I am no longer allowed to go outside. Anywhere. Anytime. Unless, my doctor signs a note allowing me the freedom to go outdoors. But it's more convoluted than that.
So let's say I want to go outside and check out the sunrise; I've got to go to my nurse, request that I be allowed outside, then she's got to text the doctor's office staff, who take the request to my doctor, who approves my request, then sends it back to the nurse, who fills out a form stating "Howard is allowed to go outside" - the note also indicates a particular period of outside time; then (when the nurse is not busy) she brings the "pass" to me - then I need to bring the "outside" pass to the front desk receptionist, before being allowed to go … outside.
By that time I missed the sunrise. Or I miss the sunset. Or that stray cloud with the disproportionately large elephant tusk - hence, the shape that's suddenly turned into something unremarkable. Probably an inauthentic aardvark.
Needless to say, I am beyond frustrated. And probably, my being stuck inside doesn't seem all that devastating to most of you, but I'm not most people. I need to go! I need to go outside! I need to go outside as often as humanly possible! Remember, I'm the guy who was stuck in bed for seven years. Consecutively. Exclusively. Same bed. Same bedroom. Same view. The same repeated nothingness day in and day out.
I know others of you have experienced much the same (or perhaps you've experienced being bed bound for greater lengths of time). So I apologize if I sound like a big dumb crybaby. But being able to GO, and being able to get going, is my thing. It's always been my thing.
When I was a child, each morning during summer vacation I awoke ready for action. After leaving the house, I did not return until dinner time. Mostly, I did my own thing, tire treading all over the place - ending up miles away from my point of origination (via bicycle).
Those were the days.
Of course, it wasn't all Guns 'n' Roses. There were attempts to abduct me (at least three of them). Also, there were a fair amount of illicit drug purchasing opportunities. Otherwise, not a big deal. Going off and doing our own thing was something we used to do as kids. At least, I used to do that (in excess). I was the only one of my friends who disappeared in such a way.
Back to the Home of Overreaction
Where does this leave me? Well I'm moving the f*** out. I've got options. I've got offers. I've got opportunities. At least, that's what they tell me.
Here's the other thing, once I get approved for disability, I only get $25 per month (back pay). That means, $25 times nine months, if the decision is rendered while I still live in a nursing home facility.
If I move out of the nursing home facility, I will instead receive the full allotment of cash each month I do not live there. $914 if I live by myself, $700 if I move into somebody else's place.
Staring into the Teeth of the Wind
I need the money. My strongest innate desire (beyond escaping) is getting my teeth fixed. Dentures. Implants. Whatever it takes. I need to look normal again. At least my mouth needs to look normal. The rest of me, well, that'll be a work in progress.
Then again, I'm getting older. My body will continually break down.
Opportunity Knocks / Chuck Knox / Fort Knox
So here are my options at this time.
Brent - He's been my friend since 1988. And out of all the people, he's mostly stuck around since I became ill. Well, he did so initially. Disappeared for a while. And then came back. He's offered me a room in his house. He said he'd put a ramp at the front door so I can get in and out. And that's vitally important. I mean, right?
He lives about five miles away from my current location. Close enough to where I desire to live and breathe.
Option Number Two is … Rebecca - We've been friends since 1995, since I was hired on at my first corporate job. She was 18 at the time. Naive, problematic, full of zest and other energetic kinds of things.
But she lives all the way down in Chandler. That's a good 35 miles from where I am right now. Which is also, a good 35 miles away from where I want to be. However, she's got a nearly empty house by herself. And if I remember correctly, installing an entry ramp or any other access ramps won't be necessary.
Then there are Group Homes. Finding one of those nearby, and very near the bike trail, it's somewhat likely. And that would be swell. I'd really like to continue living in this exact neighborhood. Or at least nearby.
Access to the bike trail gives me additional freedom. My radius increases tremendously. And it's a lot safer, as I get to avoid the main thoroughfares. The busy streets where no one pays attention to a wheelchair.
Obviously a group home isn't ideal. I'll have a roommate. And this roommate could be a real ass****. It could be someone who stays up all night making noise, being impossibly difficult. And really, I need to sleep. I've had insomnia for the past four months, since moving in with this new roommate (again, nice guy, super noisy bed that goes up and down and up and down and up and down 30 to 40 times per day — and night).
So right now I am outside illegally. I'm sitting above the on-ramp of State Route 51 near Union Hills. Meanwhile, the automobile people are eyeballing me. Occasionally smiling. Sometimes waving at me. It's because people see me all the time. I am familiar, in a sense.
In all reality, it's only a matter of time before they catch me outside, breaking the rules. And at that time I will receive a warning. And then, the time after that, I will be expelled. So I've got to make a decision … soon.
My other options include moving in with my former wife. The problem there? I cannot move in with her because she lives on the second floor in a condominium with a designer staircase that's incompatible with a power wheelchair.
So basically, I'd be stuck upstairs in bed or on the couch, both day and night.
She's offered to sell the condo and purchase another home that's wheelchair accessible, but I'm not sure how I feel about that. That's a huge commitment.
In any case, it would likely take months to execute that kind of maneuver. And I'm unsure if that's the route I should take at this juncture.
My former friend Christine lives up in the mountains. Up near Payson, to be exact. And living up in the high country right now, would be ideal, in regards to comfortable temperatures —- but…. she's an extremely dirty messy human being who smokes a billion cigarettes each day (indoors). Plus, she kind of ditched me after I became ill.
And then the final option includes moving in with a female staff member. Which, really, might be okay. They know me. I know them. Pretty much. But there could be ulterior motives in having me move in. Or perhaps interior motives! Or worse yet, locomotives!
Oh, and beyond all that (and most importantly), I do not have any money whatsoever. At least, not for the next two months.
It's also possible (and perhaps probable) that I am denied my SSI disability pay. Again. I did (finally) have my interview with Social Security, so I should probably inform you in regards to that. Shouldn't I? Perhaps the information I impart will help someone else down the line, someone going through a similar process.
Note: it's probably best that I make an entirely different blog entry on that effort.
So that's where I'm at right now. Emotionally? I'm really f***ing angry. Like the past several days, consecutively. I'm angry angry angry, playing lots of guitar (aggressively). Not socializing. Pretty much shut down.
And now I've got to sneak back inside the facility without getting busted. What time would be best? It's 6:47 a.m. right now. The next shift starts up at 7:00 a.m. and then there's another grouping of office workers who come in at 8:00 a.m. I'm at least 15 minutes away from the home base, so….
I should probably wait till 8:30, as long as it doesn't get too hot outside. Which I don't suppose it will. Heck yeah, it's only supposed to be 108° today, which is only slightly above normal. Next week we'll once again be experiencing 115°, so you know how that goes. The average high temperature for this time of year is an extremely tolerable 104°. And we've not experienced an average temperature since June.
Take care, and get outside if you can!
White on Blue
Immediately After Precip