We're moving! Please read and rec FrugalGranny's new diary for homogenius!
We all encounter a lot of different people here at Daily Kos. Sometimes those encounters end up having a profound impact on our lives – and homogenius had that kind of impact on my life. More to the point, he had an idea that has had a major impact on the disabled members of this community, along with their families and loved ones. Down at the bottom of the Front Page, in the Table of Contents, is a list of five Featured Groups.
KosAbility is one of those five groups.
KosAbility was HomoGee's idea.
Now this funny, caring, wise man finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of poverty, care-taking, unemployment, disabilities, and approaching homelessness. I'll let him give you the overview after the squiggle....
From homogenius:* * *
It’s hard to believe that my life could have such extremes over the last decade. On one side is the fact that I have found friendship, encouragement, and inspiration in the DKos community. On the other side is my life going to shit.“I lost my leg, I lost my dream job, I lost my mind, and I lost all my hair—not necessarily in that order.”I mark the downward spiral of my life with 9/11, even though bad things started before that. I had finally achieved some success in my life as a Technical Writer after living for 40 years with undiagnosed severe ADD and 50 years with undiagnosed Asperger’s, only to be laid off six weeks after 9/11. During the preceding year I had lost a couple of major friendships and endured months of uncertainty and stress before losing part of my leg. The years that followed only got worse. I did find recurring temp employment for several years at a major SF Bay Area company and during the Jeff Gannon episode I found my way to DKos. However, without health insurance I had no coverage for my worsening depression or ADD.
Eventually, the temp work dried up, my elderly parents started to deteriorate here in SoCal and I lost my housing in SF, so reluctantly, I left SF in November of 2010. Fortunately Frugal Granny and Mr. Granny pitched in and helped me get out of Dodge. My destination was the guest house behind the home of the mother of my best friend from college. It was simple, but quiet. Unfortunately, it also placed me in the middle of a family feud and now I’m being kicked out. In the meantime, my Alopecia went supersized and I'm now basically bald as a baby from head to toe (although people do tell me I look younger). So now I've gone from looking like Santa Claus to Uncle Fester (or Dr. Evil—especially with Frugal Granny’s hairless cat).
The bottom line is everything in my life is falling apart, including me.
I'm broke and unemployed and will be homeless on July 1. Several Kossacks have generously offered to let me stay with them in places like Portland, Seattle, and Iowa, but that would require abandoning my parents and I’m their only local relative.
My parents have no more savings and I need to contribute at least several hundred a month to their care. Fortunately, llbear and VetWife are starting to help me apply for my Dad’s VA benefits.
My fake leg is dying. It's 11 years old next month, which is unheard of. The socket is starting to make creaking sounds, which means it could easily crack. When my hi-tech foot broke, one of my amputee friends gave me a spare foot he had. It's not great, but it works. He even got his prosthetist to order me a right foot rubber cosmetic shell so I wouldn't have "two left feet". But now the latch is jammed and the leg won't stay on securely. That's OK when I'm wearing the light weight pegleg, but this hi-tech foot is too heavy. So it's time for a new leg, and that's probably around $5K. This wasn't too bad up until now, but now I'm trying to go back to work.
I need dental work—bad. I have one rear molar where the crown has broken off and all that's left is jagged pieces above the gum line. It's had a root canal, so the tooth is dead. I've had to go to the County clinic twice for antibiotics when it abscessed. But the one time the guy tried to pull it, he couldn't get it numb and I spent half an hour crying in my car afterwards. On the other side, another molar has lost a crown and half the tooth is gone above the gum line. But when this one starts to go, it will be toothache city. I have several untended cavities and need a cleaning worse than you can imagine. So this is probably at least $3K.
I’m going to need money to move into any new living arrangement. As I started to investigate Social Services, I was shocked to discover that Orange County has a special office addressing the problem of homeless families (often working poor) living in cheap motels around major tourist destinations. Renting a room is probably around $600 and I figure I’ll need double that with deposit.
Over the past eighteen months I've had to deal with my Dad breaking his hip and subsequent rehab, emptying his apartment by myself and moving him into assisted living; my mother almost dying two months ago; getting rear-ended and having my car totaled; my landlady having an accident and her car totaled; looking after my parents by myself; doing errands and odd jobs for my landlady; going down to dog sit for my best friend and his wife; and worry about the downward spiral that my life has become.
Basically I've been in denial as my life has crumbled around me and now I no longer have that luxury. I'm embarrassed to have my fellow Kossacks know how bad things have gotten. But there it is.
Here’s the good news:
I’m fortunate to have people in our community rallying around me, encouraging me, propping me up, and basically ordering me to shut up and let them help (never argue with nurses or other strong women—trust me!).
I have an in-person interview this week for hourly work at a major Southern California tourist attraction. But even if it get in, it will likely be part-time for around $9/hr. That’s barely enough to rent a room down here.
SallyCat is coaching me on how to apply for Social Services and navigate the system, but there’s no guarantee of what I will eventually receive or when. There are so many hoops to jump through for MediCal and food stamps and one is often turned down the first time.
What I need to keep going:
In the meantime, I’m near total meltdown. As others have shared, one of the hardest things when one is so completely dependent on family and close friends is when family and personality conflicts jeopardize one’s housing or other necessities. The imbalance of power provides the perfect growth medium for dysfunctional behavior. It’s bad enough that I’m facing homelessness, but now that my friend’s sister has turned her mother against me, I feel like I’m losing part of my family. I feel liked I’ve been kicked in the gut. I’m sorry this all sounds so melodramatic, but I was ordered to be honest (Kelley used her “Nurse voice”, SallyCat gave me “the look”, and Frugal Granny threatened to let loose the cats of war).
Here’s what I need help with:
New Housing $1200
Past Bills $1500
New Leg $5000
Obviously, the first two are the critical ones right now. I’m still working on finding a Prosthetist who will work with me on the cost of a new leg, so I may be able to reduce what I have to pay. The dental doesn’t have to be all at once, but I hope to avoid any emergency care.
Many thanks to Team HomoGee (NK, SC, and FG) and all the other Kossacks who have helped and encouraged me this past week. I could not have made it this far without your help. And thank you everyone who reads or participates in this diary. I’m grateful to everyone for just being here.
FrugalGranny here with word or two. This man is our best friend. Mr. Granny and I met him at a meetup at kimoconnor's place in 2008. Later we took him with us to SallyCat's place for a holiday meetup. After that, we tried to kidnap him for picnics in the hills every chance we got.HOW TO MAKE A DONATION
Not long after that, we kidnapped him and ran away to the Santa Cruz Mtns. We took him with us to celebrate our anniversary (more than once) in the redwoods.
Our goal is to raise $10,000 - $8,000 for a new prosthetic leg and emergency dental work, $2,000 for critical bills and housing. No donation is too small! We've seen over and over again how quickly our little donations add up. Here's the info:
The fast way: Log on to Paypal.com and send money to Homogenius001@aol.com
(Please note: There is a name with the initial's DL on the PayPal account. This might be confusing if you know HomoGee's secret identity.)
The slow way: Kosmail me or HomoGee and we'll send you his mailing address.
11:07 AM PT (homogenius): 11:00 AM PDT--We just passed the $1000 mark after only an hour. You guys are incredible. Thank you so much.
12:00 PM PT (homogenius): We're at $1650! This is really amazing. I appreciate it so much.
1:05 PM PT (homogenius): Three hours in and we're over $2050. I can't say thanks enough.
2:07 PM PT (homogenius): We're now at $2433.26. Don't forget everyone, KosAbility diary just got posted. Please show some love there! And thank you again.
3:06 PM PT (homogenius): Wow--we're at $3128.26! Do you guys realize this is NOT the annual fundraiser for Bill in Portland Maine/Cheers and Jeers? 'Cause, you know, I'm nowhere near that funny!
4:12 PM PT (homogenius): $3243.26. Thanks, everyone.
5:02 PM PT (homogenius): $3363.57. Words fail me.
6:41 PM PT (homogenius): Sorry, everyone, my computer froze again and I had a phone call from a friend who needed emotional support. We're at $3701.70. Thank you all.
7:08 PM PT (homogenius): We're at $3776.70 and 68 donors so far. I'm blown away.
8:12 PM PT (homogenius): $4108.50 Many, many thanks.
9:08 PM PT (homogenius): $4282.81 so far. It is increasingly difficult to put into words how I feel.
10:12 PM PT (homogenius): OK--we're still at $4282.81. I'm so grateful to everyone--this has been the most incredible 12 hours of my life.
Thank you all.
11:04 PM PT (homogenius): Good night everyone. I'm so grateful for all my friends--many of whom I've never actually met. This is so overwhelming. Thank you all so much.
Mon May 07, 2012 at 9:08 AM PT (homogenius): Our overnite total is $4702.82. This is just incredible.