Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Thing in Victoria, bleeding and joining the winning side!

Posting delay due to a series of seizures, and an all around shit day.

So here is the question that has been haunting me recently, a question I thought I left behind once finding Linda: Am I human?

Surely I can’t be the only person who looks at the elaborate preparations for a simple thing like a trip a mile away and the enormous cost afterward. Look at that and then being surrounded by a world in which the greatest worry seems to be what fashion faux pas was committed by which celeb and the newest trend and wonder. Why am I so different? Why am I so separated from them? Am I even human?

Growing up I knew I wasn’t fully human. There was some complex formula which required the human spirit (Which seemed to exist more in men for reasons still too confused for this non-human), the divine spirit and the holy spirit and of course only “True Believers” go the last one. The rest were subhumans. And only adults got the last one, so as a teen, you were a proto-human, but not yet fulfilled to potential.

For the last few weeks, I have been fighting every day with various agencies: Beacon, VIHA, my GP, my landlord, Blue Cross and while many of them have demands I must do for them, none of has to do with me. It has to do with them, their liability, their caseload, their risk level, their desire for their own way, their desire to save money. That I have at least three or four agencies which pester me mercilessly including two directly involved with my care-giving and yet no one person there yet cares about what happens to ME. In VIHA, I had Edriss, who refused to do a home assessment under any reason; she was removed weeks ago by the nursing supervisor. We explained that because of my condition we needed a nurse who could respond and direct care due to those changes and so I got…..no nurse, and no nurse visit. I have a case manager who passes along the many instructions of what Beacon wants me to do THIS week, or complaints, like that a worker reported they had to wash dishes (actually a duty they are tasked for!).

Karen at Beacon has said she does not WANT a GP to list my medical conditions. Yet, due to my “change” or other language for deterioration, she wants all new policies put into place, one each week. Yet policies not determined or even seen by my GP (because Beacon can’t do email, or regular mail), as a care plan. Plus, after returning from the hospital in a mentally confused state Karen called and after being told that I was confused, mentally damaged and that Linda was my contact and held medical power of attorney, Karen, head of Victoria area of Beacon did not hang up to call Linda but remained on the line. And in a voice one uses to talk down to children (which is what made me suspicious of her and write everything down) she told me she was my friend and that she was coming on Thursday as Linda had already agreed, along with many other statements. I called Linda and asked if Karen had called her? No. I asked if she agreed to a Thursday meeting to put Karen’s NEW care plan in my care sheet? No. What do you call someone who knowing tries to bully and trick someone who is mentally confused? Who has been told repeatedly that LINDA is the person with medical power of attorney? Yet they call, these groups, every day. For liability reasons.

I told one manager today that I had put up the Epilepsy Poster from the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance for NON-medical personnel (as per a previous agreement). I told them it listed how to treat a person in a seizure. They wanted to know if it was in complete compliance with what Beacon wanted. I said, I didn’t know but it was according to the Canadian medical standards of treatment of Epilepsy, which I thought was more important than what Beacon might or might not want. Apparently not. They stopped just short of asking me to TAKE IT DOWN…..until it was reviewed. When the Epilepsy Society found out that caregivers were allowed refuse to go back to be simply because I had epilepsy they said they were contacting Beacon for “training issues.” My case manager couldn’t understand, as “the workers have a RIGHT to refuse to treat you.” I said, “And if they came back and said that they didn’t want to come back because I was black?” She said that was different because that was DISCRIMINATION. I asked if one of her co-workers had a seizure and another co-worker went to the boss and asked the person to be moved because she felt ‘uncomfortable’ being around epileptics would that happen. The manager responded, “Of course not.” I said, “According to Triumph, this is MY workplace, and according to Beacon who is allowing people to not return because I am epileptic, this is THEIR workspace, for which I am liable.”

By the end of the day I realized that I had 8 specialists, my GP, different agencies all wanting things from me except one thing: For me to have a better quality of life. Did Beacon care about my degenerating condition because they were going to volunteer extra care? No, because they want to put in a care plan that has not been vetted by either a Health Authority Nurse or my family physician. They called today to initiate a task two, saying that none of my workers could touch my medications. Except that only the doctor of a patient can initiate a task two? And they don’t want any doctors involved.

To cut all this short, I sat in the bathroom with a knife, and realized that whatever my presentation, I was “other”, I was “thing”, I was “it”, I was the client, the patient, the thing no one wanted to deal with. Linda’s work has been pressuring her again. She is not to be with me. I am a drag to her. I am quite clearly not an interest to VIHA, as I have no nurse, no dietician (though requested), and they are quick to comply with requests of an agency operating illegally (unless they have done those spot inspections they are required to do to be paid – which they haven’t for a year). Managed by a woman who bullies patients after six consecutive seizures, who lies to confused people, and refuses not only to put anything in writing but to give her last name. She wants me to get a DNR, wants me to get a doctors instruction of care, wants me to allow her to put in a care plan in MY house which I am not allowed to see, and yet, I don’t know her last name.

So I started cutting. Turns out that I was correct, the right arm has no pain sensation, it does has some pressure sensation left. I was, even though the forearm was in Reynaud’s to dig down to the blood, seven bleeders. And three on my left forearm, though not as deep, it has diminished sensation but it is still there. It was the most ‘normal’ thing my body did in the last few days; bleed from cuts (it won’t do that on my hands). It was me, and it was not my internal voices, it was all my external voices too; all these groups with “Health” or “Care” in their names who really don’t know or care about my condition.

Am I the only one who feels this way, that I have tried to be good, I have tried to do all they asked, I have tried to comply with all they want. Only now, I am tired, I am exhausted and they continue to harass me, not for my health, not to set up a safety net for ME; but to prepare and set up legal and liability safety nets for THEM, for when I die. I feel alone. I feel that there is nothing that could happen to me, and nothing I could do to myself, which would cause these very important and very busy people to give a damn. And I don’t know why that is. But even Linda can’t find amongst them, anyone other than her who cares. Or cares beyond making sure that when I choke to death due to a seizure, I am the one legally liable.

I do not know why I will not be cutting tomorrow. At least then I am on the winning side; I am back doing what I used to do when I was able bodied, and I am on the side of people who don’t give a fuck about Elizabeth McClung. Which in Victoria medical establishment is a VERY high number, even when most of them seem to draw at least part of their salary due to my existence. But as Adam Smith predicted, I am a surplus commodity, they can get many less time intensive gimps in the same area and meeting the same minimum requirements than deal with me. I am the White Elephant, I am the thing, the it. I say that because I still believe that if people really identified me as a person equal to them, they would not sit by or be distracted so easily. Only a non-human is that easy to cast aside.

I write upon my body what has already been written upon me.

23 comments:

Kathz said...

It is the bureaucracy that is inhuman. Employees who see themselves only in relation to the institutions for which they work are inhuman.

Humanity is a surplus commodity - that's why it matters so much.

Much love

kxx

Defying gravity said...

Hi, I don't have anything much to say except that I am here and hearing you. Also, thanks for the postcard, I will be sending an email about it later.

Miss Fairy Sparkle said...

I think being human is that when people hurt or ignore you, it hurts and you reach a limit. I can just imagine those cuts screaming at all these people about their lack of care. Even if people do not always follow sensible instructions - if it is done with some form of grace then you can sense love behind it.
Elizabeth, it's the other way round honey, they are being very inhuman - scarily so. Not one person seems to have sat back and thought, what are we doing to this woman - what should we be doing, even out of duty if not compassion.

If I could come over and put a big soft bandage with big Hello Kittys on your cuts for you, I would, so I could let you relax and know that that is NORMAL behaviour from paid caregivers.

I remember the shock and disorientation when I got ill - I was a nursing student - I wanted to make people better. When doctors gathered round my bed and held my hand as my muscles spasmed madly in both arms,till the point I wanted to scream it was sore, and they watched me with dispassionate eyes and discussed me like I was a show piece, I felt betrayed by the very medical profession I'd been a part of. When I asked a nurse to cut up my dinner, because I was really struggling and she said, whey don't you get physio for your arms - and didn't help me - I felt like s**t.

I had years of humiliating tests and things said that no matter how ill I have been, I have always said were worse. Every time I need help, I have to tell myself it is ok to ask for it - and that it is not normal to cringe in fear thinking - they are going to take away that help, and shout at me now.

I know what I had pales in comparison to what you are doing every day. You and Linda are fighting for life so hard, and they are doing things that sound so neglectful - it just sounds well scary.

It is ok to feel sad, hurt, lonely and angry that you are in the centre of a storm all the time, and people who could be giving you a bit more control in your life are robbing you of that.
I don't know - is it the fear of watching a young beautiful woman deteriorating that spooks them? Are you telling me they have the RIGHT to not care for you because you are epileptic - that they can choose someone without it? Seriously? How can a caregiver have that right? Is it because they don't have enough training - or is it because it's too traumatic for them? That is sick, seriously sick - that's not a right then, that is supporting cowardice.

Today, one of your good deeds is this - Miss Fairysparkle doesn't talk about her experiences, and you give her the courage to do so.

Big big hug and a box of human decency plasters (I'm sure you can get them somewhere).

Abby said...

Their attitude and inability to deal with you in a compassionate and reasonable manner doesn't diminish you or your humanity - it diminishes them.

As much as you can diminish a callous little %$&^ that is.

[:: Pulls a face at you from the side that *does* give a fuck about Elizabeth McClung ::]

abi said...

Of course you are human. You demonstrate many of the qualities commonly associated with humanity: perseverance, kindness, love, weakness, despair, courage, hope and perfect imperfection, to name but a few. You are, in fact, rather a good human.

I find it hard to believe how generally crap (in an active, rather than a passive, way) Beacon are being. I know it is true, but I cannot see how people can actually act that way. Are they not afraid of being found out? Apparently they are, hence the liability issues, but why do they condone it from all directions?

I suppose it would be too difficult for them to change - they would then have to admit that they have been very, very wrong and possibly also that they are bad people. Additionally, it would involve hard work and probably also extra expense. They have to stay as they are in order to protect themselves. I am not excusing their behaviour, merely trying to see why they are being so utterly crap.

Alas, it would appear that they want to protect themselves over you (that's human, but so are acts of sacrifice and altruism).

This topic keeps making me angry - I am so sorry that you keep being mistreated in this way/these ways.

Ultimately, though, the winning side has to be the one in which you are treated with respect. That is the side we are on. Our victories may be moral victories, but you know that they are important. I wish this side could have all of the victories, though.

I hope this isn't too unhelpful. We are still here for you. Sending you virtual hugs and many wishes for strength, joy and less pain.

Neil said...

Some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. Unfortunately, you seem to be the statue far too often lately.

Is there no ombudsman to go to? Someone who could help look out for the idiots in Victoria's health care system? All you need is someone to read your blog, and they'll realize what's happening; someone HAS to start helping you, Beth.

Hugs for courage, hugs for health, hugs for care. I do care. I'm here. And yes, you ARE human, possibly more human than many others I've met.

Staying the course with you,
Neil

Devi said...

If "human" means you're a person and you're precious, then yes, you are human!

I don't know what I could do or say to help, but I'm appalled by how these people, these so-called professionals, are treating you.

Gaina said...

No Darlin', you're not the only person who feels like that.

((HUG))

yanub said...

"I have tried to be good, I have tried to do all they asked, I have tried to comply with all they want."

OK, that's part of the problem. You need to stop being "good." "Good" means complying with evil. You need to be a bitch. You need to be a ball of fury. And not fury with yourself, either. You need to be Non-Compliant and Proud. Stop being "good" and start being "righteous".

Are you going to the US to see a neurologist? When? Do you have the appointment already?

Have you met with anyone from the Epilepsy Society? Set it up. Meet with other people who know what you are up against.

Do you have a lawyer? If anyone ever needed a lawyer, it's you. Sic a legal jackle at these malpracticing death-mongers. Really, what are they going to do to you that they haven't already done?

I know your ass is the most convenient for kicking, and you have seen how it's done innumerable times. But just because the bastards have taught you that you are a target doesn't make you one. It makes them bastards. You are still human, no matter what the bastards say or do. That they cause you to doubt it only deepens their evil.

cheryl g said...

Oh damn! Curses upon all those uncaring, unfeeling people!

I would give anything to make your quality of life better and yet all I can do is share your feelings of frustration.

How do I help you know that you are not a thing but an amazing human being? You are worthy of being treated with care and dignity and respect.

The unfeeling automatons who are supposedly directing your care are the non-humans. Those individuals who repeatedly treat you as an object are less than human.

I want you to know that I am here and listening and witnessing.

My comments seem so inadequate but I want you to know I care.

Dawn Allenbach said...

Stupid fucking medical system! I wish you and Linda could move to the States. The medical system here isn't great, but you'd have so many more options for home health -- and because you can take your business elsewhere, the higher-ups at least fake like they care and get your care plan closer to what you need than Beacon is.

Lene Andersen said...

Two things, because as usual, I have no words for the ridiculous hoops they make you jump through.

First, would it help to have your lawyer sent them (VIHA? Beacon?) a letter advising them if they don't call Linda, dire consequences, etc?

Second, a big hug for you. I wish things were better.

FridaWrites said...

Just don't blame yourself--it's not you, it's the system. Same way when you were younger with too many religious demands put on you. And Beacon would save themselves a lot more time if they'd just do their jobs without arguing about it or being discriminatory or trying to pressure you into odd demands.

Veralidaine said...

There has got to be a way to use your resources-- including us, your readers-- to get this changed. How about a round of phone calls, letters, but instead of to Beacon this time to your MP or whatever governmental authority allows the atrocity of Beacon to exist? More media exposure?

You can't live like this. Even if your condition were not considered terminal, this kind of abuse would MAKE it terminal. You can't think of 8 more reasons to live when you are feeling this way-- maybe you can, EFM, but I sure couldn't think of 8 more reasons when not even feeling human.

There must be something the power of a group of people who care about you can accomplish.

Perhaps a campaign of sending dog poop to Beacon, to protest their shitty treatment of their most coolest client, EFM? But no, they would retaliate-- so dog doo for the MP, to protest permitting a shitty organization like Beacon to continue to control your care?

Nancy said...

We're here. We care. Lots. You are deeply human, and you are deeply loved.

Anonymous said...

Oh Beth, I sit here in total disbelief. You are human because if you weren’t you couldn’t hurt this much. I can’t believe that these CARE people show so little care; the fact is that they aren’t interested in your care but their big concern is covering their asses. We have had battles with home care but nothing like what you are dealing with. We hear you, we care about you, we wish we were closer so that we could be more helpful. I can’t say I understand because I have never faced anything close to what you are facing on a daily bases. My big struggle coming up is walking the 60k, I am fat and out of shape so I am very worried I wont make it. As I was doing my practice walk all I could hear was you saying just push it you never know what you can do if you don’t push yourself. I am walking for my family who have struggled with cancer but it is you that will end up pushing me through… failure is not an option, you see there is this beautiful women in Victoria who struggles to live her daily life there, she does not have the choice but to battle, she has to battle on so many fronts and continues to do so, so there is no reason that this able bodied women can’t push herself. I want you to know that you will be walking with me on the September weekend and that you are always deep in my heart.
Collette

Perpetual Beginner said...

Oh God Beth, I'm so sorry you're having to deal with these cretins on top of everything else. None of them has any business using the word "care" in any context. They make a mockery of it.

You are not only human, you are embracing your humanity even when it is most difficult for you. Those who are supposed to be caring for you are ignoring their own humanity for their own comfort and safety; it's deplorable.

(((((Beth)))))

Anna said...

It must feel like running once head into a wall doesn't it?

I know I am probably out of order...and I suppose others have tried that before. But anyway!
If I was in Canada I would run up your stairs into that bathroom and shout PLEASE STOP THAT. IT IS NOT GOING TO MAKE THE PAIN GO AWAY! YOUR'E WORTH SO MUCH MORE.

Turn away your anger, or feeling of unworthiness, or whatever it is, from yourself. And use those feelings to fight those people treating you bad. You have come too far to give in to that. And honestly that caregiving company seems like very unsensitive people. There has to be some decent caregivers somewhere. Some decent workmates of Linda.....or....anyway. Please stop that.

desdemona said...

Oh look, they have contact info including phone numbers:
Beacon
Home Support Saanich

2723 Quadra Street
Victoria, BC V8T 4E5
Phone: 658-6407
Toll Free Number: 1-877-658-6407
Fax: 658-6417

CHW voicemail: 658-7249

Hours: Home Support offers care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


* VIHA Home
* Client Relations
* Contact Information

South Island

Phone
(250) 370-8323

Fax
(250) 370-8971

Email
clientconcerns@viha.ca

Mail
VIHA Client Relations Office
Begbie Hall, Room 321A
1952 Bay Street
Victoria BC V8R 1J8

And I'm only paying 0.7 euro cents per minute to canada. What would you like me to tell them?

Elizabeth McClung said...

Kathz: I told someone that to work in an institution that treats people as products will soon turn THEM into a person that treats people as products. That is what has happened, a corporate culture where I am a product that is acting like an individual. Contain it!

Defying Gravity: Yeah, thanks, glad you got the postcard, still took a while though, 10 days I think.

Miss Fairy Sparkle: I think what you had is exactly in comparison, thank you for sharing it, because that it what I feel, that asking for help will only been seen as a way to lead me on, to somehow use it against me, to get that liability nailed down, only my hope and energy is spent and I am no better. So I have that fear too. And objectified, and called names, nicknames becuase I am "that woman" the "one who is hysterical" (Code for verbally disagreed with male EMT). Even on my ER report it listed "anxiety" - what anxiety? That you saw me when I have less than four hours sleep and my head was exploding every 20-30 minutes and people were taking blood out of me and putting needles in - "anxiety" - if I was laughing, shouldn't they be MORE concerned?

What that nurse said to you makes me want to hunt up that hospital and run her over in my wheelchair, then when I'm atop her, start yell, "What, can't get up, maybe YOU SHOULD SEE PHYSIO!" Sorry, got a little pissed there for you.

I appreciate the thought but you better have some pretty damn big plasters because each cut is a minimum of three inches.

Abby: I show all my faces, the whining one, the 'lead the charge one' and this one, the beaten down, tell me how you want me to hurt myself side. Thanks for not running for the hills.

Abi: Well, just to be arguementative I have noticed cats have many of those qualities too.

I think after six months of being a monopoly and having no one ever say, "Hey, you can't do that." to them, they simply don't have a compass anymore on what is acceptable behavoir, or maybe they have a "for profit manager - though it is supposed to be a non-profit organization?" I do think that a standard of care or a standard of anything for workers and managers would be needful. We have them for Doctors, we have them for nurses, "Best Practice Manuals" - why don't we have them for care workers and care managers?

Do you ever feel like this? That you as a person are less important than you as......a financial entity, a caregiving unit, a whatever?

Neil: Yeah, exactly, and they seem to be dropping right on target lately.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Neil: sorry I stopped there but no, there really isn't anyone, recently in the hospital someone arrived and was terminal for five days, and then died and five days AFTER they had died, only then were the next of kin notified. So with that kind of stuff going on normally, where do I rank?

Thanks for the hugs.

Devi: I think people have forgotten what it means to have a vocation. A calling. To be a professional. One the one hand they aren't calling me names. On the other, my quality of life with having to deal with this almost constantly is diminished with no gain on my side.

Gaina: Thank you, that is exactly what I needed to hear. I am so tired of being alone.

Yanub: I have a team, I have a lawyer, and they are working on these but we are tapped out financially and where do we start first, the Landlord who broke promises, his contracted workers put me in hospital and offered me $1 off rent, but if I withold more, he will likely use the advantage to evict me.

The same with Beacon, the more exhuasted I become, the more the people who have 18 hours a day can beat me down, I can fight one of them, for an hour or two, I can't fight 4 to five organizations and find a new GP and find a new Nuerologist all today, or tomorrow, becuase most of last night was spent on the floor becuase of seizures; that's just how it is. Should Linda leave me there to go off and talk to lawyers? I dunno. Frankly we feel like two people in a tornado, we just cling to each other.

Cheryl: I don't think they are, I think they have thier own children, their own concerns and don't even realize what they are doing, probably one or two had a mother or father in care and complains about the way THEY are being treated and yet they never put it together. I don't know how to break through, but I do know how I feel about someone who tries to take advantage of someone who is confused due to medical reasons. And in my book, they make used care salemen look like saints. There are lines you don't cross, and that is one; to manipulate a vulnerable human being in your care to try and achieve your desires in the easiest possible way.

Dawn: it is true in the states that I would be cared for...as long as I have money - but surely you too must have difficulty against the faceless beurocrats and finding good caregivers?

Lene: She has called our lawyer (who knew that we needed a lawyer so much to be sick and disabled), but What IS the consequence. To me it is just harrassment since LINDA has the power of medical attorney, if I am confused and tricked into saying yes, it means nothing unless Linda says yes.

I got a note today, that makes things better - I sent your nephew and Neice a postcard!

Frida: after the few few dozen times, I do wonder though if it isn't me. At least the person they gave us last night seemed very good match.

Veralidaine: I appreciate your thoughts and wishes but as much as I WANT to call an ambulance and report that someone at X address (for beacon) has a heart that has stopped beating I don't becuase I have to live in my world right, that is the only way to escape and if I spend all my energy fighting then they have won, they control my life and what time and energy I have.

Collette: thank you for telling me about your 60K - where can we send funds? that isn't something I can DO, but it is something I can cheer on, and yeah, terrifying to me to, but I know you will give it all you have.

Falling down and failing is always an option, I suppose this post was about a day I failed. But that doesn't mean I have to live there forever. It does help doing things with people, so hopefully with all the people around, you will be able to keep that momentum going while walking. Be sensible, don't wear new shoes, and know when it is time to take a break and when it is time to stop. The difference is that when it comes to something so simple, when it come to just my body either doing something or not; I tend toward going a wee overboard. The fact that I am NOT facing all these agencies and agendas just myself, my pain, the sun, the space and the voices inside to fight. So, many times, when I do things, even now, especially now, it is becuase I would rather die than stop. For a person who can say, "I'm using this to start a plan for the NEXT time" - that's not a really good stance to take. And as Linda and others will tell you, even as an athlete what made people terrified of me was that I would rather lose function forever in an arm or a leg than to give up on this point. Not balanced, not a good role model!

However, I wonder if there is a wheelchair section of the 60K thing? I could join you! Because as horrid as things get for me, I honestly am glad I don't have cancer, I don't have to face the decision they have to. They are stronger, or forced to be stronger than I.

Perpetual Beginner: This is when I used to go and spend time pounding the heavy bag until all the frustration and evil was leeched out of me, only I don't have that now. How do I make myself clean and myself again when I am too weak to do things?

Desdemonia: Don't worry, they would probably put you on hold and then tell you that you aren't authorized to know anything, blah, blah. I appreciate the though. If you want, please send a letter to Ben the scheduler and tell him that you are grateful that in a organization that doesn't seem to care, he does seem to care about your friend Elizabeth McClung. I don't think that those in the lines who do Care and try are rewarded. Thanks.

Carapace said...

Beth, Desdemona has an awesome idea. Tell us what you want, and let those of us with some time and energy to spare call on your behalf. Maybe-heck, certainly-- they'll tell us we can't make changes in your name. Doesn't matter. We CAN call and harrass them, clog the lines and make their lives difficult until they make YOURS easier.

Also, there is nothing, at all, more human than meltdown. When you know even a little about the real composition of the human form, it's amazing that any of us function in the leasr. We're built like freaks from the get go!

Me, I'm a freak, and very proud of it (you may observe that I'm proud of everything. True! But especially this!). And hey, maybe I'm even not human. So what? I'm a person, anyway. We need to get you some more sci-fi. Personhood comes with thinking, feeling, interacting--all things you do. If it turned out you were a space alien, a robot, or some sort of alternate dimension protozoa imitating a human, you'd still be a person. Stop thinkin' otherwise, it leads to plot complications.

Take this as deep in your brain as you can, repeat it when you start getting down: They're the monsters, not me. Don't feed the monsters.

It's true, you know.

I've worked for a "care" facility. The KYAG mentality rules, even when the center is not for profit. People who actually care are ignored, shut down, and eventually driven out in a thousand ways. it's very dehumanizing. What's left, when the ones who can't take it are gone, when everyone else has been ground down, is not quite the person who went in. It's a numb wage zombie. At my facility, at least, we were ruled by Routine instead of Profit, but the effect was the same-- people as components, and none of them worth much.

In America, at least, the workers have almost no power to change things; we could be and were fired at the drop of a hat, if we caused problems. Those of us who hadn't given up or left would beg and cajole client's families to fight for them, to say something, to call managers and insurance companies. And you know what? Most wouldn't. They didn't want to cause trouble or seem ungrateful. On and on, and the thing that held everyone in silence was not feeling worth the trouble.

I'm not saying you have to keep fighting these creeps. You've put more energy into this than anyone should have to. I'm saying you need to realize that You Are Not the Problem. They would like you to think you are the problem, because that makes their job--counting beans or covering their butts-- easier. They will of course see you as a unit, no matter what; it's all they can see. You don't have to agree with them.

Sorry for the length, there. But this is a personal issue for me.

JaneB said...

((((Beth))))

I know, a little, what it feels like to do something 'freaky' because it's the only thing that you can do that still feels like you and is in control. And what it is like to feel a freak. But you know what? I reckon that that ability to be different is part of what makes us human. We're here and we're listening and we care.