Archive for the 'Wheelchair' Category

But He’s an Army Man!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Simmy worked as a physical therapist at the warehouse. A few days before he started, while I lifted wall-mounted weights in the therapy room, I heard the department supervisor excitedly tell a coworker: “We’re finally getting a new guy. He’s an Army man!

The coworker asked, “Has he had any experience as a therapist?”

The supervisor frowned: “Well, Mr. Gold never said.” Quickly her smile returned: “But he’s an army man!

One morning I rolled into the therapy room and found the new guy sitting at one of six desks organized in the alcove. I slogged through my morning exercise ritual, anticipating my post-workout cigarette. (In retrospect, I realize the profound stupidity of smoking after exercising; my shitful luck had magnified a deep-rooted smoker’s rationalizaion.) When I finished working out, I wheeled to the ashtray positioned on a bookshelf next to the new guy’s desk.

He forced symmetry on a sloppy pile of papers by tapping a long edge on the blotter. Then he stood and walked the short distance to the supervisor’s desk, gently placed the tidy stack in front of her. more »

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Dental Interns Use Me As a Guinea Pig 6 – The Difference Between a Stooge and a Dickweed

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Read Part 5
…The naïve intern appeared and asked me to follow her down the hall. She stopped in front of her examination room, seemed embarrassed and stared at the carpet as she began: “I didn’t want to say anything in front of anybody.” She raised her head. “But you really upset my receptionist, to say the least. I won’t see you until you’ve calmed down. Go make an appointment with the other receptionist.” I didn’t say anything, turned and wheeled past the reception window, through the waiting room and out the door. I parked on the sidewalk outside of the building and used my cell phone to order a cab. While I waited, I vowed to write a letter to whomever bore responsibility for Special Needs Dentistry.¹

As soon I returned to my apartment, I wheeled over to my computer and searched the directory of the major hospital hosting the Special Needs Dentistry program. I found a contact’s name and mailing address, and copied it into my address book. I’ve discovered that letters of complaint submitted via snail mail generally command more attention than emails. more »

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Dental Interns Use Me As a Guinea Pig 5 – She Was Just Doing Her Job

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Read Part 4
By my next appointment twelve weeks later, I’d managed to skip the warehouse and move into my own apartment. I checked in with the receptionist, a young woman different than the movie-magazine toady. She asked if anyone had brought me. I glanced behind myself—of course there wasn’t anybody there—turned back and politely answered, “No. I came by myself.” Then she cooed that the dentist would see me shortly, I should take a seat in the waiting room. She pointed to the chairs in full view a few feet away. I’d just spent literally years enduring dumbed-down baby talk spewed at me by clueless emotional retards; at that time I was discovering that mostly clueless emotional retards populated the outside. I had given Special Needs Dentistry a more than fair chance, and the people involved had proven themselves chronic fuck-ups. Something had to give.

I wheeled the few feet into the waiting room and parked in front of a stationary chair. Though there were no other patients, the TV positioned on a wall mount blared. Less than a minute later the receptionist scurried in and stopped in front of me. more »

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Dental Interns Use Me As a Guinea Pig 4 – High Turnover

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Read Part 3
As I entered the small one-story building, I naively assumed that “Special Needs” referred to my gimpiness. A glance around the waiting room proved me wrong…I would’ve ordinarily thought fuck this fully and skipped subsequent visits… [But] I considered my dentist’s forecast of possible infection, the pain and inconvenience accompanying such infection, and the astounding stupidity and sluggishness of the public aid drones on whom I now depended…by then I’d resigned myself to wading through a cesspool of irrationality prior to receiving medical care.

Three months later on my second visit to Special Needs Dentistry, a new budding tooth mechanic awaited me: a young woman who, like the aspiring DDS I’d previously seen, spoke with an eastern European accent and demonstrated a impersonal attitude. I twice asked about my former intern’s whereabouts before she looked up from my paperwork and absently replied, “Oh, she’s finished here.” Next I asked about my X-rays; she claimed “they” hadn’t developed them yet. more »

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Dental Interns Use Me As a Guinea Pig 3 – Remedial Dentistry and Money Grubbing

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Read Part 2
The public aid stooge insisted on “helping” me maneuver my wheelchair out of his office and up the hall. Despite my repeated objections, he grabbed the handles on the back of my wheelchair and started to push. Asshole. The day of the appointment with my new dentist arrived. I rolled out of the cripplevan and toward a building; the plaque next to the doorway announced “Special Needs Dentistry.”

The cripplevan driver found the “Special Needs Dentistry” facility across the street from a major hospital. As I entered the small one-story building, I naively assumed that “Special Needs” referred to my gimpiness. A glance around the waiting room proved me wrong. more »

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I Lose My Arms and Penis To Cancer

Friday, September 28th, 2007

One afternoon when I lived at the warehouse, I received a letter. Judging from the poorly sealed envelope, schmaltzy stationary, and shaky handwriting, it appeared that an enfeebled elderly woman had written it. In the brief three-sentence letter she revealed that she herself lived in a nursing home. She explained that she regularly wrote notes to nursing home residents, and signed-off with a call for God to bless me.

Some greenhorn “Up With People”-type psychologist had likely hijacked the poor woman’s good intentions. That’s terrible and awful and everything, but it’s a safe bet that she had allowed the psychologist to hijack her good intentions.

Like most bullies, the controlling powers-that-be in a nursing home—from fuck-stupid CNA’s to the browbeating administration to arrogant visiting MD’s—prey on those weaker than them, the elderly and infirm. more »

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Rehab Staff Treats Me Like a Disobedient Child

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Roughly two weeks after my arrival at the rehab hospital, an orderly wheeled me to the wing where a surgeon would evaluate the drop foot on my right side.* Though my nurses chirped that such surgery would jumpstart my recovery, I found myself involuntarily wallowing in disorientation and nausea. I’d sat upright only days previously for the first time in more than a month, during which time I’d languished in a coma. When coupled with the fact that I wasn’t accustomed to sitting in a wheelchair, it became understandable that I couldn’t carry myself in what is generally accepted as a dignified manner. In the doctor’s wing, about halfway down the main hall, the orderly who pushed my chair suddenly stopped and scolded me: “Sit up straight and don’t look so sick. People be starin’ at me.” I can’t understand why she got her panties in a bunch; apparently she was oblivious to her whereabouts.

Eventually a faceless doctor—different from the one I’d met—performed the surgery. Afterward I had to wear a cast that extended from above my knee to the bottom of my toes. One week later, a different orderly wheeled me to the wing where I’d met with the surgeon; I had an appointment with a cast-removing-guy. more »

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A Thieving Doctor Tells Me My Business

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Read Typical Reception

If you live in a warehouse, nobody respects your time because everybody assumes you lead a useless life. Many doctors—that is, their lickspittle secretaries—schedule a ridiculous number of needless appointments and unnecessary tests, clearly because the government is footing the bill, and they think warehouse residents have nothing better with which to occupy themselves anyway.

After Celia graced me with her keen insight, she high-tailed out of the office. She returned fifteen minutes later and ushered me into a hallway that led to a myriad of identical examination rooms. I followed her down the hall; she stopped and ordered me to wheel into one of them. more »

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Typical Reception

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Read First Leg of My Hand Odyssey

Years after the warehouse administration admitted me, I decided I needed surgery on my right hand. A hand surgeon practiced in a labyrinth of offices and lab facilities that sprawled throughout a cavernous brick building, located on a college campus in downtown Chicago.

I allowed for chronically unpunctual cripplevans when I scheduled a ride¹ to my 2:30 appointment with the digit butcher. In my experience doctors always show up late—like the pusher in “I’m Waiting For My Man”—and imagine they’re doing a tremendous favor for you by making an appearance. Patient’s are at their mercy and they know it. more »

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Paratransit Follies — Part 3

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

Read Part 2
Many warehouse residents were elderly and/or near death. The chintzy bastard administrator, Mr. Gold couldn’t justify paying a trained therapist to work with a resident, only to watch that resident waste any newly learned physical strategies by dying. The warehouse bosses promoted easily manipulated CNA’s who excelled at making beds and emptying bedpans to revered positions as physical therapists, much like teacher’s pets are chosen to clap erasers. Stupendously lazy young residents didn’t care about the administration’s tacit ban on competent therapists; they rationalized that their own lack of ambition demonstrated a mature acceptance of their bodily deficits. Or maybe they realized physical independence meant an end to their mooching. more »

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