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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Sordid Tale

 ( a recap, and an Update)

One of the most Kafka-esque qualities of this story...among a great many such the need to begin twenty three years ago...and to include every damned detail from that whole time.
It is convoluted, complex and has been a central feature to the second twenty years of my time, here.

In December,1990, I was working at Pizza Hut, in Tomball, 20 or so miles north, at Mom's, where I had grown up.
I was a were most of the folks I knew and was acquainted with.
What was different about me...aside from my Mind...was that I was a hunted man.
Due to helping several young women out of dangerous and quite insane situations, I was Persona Non Grata, as far as the local cops were concerned.
That whole story bleeds into this one, but for now, I will keep them as separate. Suffice it to say that I was, at this time, living the sordid and unusual life of an Outlaw.
I would often give my boss, Sandra, a ride home, after work.
She lived out there, close to Mom's...and she helped with gas money, and we often pooled our resources for beer.
(the next bit is reconstructed from the recollections of her, and others, as well as a lot of circumstantial evidence, and drug induced Visions)
On December before payday...Sandra and I were broke.
We collected our change, and purchased a "two-fer" of Busch Beer(2 Tall Boys) Each.
I drank one of mine on the way to her house, and was saving the other for was in my inside coat pocket.
I left, at around midnight, and headed home.
I never made it.
3/4's of the way there, not a mile from my neighbourhood, I got behind a bone white Galaxie...the kind with the fins on the back, and the greenish bubble rear window.(below, is suppose to be a picture of one)
Carload of drunk Rednecks, hats and all, swerving all over the road.
I endeavoured to pass is estimated that I hit the sweetgum tree at 90 mph...severing my right hip at the femoral neck, and turning my left ankle into gravel. I also "jammed" my knees...having locked them, straitlegged, onto the brake pedal.
I collided with the steering wheel, crumpling it, and exploding the last Tall Boy(I still have the unopened can)...soaking me with beer.
My forehead smashed the windshield.(I assume that I was wearing the seat belt, since the EMT's had to cut it)
I lay there for at least 4 hours...until the owner of a doughnut shop happened by on his way to work...his wife noticing my headlights, off in the trees.
They turned around, took a look, determined that I was drunk(smell of exploded beer)...and left to call the cops, and EMT's.
Cops arrived, first...and were discussing whether to charge me with Public Intoxication, or DWI, when the ambulance got there.
Off to Tomball Hospital we went...where they took my blood for testing, and attempted by brute force to relocate my hip.
My screams were the first thing my Mom heard, when they called her.
The only part of this that I remember is the rain hitting my face as they put me on the chopper....
They took me to the big Medical Center, south of Downtown Houston.(I think it was Hermann)
It was only much later that I was informed that the blood test had been negative for intoxication...but I had bigger fish to fry.
They patched me up...pound of metal in my ankle...2 screws in my hip...pinning it back together.
A rather bitchy plastic surgeon fixed my forehead...badly, it turns out. I stayed maybe a week in the hospital, on Morphine, and in a daze...rambling to my Grandma incoherently about "White Galaxies" and Rednecks and Passing gears.
There was a hospital bed in my room, when we got home. Due to my stepdad being a paralyzed Vietnam Veteran, we were really well set up for all of this...extra wheelchairs, a roll in shower, ramps....
I had a six foot section of pvc with a notch cut into the end, for turning off the tv, and switching channels(one had to turn a knob, in those days).
Soon, Paolo, the Brazilian Physical Therapy guy began showing up, and helping me get ready to learn how to walk, again.
Nurses came to check on me, and even a few friends came and looked at me.
At some point, soon after getting home, a friend wheeled me down to the back pasture, where the crumpled carcass of my car was...
Sure enough!
Long streak of bone white paint, all down the passenger side.

There was a deer that we had rescued from another person's wreck, who had sort of adopted us. I'd wake up to a four point buck, eating my cigarettes, from my bedside table.
This went on for I don't know how long...getting stronger...recovering...
I was in a wheel chair for what seems like a long time...then a cane, with a big storm trooper boot on my ankle...and then I was back.
The Insurance dropped me at some point during this time...I remember being as yet unable to walk, when I got the bill for the balance:$140,000.
I started back at the community college in a wheel chair that summer. I also was in a Blues Band...lead singer and guitar man, in a wheel chair.For once, I didn't have to be my own Roadie.

By september, I was at work, part
This period is very hazy, since I soon began drinking again...part due to the pain...and part due to the fact that I was still a drunk...and a hunted man....a Pariah.

I don't really know how long this time, after I learned to walk, but before I finally left, went on...
It seems like years.
I lived in my van for much of that arrested...and went on months long road trips to points east...what I have termed my Wild Years.

I ended up leaving, though...for good...after the one cop I was friendly with told me that I had better get out of town.
I went to Huntsville, back to college.
I lived with my brother, and did pretty well...all things considered.
Ended up with my own apartment, and was doing well in school...until the Dean pulled a fast one: all the credits I had made up, from my first abortive attempt at college...didn't count.
I'd have to repeat my first 2 semesters. Some fine print that I, and all my "advisors" , had missed, somehow.
So I girlfriend in tow...we went to Austin.
My last paycheck from H-Town bounced, sending us into eviction, and about 30 bounced checks of our own...even jail, a couple of years later...for "Theft".
We never recovered, financially, from this... all manner of bad luck...ended up living in our car, and in seedy, weekly hotels.
Credit ruined, no savings, and an inability to save...we were fucked.
Moved in with a friend of ours, from H-Ville...then my folks helped us buy a trailer house. We still couldn't recover, financially, from all was wrongfully repossessed...  bad luck, in spades...utilities, rent, through the, taxes, too...
So when my stepdad offered to help us move the whole kit and kaboodle up to Mason...we jumped.I was still getting "zits" on my forehead, at this time, that turned out to be pieces of windshield, working their way out.
I was still in a lot of pain, even after all this time...I was a Cook...standing on concrete for hours, lifting big boxes of onions and whatnot....
I knew I'd need a hip, by the time I was I tried several times to get insurance.
They either denied me, outright...or were so damned expensive...and without any assurances that the eventual hip would be covered...Cost/Benefit Analysis said  it wasn't do-able.
So off to Mason, we went...just sort of disappeared into the Texas Hill Country...100 miles from anything resembling Civilisation.
The Goal was to get Mom's 20 acres up and running and productive...but between Mom's pie in the sky ideas, and my stepdad's every six weeks bouts of irrational hatred towards me, that never panned out.
Wife left after a year...and I drank...and ran all over looking for companionship...and accidentally found my current (and last) Wife.
I worked in various restaurants and well as on the Farm.
I grew Organic Veggies...and made no money...I opened a Cafe...and 911 one wanted that Unamerican Foreign Food, any more.
Around this time, not only was my first son born, but my hip and ankle and knees began to give me much pain.
I soldiered on...drinking for the pain, as I had no other avenue.
My schedule at the various cafe's I worked at gradually got shorter and shorter...fewer days, per week...shorter shifts....
By the time I'd get home,  I needed my Wife to help me out of the truck and into bed.
I went to our doctor...he said,"you need a hip, and can no longer work...apply for disability"
Around this time, my second son was born...and Wife was driving 200 miles round trip to get her degree....
She was also working at the school...and we figured that it was now imperative, with me all fucked up and broken, that she continue both of these and school...we had no choice.
I applied for disability, and quit my 4 hours per week last job.I thought, as did everyone else, including my doctor...that I would be a shoe-in....get the hip,etc, and move on....That was seven years ago.(June of 2006)
I still did the necessary things around the farm...but I found that I had to severely pace myself...and that it took sometimes days to recover from whatever manual labour that was required of me.
Weather...especially cold fronts and distant hurricanes...just killed hurt so bad.
I'd lay there in bed, in agony, for days.
Meanwhile, I kept getting denied for Disability...
At first, the reason given was "insufficient evidence"...after all, having no insurance, and little money, I had avoided doctors, for years.
So I borrowed money from Mom, and Dad, and tried to get fill in the blanks...all for naught.
When it finally came before a Judge, on a flatscreen tv,I was denied, again. His reasons were many...and stupid, from my point of view:
I had never been "ordered", by a Doctor, to take up the Cane, again...I just did. This impugned my credibility, somehow.
In addition, I had been honest on one of the forms, about being depressed(wouldn't you be?)...and they'd sent me to a shrink for "evaluation"...shrink said I was not disabled due to mental health.
Judge used this little tidbit in his denial...even though I had never alleged Disability due to Mental Health...I had merely answered a questionnaire honestly.
The biggest pile of BS in the Judge's Denial...was that his little "Occupational Expert", sitting meekly behind a fold in His Honor's Robes...Toady said that there were two Jobs "In the National Economy" that I could probably do..."Cut and Paster", whatever that is....and "Order Taker"...again, whatever that is.
All this, and ergo, I am Not Disabled.
I had to similar effect.
I did so 4 times...hilarity ensued, and much ridiculous bureaucratic my Outrage, I wrote letters and emails to my Congress Critters...all of them...and those belonging to other people, as well...I researched all the relevant law...I had ample time on my hands, after all.
By the time of the last Try at Disability, my "Credits"...that one builds up by working...had withered away.
I was denied the last time, because I was no longer Eligible...  because I had been out of work for so long...because I was Disabled.
This all took six and a half years.
Most of that time was spent in Wife's Drunk Uncle's ramshackle pile of sticks in Town....after finally having had enough of my belligerent stepdad's threats and crazy....(the Prowler Problem contributed, too...even more complexity, addressed elsewhere)
I spent the last of my Body getting this old house liveable...
Then, last October(I think) I got a letter from SSI....I had been caught in the safety net, at last!
Except that I still had the old beaten down trailer house, out in Mom's pasture...Tax man in his infinite goodness still reckoned it was worth $11K+...which was much more than the $3k in "assets" that SSI allowed. I wasn't sufficiently poor, it turns out.
So I took advantage of the deal they offered, and put it on the market...I found a sympathetic realtor, who listed the required "Market Price"....the ludicrous $11k+.
It was a hopeless endeavour....and even if I did happen upon some rich mentally challenged person, the sale would do me in with SSI....
But I signed the damned thing, any way....and by the end of Febuary,2013, I had a new hip....that summer, I got the eyelashes removed, that had been poking my left eye for twenty years.
Meanwhile, and concurrently, Wife had finished her schooling...had her Graduation...and began to take the exit exam(turns out this was all a load of crap from a bitchy professor who had it in for her)
Failed, repeatedly, the last 3rd of the exam...bitchy professor made the test. I blame her. is only now, 5 years after her Graduation, that my Wife is getting her Degree...except that the school put her down as "Quit", or student loans were suddenly due...and with no way to make the payments...since she didn't have the damned sheepskin, so was making peanuts. So the Degree is on "Hold", until the student loan is paid in full,...they keep adding $$ to it, too.
Even this part of the tale is so damned complex and crazy! we are.
I'm waiting to see the Ankle Guy...and the Rheumatologist.
I aim to fix the ankle, and determine if I have RA, on top of the Osteo Arthritis...
My back, and all the joints in my arms, my knees, my good hip, my fingers...I hurt all over....and all my numerous injuries over the years can't account for it.

One doctor confirmed my suspicion, that if I had gotten the Hip, seven years ago...I likely wouldn't be as Broken as I am now.!!!!!!!!

As it stands, I'll likely never work, again.
Tax man came to his senses, and dropped the "Value" of the trailer to $1600.
SSI says they have "overpaid" me, and that they want their money back.
Wife needs a loan for $3600 to get her degree...which SSI will see as evidence of Wealth...
If she gets her Degree, she'll make a little more money...maybe up to $19K...which SSI will see as more evidence of Wealth...
I don't know what all of these new developments will do to Medicaid, and to my ability to finish getting fixed.
I've been honest to a fault in all of my dealings with the various and sundry government agencies and functionaries...but I still fear the widespread assumption of fraud...I've heard the stories.
I assume the worst.
Less likely to be disappointed.


So my Youngest brought home the annual first week of school infection....this time, a sinus/upper respiratory ailment.
Came down with it on my 44th birthday, and spent 3 days in the screaming abyss of febrile delirium. 
6 days later, and I'm mostly recovered.....but I feel like shit.
Violent sneezing led to what felt like bruised ribs...and a very painful fake hip...which is worrisome.
SSI Lady says the loan for Wife's degree, and any extra $$ she earns won't count against least not till next year...
That's welcome news...but I'm still expected to keep the trailer house on the market....and , if it sells, it looks like it will count against me, somehow. The rules are esoteric, and seem to rely on interpretation, and chicken bones.
Still attempting to keep the tobacco intake to a minimum...but any plans to quit are out the window, for now.
I simply can't take the added stress....and it's more important, to me, to stay out of the bottle.
The Medicaid Contractor sent me a list of 5 Shrinks...who they say take Medicaid. The closest is 50 miles, one way...and hasn't called me back. The rest are 90+ miles, one way...mostly in Killeen.
Again, I expect the hear a lot about Jesus...or for them to simply be unqualified for someone like me("Grandiosity",lol).
There's no way that I can afford the gas for any sort of regular visit with even the closest of them...let alone the Pain associated with such travel.

Today, my Momma is taking me to North Austin, to see the Ankle Guy....and the Rheumatologist.
My blood contains Rheumatoid Factor...which fills me with Fear and Apprehension.
Best Case, as near as I can determine, is either RA, or Fibro...neither of which is curable, or all that well understood.
Those are the Best Case Scenarios!
I sort of expect to be sent to "Pain Management"...assuming I can find one in Texas who takes Medicaid.
This is worrisome, as well...Texas, in it's infinite wisdom and focus on compassion, has mandated that such places make me sign a of the provisions mandated is that I refrain from using any "illegal substances"....and that I submit to regular urine testing to prove it, if I wish to receive Vicodin.
This means I'll hafta quit know, because Pot is just like Heroin....and the use of it is always indicative of Violent Immorality, and Substance Abuse.
Being a Drunk is, apparently, just fine.
Chronic Pain ,too. is  a Criminal Offense....for which I must be Punished.
( on the other hand, cooking meth, and blowing up houses is evidence of one's status as a Pillar of the Community. The Explosions don't even make it into the local paper.)

All of this is Depressing.

Even Good News is Bad News, and the Light at the End of the Tunnel smells of Sulphur.

Is it any wonder that, as I get older, and more Broken and Hopeless, that I lean further into Misanthropy?!
That I despise my "Civilisation", and all of it's Systems and Mythologies?

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