Friday, March 31, 2006

"It's immaculate!"

We went out to the local donut shop today for coffee. Our bill came to $3.61 and I gave the young woman at the cash register $4.01 to pay. She looked at the money in her hand and was puzzled. "How much do I owe you?", she asked. "I'm bad at math." Well, I told her the change due was 40 cents, and since we are regulars there, she believed me and gave me the 40 cents. Later, when we were headed home, I told Donna how much we owed and what I gave the cashier, and I asked her how much the change would be. "Forty cents", she replied without much thought! I'm telling this story because recently we found some old papers from twenty some odd years back and Donna's social worker at the time described Donna as a boarderline retarded young woman! I was appalled, to say the least. If she is retarded what does that make the young woman in the donut shop who had a normal high school education. I have heard similar stories from severely disabled people with speech impediments. One woman is a college graduate who was similarly mis-diagnosed when she was young. Because of the severity of Donna's disability she could not hold a book and turn the pages when she was in school. In fact she has not read a single book in her life. It's too difficult for her physically. As a child in school she never had homework, and she has at best a fourth or fifth grade education from a Cerebral Palsy school where many of her classmates couldn't talk or write or hold a book. Her foster mother had to fight to get her into a mainstream school for one year of high school, but she had a very poor educational background previous to that. She struggles with a very poor self-image because of her mis-diagnosis and her poor education. But, I'll always remember the day I cleaned Donna's apartment for her, and her coming into the living room and looking around and declaring, "Wow, it's immaculate!" I suppose that's the kind of vocabulary you would expect from someone who is mentally retarded! How can they accurately test the IQ of someone who can't hold a book and turn the pages, and who's speech is often very difficult to understand. On top of all her physical handicaps, she was on very strong anti-seizure medications when she was young that caused her to have difficulty remembering; plus she often suffers with blurry vision. Should her intelligence be measured against kids who have none of her disabilities? But the geniuses who test people like Donna do just that. They measure their performance against the performance of children who have none of their impairments. Is that fair? I have been around highly intelligent people all my life and have a B.A. from a highly regarded university. When I was in high school I consistently tested in the top 1% on standardized intelligence tests. I know when I am around someone who is bright, and I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty that Donna has at least an average intelligence, possibly way above average! If she had the proper encouragement, guidance and support when she was young, she might very well have turned out to be a college graduate. Instead, she has lived with a poor self-image for most of her life. There's a lesson here for anyone who has a child with a disability like Donna's. DO NOT take the so-called authorities at their word. You know your child better than the so-called experts, and if you know that your child is bright, fight to get him/her a decent education, no matter how severe their disability.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I thought I had seen it all...

There was a knock on the door today at 11:20 AM. I opened the door and a woman was standing at the door giving me a very dirty look! She looked like she wanted to kill me. Huh! I had never seen this person before in my life. Why was she looking at me this way? Was it because I'm white and she's black? Was she a reverse racist? Was it because she was expecting to see Donna, not a man? But, why the dirty look? Well, I asked her if she was from the home health care agency, and rather than answer my question she just asked me if Donna was there and walked right past me into the kitchen. It turned out that she was the substitute aide for today. Donna's regular Thurs. AM aide had a dentist's appointment. No one from the agency called to tell us that a substitute was coming. Don't you think that on your first day at a new job the proper response when someone answers the door is to say "Hello, I am so and so"...or "I'm from the agency", or just plain "Hello"? If she showed up the first day at any other job and just stood staring at her supervisor with a dirty look, I don't think that she would last long. As it turned out, she was not a good aide, and she won't be Donna's request! She was either high on drugs or mentally ill...or both! No matter what Donna said or asked of her she would break out in giggles. "Can you make me breakfast?" "Giggle, giggle..." "Can you help me straighten my pants leg?" "Giggle, giggle..." It went on this way for the whole time that she was with us. She would even break out in giggles when she was just standing or sitting alone doing nothing but waiting for Donna to finish whatever she was doing. Several times during the course of her stay Donna asked her, "What are you laughing at?" "I wasn't laughing", was her response, even though that was plainly not true! And I thought I had seen it all! I want to make it clear that I mean no disrespect towards people who have mental illness, if that's what her problem is. But Donna has a severe disability and needs very competent help, and this woman couldn't do the job properly...and that's the bottom line. I should mention that we had a different substitute aide for two other mornings this week and she was excellent. So, I guess we're batting 500.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Yuck! I caught the flu from Donna. I've been seriously out of commission for the past two days. Donna is starting to feel a lot better, thankfully. More when I recooperate from this awfulness(is that a word?).

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The good and the bad...

Well, the good news is...the new morning aide is working out very well. The bad news is...she's taking some time off to move the week after next. Donna is still suffering with her flu virus, but she's a lot better today than she was the last few fever at least and the throat is getting better. Now, I seem to be coming down with a cough! It was a real rough week for us, especially for Donna. We spent 5 hours in the Emergency room on Wednesday, since without the lift working I can't get her to a doctor unless we call a day in advance for medical transportation. Plus, very few doctors take Medicare, unless you agree to cover the co-pay; and almost no doctors at all take Medicaid. It's so hard for her when she is sick, because things that are normally difficult for her to do by herself are even more difficult when she's coughing and feeling weak. Hopefully, she'll be back to her old self very soon.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hey, what's up?

Spent five hours today in the ER with Donna. She had close to a 102 degree temperature this AM and was feeling so lousy that she wanted to go to the hospital to get checked out. As it turns out, it's just a bad case of the flu or a virus. She was checked for strep and TB and both were negative, thank God.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sorry, I couldn't resist...

Cute or what?

Donna was home sick in bed today with the flu. She was up in the middle of the night coughing and she sounds miserable. I think she caught it from the new aide who was here on Fri. She came to work with what sounded like a bad cold or flu. I wish these home health agencies could afford to give their employees sick days! The pay the aides receive is so low that they can't afford to stay home sick, so the clients suffer! Well here's a couple more pictures I found on the web you might enjoy...

Monday, March 13, 2006

God works in strange and wonderous ways!

If you've been reading the blog, you know that Donna was very unhappy about having her favorite aide's hours cut; and she was not at all happy with the woman who was taking her place three mornings a week. Well, today we got a big surprise. The new aide didn't show up, but instead they sent another new aide...and she seems like she's going to work out great. The interesting twist to this story is that Donna told me that on Sunday evening after she went to bed she said a prayer to God and asked him not to send the new aide that we had last week!!! Coincidence...or not?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

On the lighter side

Here's a cute photo I found on the web today. We've had some bad news lately. I feel like doing something a little cheerful...maybe it will help.

A setback for Donna

We had a minor setback this week. Donna's favorite aide had to cut back on her hours. She was coming for two hours, five mornings a week...she had to cut back to two mornings a week. Donna was pretty devastated by the news. The new woman is not very competant, to put it kindly...and she is very sloppy! We'll have to cope somehow.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Interesting article from Harpers Magazine: The Case for Impeachment.

Lies, and more lies...

Another lie from the mouth of Mr. George Bush...a good, self-proclaimed, God-fearing Christian was uncovered today. Bush declared four days after Katrina hit, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans.

From an AP story, today:
In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."

And let us not forget this one: "Brownie's doing a heck of a job!"