Saturday, May 10, 2008

T.B.I. on SecondLife and on-going VESID stupidity

I took a break from blogging for a bit in order to explore SecondLife(trademark owned by Linden Labs)-- a virtual world created by Linden Labs. If anyone is interested, well then you can go check it out at:

or at the potentially less threatening:

and for those of you who aren't interested, obviously you don't gotta. End of unpaid commercial.

Anyways, my avatar (a little figure in clothing used to represent me in Second Life, thus from here on in will be referred to as "my avie" or simply "I" -- past English teachers be dammed) got to pick a gender and some clothing, went through utter confusion of orientation, and then was deposited along with other newbies at a Welcome Center. From there, my avie went off exploring. SecondLife is total eye candy in 3D.

After flying around for a bit and collecting a bunch of free clothes, I found that I was lonely for human communication. I went to some 12-step meetings (we're everywhere!) and found a few folks there to talk to. I began studying the events notices, joined a few groups, bought a bit of land. I began my first brain-damaged experimentation with 3D building and started going to events and classes regularly.

My avie got a job as a stripper in a club, something for which I make no apologies. The Lindens (money in SecondLife) are good. Real life mate doesn't care what I do in SecondLife. Dancing is varied and automated. The mobility and vertigo problems which plague me in real life are absent there. Plus, like most other avies, my avie is younger in appearance, skinnier, hotter, and has better hair than I do!

Besides exotic dancing and other events, I also found that the Asperger's community is alive and well on S.L. That made me happy and I now have some friends to hang with who do not expect great social feats from me. Many of them have some of the same passions that I do and that is excellent!

And yes, there is a t.b.i. group on SecondLife. We meet usually on Saturday mornings S.L. time at a comfortable and extravagant 3D clubhouse on a beach. The house is situated on an island. There is the ocean right there, a pleasant deck, several dogs, the meeting room itself, and offices upstairs. The man who facilitates the t.b.i. group lives in the States. He is very welcoming. I immediately found myself at home there.

When I told him about the most recent VESID stupidity, he was appalled and asked me if I have a case manager, case worker, or service coordinator. I am not eligible for Medicaid and thus not eligible for the T.B.I. waiver in my state (a situation which pisses me off-- the financial hit we have taken from my car accident and subsequent loss of career has been astronomical) and so I could not navigate the system well enough to get a Service Coordinator. I had tried but nothing much happened there. The facilitator-- also a T.B.I. survivor-- offered to meet with his case manager in order to seek out information for me and will be checking back with me soon. He also suggested that I call the Office of the Aging and the United Way in my county. I hadn't thought of that. More on the hunt for service coordination as it evolves.

The last time I had spoken with the job handler (a young woman who means well I suppose but who is young enough to have a MySpace account under her own legal name) she expressed grave "concern" over the latest two week bout of vertigo. This should not have been news to her or to anyone else related to VESID. It has been documented in my records that I have benign positional vertigo. The benign means it isn't a tumor or anything causing it. The positional means it is outside of myself, that is to say that the room/the world slides to the left. Vertigo means dizziness of a sort. Thus, I am not dizzy. The world is dizzy. I am used to it. I consider my 24 hour vertigo to me similar to allergies. And the occasional attack--where the world dips and spins madly-- to be akin to a common cold.

The attacks are annoying. The singular medication which the doctor demands I take during the worst of the attacks is annoying. The med leaves me able to navigate my home looking like someone who is slightly tipsy rather than totally plastered. There is not much that I can accomplish during an attack. Feeling miserable, I spend a bit more time sleeping than I usually do. Although I cannot do what I used to do, I certainly am not "home watching television." (That is what most voc-rehab counselors assume that folks with disabilities not slaving in sheltered workshops are doing with their days.) During the attacks, I am too miserable to even consider much teevee or much of anything else. So sleeping fills the bill. And serves to keep me from descending into total fatigue afterwards.

Consequently, when the job handler expressed her cloying concern over my latest two week attack I was not feeling a need for sympathy. I was feeling pissed off. And I knew that her concern was a smokescreen for another message. I may be brain damaged but I am NOT stupid. The job handler went on to inform me that until I got a doctor's note saying I am healthy enough to be nagged by her on a regular basis over where I had put in job applications and gotten interviews that the VESID counselor was putting my case on hold. I asked her, "Is the VESID counselor paying for my doctor's visit to obtain such a note?" Her answer was obviously no. "Well then, the VESID counselor will have to wait until I go to the doctor anyways for such a note. Do what you have to do." Shit. The primary care doc does not require me to see him before, during, or after these attacks. And as I've said already, vertigo to me is like allergies and colds.

I thought that would be the end of it until I delivered the note. But no. The job handler called my answering machine twice more. I didn't return the calls because: 1. a close friend who is also an addict was in the hospital and I was busy in a daily fight for her to get adequate pain relief, 2. I figured if my "case" was on hold then that meant that I didn't have to deal with the job handler, and 3. I just plain didn't feel like it. Angry? Oh hell yes. I was angry and I still am. I am not grateful for the crumbs. I can't get Walmart's to hire me, never mind any agency that offers jobs in my previous career. Hell. I can't even get the local newspaper to agree to give me a route. And I intensely dislike cloying concern and people nagging me for information about exactly where I've applied for work. To top it off, I am at the point where I am not sure that I am able to get back to work of any description. What part of, "I don't fucking feel well enough to do anything for four hours a day, never mind eight hours" is not clear English?

I am not a quitter by nature. I am tired of VESID, tired of incessant demands, tired of nagging whiny voices, tired tired tired. The shrink who understands t.b.i. has maintained from the start of all of this foolishness that the original plan is NOT to work even part-time until a 55b/c job comes through with the state. He tells me repeatedly that the 55b/c program expects me to be a fuck-up (not in so many words, he says it nicer) because I will be hired with the knowledge that I am disabled. With the 55b/c program, I will provided with a job I can do and a salary that I can live on. And the added benefit because I will be hired as a fuck-up, I would really have to be outrageous in order to get fired. The problem I am having in my interviews is that it is obvious that I have some serious impairments and no company wants to deal with a new employee who has vision problems, auditory processing problems, non-existent capacity for multi-tasking, can't navigate stairs well (the vertigo), and is at risk for falling in spite of the braces and cane. And let's not forget the fatigue.

So there is SecondLife. I have a sort of goal there to amass enough Lindens to go into virtual business for myself. And there is VESID and the professional and para-professional paid "helpers" associated with VESID. And there is my life and there are my crumpled dreams.


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