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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A System That Fails Only Causes The Weak To Suffer

Well my day just went to shit real quick. First of all I am pissed!! So let me warn you now that this may come off mean and potentially aggressive but I’m livid so I apologize if it does.

I had a phone call to ensure I was still eligible for food stamps today, this after they failed to do their job the first time around. That is beside the point. 

The biggest reason I am pissed off is because of a small statement the b*tch on the phone made. However we will get to that in a moment. 

My Only income is the death benefit check I receive for Keith and Alie as I’m still waiting on social security and my lawyer says that could take years. My oldest son is working but has not moved out yet. I don’t see a financial benefit from him being here. He is an adult and saving to get his own place. 

He won’t be living here much longer, but now suddenly it means I’m no longer eligible for food stamps because they refuse to separate his income on the application due to him being under 22. 

Basically saying that there is no exception when you are under that age, but if he was 23 and we claimed we ate/purchased separately they could separate it. So an age limit of 22 while my adult son is old enough to move out in his own (19) isn’t allowed to by federal law be legally separated from the household income no matter what the circumstances are. We don’t eat together and we don’t purchase together, but it doesn’t matter that he is a young adult trying to start his life and it takes income to do that.

I don’t have the additional income to replace those food stamps without taking from my sons income or going back to work and giving up on disability knowing that could be damaging to my health. 

My son won’t be able to move out any time soon if I have to rely on his income for feeding this family. It will cut hundreds of dollars out of his monthly earnings which isn’t much as he doesn’t work a high paying job. So I’d be taking more than 1 whole check each month from him. Then I would need to still figure out how to get him into a place and reapply.

They are telling me that if he moves out I won’t be approved until I can show proof of his new residence. So I need  documentation that he has indeed moved out to get back on food stamps which already wasn’t enough but we made due, and that’s already with me just feeding three of us because James does handle food for himself. So that amount would drop because my number in the household would drop and I’d still be struggling to feed me and the other two kids. 

Oh but I have a 16 yr old who would like to earn money and not be required to use it to support his family either. So basically if I actually allow my children to work to build work experience and learn how to become functioning adults for the world my family will be penalized for it and we won’t be able to afford to pay for food. 

That’s absurd because a child should not be held accountable for supporting their parent or siblings. I’m livid that they don’t have exclusions for young adults trying to start their lives out. I’m livid they don’t have exclusions that give you access when you are applying for disability, it should just be an automatic as long as the case is active you are eligible situation because my sons income isn’t a guaranteed source of income for me. 

If he moves out tomorrow, I would have to reapply and to get approved I need to prove he moved so I need the verification and they said he had to have a piece of mail. My guess is a lease and mail when the time comes which could take time because it could be a month before the first acceptable piece of mail arrives at a new address. So I’d be without food for at least a month regardless. 

I feel that just abruptly cutting people from programs is extremely harmful. They should say okay you are no longer eligible unless these things change by ex date. And that way you have a chance to adjust and make arrangements without ever losing the benefit and being in a financial emergency. 

Now all this being said I’m angry our system isn’t designed better. A system mind you I paid taxes into for many many years in order to have access to such services if I ever needed them. Now I can’t even have the security of knowing I have that. 

The news obviously had me crying and I’m complaining to the b*tch on the phone about how unfair it is that if he was just 23 they would separate the income and how unfair it is that my family will suffer because of a stupid requirement and how unfair it is that My family will suffer, no matter what route I take.
1. I go back to my health declined and my family suffers.
2. My son pays the difference to support us and help us through and then can’t move out which starts a loop of dependency because he needs the home and I need the income. 
3. I make him move out and wait out the loss and prove he move and take my cut and get food stamps back with no way of replacing the cut funds because my son can’t financially afford to help now that he is in his own. 

This is when the stupid things got said. She had already apologized for the loss of their father knowing I receive a death benefit check and having discussed that just moments before I was told I was denied. Then she says to me I should count myself lucky because most people with no job don’t have the kind of income I do. 


I should count myself lucky that my kids dad died? That I receive a death benefit check? You fucking call that luck? 

Well, yeah...if it wasn’t for that check my kids and I would be homeless but lucky??? I don’t consider myself lucky to have their father be dead! Nor do I consider myself lucky that I’m sick and was unfortunately not well enough to continue working. Thus needing food stamps to begin with. That is not what I call luck nor do I appreciate anyone trying to belittle my situation just because he made good money that resulted in a good social security payout to his children. 

That money is not a life long resource for us. It will end completely in 4 years. By that time if I don’t have SSDI I won’t be able to pay for a place to live without going back to work. Hopefully it does not take that long but my lawyer didn’t make it sound like it would be any time soon. 

Our system is broken and it fails the people who need it the most. Do you know that the state says I should budget $56 a week to groceries for a family of 4 breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week. That doesn’t buy enough food for shit! Especially not when the foods that are better for me to eat cost more money. The shit I can buy cheap is all high inflammatory and processed with additives and chemicals and not good for our bodies. 

Our system should not be allowed to set regulations on you that say your 22 yr old child’s income can’t be separate from yours hell they shouldn’t even be allowed to do that at 16 because how on earth is it fair to tell a 16 yr old that wants to work to buy things and hang out with friends that it is their duty to spend that money supporting their family? We should not be asking minor children to step up and be the adults. We should not be telling adult children they are not allowed to maintain a separate income from an adult parent while they attempt to move out on their own as a brand new young adult member of society. 

They wonder why the lower class never succeed, it’s because our programs are designed to keep them struggling for life. Not to actually help them. Cutting food stamps with no grace period is just as bad as cutting a patient off of certain medications without titrations down first. It can cause serious problems like depression, financial burden and more. 

I just got to a place where I felt I could afford to buy my kids Christmas presents this year, and now that money has to buy food. That’s not fair. I didn’t ask to be living this way when I had kids. I was financially stable when I had all three of my kids. I didn’t ask for their father to become a drug addict and die, I didn’t ask to become a single mom because I thought I’d be married to him the rest of our lives, but drugs got in the way of that and I had children to think of. I didn’t ask to get sick. I didn’t ask for it to take me out of work. I didn’t ask to be living in poverty but life had different things in store no matter how much I tried to have it be different. 

I’m upset because I have been failed by my government. They forgot people like me exist and just set rules that are out dated for the way society functions today and honestly based more on bias that everyone on food stamps is abusing the system. I see so much hate towards people on food stamps and how they are all abusing the system. Well, this is why they abuse the system. People in real need with no other way to get help have to find ways to cheat the system in order to feed their kids. My personal opinion is your income guidelines need fixed. You still can’t afford to buy food at the eligibility requirements you set. 

You forget people need toilet paper and shampoo and razors to shave and clothes to wear and gas to go buy groceries and insurance for the car to go get the gas and laundry detergent and dish soap, and what if my car breaks down, and monthly medical expenses, then the kid needs clothes and forget me having dental or vision care because my insurance doesn’t cover that and I can’t afford to buy any so I do without which isn’t good because my health is important. 

It is time for change and I seriously hope everyone hears this and votes for change and assistance where it is needed. Stop being judgmental of those on assistance and start having some understanding that there is far more to the situation then you may realize. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A Year in the Life of Spondylitis

                                                               A Year In the Life of Spondylitis

As each day passes my Facebook memories remind me that it’s been almost a year since I stopped working. As I typed this I found myself struggling with the word to use in that sentence. “Since I had” “Since I made the choice” “since I was put out” and none of them really felt right. In October of last year my symptoms took a turn for the worse fast and by early November I was no longer working and by December I had applied for Disability. I didn’t want to stop working so it really wasn’t a choice. I didn’t really think I had to stop working because I thought it would go away. I could have pushed through it and stayed longer. Unfortunately my employer wasn’t going to allow that. They put me out of work and because I wasn’t improving and only getting worse they requested I go ahead and file for my work disability. It was then that I realized I probably won’t be going back to work. 

I had been having breathing issues and heart issues since 2017 so it really wasn’t a huge surprise to me that things got worse. I just expected it would improve, I though it is just a flare I will recover and go back to the way I was. The way I was had changed a lot since this all started in 2017. A former hiker, I was no longer able to do that. I was handing off responsibilities to my children at home. They did more cleaning and cooking and helped me more than they should have needed to. I bought a cane, was utilizing a chair to assist with showers and getting help with anything I needed. All of this because I needed to maintain the energy to hold down a job. To provide for my family. 

My health did not improve and I went from a chronic cough that wouldn’t go away and getting short of breath with many activities to not being able to climb stairs or lift more than 10 pounds or walk enough to go grocery shopping. I had to sit for showers, I had to rest before getting dressed after showers. I was out of breath by the time I got dressed. The struggles breathing resulted in my heart rate sky rocketing, oxygen drops and coughing fits that resulted in vomiting, which resulted in peeing and sometimes leaking stool on myself. This was a daily occurrence unless I just stayed inside my home and did little to no activity. That increased my pain. I wasn’t sleeping and more symptoms became aggravated. 

During all of this My Doctors ran numerous test and added tons of medications. We went through several changes and never got it right. I just kept getting sicker. I ended up by April having such severe issues with my heart rhythm that I was admitted to the hospital having nonspecific intraventricular conduction delay disturbances, and several other abnormal heart rhythms along with being very bradycardia and hypotensive. This led to a heart Cath in July. My lung volume and diffusion capacity continued to decline. Monitoring showed issues were present but scans couldn’t visually see a problem. Test results showed there was a problem, but Doctors didn’t have any answers for me. 

Here we are almost a year later and I honestly felt like I was losing all quality of life. I thought I’ll never be able to fully enjoy being active again and who knows how long it will take to find the answers. While I still don't have answers, things are improving. I made a choice to stop all pharmaceuticals and it was the best decision I ever made. My heart rate seems to be more stable. My lung function is no longer declining at the moment. My spasms have nearly stopped. I have not vomited in almost a month. I went to a corn maze and enjoyed myself, while it was exhausting and I got a little short of breath, I didn’t need my cane, and I didn’t have to sit down and I was able to keep up with the kids. I have been sleeping and my pain is even better controlled. 

I have not opted for no treatment, I am using Cannabis now as a replacement to all the pharmaceuticals. I was on 15 prescriptions a day, 39 pills a day if I was lucky that was all. I am only 38 years old. It really started to dawn on me that medication could be a big part of my problem, as it has been in the past on more than one occasion. I really didn’t want to go down that road again. So I decided to speak to my Doctors. They all agreed that maybe the medication was a problem and supported my choice to stop and use cannabis instead. I still see my doctors but I’m taking only 1 prescription medication now and that is for Gerd. Unfortunately I tried to cut that out as well but my stomach is just not in a place to tolerate not having the medication yet. Or I guess I should say I am not willing to be that miserable. 

I don't believe I am cured, and I don't believe that I will never have my symptoms worsen or that I ll never require the use of medication again. I just know right now in this moment I feel better than I have in years. I feel pretty great considering all things. I know that my breathing problems still exist and I know that if I do certain activities that it will get the best of me. I need to be patient with my body. I don't know what the future holds for me but I know that this has brought a whole new desire for me to push awareness of the dangers behind pharmaceuticals and the benefits of using cannabis as a natural treatment option. Stay strong and Kick Some AS