Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fed Up

Today at the library I had a woman do that thing where they go, "Oh no! That dog scared me!" This is not the first time this has happened.  It is kind of common.  My dog was doing nothing but standing there quietly. And she wasn't scared of him or she wouldn't have hung around acting scared, you know?

So I said to her, "The dog is not doing anything but standing here."

She said, in a kind of rude tone of voice, "I didn't say the dog was going to do anything, I said he scared me."

So I told her it was kind of rude to look at someone who is disabled and say they are scary. She harrumphed.

I just feel all fed up with people these days. Usually I ignore people who say things like that but I'm just tired of it. It wears on me.

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Isaac got a stuffed monkey named Bananas from his friend Mike for Christmas.  Isaac grabbed him up right away, carrying him around and making him squeak.  Isaac loves squeaky toys but hardly ever gets them because he usually de-squeaks them right away.  Bananas  has a squeaker in his belly, one in his head, and one in each of his legs.

His hands have little velcro tabs so he can hang on to Isaac's neck. It's hilarious. Isaac loves him and carried him around and chewed on him and got him all slobbery.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

An Apple a Day?

Isaac and I were on our way out to pee and one of Isaac's favorite neighbors was in the lobby. She had a bag of apples with her, which Isaac wanted to sniff. She said, "Here, I"ll give you one."

I told her, "He won't eat it, he thinks fruit is not food."

She said she was going to give him one anyway and held one out to him and he took it. And then if he didn't eat it. Almost all of it. A whole apple, not peeled or sliced or anything. He was cleaning up the little bits that fell out of his mouth onto the floor. He said it was yummy. I wish I'd had my phone with me so I could get a video of it.

That's Not Really Helping

My back was stiff and I felt like I needed to stretch it out, so I lay down on the floor. That turned out to be a mistake because something in my shoulder seized up and it really hurt. So I lay there on my back going "Ow ow ow!"

I had my eyes closed but I opened them when I heard heavy breathing. Isaac was standing over me, holding his Kong. When I made no move to take it from him and play, he decided to sit on me.

When I told this to a friend, she said, "That is such a lab thing to do."

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Knuckle Bone

I stopped by a local butcher yesterday to pick up some marrow bones for Isaac.  I freeze them and he loves to gnaw on them.  There is a butcher near my home that gives them to me for free.  Yesterday, she also gave me a huge, disgusting knuckle bone.

Isaac was in heaven.  Isn't it gross?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Service Dogs and Funerals

A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine died in her sleep.  Some of my readers may have been familiar with her - she was my accountant as well as my friend and she wrote the article about tax deductions for service dog-related expenses here on my blog.

A couple days ago, I traveled out of state to attend her memorial service.  But before that, I had to check with the church where the service would be held to make sure I could attend with my service dog.

Churches, you may already know, are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act.  I don't think they should be exempt, I don't think it should be legal for churches to discriminate against people with disabilities, but that is the law currently.

I resented the fact that I had to look up a phone number for the church and call them to ask if I could attend my friend's memorial service.  Of course, the person who answered the phone did not know.  Remember a couple years ago when I wanted to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and kept getting people answering the phones at churches that did not know if I could attend or not?  So I had to leave a message for the person who would know.  Fortunately she called me back the same day.  And I was able to attend with Isaac.

But I resented having to call.  It was two days before the service and I needed to make plans because it was a six hour round trip for me to go and I had to reschedule a medical appointment and I needed to know whether or not I would be allowed to attend.  And someone who is grieving should not have to deal with calling to ask, "Hey, can I come to the funeral or do you prefer not to have disabled people in your church?"  That's not the way I phrased the question, but that's basically what the question is.

Service dogs are permitted in funeral homes, by the way.  Churches are exempt, but not funeral homes.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Access Dispute Resolved

Remember my recent access dispute at a health care facility? I called and spoke with a patient advocate last Monday afternoon and I spoke with her again this morning. In just four business days, this is what she, and the company, did.

They (meaning people in charge) investigated to confirm that the Dept of Justice does not consider a Post Anesthesia Care Unit to be a "sterile area" and that, if visitors are permitted in the unit, then service dogs must be permitted too. They also made sure they understood exactly what areas can legally exclude service dogs and she mentioned them to me on the phone - things like burn units, bone marrow transplant units, etc.

The advocate also looked into the hospital's own policy regarding service dogs and found that their policy, as well as the ADA, were violated. As you might expect, hospital policy includes complying with any and all federal laws and not violating the civil rights of patients or visitors.

Now comes the really amazing part. In just four business days, a mandatory meeting/training session was scheduled for all employees of four different departments, including same day surgery and the PACU. The advocate told me one employee was absent the day of the meeting, so she was educated in a private meeting this morning. All employees were educated about the ADA and hospital policy. Some expressed concern that the PACU was a sterile area and they were told in no uncertain terms that the hospital and the Dept of Justice agree it is not and that, if visitors can just walk in wearing street clothes, so can a service dog.

The advocate told me a couple employees asked "What if it's not a real service dog?"

And they were told "That is not your call to make." They were informed of the two questions the ADA allows them to ask and told that if the handler answers those questions, the dog is allowed. They were also educated about when someone can be asked to remove a service dog, if the dog is disruptive or not housebroken.

Employees were also reminded (because apparently they are supposed to already know this) that if a patient or visitor is concerned that their rights are being violated, there is a patient advocate available 24/7 who should be called right away.

This information is also going to printed in a newsletter that all staff receive.

I am more than pleased. How amazing is it that this was done in less than one week?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

World AIDS Day

I am told it is World AIDS Day today. My younger friends may not remember when AIDS was sweeping the country. Straight people may not have realized it as it was happening. Those days when, in the LGBT community, deaths were occurring again and again and again.

People were literally wasting away. I did home health care back then and cared for many people with AIDS as they died. I watched person after person waste away, watched nurses and aides refuse to enter their rooms out of fear, even though they'd taken the mandatory course on blood-borne pathogens and should have known they were safe.

And while a great many of my clients were gay men, I also watched straight women die, women who'd contracted HIV from husbands and boyfriends, single mothers who'd only learned they were HIV-positive when they were pregnant, mothers who worried about who would care for their young children when they were gone.

I watched children die, children who'd been born HIV-positive, children whose families were afraid to tell even close family friends and relatives the true nature of the child's illness due to the stigma of AIDS.

I accompanied friends to the Health Department to get a free, anonymous AIDS test, waited and worried with them for the seven days it took to get the results.

I went to Washington to see the AIDS quilt spread on the Mall, so many squares representing people that had lived and died with AIDS.

It all seems like a long time ago. But let's not forget.