Friday, December 7, 2007

Run-on Sentences and Running Feet

The foot doc's office called today to tell me that the paperwork has been filled out for me to get a handicapped placard for the car, and to advise that I should make an appointment for a fitting of the ankle braces he will be making for me [and I will be getting] in January or sometime thereafter.

It's been five years [I still think it was four, I guess I lost a year in there somewheres] since my accident. I had wrestled with the idea of getting a parking permit but then decided that a medic alert bracelet was the way to go. After I started falling more often, the p.c. doc advised a cane rather than a placard. Things were bad then with the walking and falling but not nearly as bad as they are now. The chirodoc was willing to sign for an accessible parking permit back then but legally chirodocs aren't allowed to. So off I went with Benjamin Copernicus Galileo [the name of my cane] and some inane determination to only use it when the weather sucked.

I started falling even more-- and I am now more prone to falling to the right, since the vertigo makes my world spin to the left in the direction of the brain damage which caused the vertigo-- and have succeeded in wrecking the right ankle the last two times to the point where my slow since the accident pace became even slower and really painful. Interestingly enough, when I am walking the dog on a lead, I don't fall nearly as much. I have taken some tumbles with the cane and an almost equal number without. I don't tell the docs that the dog helps me stay upright because it sounds stupid and made up.

At any rate, I wound up being sent to the foot doctor. The foot doctor turned out to be a foot surgeon, a fellow of foot surgery, with feet x-ray machines and buzzy machines in his offices. Everyone else there was walking out with orthopedic shoes so I figured I too would wind up with the special shoes and an admonishment to lose weight. Not so.

While the vertigo and falling to the right has made the right foot "worse" [it used to be the stronger of the two], the foot surgeon informed me that my feet were fucked since day one, that they "are totally turned in," and here is the left foot brace, the right one isn't in but the office will call you, and I'm making you customized ones for January. Oh and by the way, you may need an operation on your right foot say in March or April and you may not. To tighten up the ligaments is what he told me. Whatever.

The first snow/ice storm of the season showed up. My difficulty walking around from parking lots to buildings safely prompted me to yield to the idea of a handicapped parking permit, especially since I do not care to break the right foot. And I've spent several days home being unwilling to brave the ice even with one brace and a cane. Odd how societal judgments and the judgments of those who should know better have coalesced into a brief feeling of "o.m.g., I'm taking advantage of the sys-tem" because now I really need the placard. I suspect with the fatigue issues that it might have been a good idea before. Before when I gave more of a shit about what other people thought. As I continue in the punking out of my brain and body, I am much less inclined to consider the ignorance and stupidity of others when making decisions that effect my well-being. This is my life that I am living, Briella [brilliant brain a bit sideways] and body doing a slow tap dance edging slowly toward mortality, my pain. My fucked up feet.

I don't seem to be pigeon-toed or anything and I don't know the name of this condition which he has firmly indicated I've always lived with during this lifetime. He also stated that losing weight will not help this one. I am relieved that there actually is something demonstrably "wrong" which is now worthy of treatment with these braces [the right one not being in yet and the customized ones not made yet]. And glad that I get to go to doctors even when I don't want to. Cuz lots of people in the world got stuff wrong with them and they don't get to go to a doctor.

The foot surgeon asked me what brought me here and I looked at him. "My feet." People don't usually go to a foot doc because their ambulation is just ducky. None of the fellow sufferers in the waiting room looked like they were training for the Olympics Sprinting Team. I didn't look like it either, though I certainly was the youngest specimen there. The thing is though, I never liked running. I never ran well. The kids in school used to make fun of the way I ran. My fastest run [when forced to run like during gym class] was and remains rather slow and tedious. Well, now I know why. My feet are fucked.

So the first couple of nights after learning about my fucked feet, I sat on the recliner looking at the two monstrosities which nature or genetics had gifted me with. Periodically I would mutter, "You two feet are fucked." As a sense of rationality returned to invade this really morass demonstration of self-pity, I realized that the fucked feet of today look the same as the feet I've had my whole life. So really I could just stop that. I did.

The other spot of news is that after ?two or ?three years of putting up with the stupid moronic VESID people [O.V.R. in other places] my third and current VESID overlord-- oh, I mean vocational rehabilitation counselor-- has finally relented and has agreed to refer me to the local R.C.I.L. for job handling/ job coaching rather than continually trying to force me to go to the other local agency which is merely a cover for sending people to work in the sheltered workshop after not being able to "find" them a "job" that "they can do."

This latter accomplishment was not without pain. I had to tell the VESID overlord [the more accurate term for all of them in this particular region, sorry] what "job" I wanted to do. I made up five or seven possibilities off the top of my head so she wrote the Individualized Employment Plan for the lowest paying one-- "Animal Care Worker."

I met with a job handler from R.C.I.L. this week and I was immediately comforted-- so much so in fact that after she mentioned that what I tell the R.C.I.L. folks they cannot tell VESID, I looked at her and said simply, "They suck." Because they do.

The first VESID overlord and her boss had both tried to convince me to go to the cover agency for the sheltered workshop, telling me that this is what would be best for me and claiming that the R.C.I.L. job coaches had a waiting list. The second overlord was relatively useless and aside from the meeting with the first overlord, him, and someone from the rehab hospital who was there to advocate for me, I have no memories of him other than that his hand takes on the role of a limp fish when shaking it. And he had almost non-existent eye contact.

He was also willing to go along with whatever overlord #1 had recommended, including the idea of where I should go to get job services. I know that working in a sheltered workshop, making slave wages because by law they are allowed to pay much less than the minimum wage for their lousy piecework "opportunities," is decidedly not in my best interest. And the job handler told me there is not or has there ever been a waiting list for job-related services at R.C.I.L. What I am conveying in this post is that from my sitting down point, the VESID folks have been rather reckless with reality.

We went over many forms and I had the opportunity to correct some of the written nonsense that the VESID office had sent over. One of those things is the notation that I might possibly have balance problems with a question mark. The first overseer had thought this because I walked into a column outside of her stupid little cubicle several years ago now when I really wasn't thinking very clearly and my vision and perceptual problems were worser. I do not have an inner ear problem and thus no balance problem. I have an unsteadiness in my fucked up feet. I did remember to ask the job handler nicely to please attempt to have the VESID idiots fix that little gem to reflect the medical truth. Rather pedantic on my part I know. It is what it is and I am what I am.

Another thing was the claim that VESID wants me to follow along on several jobs-- follow alongs are job trials to see what I might like doing-- when in fact that was my idea, not theirs. The job handler told me that the purpose of the job trials is to see what I might like to do and be able to do. Now I suspect that having to come up with a definitive list of "what I want to do" was just another stall tactic. The third overlord had told me if I didn't know what I wanted to do, there would be a round of vocational testing [but alas, no vocational counseling connected to the testing] and quite frankly, I've had enough bloody testing. Since telling her what companies I want to work for wasn't sufficient, I had had to make up some occupations. Another exercise in futility.

I informed the job handler that I've been accepted into the state 55 b/c program and that if the Thruway would hire me as a toll collector, that is my first choice. That sort of job would actually be sufficient to pay the bills. Also, since "old learning is better than new learning" per the neuropsych doc I think I could do well there. I was a part-time per diem toll collector before the accident and I suspect I might have some success there if I can get in under the 55 b/c thingy and work within the accommodations that I will need.

Second choice is doing anything at the O.M.R.D.D. offices. There are some truly dedicated human beings working there. I'd done serious incidents investigations at the last fuckhole and that was the part of the job that I was best at and enjoyed the most. It was job handler's turn to be surprised I guess. The VESID overlords hadn't bothered to note any of my skills or any of my specific work-related accomplishments before the accident.

There were some other choices in there and other ideas being kicked around. One of the things that I now have courtesy of the traumatic brain injury is that in conversation I can be somewhat of a motor mouth, hopping around topics with no perceived organizational schemata. It's called random chaotic style. It doesn't bother me nearly as much as it seems to bother others. I think of it as part of my innate brain-damaged charm. If I can't have grace and flowing words, then by golly I can have random chaotic style. It is much worse in unstructured settings. At least I've managed to get the cursing under fairly tight control. The meeting with the job handler I think was supposed to be a bit more structured but I just wasn't able to respond well to her attempts at structure. The meeting took an hour and a half as a result. The next meeting [topic: resume] is scheduled for earlier in the afternoon.

sapphoq on life

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