Friday, April 29, 2011


Yesterday after lunch I got a message from Betty at HAND (the agency which provides my caregivers) saying they had received a list of names who were due to be terminated from Medicaid by DADS and thus would be removed from paid care. My name was on that list. It was set to go in force n Monday.

Kids, I went off the deep end. I called my careworker at DADS (V., who is being replaced by a new woman, C., who has not gotten in touch with me yet) and the potential new aid program, and also called HAND back, and received only voice mail. "Please leave your name, social security number, and a brief message, and we will get back to you within one business day.'

I blazed out an email to Margot, whom I knew was at a piano lesson, and called Ixchel, where I also got voice mail. My MoW lunch was still on the table, uneaten, and because of a late start, I’d not had breakfast either. But now eating was out of the question. And I had that pounding headache.

Ix and Margot got back to me almost simultaneously, and it was a one-two punch of the Justice League. Ix bore witness as I freaked the fuck out, and Margot gave crisp directions about what to do next, darling, using all the middle class smarts I have tried to acquire but which desert me in emergencies, still – I still go into a raised-poor huddle, “figure out how to live without, because They don’t give a rat’s ass”. A lying voice in my head Ix knew was there, if I said it out loud I would recognize it as a lie as well.

I emerged able to think again, at least. Scared but not frantic. *Surely* it was an error. I looked for the emergency numbers Margot said would be there, called all those and left voice mail messages, and then reheated my lunch, ate it and felt my blood sugar revive.

I called the first round of folks again and this time reached Betty, who gave me another couple of numbers. One of these finally put me through to a live woman, a receptionist, who said all of DADS was at a daylong unit meeting that would last until 5:00, they would probably not call me back until tomorrow and even then it would be my new caseworker. She offered to look up my case on the computer but I suddenly could not remember my social security number, nor could I find the place where it is stored on my computer. An indication of how frozen my brain gets. She was nice but said my best course was to wait.

I drank some green tea and turned on Jeopardy, my standby relaxation show. I was shouting answers at the screen when Dee my attendant arrived. I told her about my dilemma – what if this was the last weekend I had her coming in the door, calling out to my cat Dinah “Girlie-girl, where you at?”

She grinned cynically and said “They do that to folks. It paperwork, it ain’t real. Happen all the time. You’ll be okay.” Which was like a warm blanket dropped over my shivering hide.

At 5:05 the phone rang and I said to Dee, “Grab it quick, I need to answer that.” It was V., saying she had noticed my name erroneously on a termination list two weeks ago and had dealt with it, dammit. She looked me up as she talked, and sure enough, I was current in the system. She renewed me earlier this month. She said to tell HAND that and not to worry, repeating firmly “You are NOT going to be terminated.”

Dee and I cheered, and Dinah came to see what all the ruckus was about. I fired off emails to Margot and Ix before we resumed my evening routine.

But my poor little adrenals were depleted. I ate a large dinner, watched Grey’s, talked with Margot and went to sleep early.

I cannot go back to how it was before, I can’t. Social services are saving my life. There are so many people like me out there, hanging onto a rope that the fucking Teabaggers are holding a blowtorch to. Living in the kind of fear I felt yesterday makes people stupid and cold. Corporate tools. It IS a calculated war being waged against us, never doubt it.

And I am lucky because I have community, I have brilliant and connected folks on my side, I have Ix and Margot for fucksake, I will not get sucked down the drain. But what about those good people out there who are not as lucky as me?

I know you are, each of you, already doing whatever you can. I am simply giving voice today to what it is like from this end. Voice and thanks, ardent thanks. Weepy thanks. A FB friend said this morning I am ferociously loved, and that is it, exactly. And I love you back ferociously. We are not simply an army of lovers, we are also an army of lions. As They are about to discover.

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