Any One Have a Dull Knife? Lost Half my Salary Today.
Hey, go ahead, jab that dull thing right up my ass.
Well, it looks like I just got my ass kicked today. The state of Idaho Legislature has just slashed the Medicaid budget even though they have been given millions from President Obama's stimulus package. Doesn't matter, they went on with cuts anyway. This is not a headline or article that I can gloss over and just go about my business. This round of cuts has reduced my hours with clients in half and capped services at five hours per week per client. My little business went from being a successful enterprise to a marginal one in just a few minutes. The changes take place as soon as the legislative session is completed. Anyone have a dull knife?
I was shocked. My partner and I have a small little business. She and her one worker have about a dozen clients and I have six more severe, needy clients in my region. I make, or made, very good money but have tons of expenses as my clients live in remote areas which means lots of travel. I sometimes travel over 600 miles per week. If gas prices go up this summer too much I will be done.
Well, poor me. You may suggest I call 1-800-BOO-HOO which is okay, as I have been lucky for quite some time, and maybe even a bit cocky. I am not cocky anymore. But I will survive. I know how to be poor. It gets harder when you get my age. I will be 59 in June and starting some new enterprise or new job is more difficult. I don't have the energy or gusto to start all over again. I work with the mentally ill which is a frivolity that society can no longer afford. My clients and I are not important. They will just build more prisons and since I am in the private sector, the marketplace has made its choice, they will tell me.
I have no health care. I am one of the 47 million frighteningly performing the highwire feat of trying to stay healthy; walking the tightrope without looking down. We know there is no net. Many of us are attempting this trick. We ignore the pain in the legs, the little dizzy spells, the trouble with peeing, the frequent headaches and cross our fingers and wish for the best. We hope that they are not signs of something serious. Yet, we know that the body sends signals for a reason. So, we live with this nagging fear, this psychic constant dull toothache and the voice that whispers off in the distance that today may be the day. The one in which you collapse some where and the book of what was your life will just slam shut.
I just went completely blind in my left eye and need $3500 to get an operation that may or may not restore my vision. I had some health insurance, but it cost so much monthly and the deductible was $5000 so basically it was just a mini-catastrophic prevention deal. I eat Aleve all the time because my teeth hurt. I have Hepatitis C, which I mostly ignore. I know that I am not alone or anything really special, as many are suffering. I am not greedy. I just want fifteen more years. That will be enough. Then put me on the ice flow, if there is any ice left,and give me a gentle push. I will gladly drift off without one bit of fuss. I will even wave.
In my little area, I now see beggars. Eight of them on the streets, or near the Costco and Wal-Mart entrances. I saw a family sleeping under one of our bridges while I was on a walk the other day and our area is pretty good statistically. These are new sights for this area. Never seen anyone begging on the streets here before, ever. This thing is getting serious.
But we are the "Greatest country in the world." That sad phrase is like the aging starlet, her scars and imperfections covered with too much makeup, heading out to perform, the same old songs and echoing the same old lines, still thinking herself gorgeous and captivating. "Greatest country in the world" - No, more like the once powerful home run slugger who digs in his cleats in the batter's box dramatically only to weakly ground to second. Barack, please hurry, man we can only keep our fingers in the dike for just a few moments more.
This is getting too dramatic sounding, after all what are a few thousand lives here or there in the whole scheme of things? What is my life? I am just a simple guy from a little town who has tried to do right . It dawned on me that my entire life may have been based on a faulty set of distortions. Perhaps, the Republicans have always had it right. Get what is yours and the others can do the same. Judge others in simple black and white terms, forget the gray areas. Drive a big car with heated seats, because you can and you are safe. Look past the crippled vet on the street corner on your way to the support the troops fundraiser. Wave your little flag, repeat little lies, learn what is proper to hate and then do it. A simple formula really. Grab what is yours and if some people get elbowed who are in your way, then so be it. Brother's keeper--words for wimps and softies.
This may sound a bit self-serving, but I worry more about our clients whom I feel we have served well. Let me go through them with you: (All the names are fake)
Ricky: Young man who was hit with schizophrenia and had a difficult time adjusting or admitting his challenges who ended up in the state hospital for over six months less than a year ago. He has been doing great lately and was given an abundant amount of hours. Hours reduced from 12 per week to five. Cost of hospitalization: $600 per day. Our prevention program: $1000 per month.
Jim: Severely disabled with difficulties in communication. Asperger's Syndrome/ Schizophrenia. He is 35. Been either in jail, for petty crimes or in state hospitals for 12 years since age 18. Has been stable with only one forced brief mental hospital stay when he moved from my area last June, after we worked together for the previous three years in which he was able to stay in his mother's home without many problems. He moved back and we got him placed in a group home where he is learning to live independently. Hours, 13 per week reduced to five.
Tom: I have worked with Tom for over six years. He has become less isolated during this time and more active in the community. He works part- time with me acting as his job coach and pays taxes. Was hospitalized for a short time two years ago when his incompetent doctor changed his meds unexpectedly. Hours reduced from 10 per week to five.
Rick: No hours from me but had his disability hours reduced from 40 per week to 22. This means this quadriplegic man gets to keep care of himself for one full day per week without any outside assistance.
I could go on but you get the picture. To further complicate matters, the regional supervisor has a hard line policy about seeing clients over and above allocated hours. So, I could lose my license, if I volunteered time which is ridiculous and supremely stupid but he is the boss of this program and all must bow down. The Republicans in charge are mostly from the southern part of the state which is just Utah north. They are using this crisis to push an agenda, which is to cut government programs. This is the plan. Bush's screwups and thievery are going to be fixed, supposedly, on the backs of our most vulnerable. And some very nice, pleasant people will support it all the way. My answer?
I am going to become a hippie again. Everything I thought years ago has pretty much come true. I had the answers early on while living as a hippie. I am going to grow my gray hair long, get a nice pipe and toke up regularly. I may get a job in the produce section at the Food Co-Op to make up for some of my lost wages. I just hope I don't lose it someday and beat to death with a fresh, thick zucchini, some SUV driving, republican asshole. I may even start blogging more regularly and write even more stupid shit. Sounds like a dandy life.
He feels like I do today
THESE GODDAMN, MOTHERFUCKING, SHITEATING DOG FUCKERS,DICKLIPS SON OF SMELLING WHORES CAN KISS MY PIMPLECOVERED ASS-GO AHEAD JAB IT UP THERE-CAN I HAVE ANOTHER, SIR? AND ANOTHER? I STILL HAVE SOME FIGHT...
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