Resentment.

Petty resentment.

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I bought a bookcase today.

A simple, used, wooden bookcase that will solve some of my storage issues for the office, while allowing the stained glass lamp I purchased to rest on the top shelf, gently lighting the room.

All good, until…  I find out it was sold by the Vice President and his wife (he’s part of the Board of Directors that I’m on for the homeowners association of this senior mobile home park).

All good, until…  I realize that he’s going to help me lift it and put it into my car.

All good, until…  I get it home and realize that I’m weak as a kitten and can’t do more than wrestle it out of my car with the help of my business partner (a 74 year old woman).

So, it stands in the driveway until I can either:

– Get out of my own way and ask for help, or

– Have enough energy to wrestle it up the stairs so that I can then bounce it corner to corner to manage the weight and get it down the tiny hallway into the back bedroom.

Heaven forbid that me, a Liberated Woman, get gracefully to the point where I can ask for help.

And, you can bet that I very much resent the fact that men get better looking and don’t lose their strength so quickly as they age.  Yes, I’m being petty, as I realize that I have an underlying condition.  But !

COPD Weaker Muscles

Even with the results of a recent COPD.net poll in front of me, showing that I am not alone in suffering muscle weakness, I still can’t bring myself to back down and ask for help.  Even when it’s offered (as Brad offered).

As the P!nk song says, “I’m a hazard to myself”.

I’m trying to get better and get out of my own way, but the battle to fight the rearing of one’s ego is quite a war to fight.  Pride.  Independence.  Dependency.  Helplessness.  So many mixed emotions, and it’s all wrapped up in my Liberated Woman self-image.

No answers here, but I’m working on fixing this particular stumbling block and learning to accept that which I cannot change.

Judgy, Much ?

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The shite hit the fan last night, and I’m relieved.

C called to check up on her dog to see when I was bringing it to her, and I confessed that I wasn’t.  I confessed also that I’d talked to Georgia, the care home’s owner, knew the dog wasn’t allowed or welcome, and had started to make other arrangements to surrender the dog as C had failed to use the last 60+ days (not forgetting the additional 60 days eviction notice period) to figure out a plan, and I was done waiting.

Needless to say, she had a meltdown, and we both said some harsh things that needed to be said.

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The upshot was that C was sure I’d schemed to kill her dog the entire time, she never should have let me take her, yada, yada, yada, and had nothing but excuses and demands for why this situation wasn’t her fault, and why I was untrustworthy.

This is very ugly and feels so much like the time that my other then-suicidal friend’s husband wouldn’t commit her to force B to get the help she needed, that I know I’m right in forcing this matter.  At this point, there appears to be no other way for this to end but in tragedy, and especially if the situation doesn’t change with regard to the circumstances at hand.

So, I reminded her about the dog being grossly under weight, with a raging eye infection, and being blind – all things that C was too self-involved to notice.  I reminded her that she’s had a total of 120+ days to come up with some sort of plan, and that her dogs are like children, needing care EVERY day, and that they can’t wait for her to feel better or be “ready”.   They can’t go hungry because she can’t afford to care for them EVERY day.  The dogs have rights, too, as they are lives and not just extensions of her.  Cruel, but honest.

Judgy, much?

C has threatened to come on Sunday to pick up the dog (yay, problem solved for me !   boo, problem not fixed for the dog to protect it from future neglect !)

C also tried to get me to promise NOT to surrender the dog…  No way.  She’d already missed two prior deadlines, and it takes time to rehome / surrender an animal.

So, the phone tree was going crazy last night as I called to warn her other friends about the hysteria fest coming their  way (V for tranportation to possibly get C here and back.  M who has the other (healthier) neglected dog.  D, who took the dog while I was in Vegas, but who claimed that she couldn’t keep the dog under any circumstances, as her husband had put his foot down, but who now says she can take the dog as an outdoor-only animal, which C hasn’t allowed up to this point).

Now we wait and see what will happen.  If C doesn’t get the dog, or allow D to take it, I’ve started the surrendering process with the humane society, who will also be given C’s current address and contact information, and THEY can be the ones to make the final call regarding its quality of life and disposition.

It will be about $250 to surrender the dog and board her for a few days, if the Humane Society agrees to accept Keri Jo, but that appears to be the only way I can legally handle disposal of C’s “property” and not be up on charges myself for illegally handing off the dog to a person, service or fate to which C does not consent.

Life still sucks right now for being the bad guy, but this appears to be the best choice available among sucky choices since nothing else has been able to resolve this problem since the eviction notice started this inevitable disaster in December.

4+ months of drama, and I can only hope for the best outcome for the dog, as I’ve given up on C.  So sad.

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On a happier note, Brian Lageose’s Bonnywood Manor really made me smile today.  If you haven’t seen his, “15 Smarmy Things To Say ”, check it out.  So funny !

Poop Fest.

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Say it with me.  Poop.  Fest.

I spent the last three (3) days washing the dog’s bed.  Not my dog, but a friend’s dog.  An innocent bystander to the fact that we have crazy HOA rules to follow, one of which is the rule that the dog cannot be left outside, “unattended”.

Apparently, the neighbor(s) are worried that the dog will be taken by Coyotes, attacked by Condors, or carried off by marauding Raccoons.

So, while I have been trying to stay well by keeping my distance, and forcing the guest pup to spend way too much time, alone, in the back bedroom with just the TV for company, she’s been having a poop fest.

The dog is blind, so she goes everywhere in her kennel area.  Then, she walks through it.   Better yet, she’s got a gated area and a sleeping crate.  Guess where she chooses to sleep?  Yes, in the poop she has tracked all over her puppy padded gated area.

Once she’s done sleeping in it, so that it’s all in her coat, she moves into the crated area, spreading poop all over that area, too.

While I clean her gated kennel area every day, I put her outside, in the driveway.  Tethered.  Roofed.  No marauding Coyotes, Condors or Raccoons need attemp to get to her.

Washing the bedding.  Washing the gate.  Washing the floor.  Sanitizing.  Laying everything out again.  Only to have her do the poop fest regardless of how short a time I leave her unsupervised.

I have never had an animal so uncaring of its own feces that it would drag the filth everywhere.  Would sleep in it.  I am at my witts end.

Last night, I got the back bedroom all cleaned up.  Got the dog cleaned up.  Then I found myself down on my hands and knees scrubbing my exterior stairs.  The stair railings.  The areas BEHIND the trash bins (because no amount of barricading keeps her out of anywhere she is determined to go).

I. AM. EXHAUSTED.

I have been looking into the legal rights and obligations my friend C may still have.  I’ve been looking into the rights the dog has.  And, I’ve been contacting various kennels, vets, dog sitters and senior dog rescue operations to see if there is any way I can foster the dog out, and it all looks bad.

Tomorrow, I contact an animal rights lawyer to find out my legal risks if I surrender the dog to a no kill shelter, or have to euthanize it.

I have tried my best, but C isn’t doing anything to get on top of her situation, and they haven’t yet “conserved” her, allowing the guardian to determine the fate of her two pups.

As discussed with the niece, they can’t take the dog and won’t object if I rehome it.  (They were silent about euthanasia).

As I suspected, Adult Protective Services dumped C in another County, further complicating her conservatorship paperwork, and leaving us all to deal with her without help and delaying the process involved in having her conserved.  Bureaucracy.  Gotta love it.

C ran out of minutes on her phone 2 weeks ago, so my stress is somewhat lessened in not having to talk to her.  However, she gets her social security check on the 11th and I anticipate the phone calls to start again after that point.

She can call me from her board and care home, but after a single call (she’s paranoid her conversations are being listened in on), she’s never called again.

I talked to Georgia, the owner of the Board and Care home who confirmed C cannot have the dog there, despite her scheming, and so now it’s come down to me busting her in a lie (unsurprising, as she’s not in reality much anymore), and having to be the bad guy.

So be it.  If I cannot find a senior dog rescue organization, she’s going to have to be euthanized.  It’s sad, but it’s the kindest thing to do.

I hate having to be the adult.  But, the unending poop fest is making it possible to do what must be done.  No animal deserves to live like this.

Homework Hysteria

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Thank heavens for Brian Lageose’s Bonnywood Manor tales, as it was just what I needed in silly resuscitation after more than an hour spent on the phone lining up “medi-gap” medicare supplemental polices.

Comprehending Venutian would be easier than sitting through one of those government-inspired “simple” discussions.

I’m exhausted !  It took over ninety (90) minutes and four (4) transfers simply to START the process.  It may take another ninety (90) DAYS before enrollment is complete.  Sheesh.

Due to lingering insomnia from my ballooning adventure (my spine / small of my back pain has returned with a vengeance, so restful sleep is non-existant once again), I decided today was the day to determine my Medicare supplemental coverage since COBRA has decided retroactively that they don’t have to pay for squat – retroactively to March 1st – despite accepting my premiums through the end of May.

In case I wasn’t clear before now… I don’t do homework.

It’s a major undertaking to get me to do my taxes once a year, (and since they always owe me money, I put off claiming it for a year or two), so don’t get involved in my medical care and assign me homework.  Trust me – I ain’t doing it.

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My insurance-provider-from-hell has decided that it’s secondary to my new medicare coverage, and is trying to get me to snail mail in my claims.  Homework.

I don’t care how much my out-of-pocket expenses may be… I ain’t doing the “reimbursement roulette” game, wasting time filling out forms to the best of my ability, only to be told that it’s wrong, or the medication or office visit isn’t covered.  Whatever.  I’m not your girl for paperwork.

I have fast forwarded to the time in my life when I have no responsibilities beyond trying to stay well, and I’m not signing up for more crazy-making pointless chores.

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When you look at the medigap coverage forms online, NOTHING OF A PREVENTIVE CARE NATURE IS COVERED.  Seriously.

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Just looking at the green checked boxes, the only policy that offers much of anything is Medigap Policy F.  So, one would think it would be a fast call to sign up under Policy D for drug coverage (nope!) and Policy F for everything else.  Not. So. Fast.

If I was a drinker, I would have needed one after this morning’s call.  The initial call took one hour and six minutes.

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Then, there were three (3) transfers just to finish the enrollment because I was TOO YOUNG to simply enroll online.   It was another 30-odd minutes before I was done.  Sheesh !

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Even with something as simple as ensuring that I’m doing what I’m supposed to for ensuring I have nursing home and hospice coverage, I have to speak to a live human being because I’m outside of the “norm”.  And that human being has 5,001 questions that are none of its business, and which waste both of our time, and then their computer cuts out and dumps us.  Seriously.

Hey, Bureaucrats… with a population of over 300 million citizens, ten (10%) percent of which are known to be on Disability / Social Security at any given time, that means at least thirty (30) million people fall under your service program needs.  Wouldn’t it be reasonable to offer an online sign up option for the portion of those THIRTY MILLION PEOPLE who are under retirement age vs. putting us all on the phone???

I’m all for employing people, but… when you know you’re going to be screwed, it’s better to just get it over with vs. dragging it out and hoping for a kiss.  The highlights of each Policy where summarized well enough:

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Most of my medications aren’t covered (surprise, surprise, surprise) and since I’m not doing mail-in Rx’s (more homework!), we went with their basic Rx policy and the best offered “everything else” policy, with automatic deductions from my SSDI check to ensure it’s paid even when I’m too ill to deal with it myself.

There was zero reason to have to have a live human being on the phone, from what I could see.  But, I persevered through AJ, Jessica, Julie and Sarah to get them forms completed.

Done.  (I hope).

Now on to doing my 2016 taxes.  Maybe.  I’m not making any promises.

 

Accommodations

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I’m a big fan of finding ways, or accommodations, to get around barriers to participation in adventures just because of one’s physical limitations.

In my journey to figure out how to do a balloon ride safely, I kept on looking at the cost per person (approximately $150 each) vs. the cost per handicapped person (approxinately $799 each), and shaking my head over the gouging of the handicapped.  As we all know, disability pays crap, even if you’re lucky and had a well-paid job before ending up on the disability list.  People without a seperate source of income, or who aren’t independently wealthy, often have to cut their expenses to the bone to survive, never mind having spare funds for bucket list adventures.

So, the handicapped person’s ballooning adventure at about 4 times the standard cost really rankled.  Until I did the math.

There were 6 passengers per side on our balloon, with a ground crew of 4 (driver of the passengers to the event, plus 2-3 more chasers and preppers in the ground crew, plus the pilot).  If you make up one side of a hot air balloon basket for a wheelchair bound person, you need to put in breakable / scratchable plexiglass for their visability, plus you need to reduce the number of passengers from a maximum of 12 down to about 3-4, and those same starting costs need to be met before one can afford to take someone aloft.

Less passengers + same crew minimums + plexiglass = higher per person costs to be met.

So, in retrospect, the handicapped costs being higher made much more sense.

https://thevacationgals.com/wheelchair-accessible-balloon-rides/

 

Defiant

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“Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth illustrates the defiance of human nature to do what we are determined to do, despite any roadblocks.

In this particular case, I found the painting compelling (having first seen it as a child, referenced in an episode of “The Night Gallery”, I believe), having zero idea of the facts behind the image.

Today, when I was looking for an image to illustrate this post, “Christina’s World” popped up in my feed and seemed to fit the overarching theme of my jumbled thoughts as I worked to clarify my thinking on my mixed feelings involving this past weekend’s adventures.

On the one hand, I was determined to have a good time with my cousin, T, as we both visited our Las Vegas Auntie to see what was going on with the purchase of her new house (more on that later).  On the other hand, I am afraid of the insurance company handling my supplemental benefits, and the stress of worrying that I will lose my matching salary benefits if they decide I’m too active, or I get hurt doing something that the disclaimer paperwork to participate in warns me against doing so long as I have pre-existing conditions that might make me too fragile to participate in tge jaunt without fear of injury.

I found out today that the picture above was not simply a story of abandonment or yearning, but was actually an illustration of the next door neighbor’s daily life.  Christina had a medical condition that would cause her to lose feeling in her peripheries without warning, leaving her to have to crawl back to her own home or over to a neighbors if she decided she was determined to do something.  Christina’s defiant persistence in the face of adversity is to be admired, even if it is sad that she had to deal with this issue her entire life.

Anyway… I tell you all that to tell you this; ballooning is not for me.

Yes, I did it.

Yes, I survived.

While I eventually relaxed enough during the flight to take a few pictures, the landing was HARD, jarring my neck, the small of my spine, and my inner thighs (I was braced for impact as instructed, and holding on for dear life, which probably added to my bone pain).

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After we got up from our nap following the adventure, I began to see news reports of ballooning accidents on the Las Vegas evening news, making me grateful we’d survived at all.

Then I heard a horror story from a former boss that a co-worker suffered a broken leg and ankle during a hard landing in Napa, and was laid up for months, recovering.

While I am still very much afraid that the insurance company will try and cancel my benefits due to learning about my trip to the UK, I am still going.

I refuse to sit at home waiting to die, and I refuse to ask for permission about how I live my life.

As one of my fellow COPD Gaspers wrote to me about his joy in seeing me defy the odds and go up in the air where there is less oxygen, “I’m only sorry I waited too long, and can now no longer even dare to try.”

We never get enough time to do all we want in this world, and while it was embarassing to have to use a step ladder to get into the basket (my arms were no longer strong enough to aid me – which I should have known from last week’s doggy kennel breakdown debacle), and it was doubly embarassing to have to be lifted out of the basket as my arms were like rubber after the fear of the ride and then the hard landing, but I did it.  Defiant to the end, I did it and knocked that off of my wish list of “some day want to dos”.

My cousin, T, meanwhile, has had a replacement hip, needs her right leg amputated due to a non-healing broken ankle from 2008 that just won’t stabilize, and should have never been on the balloon ride per the release of liability paperwork we both had to sign in order to participate.  But, she did and she loved it, and would go again in a heartbeat.

Yes, it truly takes all kinds.  I’m a fan of the defiant ones, myself.

 

 

 

Stubborn.

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Yes, I am tired.  Tired of passing for normal, but feeling my body get weaker and weaker as COPD takes its toll.

Today, I packed the dog up, loaded all her accessories into the car, and then nearly lost it when I wasn’t strong enough to break down her kennel and carry it to the car.  The kennel that I purchased six (6) short weeks ago, and struggled to set up, was bullying me and destroying my illusion of self-sufficiency as I struggled to break it down and fold it up into something I could carry out to my car for easy transport.

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This M#$!~r F%#?§r was NOT going to defeat me.  I would get it collapsed and folded down into the same small footprint it had when I brought it home from the pet store.

Next, I needed to do the same thing for the folding gate.

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Mother F%&#er !

It wasn’t arthritis bringing me to the edge of frustration today, but ineptitude.

Try as I might, I didn’t have the stamina to manhandle the crate or the pet yard easily.  I can lift both without becoming winded, so I know the weight of each is less than 35 lbs. While I’d guess that each item’s weight is about 18 to 20 pounds, I can’t find the actual specs anyplace to figure out how low my ability to pick things up and move them has fallen.

Maddening.

After taking all morning to medicate the dog’s eyes, feed the dog, walk the dog, and pack up its stuff to move it and the dog to the other friend’s home, I was in desperate need of a nap.

But, being the stubborn person I am, there was no time for a nap as I had to get the dog delivered on time, as well as get to the bank, and hit the post office before I had any hope of calling it a day.

Once at the bank, I was upset to realize that I wasn’t thinking clearly and ended up with $400 in $5 bills.  Even the bank teller’s challenge to clarify didn’t prompt me enough to realize that my $50 amounts were going to be in $5’s.

Rather than bother anyone in fixing my error, I took out another $200 plus cashed the checks I had for deposit, in order to get my desired $50’s.  Granted, it’s only an extra $200 to take with me, and I will absolutely use the $5’s for valet tips, the chambermaid and other daily incidentals.  The point is, though, that extreme tiredness reared its ugly head, and my lack of clarity in thinking is getting this trip off on a bad foot and is getting on my last nerve.

Knowing at this point that I was not safe to drive, I napped in the bank parking lot for about 20 minutes, AND picked up some caramel M&Ms to help me get through the rest of my errands and safely drive the 30 miles home.

Once safely home, though, I’m still exhausted, but now have my second wind and cannot sleep as the candy is still coursing through my veins.  Even if all I want to do is catch about an hour so that I can get back up with some energy to complete my day and all the things I have left to accomplish before I get on the plane tomorrow.

The rage at being weak fills me in moments of peace and quiet, as I try and keep up with what I “should” be able to do, but which my increasingly tired body proves I can no longer do.

Did I tell you I hate the whole, “Buck up, tough it out” school of thought, too?

 

I see so many of us with such varied abilities or levels of COPD disability hanging on, fighting the stigma of being less able, so I know this is parr for the course.

Plus, all those motivational catchphrases about “Winners never quit” drive me nuts as my body continues to wind down.  While I’m a big fan of “believing yourself well”, I also wonder if my belief systems and stubborn resolve falter, will I simply fade away?

I know I’m blessed my disabilities aren’t keeping me hooked to an oxygen tank and simply sitting in a chair.  Yet.  But it’s the “yet” factor that gets on my last nerve.

One of my neighbors, Ray, just had knee surgery this week.  His foot is swelling up, and the doc wants him to stay off of it.  But, Ray being Ray, and a stubborn cuss like me, keeps moving.  His image of himself as a strong man, a husband and caregiver, a man married for over 50 years to his Alzheimer’s stricken wife, Annabelle, won’t let him rest even after surgery.

Damnit, we have things we want to do !  Yes, we’re both stubborn, and so far I can’t see either one of us going quietly into that long goodnight.

I just hate watching my abilities evaporate, and hope the current stamina setback isn’t my new normal.