retirement account, (only about $800, if I remember correctly, and If I don't remember correctly, oh, well.) so I had to declare that. This year, I will be filing with a zero income, oh, joy. For some reason, I cannot find last year's return. Every other year of my existence back to the first tax return I ever filed, yes, right where they are supposed to be. Last year's? Nowhere to be found. This necessitates a trip to H&R Block, then to the copy shop, where I'll get to make lovely copies of all this stuff for the THREE agencies that are requesting them.

But I'm not going anywhere today. I'm sick and I hurt too damned much.

i Anyone that is offended by the word “cripple” please adjust your attitude. I'm a cripple, I've gotten used to it. The word is entirely appropriate to my situation, so let's move on.

Due to requests, I'm adding a donation button to these particular posts for folks that wish to donate. Thank you for all your help!

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