Benefits Attorneys are Professional Gaslighters. Language Itself is Gaslighting. Discuss. Or Don’t, It Really Probably Doesn’t Even Matter.

I spent my entire brief career as an attorney trying to get income- and disability-based benefits for vulnerable people.  It was a grueling and traumatizing career track that I realize now (and kind of realized at the time at different times) was based not in actually helping people by understanding their circumstances and getting people what they desperately needed, but in cruelly gaslighting them and wasting their time and energy doing “intakes” and whatnot when they could least afford the expense.  I have written here before about one potential client that was referred to me by a medical provider because he said people were threatening and following him.  Turns out, this man was quite mentally ill and was having delusions and it was left not up to his doctors (who palmed him off on me) but to me, a young attorney, to put the pieces together for him and to figure out what was really going on, but not before wasting a significant amount of his time.

Of course, even if there were people following and threatening him there is little to nothing a lawyer could’ve done about it.  I told the man to call the police if he felt threatened, and as was the policy of the nonprofit I was working for at the time, got the man’s consent to speak with the referring medical providers about his “case” when what I really wanted to do was punch the lot of them in the mouth for failing their own patient so egregiously and palming him off on me like he was garbage and I was a can.  Don’t even get me started on how much I hated that job.  I wasn’t well liked either and after 10 months was invited to leave.  To be fair, if I hadn’t needed the money myself, having just quit a perfectly good job at a for-profit law firm (which I also hated) in order to take that one, I would’ve quit my dream job at this nonprofit after a couple of weeks once I realized what really went on there, and that “case” with the elderly Spanish-speaking mentally ill man is a decent example of what a day at the office looked like there.  Here’s another:

Continue reading “Benefits Attorneys are Professional Gaslighters. Language Itself is Gaslighting. Discuss. Or Don’t, It Really Probably Doesn’t Even Matter.”

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Cannabis Refugee, Esq. One Year Later. (Meta Discussion)

As my readers may’ve seen or sensed from the recent comments and content on this blog, I have become disillusioned with the CRE writing project and may decide not to continue writing about my experience as a Crohn’s patient trying to survive outside the Western medical system that was not helping me and was only making me worse.  As far as I can tell, this project has not inspired any additional writing or critical thinking on this subject, my posts have not been widely shared or inspired much interesting feedback, and this work has not opened up any additional opportunities for me in the way of writing or activism.  Of course, those were not the reasons I started this blog in the first place but they are to be considered when looking into the future of this project and whether it is in my or anyone’s best interest that it continue.

My original intent in starting this project nearly one year ago was to document my experiences as a seriously ill woman for whom conventional medical treatments were not working including the social, financial and health-related fallout of this system that seems designed to control and punish sick people while we carry the blame and shame for Western medicine’s failures and even its lies.  At times my health and financial situation have been so precarious that I actually believed (and still do believe) that I am going to die here, alone and in the middle nowhere, and I wanted the truth about what happened to me to be known or at least knowable by those who would wonder what the hell could’ve possibly happened that led to that sad and lonely end.

Continue reading “Cannabis Refugee, Esq. One Year Later. (Meta Discussion)”

The Absurdity of the Euthanasia Discussion in the Absence of Effective Medicine and Social Support for the Seriously Chronically Ill.

I cannot tell you how absurd it is to be seeking euthanasia as the final end to this awful Crohn’s journey when I’m not suicidal and I don’t want to die.  What I do want, all of which is illustrated brilliantly in this clip, is 1. effective medical treatment for my disease, or failing that, consistent access to effective pain and symptom relief, in my case medical marijuana which has been used successfully for thousands of years to ease specifically gut ailments and which use is supported in contemporary peer-reviewed medical literature particularly for Crohn’s; 2. social support with fulfilling basic tasks and the activities of daily living like shopping, cleaning, cooking and the like; and 3. to be relieved of external constraints that make existing as a chronically ill person a living fucking hell and a consistent nightmare, which constraints have nothing to do with being ill and everything to do with being an oppressed person and failed consumer/producer under capitalism and patriarchy.  Constraints like poverty.  Fear of (and actual) male violence.  Disability-based (and all) discrimination.  Things like that.

But I can’t have any of those things — effective medical treatment, social support, and freedom from oppression — because under the current system those things don’t actually exist so the easiest thing for everyone would be for me to simply disappear or to have never been born in the first place.  Failing that we have euthanasia otherwise known as assisted dying or medically assisted suicide.  Of course, poor and other unsupported “euthanasia candidates” — who likely don’t have $12,000 and the good health and social support needed to have their efforts rubber stamped/make it official — just know and experience this process as good old-fashioned suicide.  Who knows what Chris Rock really thinks about euthanasia for seriously ill and dying people but he’s not wrong to see the absurdity in it, at least under the current system.

Continue reading “The Absurdity of the Euthanasia Discussion in the Absence of Effective Medicine and Social Support for the Seriously Chronically Ill.”

Our Mothers Want Us Dead. Another Antinatalist Post.

I have spoken at length with other women who, throughout their lives, have been abused, neglected, torn/worn down, palmed off and otherwise unsupported by their mothers to the point that the only logical outcome of this treatment would be our untimely deaths, either from the abuse/neglect itself, from the completely predictable male violence and neglect we are subjected to when we choose heterosexual relations/relationships for survival, or via suicide.  The obvious fact that motherhood is the end result of misogyny, specifically female reproductive abuse including unwanted or “survival” sex and rape, makes this non-attachment to children foreseeable and ordinary and insures that it will never be discussed as if it were either.

I have written here before about what “family” means to me, and from where I’ve always stood, family appears to be the source of overwhelming grief, torture, humiliation, powerlessness and pain including medicalized torture, humiliation and pain if you were “privileged” enough to be born to Western medical professionals like I was.  (Of course, the tools of any trade and any patriarchal conditioning can and will be used by parents to torture children, especially girls.)  Family, if we are honest, is the source and location of almost all of girls’ and women’s suffering including being subjected to abusive male “sex” practices that only lead to one place for female-bodied people: pregnancy and motherhood.  Motherhood is a biological function exactly as romantic as shitting if we are honest about it and children are treated like shit for exactly that reason including grown “children” who were never part of the families they were born into in any human sense.  More like a shit-on-the-bottom-of-your-shoe sense.  Oops.  For more forward-thinking (or adaptable) folk perhaps in a compost-sense: a useful object that better prove to be useful or else.

A goodly portion of us were not wanted by our mothers and common sense bears that out; most of us know how difficult it is to have consequence-free recreational intercourse (or rape) and we activate against pregnancy for decades and not just because of the “timing” although for some that may be part of it.  For anyone who is still unsure, the ways our mothers often treat us make it clear that we were unwanted by her, or at least that we are unwanted now.  Although I shouldn’t be I am taken aback every time I see chronically ill people commenting in groups and on message boards how they are treated almost universally poorly by their own families — including by their own mothers — now that they are sick.  The last time I spoke with my own mother she blamed and dismissed me for being sick and told me I should move to a bigger city “because they have nicer homeless shelters there.”

Why I should be homeless when my mother and my entire family all own their own homes (well, the bank owns them) was not addressed, nor was the fact that my mother only “owns” her home in the first place because she was treated generously (albeit begrudgingly) when she divorced a man who could well afford it.  The fact that she is currently sheltered has nothing to do with her own responsibility, good choices or inherent worth even though she pretends, or may even believe, that it does.  But I digress.

Continue reading “Our Mothers Want Us Dead. Another Antinatalist Post.”

Crohn’s Disease is a Terminal Illness. Coming to Terms.

After researching this disease for going on 6 years now, I believe I have come to a rational conclusion about Crohn’s disease which is that it is not a so-called incurable progressive disease but a fatal one: based on all the evidence including anecdotal evidence from patients themselves I now believe that Crohn’s disease is a terminal illness.  I have more or less concluded that before but for some reason I hadn’t yet come to terms with it.  It’s not easy to come to terms with something like that but not because I suffer from what is almost certainly going to cause my untimely death but because everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone is lying their asses off about Crohn’s disease including how “treatable” it is, what kind of quality of life Crohn’s patients can reasonably expect, how predictably disabling it is and why, and how it’s probably going to end.

But before we get to the end it’s important to start at the beginning and admit what Crohn’s disease is at base: Crohn’s patients, including myself, have to medicate in order to eat.  And that is serious, very serious indeed.  If there is anything that is any less compatible with life than a disease that prevents the sick person from eating I can’t think of it.  A disease that prevented the sick person from breathing wouldn’t be any less compatible with life than Crohn’s is, it would just be quicker.

Continue reading “Crohn’s Disease is a Terminal Illness. Coming to Terms.”

Helping a Friend’s Mom Recover Her Speech After a Stroke. Moron Medical Incompetence.

Recently I was offered a part-time job helping a friend’s mother regain her speech following a stroke.  I really, really like this woman and her mother and I am actually looking forward to helping them both get through this.  Yesterday I tagged along to a hospital appointment with the speech therapist and I was struck by my friend’s energy and good humor as she guided her mother through her exercises.  She has been taking her mother to appointments in the evenings and doing this alone for months after working long and physically and mentally exhausting days and seeing her teaching her elderly mother how to speak again nearly broke my heart.

My friend’s mother was a teacher in her previous life and apparently they used to play word-association games in the car during road trips, the kind of “games” that seem to be the playground of the generationally literate, the kind of wordplay I was never able to do or even care about to save my own life.  I can tell that her mother is still very much “there” and that she just has trouble grasping and uttering the correct words (she asked me how to spell my name and after that she did not forget or stumble with it again).  Apparently, the mother was initially extremely frustrated at her speech limitations and fought against the stress and exertion (and compounding failures) of her speech exercises but has since calmed down a bit; she does her homework and participates in her exercises without much complaint.  My friend told me they try to have fun with it and they end up laughing a lot.  I’m glad she told me that explicitly — that they were deliberately trying to make it fun — because that is not a tack I would’ve known to take as I find the whole thing very unsettling in the vein of Dworkin and her comments on female old age and how that plays out under late stage capitalism and patriarchy.  I’m glad they had me go once as an observer to see how it’s all supposed to work.  Of course, after observing for a bit I had a question.

In my isolated, sick and medicated state, while I can still write and watch videos (and read in moderation) I actually think my own speech and memory skills have begun to fail.  My friend and the speech therapist were running my friend’s mother through word association and “priming” exercises which went something like this: “Watermelon, fire truck, camping, blood, starfish.  Which of these things are red?”  I should mention that she also lost a lot of her eyesight in the stroke so she can’t look at the list, or refer back to it, she just has to remember the list as it’s being read aloud and then only afterwards is given the “category” she is supposed to be sorting them into (e.g. things that are red).  Considering her circumstances she does remarkably well at remembering the list when I myself was having a difficult time remembering the items and then sorting them after the fact.

The way it played out in practice made it completely clear to me that if she can’t remember the list, they are going to think her troubled response is a speech-related problem and not a memory-related one.  And although I had a feeling this outcome was unintentional, I didn’t know for sure or whether it mattered because the policy/intent behind speech therapy in her case had not been explained to me.  For an elderly woman who has just had a stroke, this seemed needlessly cumbersome, not to mention cruel and unfair, assuming the exercises were not intended to include the obvious memory challenge that was baked-into doing it that way.

Continue reading “Helping a Friend’s Mom Recover Her Speech After a Stroke. Moron Medical Incompetence.”

What “Family” Means to Me. A Lil Holiday Perspective. Or, Christmas Family Portraits I & II. (An Antinatalist Post)

I highly recommend Teri Strange’s Antinatalism series on her YouTube channel, as well as the comments below the vids.  In the spirit of Christmas, I would like to offer a little perspective on “family” and exactly what family means (and doesn’t mean) in the context of capitalism and patriarchy.  In case anyone is wondering or just not completely clear why their family stresses them out so much, about why the holidays suck, about why everyone drinks heavily and talks small (or fights, or uses passive aggression) when they get together “for the holidays” or why they never get together much if at all, I hope this will help.  I understand that this will be controversial for most of the human population but don’t bother trolling me with pro-family comments, I am completely immune.  Having a family myself I fucking know better, and I know that as much as anyone defends “family” with jerking knees thinking that what I’m saying doesn’t apply to them, the kinds of things I am talking about here are actually universally applicable and apply to everyone under the current system even if the details are not exactly the same.  And like everything that’s true and real, it’s true and real whether anyone chooses to believe it or not.

And remember: just because you don’t personally know about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

So without further ado, I offer the following Christmas Family Portrait(s):

Christmas Family Portrait I.

On Grandparents.

Grandfather.  Your grandfather was the man who was legally entitled to rape his wife, your grandmother.  And we all know that men will be goddamned before they decline to exercise an actual or perceived right; in a sexual context that’s especially frightening because the other thing men love to do is push boundaries, and beyond that, they take things to which they aren’t entitled at all.  So if he was legally entitled to rape your grandmother you can be pretty certain he did and he probably did a bunch of other horrific shit to her too.  If your grandparents weren’t legally married he may not have had the legal right to rape her, but then where did your parents come from?  Think about that just a little bit.  Do you really think your grandmother probably said “Hell yeah!” to the prospect of being ejaculated into by your grandfather when there was no such thing as reliable birth control back then and when abortion was probably illegal?  Was your grandfather just so fucking sexy that she actually had to fuck him even though she could literally die?  Or is there another — any other — explanation that makes more sense than that?  Think before you answer.  And don’t lie.  Also, for all you know your grandfather could’ve been an unknown assailant or John.

Continue reading “What “Family” Means to Me. A Lil Holiday Perspective. Or, Christmas Family Portraits I & II. (An Antinatalist Post)”