When Life is a Trigger Warning (Trigger Warning)

I wrote over 7000 words and WordPress ate it. I’ll try again later. I am really really not okay with this turn of events.

Begging at the Poorhouse Door

I live in a low income apartment complex. This means everyone here is either on Section 8 or earns a minimal income. We are all considered the poorest of the poor. I have been here for two months, though it feels like a blissful eternity. I am even getting used to the six AM vaccume sessions overhead. They help me wake up on time for meetings at least.

I have nice neighbors, the woman and her family upstairs are from India, and we exchange pleasantries often. The man next door is a white guy who works at Taco Bell and has four kids. I have yet to see much issue with my neighbors. However, there is a sudden trend. It might be due to more lay offs, but, suddenly people are begging at my front door. Not once, not twice, three times. I also can hear through the walls and know others are facing this same thing.

It isn’t just that they are begging at low income housing that bothers me. It is really how they beg. The first person who came was utterly honest, “Hey, I am sorry to bother you. We have never met but I live in Apartment 123 (not the real location) and just lost my job. I can’t afford food tonight, can I borrow something? I will pay you back as soon as possible.” I let my Person juggle things like this. Food requests send me over an edge still, and even if I have it I want to be irrationally greedy, fearing my own stomach will go empty. He gave her some gluteny pasta and sauce. He offered more but she declined. This incident doesn’t bother me in the least. I am proud of my Person’s ability to help, proud that we have enough food, and I am secretly glad that the pasta is gone since he eats my Rice pasta with me. Gluten Free leftovers are icky.

The second incident was much weirder. It had been a long day, I had Toastmasters, I had given a speech, then something else draining occured. Sprite was upset, so, I climb down, appraise the distance between me and the door and we manage it. Barely through the door when knock knock knock. “Oh, could you please drive all of this garbage I just pulled out of the dumpster over to my apartment on XYZ street?” I just climbed into bed, leaving him to deal with this intruder. “I’ll give it all to the homeless tommarrow.” Yeah right, that was my instant impulse. My person is more generous than I am with this sort of thing, though he shared my reticence to give a stranger a ride. He helped her carry it to her apartment and did not go inside. She seemed disappointed by the fact that she had to carry her loot, though what she would have done if we had not returned home boggles my mind. Would she have left it there? Was she really just lying in wait? It was creepy. My instincts said it was bad and so did my persons. He expressed concern that people will keep asking to use our vehicle now, because it is a nice, big van. I responded with this, “It’s ours. We say no. I don’t know these people. They do not get to risk my transportation. I was trapped for too long to let that happen.” He agreed.

Just now, i got up from my writing, and went to the restroom. I leave the door open incase I need help. That happens often enough and it is much easier to shout through an open door than a closed one. William Shakespurr has become my Bathroom buddy and he sauntered in just in time to get trapped by the knocking. Person closed the door and I listened intently. “Uh could you buy my cable box? I just got uot of the hospital and I want to sell it.” Two things. The cable box is not hers to sell. The cable company only rents them. I don’t want to buy a cable box that could get me put in jail. “No.” He closed the door then let me and William out.

I discovered upon asking that he has fended several away from the door. This is becoming an agitation. I live in the technical poorhouse too. I am not wealthy. What I have I have earned, struggled for, and often doesn’t go as far as I need. Yes, I am willing to help people when I can but, if you are going to go around with a sob story, several of the incidents I am not able to mention here due to my desire to be blatantly mean about their claims were over the top dramatic sob stories, then at least be realistic. IF you just want cash. Get a job, pan handle on the free way, but do not come asking me for cash.

Just like the rest of America, just like the rest of the world I do not have extra money to spare. AIG has it. Go ask THEM for help with your hospital bills. Go ask them to feed your child, or to let you stay in their apartments for one night. This is not a homeless shelter, this is not a charity. This is my home. Back off.

Though I can be nice, kind, and charming. Though that is my default behavior pattern, when I feel invaded in my home I will show my teeth and proverbial claws. I do not like guests, except an exclusive few. I do not like strangers trying to invite themselves in.

I was homeless. I get going hungry. There are organizations, charities, and help groups that will feed you, clothe you, and most will try and help you get work. There are rent assistance programs, there are a myriad of ways to try and get help. Begging at the door of a person who is just as poor as you? That is not it.

No this essay is not gentle, it is merely my statements of fact and opinion. Every person has equal access to help, so ask in the right place and the right way. There are even places that will help you if you are not a legal citizen, without having you deported. Got it? Stay away from my door unless you are going to be a welcomed guest, do not ask for the few things I have. I do not share my necessities when they are barely obtained.

Do not ask me for food, shelter, clothing. I offer what I have to the world. My cast offs do not get thrown away, they get given to charities or those in need. You can ask me for help finding food, shelter, and clothing. I am currently in need of many of those things.

Although I do not begrudge the first request, a part of me wonders if giving that woman food is why everyone else is coming here. The first was no leech, but the rest? That sucking sensation has drained me of my good will.

Changes and Medicaid

I should be asleep, I was up at Six AM unable to sleep, my mind entrenched in researching what it will take to get Medicaid to cover a new wheelchair. I just got my scooter but my needs have already changed. This might actually be enough, despite being told by my Wheelchair Provider, “Suck it up, you have to wait five years before they will even consider another chair.” I left feeling anger at the young man, first he failed to repair my chair, then the manufacturer also failed and they gave it back to me running but barely manageable. It doesn’t turn.

How can I function with a chair that won’t go around a corner without a circus routine being thrown in to the mix? I gave up on driving indoors with the one I have a while ago. It is too bulky to fit inside. I didn’t know they should have let me drive it before I was left with the chair, or that I should have known with in a month, by some strange magical process that the chair was wrong for me.

I had an accident, before I started this blog, as well. I sat in a chair, in my own home and due to age and exposure to extreme weight for twenty or more years, it collapsed. It felt like I sat on air, even as the wood cracked like a shot gun. For me, when something frightening happens the world slows down to a snail’s pace. I could see the terror in my friend’s faces, and was glad instantly that the abusive roommate wasn’t out of her room yet.

I felt too, the pain as my body tipped into a position that it no longer could sustain. I knew I was going down. I felt this same slowness when my back broke initially, it took forever. I was actually bored by the time the car finished it’s impact and by the time the chair hit the floor, wanting the pain to come, so that it could be over.

The result of my strange slowdown is two fold. The problem is the anticipation of pain might be either smaller or larger than the actual pain. Anticipating it I may tense up, making the imapct worse. On the flip side I can also work through strategies on how to land, shift position, and protect myself. I also can go through panic by the time I hit the floor. I just hate feeling like I am in a Zack Snyder Film. My least favorite director, his trademark is Super Slow Motion Story Time.

I was lucky, I did not hit my head on the chair. I should have but when I just let myself go, my body relaxing until impact, this changed how I flowed through the air. I was impaled on a wooden stake, and immediately made a Buffy Joke, unaware that the joke was too close to reality. I barely bled. My instinct too is to slow my heart rate, to stop all unnecessary functions. this is fine enough but, also is dangerous. I am not sure where I learned it either, but it might be my Mother. She does it too.

My service cat kicked into action, running first to try and fetch any human left in the house, then, checking to see if I was still breathing, before she called for help via telephone. My Person and my PCA (Personal Care Attendant) were both called. Then I went via ambulance with the nicest and most well informed paramedics. I do not know what these emergency personnel are called in other countries but they are our first responders, along side Firemen, and the police.

They were worried, and told me so, because I was far too calm. I reminded them that panic doesn’t do anything for you and hinders care, and that my friends had panicked enough. I had spent half an hour on the floor, trying to not move. I started shaking violently, having small seizures as my body protested. Finally, my seizing was documented. It is related to my level of pain. They gave me some morphine at the hospital, just before sending me home.

First they did Xrays, nothing appeared to be wrong. It’s been a month, maybe two. I am never really sure how much time passes, a side effect of my childhood mental health care and severe traumas. I am not sure which one caused this, PTSD or too many pills. The Xray tech was a student. He was cute too, though I barely registered that. He and his supervisor had a patient who could not move into their positions for the most part, my body refused and it was unsafe until after xrays due to the existing injury.

I found something new, they accommodated my body and still got the needed film. This is rare. Usually they twist you, ignoring your screams, telling you it will just be a second. Xray time is a form of abject torture. Why? Well, there is not usually much they can do to accommodate, or they forgot how. I had a smart tech and a brilliant student. I told him too, he should stick with it and that if he wanted I would write a personal recommendation. I gave him my email address and telephone number.

I have a trained reflex to try and fix people, and this evolved into making bad jokes and never crying in the ER. I cried that night, and there was blood. I still made bad jokes but, I finally had an ER doctor that knew it was the pain talking. I had to make jokes in order to seem okay. I couldn’t stop. That was when I started trying to make myself accept that I need a therapist. Self defeat is not an option when your body is already falling apart.

You know those toys with strings in them, that when you squish them they collapse? I feel like I am one of those and someone keeps hitting that button. I often look like that when I fall too. The analogy is too close for my Person. He doesn’t mind my jokes usually but sometimes when they are cruel and anti my existence he has to remind me to be gentle with myself.

The hospital I chose was full. It rarely is, and that meant anywhere else I would’ve been worse off. I live right next door too, the Women’s Hospital. A hospital dedicated soley to the health of women! They were the first place to accommodate a need, long ago. They woke me up to being treated like a human by doctors.

As we left my doctor shared a funny story, perhaps to illustrate how unfunny any trauma was, but, it was amusing in it’s tragedy. Here it is paraphrased, beyond this point, if you are squeamish, I would skip the blue text.

You like jokes? Well, I have a sort of funny story for you. Lately we’ve been seeing a new type of meth.” So far not funny.”People are mixing laundry detergent and amonia and injecting this into their bodies. Supposedly the best high yet. We have seen a few who miss the vein.” I am busy imagining what the ammonia is doing to their brains, when my Person shudders and the doctor continues, “Each one had gangrene before coming in. I know this isn’t the funny part. Seeing their flesh cook from the inside out, but, they usually start seeing things. That’s where it gets funny. Blue bunnies, almost all of them see blue bunnies.

I took this attempt at illustrating just how funny it wasn’t to heart. When I was in the ER for my Anaphalactic Shock I did not tell a single joke. Not being able to breathe helped, but, that story echoed in my head. Most of them left before they were fully treated. It too raised the awareness of the scents behind this new Meth. I did not list all of the ingredients here either, but he did. Now, I know, if I smell really clean laundry and it smells like ammonia too, watch out!

Life is full of change. NoneĀ  of it is easy, but, I follow some practices of Dharma with in Buddhism, this doesn’t make me a complete Buddhist, there are more components to my religion. It has helped me however, find some acceptance in being born into this body, in my family, and in the things I believe. Some protest Buddhims as a load of bull because there are aspects that could lead to self blame. I see it merely as another tool for coping with change. Buddhism is a life style, not, a religion.

I go back to the grindstone, trying to find resources to take to my doctor to explain my new needs. Likely I will see another wheelchair doctor, walk my few shaky steps, explain why they are fewer. I get tired of the explanations. Do they ever stop?

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