Day 231 : A Good Samaritan Thwarted or Disability in the American South

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movem...
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Pavilion (Photo credit: Xares)

A few years ago I tried to donate plasma and was told that I couldn’t, after waiting at least thirty minutes and going through the entire process which took at least another fifteen minutes I was told to go home. Why? It wasn’t because I was underweight or two short, or because of tattoo work done within the last year. All of these things were posted reasons why a person might be refused, none of them applied to me. They told me I couldn’t donate because I was distant. I didn’t get upset at first, I politely informed them that if they called the Nashville Red Cross office and had someone look up my name they would find I was a registered donor and therefore if I was perfectly capable of donating blood then plasma shouldn’t be a problem. They didn’t even pick up a phone. Now I was angry. I will be the first to admit that the fact that plasma donors get paid was a plus and I was not going to refuse the extra cash. However I have spent a lot of time in hospitals for various medical procedures over my lifetime and I look for ways to pay forward my good fortune whenever possible. My state ID is marked as organ donor and everybody in my family knows my feelings. If a stranger who would die the next day is given even six months longer to live because I die the my death and life have served a purpose.

 

They made a mistake when they told me, the reason I wouldn’t be allowed to donate. The nurse who told me did so in the waiting area. I was essentially told that I was too disabled to donate in front of roughly 25 people. Something switched in my brain. If they were going to imply that I was a second-class citizen then they would never, ever forget the day I came through that door.

 

I screamed, and not the incoherent rage screaming that my family will tell you I am capable of. How dare they shoo me away when I hear frequently about the need for more regular donors? It wasn’t a worry over my health because if it was you would have called Red Cross like I told you to, if I’m healthy enough to donate whole blood than I can surely donate plasma but you can’t even be bothered to pick up the phone and make a call that would probably take all of ten minutes! You even waved away the number to my doctor’s office If anybody could tell you whether I could safely do this or not it would be him!.That’s the gist of what I said anyway. I screamed load enough that the director of the facility came out of his office. I’m pretty sure by the time I left he regretted that decision because I soon as I saw him it got worse. He had had the final say on my donating or not. No I did not strangle him with his own tie but I thought about it.

Perhaps the funniest part of this is that they kept looking at my mom expecting her to try to cut my tirade short. She didn’t. She let me tear them up one side and down the other without so much as blinking. When we left you could have heard a pin drop. I asked her later why she had not done anything to stop me. She said I had a right to be pissed off and hopefully this would help enlighten able bodied people to the fact that we (disabled people ) have our own opinions and should not be ignored. I love her extra for that day.

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Day 230: Follow the Yellow Brick Road or Home, Leaving and Coming Back

You can’t go home again. When we are children I don’t think many of us understand that phrase. When I was in elementary school and smaller my mother who is only 5 foot four was “mommy mountain” to me even though she was definitely not the tallest person I knew. It was not until my freshman year of high school that I really noticed that even though I was still shorter than her it was only by a few inches. I think we all can recall an incident when our parents showed themselves to be nothing more or less than human, think the “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” scene in The Wizard of Oz. When I first saw the movie as a little girl that scene came as a bit of a shock and the “wizard” was a letdown. He was just an ordinary man who found a way to live in an unfamiliar situation

 

Of course once they get to the Emerald City they discover that they don’t really need the wizard after all. Somewhere along the way the Scarecrow uses his brain, the Tin Man listens to his heart, the Lion finds his courage, and Dorothy discovers that the way back home has been on her feet the whole time. To the folks back in Kansas Oz is nothing more than a fever dream and is easily dismissed. For me the journey from rural Kansas to the Emerald City and bac has never been that simple.

 

Like so many stories before and after it Dorothy’s travels down the yellow brick road are a hero’s journey of sorts. In short she leaves Kansas essentially a girl and return somehow more grown up than when she left. There truly is no place like home because once a person has stepped sway from home, away from everything familiar no matter how many times you come back things will never be the same again. Why? Because you are different now.

 

Home is defined simultaneously as both a place of origin and a destination. I have come to believe that we are all looking for home and that sometimes the journey to get there is the most important part

Emerald City
Emerald City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 229: To the Stranger Who Asks “How does that work, ” for the 200th time

 

English: Illustration of the double moon symbo...
English: Illustration of the double moon symbol used by bisexuals who wish to avoid the use of triangles. This example is in the colours of the Bisexual Pride flag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am bisexual. I am lucky enough to have both a girlfriend and a boyfriend, who I adore.. This particular post is a rant concerning the attitudes of strangers to my girlfriend and I as a couple. Guys, if you ask me if I’m bisexual the answer is yes. If you ask me if I’m dating a girl the answer is yes. I am dating and intend to remain committed to one of the most beautiful, intelligent women I know. Yes, my boyfriend knows he’s dating us both. All of these questions I will answer politely and with grace.

What I will do is go into detail about my sex life with either of them. My orientation and choice of partners is not meant for anyone’s gratification beyond myself and my partners. No you CAN NOT watch us make out, and NO WE WILL NOT sleep with you. Why not?Here are just a few reasons

  1. Bisexual is not the same as sex worker. Just because we like both doesn’t mean we’ll sleep with everybody.

  2. I just met you, it is quite possible you’ve got something AJAX couldn’t scrub off. No thanks, I’ll pass.

  3. Remember the boyfriend I mentioned? He doesn’t share with other men. He also doesn’t take kindly to either of us being harassed.

    We (women, bisexuals, people with disabilities poly folk, etc.) do not live our lives for the entertainment and curiosity of others. We deserve the privacy and respect anybody does. Next time you want to ask someone about their relationship ask yourself this: would you feel comfortable if a stranger asked you that question? If the answer is no the question is probably best left unasked, it’s that simple.

Day 228: For Auld Lang Syne

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I brought in the New Year at home which is quite common for me. I rarely go out New Year’s Eve for the simple reason that I can’t drive and the majority of people I know with a license either had to work or had plans of their own. As one calendar year faded into another I was struck by how anti-climactic it was. After all the debate surrounding the Mayan calendar and the recent tragedies in the names New Year’s Eve was uneventful at least in my part of the world. I guess what they say is true, time marches on whether we think it should or not. Several years ago I had to request a copy of my high school transcript, when I went to pick it up I noticed a memorial garden and branch that had been placed in memory of a classmate of mine who died just before senior year. I remember hearing the news of his death and that my grief was solid and heavy in the pit of my stomach. I also remember that the grief twisted and snarled around me like heavy links of a chain, and I suddenly had an idea of what Jacob Marley‘s ghost must have felt like.

 

Do not mistake me, my grief lies not in the fact that I knew the young man well, rather, I grieved for opportunities lost. I did not know him half as well as I would like and even though he was in and out of the hospital continuously because of a heart condition the fact that I didn’t know her mom is my fault alone and that is one of my major regrets in this lifetime. Later I asked my cousin who’s going to school there at the time if she knew anything about the boy with the memorial. She informed me that to her and to most of the people she knew at school he was nothing more than a name. I almost cried.

 

This year is my 10th high school reunion. I still haven’t decided whether to go or not but I can’t help wondering if my classmates remember him. Tempus fugit. Time flies they say, sometimes I think it flies too fast, carrying with it thing that should be remembered along with things best left in the past. This year is my year to remember. I will remember to thank before I speak, book before I leak, I will remember what others forget. Most of all I will remember the importance of “I love you” because you never know when the time you thought you had will suddenly run out.