Blog Archives

Are You OK?

A while back, I came across a blog entry via Twitter that brought attention to an Australian social campaign called R U OK? It promotes starting conversations to let people know that they are cared about and to help them voice things that are not OK in their lives so that help can be provided before a situation becomes a crisis. It’s a beautifully simple concept really, and one that could realistically save a life.

This morning, I was reminded of this campaign as I was sitting on my front step waking up with a cup of coffee. This is a small community so most people know each other. When a car drove up slowly into my neighbor’s driveway, I noticed it of course but did not think much of it until the door opened and no one got out. The elderly man in the driver’s seat sat there for a few minutes and then put his head down, chin-to-chest, occasionally looking around then putting his head back down for a couple minutes. From this angle, he was acting as I’ve seen people with dementia act when they are confused, not knowing quite where they are or why.

IMG_20141111_113051

Alarmed, I got up but he picked his head back up and reached for something in his car. He seemed OK for the moment but I kept watching. After a few minutes of him just sitting there, his head began to sink again, so I went inside to get my phone in case I needed to call anyone. I headed over to his car and quietly asked him, “Are you OK?”

Startled, he jumped and stared at me for a moment before angrily telling me, “I’m napping!” The tone of voice made me take a step back and apologize, telling him I didn’t know if he needed help and I was just checking on him. He nodded then, and turned to put his head back down.

Since this was not anyone who lived there or anyone I had ever seen, I kept watch from my front step for about 10 minutes longer. Finally, he got out of the car and slowly made it to the front door where my neighbors apparently knew him and they helped him in. I apologized for startling him and was thanked with a smile and a wave that communicated to me, “It’s OK.”

Even though everything was OK this time, there may be a time that someone does really need help. The responsibility falls on all of us to be aware of the situations around us and to be proactive, asking even a total stranger… “Are you OK?”

Two Hours

In response to: The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Good Fences

In two hours, I will be relocating again.  Not far this time, but also not into the best area.  Today brings another “adventure” of clearing out my car, loading it up, moving belongings, unloading it, trying to organize my life – again.  And the cats… my God the cats hate moving.  There is a dog and two other cats in the new place.  Mine will be kept in my room for the time being as introductions to other animals are usually long and painful.  My big boy, he growls like a dog at anything he senses but can’t see.

Today brings a world without Internet for at least four days, as they can’t come out to connect it until Tuesday night and even then, with everything the house is going through, there might be issues in finding or installing lines and outlets.  I will be connecting minimally through the 4G on my phone and likely transcribing blog posts on the tiny virtual keyboard.  Tonight brings another night of trying to fall asleep in a new place, around new people. It’s sort of like a one-building commune type living situation.  The lady I’m moving in with is nice and she’s gone all out to make a comfortable space for me. Two others live there, her son and another man. I’m not terribly comfortable around men, but she’s given me the only bedroom with a door and a lock on it. The rest of the rooms – including the bathroom – as yet only have parted together drywall and blankets up for walls and doors.  The house is in a perpetual state of remodel, as it used to be a two-bedroom and has been gutted to be reconfigured into a four-bedroom. Rooms are now TINY.  However with all the loss that my life has seen over the past 14 months (actually over the past decade), my belongings have been reduced to only what I can fit in my car – and most not by choice.  Goodbye three bedroom house that Hurricane Frances took years ago – hello continued poverty.

This weekend also brings trying to get used to a new neighborhood, new people, new surroundings.  It doesn’t give the appearance of a neighborhood I’d want to walk around in alone.  It’s… older.  It’s pretty run down. It’s also surrounded by three major colleges, two within walking distance.  It reminds me of the projects in which I landed after my divorce in 2005.  Here, like there, I will have to make friends fast if I’m going to survive.  When I was in the projects in Fort Pierce, I immediately took to an elderly lady next door who everyone just called “Granny.”  Granny had been in that little house most of her 80+ years.  Everyone knew her and no one messed with her.  She looked after me the three years I stayed there and even after moving into a better place, my daughter and I still went back to visit her often.  She would always marvel at how big my daughter had gotten since the last time she saw her, even if it had only been a month between visits.  Granny was the best neighbor I have ever had.  I’m praying that my surroundings, while rough on first glance, will prove friendly enough that I don’t have to worry about the safety of myself or my belongings.

At A Crossroad (Perblog Oct. 19, 2013)

PerBlog October 19, 2013

 

After spending the majority of this year out of work and the most recent 2-3 months couch-surfing after I lost my apartment, I am finally starting to get settled in at my new home.  It is 2 ½ hours from where I have been for the past decade, but St. Lucie County had just completely run out of opportunities for me. After my old boss passed away and the company closed behind him in January, I simply could not find work that was enough to take care of my basic needs. I’d found temp work here and there, but nothing permanent came through.  With my apartment several months behind, that was it.  I started another temp job and put my stuff into storage, staying between my car and a neighbor’s house (which quickly became very abusive situation).  I approached people that I trusted and no one was willing to let me stay with them until I got back on my feet so without an ounce of help from my friends and no family in the area, I had a choice to make:  continue being homeless and unable to care for myself much less my daughter, or make a change in my life.

It’s been a very difficult change to make.  150 miles away, a previous boyfriend was willing to take me in and provide food and shelter while I sought work and recovered my losses.  His family (3 kids of his own plus two extended family) has been welcoming and friendly as I try to find work here in a much bigger city and try to adjust, settle in and find my way around.  I am still looking for work, but do have some calls coming back for interviews and I am hopeful something will come through soon.  I have so much I need to catch up on – vital bills that can NOT be ignored but right now there isn’t a damn thing I can do about them.  I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I am 2 ½ hours away from my daughter until I find work and get a couple paychecks in to be able to get back for visitation, the fact that my belongings are being auctioned off at storage because I couldn’t pay for it, and the fact that I lost two pets in the process, Topper and Moppit, my cat and my dog.  I have very little clothing with me, and only one of my journals – the most recent one – even though I had kept every one of my journals since I started writing them at age 9.  I had to leave when I had to leave, and that meant coming up with only what would fit in my car.  This is the third time in my life I’ve lost it all.  Isn’t it about damn time something other than being shit on becomes permanent in my life?

Well, with nothing to my name, here I am starting over yet again.  Praying to God something permanent comes in so I can once again have gas and food (it’s still scarce here in a household of seven), proper clothing, personal bills paid, and a little to live on.  After those basics are taken care of, I look forward to being able to fix the A/C in this house, as it’s got a bad circuit board and was 92F inside today and my asthma is suffering BADLY for being stuck in this hot, humid air and I’ve no means to get my medication.  Internet would be great too!  Right now my only reliable connection is at the library.  It’s sad, the things we take for granted when we have them constantly.  When not having certain things begins to affect one’s health however, I think there is justification for bitching a bit when trying to change the situation that wasn’t working isn’t itself immediately working.  My life has turned upside-down this year and fallen out from under me.  It is HARD.  Bear with me if I’m angry or depressed or bitter.  All that pretty hope and happiness idealism isn’t always possible.

They Call Me A Hero…

Sunday night…  I don’t know what it was that made me feel the urge to go outside but something unseen directed me to get up, go outside, look left.  I can’t describe the sheer horror when I did go and saw the smoke pouring out the front door, window and wall of my next door neighbor’s apartment.  Within seconds, the fire was also visible through the wall.

Cue panic.

Within seconds, I was dialing 911 and running to wake my neighbors C. & B. on the other side of the fire.  Those 2 minutes trying to wake them felt like forever. Once they were safely outside and substantially in shock, I ran back to my place and – still on the phone with 911 – and turned my hose on the fire (which was now clearly visible through the front wall and clear that the hot spot was a faulty electrical outlet) then onto my roof and outside wood walls and back onto the endangered apartment.  B. then turned his hose on the area my water couldn’t reach and we held the fire back until the fire department arrived a full six minutes later.

I went to talk with B. and C. while the firemen took an axe to the burning front wall of I.’s apartment to expose the fire.  The source was indeed a faulty outlet that blew with a power surge.  B. & C. had reported these power surges to FPL and to the landlord repeatedly and neither had done anything about it.  Now it became a real threat to life and property.

That night after the power was cut to that duplex and all was quiet, I was still too much of a nervous wreck to sleep.  Monday morning, A. and his mom picked me up early and took me down to West Palm for the day to try to get my mind off everything.  I almost had myself convinced that it was an isolated incident and that we were safe.  That idea didn’t last long though as I spoke with C. that afternoon and she told me the landlord and the maintenance guy came out and did a “quick fix” by simply splicing a new outlet to the burned wire, replacing the front wall wood panels (only on the outside) and turning the breaker back on.  This is a violation of fire code, it remains a fire risk and no inspection was done to ensure its safety, not to mention the maintenance guy is NOT a licensed electrician – Code Enforcement will have a field day on this  C. promised to call CE this morning and I provided her the number last night.  I called this afternoon (Tuesday) to follow up after learning that she had not called because she did not have her phone.

Monday night saw no sleep either.  This event has really gotten to me mentally and emotionally and my nerves are frayed, so much so that Monday night I tried calling around for a 24-hour free counseling line to try to find a way to quell the fear and anxiety.  The only place I could get was a Consult-A-Nurse line and all they did was tell me to go to the E.R.  Well, I did.  My blood pressure was spiking, my head was pounding, my stomach twisted in knots.  I had been in a full-blown panic attack for a full 24 hours.  The Triage nurse tried twice to get my BP but could not get a reading.  He told me it was “too high for the machine to read.”  He told me to relax (yeah, right) and they’d try again in a few minutes.

The next nurse who saw me briefly told me the chart said my BP was 117/20.  Um – what?  It’s never been that low – I have uncontrolled high blood pressure and no meds for it.  I told her the guy who just tried to take it said it was so high he couldn’t get a reading.  She said, “Oh, well it says here you’re normal,” and would not check it again to get a real reading.  They falsified my chart!  They refused to treat me for the anxiety or the BP and merely sent me home with a script for Vistaril which I wouldn’t be able to get until the next day anyway.  I went in there because my pressure was so high it was making me sick and because I was in a panic attack too scared to sleep for 2 nights straight – and they refused to treat me.  This is what hospitals do to people with no insurance – they leave them for dead.  I almost wished I’d have had a stroke in the parking lot on the way out.  Let them be accountable.

Now it is Tuesday night and I still have not been able to sleep.  The landlord and his secretary and maintenance guy are trying to say someone threw a Maletov cocktail at the building.  What a load of crap.  Even fire and police reports state the cause of the fire was faulty wiring.  Maintenance also tried to assure me the building is safe now and that my building is safe, stating mine was inspected “when it was all done,” whatever or whenever that means.  I don’t feel safe.

Even today, my neighbors are calling me a hero.  Yes I stopped a fire from spreading.  Yes I got my neighbors out safely.  But to be such a wreck afterward… Idunno… doesn’t feel very “heroic.”  All I need is Valium.

Protected: Updates from around town

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below: