Thursday, September 13, 2012

Health care? For all????????

I am out of the house....YEAH!!! After finally feeling that I won't scare little children with all the red patches and lesions I had, I felt it was time to show my face to the world. Okay, none of the patches were on my face and I never wear shorts or sleeveless tops so no one could have seen the anyway or knew what they were.....hell I still do not know what they are!!!! After six meds from anti-biotic, fungal meds, creams, oils and ointments I do know I look more like I am 57 than 100. Now if they can make me look 27....

Those who know me I am kind of a hypochondriac.. I am a Jew from Bakersfield it is either paranoid or hypochondriac I chose the latter. I thought I had flesh eating disease or worse yet, I contracted a spore from a universe, far far away and I was turning into an alien to be sent back to their planet to repopulate their species. Okay maybe a bit paranoid here. Of course I am joking, well, yes I am joking the point of all of this is the health care I received.

When I was working I was part of the Cedars Sinai med group. Any meds, tests, doctor visits were the best. I was in good hands. I when I lost my job and insurance, I had no place to go. I made 100 bucks too much to get the state insurance on unemployment and well you all have heard about county care. So when these rashes and things cropped up I convinced myself it was stress. It finally got to the point where I could not ignore it cause not I was also feeling pretty crappy. My choices were USC Harbor, which trust me been there done that and that place will scare anything out of you, or the MLK ambulatory clinic, which has recently gotten good press when they closed the hospital due to all the deaths. I chose MLK. After waiting 9 hours, I saw a doctor, who was nice but looked at me and said, he had  no idea what I had and I needed to see a specialist which could take up to 6weeks. If I had flesh eating bacteria.....

As luck would have it the doctor pushed my case and I got to see a specialist in a couple of days. This time I waited over 2 hours and ran from building to building to get correct cards and paperwork. When I did see the doctor...excuse me PA, she said what I feared.... She had no idea what it was either, but she listen calmly and connected the dots and said that though it was out of her area she would get me some blood tests and meds that could help. From there I went to the lab where they took 12 vials of blood then the pharmacy for all the meds again spending a half a day there.

Am I grateful, well, I still fell crappy but the skin is getting much better, but what would have happened to someone who did not know the system. Republicans( not all) say the poor are, lazy, stupid, mooches ,leeches, immigrants and people abuse the system.  Guess what folks, I am none of that and I know many who are in dire need of medical who do not fit into those categories,

I am lucky I have a neighborhood pharmacy that works with me and I understand most of how the County works but many are not that lucky. It is difficult to believe you are worth getting quality health care when people are thinking you are stealing taxpayers money. Hell I want to work, I hate not having money, insurance and I am constantly in fear of the next shoe falling. I am lucky though, I understand what to do, and can understand the system, others may not. I am lucky I did get help others may not. Do you want to be one who is not.... I do not think so!. Let's fix the health care system so we can all be the lucky ones! End of soapbox!!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lions and Gloria and Bares (feet) Oh My.....

This is a story of a little Jewish girl brought up in Bakersfield California in the late 50's and 60's.Okay I will not bore you with the details of all the fun things that happened to me, well okay maybe a little taste. Let me put it this way was it hard being brought up Jewish in a highly racist town. Yes. My named was spelled Jewdy in my yearbook, I was asked stupid questions like "where were my horns and tails" and of course "you don't look Jewish" I did not look Jewish because I got my horns and tail removed by a prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon if you must know, but I am digressing from the story.

As most of you know, I have been without a job for over two years and last month my unemployment ended along with anyway I could pay my bills and rent. (aren't you glad I started with the first paragraph.Not a lot of laughs here). I was scared and did not know what to do since I wanted to keep my apartment so government funds were not available to me. I was told to go to JVS (Jewish Vocational Services) to get some guidance. When I arrived at the West Hollywood branch, I felt like I was home. The staff treated me with such dignity and respect, all I wanted to do was pay it forward.

So this big Jewish girl was asked to partake in a video that was for a fundraiser for the Jewish Federation. They thought my story would be a good addition to their campaign. I was relieved to be able to pay it forward since they had assisted me in my bills last month. Well you know me....I cried all the way through the taping. I figured there was no way they could capture ANYTHING. So when I walked out of the taping I told the producer that I would love to assist them in any way. The producer told me that I had everyone crying and that she will contact me soon, that there may be a way to help the Federation and JVS out.

Two days later I was called by the producer to speak at a luncheon for the Lion of Judah which is a fundraiser for the Federation. Now, before it gets anymore complicated let me tell you that this lunch was at the Beverly Wilshire ballroom. The hotel that Pretty Woman was filmed. I was waiting for Richard Gere to jump out and give me a beautiful necklace, but that would make me a prostitute and that would be a whole other story.

Anyway back to the lunch. I was told that the great Gloria Steinem was the keynote speaker and I would be the only other speaker at the event. Honored, I wrote my speech in which the Federation execs. thought was wonderful. I was told that I would come onto the stage in the dark while the video, that I had taped last week, was being played then the lights would come up and I would be standing there in the spotlight saying my speech.

So here I am all dressed up with shoes that where quite beautiful, (thank Marie) but of course as any woman can tell you, heels are not all that comfortable. So as I am walking into the ballroom and seeing that it was not set for 300 people but closer to 500 people I almost fell off my shoes. I thought as I was back stage to take my shoes off, since I was so nervous I was about to plotz! Bare feet that the Beverly Wishire, Julia Roberts would be proud!

So the video played, I looked pretty good even with red eyes and I walked on stage, yes I put my shoes back on, the lights came up and I saw hundreds of people there. Now, I was told to speak slowly and deliberately like Obama. That was not hard to do since my glasses kept steaming up and I could not read my copy. That worked for me, I breathed and spoke clearly and felt I did a good job. Still I have not seen Ms. Steinem and I was asked to go to my table and enjoy the lunch.

After lunch, the head of the Lion of Judah introduced Gloria. And let me tell you, she is not only still beautiful, she was an absolute incredible speaker. Now she spoke a lot about, women's rights, politics and equality and said some really important  and powerful statements. The problem is I can not tell you one of them, because I was so overwhelmed. Well that is a lie. One statement stuck in my mind. Paraphrased, she talked about when in the 80's the women movies were coined with the phrase "chick flicks" so why isn't the action adventure movies coined "prick flicks" You gotta love Gloria!!!!

The whole afternoon was an amazing adventure. The women, and men at the event came up to me wishing me luck and prayers. I was asked by the Federation to have my picture take with Gloria. She walked up to me and stated she thought my speech was powerful and beautiful. OMG she was there the whole time!!!! The day was filled with adventure, joy, tears for fears....wait that is a music group and there was no fear. Only a glimmer of hope that things are changing in my world for the better. As my mother would say, from my mouth to God's ears.....Are you listening God????? I know you are!!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

My AHA moment

I now realize why I am currently not working. Is it because I am too good at what I do...No that would be arrogant (and yes I am good at what I do) Is it because there are no jobs for me....well that could be true but I truly do not believe that. Is it because I am under qualified...well if you believe the first statement that would not be true too. So why is it why am am not working in my field. The field of homeless mentally ill men and women, a noble profession...Why, why why OH WHY am I not working. Well after doing the first 2 days of my community service I found out why and THANK YOU GOD for pointing it out to me. I am currently doing service at a day center for mentally ill women. The staff loved the fact I dug in and helped the women with their needs. The clients where happy because I was compassionate to their needs. I was happy that I was getting my parking tickets paid for. So again can you guess why I am not working..... Hold on a moment longer.

So a woman walked into the center (no this is not the beginning of an old joke) and she had CP. She was able to walk but her speech was almost unrecognizable. The staff did the best they could but did not have the patience to sit and really listen to what she wanted. I have and wonderful friend named Dina who is one of the lights in my life and she has CP. All my friends who have met her adore her. Her speech is impaired but her mind is as sharp as a tack. I sometimes have to ask her to repeat what she is saying and I am always glad I do so because she comes up with some of the funniest things you ever want to hear. By the way, she has a reoccurring part on the HBO series LUCK starting soon. (see Dina a plug for you!!!!) Anyways I chose to take some time to find out what she needed. After several attempts, I found out what she wanted to say. It was thank you! When I said you are very welcome she smiled and caught a bus to see her doctor. Time and patience and of course compassion is what this field needs

I guess you are still wondering what my AHA moment was. Well I can tell you. It takes a special type of person to work with the severally mentally disabled homeless. I did it for 11 years and did a good job in advocating for my clients. I gave them some compassion in the hopes that they saw hope in their future. Yes I know I have not gotten to the point. I actually am kind of embarrassed to say this but my AHA moment was....I really do not like doing this job!. There I said it. I liked teaching, and job case management but I did not enjoy the rest. I think that is why I did not look hard for jobs this past 2 years, and why I am excited to look at other resources for jobs that may not stress me out so much. I enjoy being good at what I do and I LOVE LOVE LOVE helping those who need a hand. No buts there is an however...My love will always be for those who are the underdogs and no not the flying dog but those who feel helpless, hopeless and at the end of their ropes. I also know it is time to do work that I am good at and enjoy! I deserve that and work with people as a job coach or case  manager for those who do not have severe and persistent mental disabilities is a way for me to go. Well either that or a bartender, that way I can serve drinks and still talk to people but I really do want my nights free.. What will my next job be, who knows, but what I do know, Iwill be grateful for this AHA moment!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Chosen People???

Today has not been a really good day. It is setting in how dire things are and though I have faith that things are getting better, today was not one of them. Now, I can bitch and moan about how bad things are and that will not help me much. Oh hell what am I saying YES it will help! Damn damn damn and damn it again. Today I had to go to a food bank. Now that is not all that bad in this economy, but it is difficult for someone who sent people there in need is having to utilize it. Okay on the funny side, and there is one, there are some very interesting people who frequent the food banks. In line I saw an over 60 (and I mean she was probably 70ish) standing in line with slouch boots tights and short shorts. Very sweet but the look was not quite to be expected. People driving expensive cars, some with drivers living in Brentwood, old people, young people, Black, White and Latino so I guess I am in good company. During the intake I was greeted by a wonderful woman who, when I talked about my background, exclaimed."hell I would hire you in a minute. Then came the dreaded words..."if we had the money" Yes those words have been drilled in my head for the past 2 years. If we only had the money.... Okay, now I was brought up that we were the Chosen People. So if we were so Chosen, why haven't I been.. You need to say the last line out loud with a Jewish accent whatever that means!

Anyway, I was told to keep up my spirits that I would be hired soon and given 3 bags of food much of it I can't eat but am grateful to be able to share it with some friends who can and need it too. I guess the tough part is trying hard to combat a deep depression while all the time trying to believe I am a valued person in society which becomes more frustrating the longer I am without a job. Yes there are people far worse off than I. At least I have friends that care, have a roof over my head and food in the fridge so who am I to complain. But those who know me, I would not be me if I at least did not complain a little bit.

I know tomorrow will be another day, and yes things will get better, and yes, I am loved, and yes, there is a job out there just waiting for me and YES THERE IS HOPE!. So my question to God is, and this is such an old joke....So if things are this bad and we are the Chosen People....God....Can you PLEASE chose someone else for a change!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

And it continues...

My friends have asked me to blog again. So under EXTREME duress I will blog. My mother always told me if I had nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. Apparently that does not hold true to writing so fasten your seat belts, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

2011 was not the greatest of years. Two years without working, lost my sweet cat Jillian, I mean she passed away not like left on her own. My unemployment was running out. Lost my insurance and most of my mind to stress. My gym changed ownership and raised the rates and lost many of the staff I loved. My mom had a tough year with her treatment and well as you know troubles with my beloved neighbor from hell has not made this year much better. Court three times for parking tickets. Fear of losing my home and being on the streets made my body shut down in ways I could not have imagined. I began drinking to take the stress away and I do mean a lot. I also, though eating better (no meat) found ways to gain weight anyways. I have always said my weight has a homing device. It knows where I live. When the new year rolled around I have never been so happy to see 2012. Though it is a tough begining I am sensing there is a change a brewing and as long as it is not beer I think it will be for the best.

I have so many intentions for this year, first being a job and saving my apartment until I can move to a place where I do not have to tread lightly. You who know what is happening understand what I mean by that. Another intention is to do something every month that is out of my comfort zone. This can be online dating, comedy, running naked through the streets of L.A....oh shit did I write that down....well don't worry folks unless I need a place to stay (like jail) that WILL NOT HAPPEN, please breathe easy.

For the moment I am scared. My unemployment ran out, I am not eligible for any state services except food stamps. GR will not work because I have an apartment and I can not get the free loans because I do not have a job. I now know the meaning of a catch 22. Soooooooo, even though I am in dire straights right now I am not giving up hope! My friends have been awesome. They have kept my spirits high, when the other spirits do not work. Their love and support has kept my feet on the ground and not in the air with me hanging from a light fixture.  Do not worry folks I have no hanging light fixture in my apartment.

This blog will be my new journey this year, plus hoping a way to vent without biting heads off of chickens or drinking myself under the table. I am looking forward to taking this journey with you...yes you, I see you shaking your, my friends, old and new, who when I do my stand up again I will NOT tell you since many of you will be in it!  Thank you all especially John and my two A's for keeping me from going completely insane, yes I know I have been partially insane but I have been that way for years!

So this is the end of my first blog of 2012. May it be a journey we all have some fun with, shed some tears and have a laugh or hundred along the way!  Thank you for joining me and I will work for food and money and at this time a house cleaner!!!! Oh and comments are welcome, just remember I am fragile like bull!  :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let's start at the end!

So I am back home in my apartment with a story to tell. I would like to end on an up note so lets us start at the end... Oh by the way I am sitting here with a half caf soy latte and yes I am enjoying it quite well.

When I got home last night after a delayed flight, Supper Shuttle  losing my reservation or so I thought, a call from my landlord just as I was asked to turn off my phone, which is rarely a good thing and a long ride home and getting paid far far less than I was told, I carried all my stuff upstairs to find my doors locked and no keys where they were supposed to be left. So the new me called my neighbor who was not home to see where she left my keys. She did not answer the phone. I went by my landlords apt, who was home to try and get the spare key. She did not answer the door nor did she answer her phone. Okay New me is beginning to get a bit ticked off, well a lot ticked off. My cats are yelling through the window and I am just tired! I took a deep breath and decided to trust that my landlord was with a client and she would have to come out sometime. I was calmed down by my friend John so the wait was not so bad. After about 20 mins her client left and of course she was in a good space and talked to me with the key I so wanted in her hand. She talked, and talked and talked. Finally she gave me the key and I made it in to find my cats did a number on my place. Cups were on the ground, hairballs and just a little bit disarray. My neighbor did a great job feeding my cats and playing with them but they wanted me to know it is not acceptable leaving them with their auntie for 11 days.  I went to the cabinet to see all the wet food was gone. I had left plenty of food for their auntie to feed them. Well she felt bad for them and fed them each a whole can. She did come home later and gave me two cans to tide me over until I can go shopping for them.
I will write later on how today is going but for a little hint, I am smiling.

So the good side of the day. I took my client to all his appointments. I saw the results of his blood work and for someone who did the eating part of the program at about 75% he lost 5 pounds, his triglycerides went down over 100 points and is cholesterol went down over 40 points. I can only imagine for someone who followed it 100% what my blood work would say. I did weigh however and lost over 11 pounds. To that I can say, I am proud. After several exit classes on how to keep living this life, I went to my room and found the doctors vegan cookbook on my chair. It was a gift from the director of the program. I was swept by emotions, the staff were amazing to me. I figured that was a great place to start.

We ended with a celebration lunch which again was so good. The staff and Doctors told us how proud they were of the accomplishment of all the participants. I received a card from the staff telling me that they loved having me there. There is a chance I may be part of a study that I could come back up there and really work the program, but time will tell. After our favorite dessert of chocolate soy mousse, the participants all got to take a colored stone that had a word on it. As people were picking their stones they described what the word meant to them. Some of the words were, patience, wisdom, love, compassion. I was surprised at the end they let me pick a stone. I dug into the basket and got the word.....

So let me end on a wonderfully sweet note. The program, might have just saved my life. I know I will continue to cut out sugars and drink half caf coffee and even keep my dairy to to soy or less fat variety. Will it work, I am not sure. I do know, I cleaned all the junk out and shopped for my new foods, but more on that on a later day. I need to trust that I am, as the song goes, amazing just the way I am. Oh and the word I got, it was trust. Need I say more.