Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bob 5/19/15

 Wednesday: 5/13/15 So, Bob today sat up for 15 minutes, got dizzy and we called the nurse to explain why his feet turned a burgundy color whenever he stood. She said that it was a condition that he would never get over and would have to have his feet elevated for the remainder of his life. Upon Googling it I reads that it could be a sign of diabetes so I compiled a list of questions to ask the doctor.
Saturday:5/16/15 went in with crawfish pasta and found Bob fanning himself because the AC wasn’t working. He didn't feel like sitting up and decided to try again Monday.
Monday 5/18/15 brought Bob in some red beans and rice with greens and even a piece of bread and butter with pumpkin pie for dessert; really, when I saw that congealed lunch that they gave him (pureed sausage?) I wondered how anybody could eat that and have any optimism about their life and times. I brought Bob in some Aveeno so that his leg sores (still?) can be kept greased down.  I gave the nurse a list of 7/8 questions about Bob’s health: Does he have an ear infection, has he had blood work, will he get more physical therapy. Will he ever get back in his chair, home or even out of the bed at all? Is this all that Bob has to look forward to for the rest of his life? How’s his blood pressure, have we tested his urine and has he been tested for diabetes???
            I gave Bob a shave and a haircut (his first in 4 months) before leaving because it is cooler for him because the AC STILL hasn't been fixed.
            While I was shopping the social director for the facility called me on my cell to tell me that Bob owes $557.00 for that part of last month that he wasn't covered by Medicare. I’ll pay it. We decided that Bob needs to change doctors and we’ll do that 5/20 to get him better care. Bob does not want to be put into a Geri-chair—a type of recliner that he had his foot busted in that last time that they tried to do it. He doesn't trust them at all. I explained to the S.D. that Bob’s discharge will have to be pushed back indefinitely because Bob will only sleep while someone is in his attendance at home and then, unsupervised, he will return to his chair. Well, that’s a bust because Bob cannot sit up for more than 15 minutes in his chair without blacking out and he cannot sit in his chair because he needs more physical therapy which he is not getting. I pointed out that we need to know from the doctor exactly what Bob’s future is and if it is so being that Bob will never get out of bed we NEED TO TELL HIM!!!!!!

            Well, I go back tomorrow 5/20 and try to sit him up, pay his bill, change his doctor, bring him some semblance of normal food and get some answers. Hopefully the air conditioner will be working. I want to be proactive while not making waves; after all, I only visit, Bob has to live there.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

More about Bob (draft)

FIRST. The first story about Bob was for the Thanksgiving 2011 edition. It was posted in that August. For a background on Bob, maybe you should read that first.
Secondly: I’d like to correct the misnomer of a phrase that is used in our everyday conversations and that expression is:‘fallen through the cracks’; a term that’s used to point out a segment of the population that is out of what we consider mainstream. There is no such thing; no one falls through the cracks, when one finds themselves in the cracks that is where they stay, they don’t fall through, that would imply that they would fall out at the bottom of the crack and there is no bottom to fall out of; this is about folks that live in the cracks.
            Take my friend Bob for example

Wedged in, stuck in—fall into-trapped Bob is wedged in the crack and he may never get out. 

As you have read Bob was moved to the second floor of the home, the floor where it is permanent that a resident is going nowhere. It's here or die or in Bob's case until we can/if get him out. He no longer gets physical or speech therapy. He is in bed now still ungroomed except for being fed, washed and having his diaper changed
On the first Wednesday at the beginning of May Bob was moved to room 220. I was unable to get to him until the next Monday. Bob's belongings, his radio, scooter and bed were delivered to room 119.
When I got to Bob on Monday he had been left with none of his stuff. He was yelling that the nurse had put him in a Geri-chair and busted up his foot. When we got him into the other bed we discovered that he had been place with his left hand facing away from the wall, the hand that Bob has the most trouble using. Bob was left helpless in a hospital for five days. No one thought to care about this resident's well being, he was just another body in another bed to keep alive. 
I was there for two hours getting everything squared away and that's another story.
Bob doesn't have the strength to sit up now and it will be up to us to get him to where he can go back to mobility and independent living. Bob really screwed if we cannot do something miraculous and, as you know, miracles are in short supply
The home now takes all of Bob's stipend and gives him $38.00 a month to live on a sum that wouldn't buy me razors. Oh, and there still is no barber or dentist furnished by the home.
Bob's going down and we are trying to be his lifeline but it aint looking too good.
Bob would like to go home; however, the state will only give him an aide for 5 1/2-6 hours a day. Bob is scared to death that someone is going to leave him in bed and leave him so he wants to opt for sleeping those aide hours and being in his chair for the rest. This is not possible or acceptable. Bob needs 24 hour attention and that aint happening at home. Bob is captive and trapped and 62 years old. How would you feel? And more important how are you going to feel when this happens to you, as it will happen, sooner or later to ALL OF US????
There are no funds for our elders humane endings. The home is over worked under funded, understaffed workers in underpaid and less than skilled jobs doing the best that they can and it aint right.
Bob could be in a better place for $50,000.00 a year. Do you have that kind of money to spend on your parents or grandparents, let alone some friend that hasn't a pot? Think about it. This is now Bob's future, what is yours?

I fear that there is very little hope left and I pray that I am wrong.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dazeball World Serious

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
            Yes, we’re in the thick of baseball season. Baseball described by Brazilian friends as the “hit the boll with a stick run around in a circle” game that is near and dear to the heart of any red blooded American who believes in apple pie, Mom, the NRA and people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps (even those with no boots).
            Okay, here we are in the World Serious--game seven-- each team has won three and this one is for the whole enchilada. The Chicano Red Sox are playing the New York Wankers for the title of ‘World Champion. It’s a cool, clear day in the Wankers’ stadium, the fans sit half-dozing in their seats, women in tight dresses and men with powerful thirsts and a taste for tubes of mystery meat wrapped in bread garnished with a spiced yellow substance which we thought was mustard, but wa snot.
            The score is tied at nothing to zero in the bottom of the ninth and if this game goes into extra innings the crowd will surely riot. To pay good money for this much boredom is close enough to criminal to warrant at least one arrest. The air smells of stale beer, cooked swine, sun tan oil and pot. Runners at first and third and this year for the first time each team has brought picnic lunches and barbecue grills. The Wankers are holding their annual carwash in center field complete with women in skimpy swimsuits. The Sox not to be outdone are passing around shots of tequila and funny cigarettes.
            Up at bat is the Wankers’ Lefty Miller who is batting right handed since being hit by a fly ball in the sixth inning while waving at the crowd and still making a spectacular catch with his cap. He eyes the pitcher warily sensing a real showdown. The pitcher Willie Mantle is answering a text from home plate while the catcher counts to five four times with his left hand signaling Willie’s famous twenty second slow ball which can be swung at three times before passing the plate effectively banishing another batter to the dugout bullpen walking slow and singing sad.
            Lefty steps up to the plate, swings a few times for practice, spits, grabs his crotch and hits his shoe with the bat before crossing himself and looking up to heaven for the Lord’s sanction. Willie grabs his crotch and spits, looking to the first baseman who spits and then grabs his crotch, the runner on first spits twice and grabs his crotch with both hands; soon both teams are spitting and grabbing crotches (theirs and those of their teammates); the umpires call a time out to gather and lecture both team’s crotches… er….coaches who are eating sunflower seeds and spitting the seeds out and scratching the backs of their necks. Soon the umpires are scratching their necks and chewing tobacco because they don’t have any sunflower seeds, but still feel the need to spit something to stay part of the game in solidarity.
            The play continues and the ball is thrown. Swung on and missed, strike one; a snore goes up from the crowd. The catcher returns the ball and Willie throws again,. Close and inside  and Lefty puts one high on the outside over right field, the right fielder picks the ball on the bounce stops to take a selfie , throws to home and the runner is picked off at the plate after a ten yard slide, the call is ‘out’ and the score remains tied, nada nada. After snuffing out the runner from third the catcher tweets his prowess to the multitude of his followers. Lefty holds on at first and instagrams his arrival with a pose with the first base coach who slaps him on the ass and high fives are passed around.
            The score is still zip to zilch at the top of the ninth with runners on first and second, two outs and up to the plate comes Pee Wee Romano the Chicano short stop, who walks to the plate slips under the ump’s arm and steps on the catchers foot. He swings two bats and throws one over his shoulder, hisses under his breath and shoots a dirty look at the pitcher who is on his cell phone and with his back turned tosses the ball which Pee Wee bunts, slides to first, trips the first baseman and the bases are loaded. The crowd wakes up. And as if you cannot guess what happens now, Mighty Casey comes to bat. Wearing headphones.
            The time is now the place is here, folks; top of the ninth bases loaded and so is Casey. The pitcher throws one at his head and the call is ‘ball one’. Next pitch is a screaming fast ball that catches Casey unawares and : Steeeerike One!!!” two pitches follow quickly, aimed at his knees and feet, and the call stands at three balls and one strike. The women are throwing their panties into the infield and the men are calling their mistresses.
            Mighty Casey points his bat over center field to indicate where his next homer is going to land and Willie takes a wad of spit from under his cap and greases the ball, the coach rubs his stomach, picks his nose and pulls at his belt. The catcher is signaling in sign language and the pitch is thrown. Casey, Mighty Casey, Huge, mean, powerful, godlike Casey swings his mighty bat …………..and misses. Men cry, women faint, children pick pockets and snatch purses
This is the moment of truth; bases are loaded, full count to the batter, the best batter the league has ever seen and the pitcher winds up; but before the pitch is thrown the skies open up and it starts to pour rain and the game is called at nil to nothing. Tune in tomorrow..

Me For Mayor

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Supreme Commander
Hizzonah Myself
            So you want to know what I would do as your next Mayor? Well, I don’t blame you; as y’all know, this city has more issues than Good Housekeeping and I having to tackle each and every one of them is the foundation of my platform… plus this:
1.    I wouldn’t take a salary and would donate that money to the food bank.
2.    I would live and stay put in this city for the duration of my term.
3.    I would never lie, misconstrue or evade in my communications.
4.    Period.
My first manner of leadership is to tell you things that you do not want to hear and institute policy that is for everyone’s good and safety. Such as, I see no need in our city to allow anyone to possess an assault or rapid fire weapon for any reason. If that pisses some people off--- so be it.
We have a civic vampire attitude running rampant through our city that’s sucking the life out of us all; therefore I propose that we stop making our city a suck city.  And I propose that we all let eachother know how we are bringing us down by saying something.
1.    If you mistreat your children, spouses or pets: you suck.
2.    If you litter, don’t recycle or conserve resources: you suck.
3.    Merchants, landlords and businesses that screw people: suck.
4.    You don’t vote: you guessed it.
5.    Inconsiderate, rude or abrasive? You so suck.
Okay, you’re riding to work and you see me doing something counterproductive to our city’s good name; you need to yell at me “Hey Phil…. You suck!” Period.
Next I would have a website called NOLApedia where you can get information about what’s going on in the city and why; such as  “what the heck have they been doing on Louisiana Avenue all this time?” or “Why do I see one city worker digging a hole in my street and why does it take six people to supervise him?” or “why do the public swimming pools close down in August,  what happened to free citywide WiFi  or why do we have solar trashcans and inadequate street lighting?” “What ever happened to the crime cameras that we were promised?” Stuff like that.
How about I base, as a cornerstone of my campaign, permanently repairing our streets? Would you like that? How about if your mayor and city council members personally answered your phone calls and your emails? You don’t keep up with what your elected leaders are up to? (you suck.) How about if I create a position in government called “City Mother” to look after motherly concerns like “how do I control that 14 year old that is terrorizing my chickens?”
How about a policy that makes a parent responsible for their child’s stupidity? How about if a mugger had to pay his victim’s inconveniences? What if the police were in shape and actually walked their beat and not segue? How about we ease the heck up on the Nazi parking policies?
Listen, (I’m told) there is a little known statute on our books called ‘proof of gainful employment’ (the vagrancy statute); the police have been using it for years to harass African Americans returning from work at night (betcha didn’t want to hear that one). If that’s true, why do we have the same vagabonds on the same corners of our neighborhoods and who are those people holding signs begging for money at our intersections and how can we really help them? Speaking of which, how come we don’t have licenses for street ‘entrepreneurs’ who make their living from the kindness of visitors and strangers (and have them file taxes like the rest of us)? And if we have enough legislation on our books to make us a great city, why are we not able to enforce these rules, like getting pets spayed and neutered (it IS the law).
Why do we treat our elders and disabled like they’re throwaway citizens? Why don’t we put a deposit on cans and bottles (and to go containers?)  And get rid of plastic grocery bags and all Styrofoam, while we’re at it.
I also propose things like putting into effect the raise in minimum wage that the voters voted for years ago and also to give minimum wage to hospitality workers. Restaurant owners won’t like that but, hey; there are more waiters that vote than owners, so what the heck. Also I would strive to create more jobs, and more jobs outside of the hospitality sector by citing that we don’t need more dishwasher and busboys---we need more carpenters, plumbers and electricians. What does that mean? That means that every kid does not have to go to college and get a degree in political science that will only be used in getting them a job in a restaurant.. We need vocational schools and we have places for them.
And yes, everyone in this city needs access to healthcare that’s affordable to their level of income (and NO compromise on that!). And on and on.
In short, I don’t want to live in a sucky city and I propose (with your help and cooperation) to lead us out of that. Heck after that I may run for governor so that our state doesn’t suck. And who knows, sometime in the future you may see a Presidential contender who is running on the platform of “We don’t need to suck as a country anymore!”

Bob's in the hospital

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Wounded Bird
The Kindness of Strangers
The call comes in as we knew someday it would. Bob’s in the hospital and it ain’t lookin’ good.
You know, when we’re born, we’re all dealt an unjust hand with which to make sense of our lives and desires. Deal with it; life isn’t fair. We all live with seemingly irreversible idiosyncrasies-- which affect us personally –that we’re stuck with. For most of us it’s merely an insecurity that we live with: am I fat, balding, weak, unattractive or will I ever have enough wealth/fame/power to live well? I’m going to die?
Born with Cerebral Palsy (and a 157 I.Q.), Bob’s had a much harder road to hoe than most of us. On the plus side: He’s extremely independent. on the other side of the coin: Bob’s short on taking responsibility for his life, health and welfare. That’s major challenges that Bob faces, or in his case, didn’t face. Bob’s basically screwed.
Bob has his own apartment, motorized scooter and is on the dole; things are hunky-dory, right? No. Bob; has a health care aide that doesn’t show up except maybe to put him on the toilet, Bob lives in his chair, sleeping and not being groomed at all. Bob fritters away his income except on his lights, heat and air conditioning. The end of January, when Bob has not turned on his heater, Bob is taken to a hospital with his body locked in silting position, dirty, smelling of the infections that have swollen his legs and brought them to the point of ooze.
Bob is happy, briefly, to be taken care of until he finds that his salvation has become his prison; flat on is back (with his legs still locked) Bob lacked the strength to feed himself. The aid and assistance (at the facility) Bob received was swift and professional; unfortunately, Bob had let himself deteriorate for so long that his comeback will be long and arduous. Add to that that Bob is not a self starter; his stay consists of him in bed with a diaper on, a radio and a television that he watches (old movie channel) with the sound off and Girlfriend and I, his gophers, who bring him treats, real food (facility provides pureed diet), and pep talk visits at least four times a week,.
Now hear this, Bob’s stay is paid by Medicaid/care for the first hundred days and after that he is either discharged or he stays and (all) his income/assets belong to the facility, they’ll give him $38.00 a month for himself and he’ll be there, barring outside assistance for the rest of his life. On his back. In a diaper. Eating pureed food.
The facility does not have a barber on staff, nor a dentist and a doctor visits pretty much sporadically and infrequently. There is probably 30 nurses to every doctor and a like amount of attendants. If you’d like to see the place that people go and become invisible, visit one of these ‘Nursing/Healthcare Centers’.
Now don’t get me wrong, Bob gets three squares, physical therapy, nurses that care about him specifically, medications, speech therapy and a social worker to conduct his stay. For the rest of his life. They do the best they can. Bob is only sixty-two years old; he wants to get out but cannot. At first he was very adamant, wanting his chair so that he could leave (I personally rode his scooter up the two miles to him----giving me great respect for those in such vehicles). He then resigned himself to care and through the weeks I have been with him through his myriad of moods: fear, depression, anger, frustration, indignity, helplessness, loneliness, and near rage. I have kept his rent paid and his bills; I’ve cleaned his apartment and donated his music collection to anyone who would keep and appreciate it. I have raised what money I can to keep his life available once he’s able, if ever, to go home. I have a new home aide service in place to aid him upon his discharge. It’s complicated.
Friends and acquaintances have sent cards, kids have drawn pictures; we have given talks to Bob from ‘attaboy’ to ‘get off your ass’. I’ve endeavored to keep up his spirits; but you know what(?) I’m not the one in a broken body, bed bound twenty-four-seven with nothing but my thoughts and vulnerability. I’m the impotent friend that can do nothing to help him back to the life he misses and bring him creature comforts and explore ways to get him back to his form of a normal life. Sometimes when I feel frustrated I imagine his plight and realize how blessed I am.

Bob’s doctor and therapist advise him of the riskiness of him going home now and he’s being moved to the residency area of the facility, a hundred days have passed. They told me that his recovery is in his own hands; he’s come a ways but has a long way to go. No one has told him how long that will be so, Bob’s in limbo. It’s up to Bob to overcome his tendency for inaction regarding his welfare and work harder. I believe in Bob, I have faith in him. I pray for him. My troubles are nothing compared with his.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Verb to Be

The Verb to Be
February 19, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
André Breton in 1924.
AndrĂ© Breton’s poem “The Verb to Be” originally appeared in our Spring 1985 issue.
I know the general outline of despair. Despair has no wings, it doesn’t necessarily sit at a cleared table in the evening on a terrace by the sea. It’s despair and not the return of a quantity of insignificant facts like seeds that leave one furrow for another at nightfall. It’s not the moss that forms on a rock or the foam that rocks in a glass. It’s a boat riddled with snow, if you will, like birds that fall and their blood doesn’t have the slightest thickness. I know the general outline of despair. A very small shape, defined by jewels worn in the hair. That’s despair. A pearl necklace for which no clasp can be found and whose existence can’t even hang by a thread. That’s despair for you. Let’s not go into the rest. Once we begin to despair we don’t stop. I myself despair of the lampshade around four o’clock, I despair of the fan towards midnight, I despair of the cigarette smoked by men on death row. I know the general outline of despair. Despair has no heart, my hand always touches breathless despair, the despair whose mirrors never tell us if it’s dead. I live on that despair which enchants me. I love that blue fly which hovers in the sky at the hour when the stars hum. I know the general outline of the despair with long slender surprises, the despair of pride, the despair of anger. I get up every day like everyone else and I stretch my arms against a floral wallpaper. I don’t remember anything and it’s always in despair that I discover the beautiful uprooted trees of night. The air in the room is as beautiful as drumsticks. What weathery weather. I know the general outline of despair. It’s like the curtain’s wind that holds out a helping hand. Can you imagine such a despair? Fire! Ah they’re on their way … Help! Here they come falling down the stairs … And the ads in the newspaper, and the illuminated signs along the canal. Sandpile, beat it, you dirty sandpile! In its general outline despair has no importance. It’s a squad of trees that will eventually make a forest, it’s a squad of stars that will eventually make one less day, it’s a squad of one­-less-­days that will eventually make up my life.
Translated from the French by Bill Zavatsky and Zack Rogow.