Monday, June 25, 2018

Benefits of a Dialysis Patient

At 56 years old with husband
   A mere ten years ago, I had more energy, like I wasn’t fifty six years old.  I just acquired a new husband, slim with blue eyes, blond hair and mustache.  I had a full time job that gave me $38K a year.  That was no big deal but it was good enough for me.  I shopped at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  I drove a red coupe I named Slick.  I wore stiletto high heels everywhere and drove with them.  Then, End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) happened.

   Slowly, my body changed.  Cold temperature that used to be tolerable felt like freezing to me.  The summer heat in Kentucky that reached 90+Fahrenheit didn’t use to bother me.  One day, while doing door to door preaching, I felt dizzy and weak.  I was told to rush back to my car and turn on the air conditioning.  

   “It can’t be the heat, I came from a tropical country,” I said.

   “You’ve been here two years now, your body has adjusted to American climate,” the Elder said.  

   There in my car, I cried.  I realized for the first time, it wasn’t the climate, it was the kidney disease.  My new husband divorced me after I was diagnosed.  I lost my job the month I started dialysis.  I could no longer afford the red coupe.  I was told by my doctor to quit wearing high heels.  He said if I should suffer a fall I might get crippled.

   So, where did the benefits come in?  First I got unemployment benefit for one year and a half.  With nothing to do, I started writing a book.  When I traveled, I got a wheelchair and a man pushing to take me to my next gate, no more stress over missing my next flight, or lining up at airport Immigration counter, or catching my luggage at the revolving ramp.  

   When the unemployment benefit was exhausted, I got social security SSA and SSI.  It’s a very small amount compared to what I was earning but I got my basic needs.  I got disabled parking.  I still have time in my hands to write some more, so that I finished two books.  I got a blog going, then a YouTube channel.  Those were not enriching, not exactly fifteen minutes of fame, but gratifying.  

   I found friends in Facebook groups of dialysis patients.  I have patient friends I found at the dialysis center lobby while waiting for our treatment.  There, early mornings on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, all five of us ladies, one American, one Chinese and three Filipinas, sit in a half circle and discuss our concerns.  The techs call us “The View, broadcasting live from the lobby of DaVita!”

See also:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Process Experience

   I have been on dialysis for eight years before I accepted that I have a disability.  I drive myself to and from dialysis, to and from preaching routinely and to errands.  Parking condition in San Francisco is bad enough for non-disabled.  Imagine what it’s like for the disabled.  Friends have asked me numerous times why I don’t have a disabled parking placard.  Yet, I considered applying for a disabled parking only recently.  

   I got an application form from DMV and asked my nephrologist to sign it, and he included his doctor’s license number.  I submitted the form to DMV on a Wednesday after the preaching work.  I was dressed in what most people recognize as “Jehovah’s Witness attire”.  The Latina lady at the DMV counter took one look at me and decided that I’m not disabled, like I’m making it up because I wasn’t walking with a cane, no wheelchair, no shabby sick look.  

   “Your doctor’s penmanship is unreadable.  Here’s a blank form.  He needs to do it over again,” she said as she handed me the old and blank forms.

   My nephrologist did the form over with better writing, signed it and again included his doctor’s license number.  The DMV lady said it’s still not good enough, a check box was left unchecked.  I had to drive back to my doctor, suffer the terrible parking situation at DMV all over again then went back to DMV.  The Latina at the counter called in another Latina who seemed to be her supervisor.   

   “Oh, you're sixty six years old.” she said, like she didn't believe it.  Most Asians don't look their age.  Then she turned the form over.  “Oh, the doctor put his license number.  Go back to him he needs to check this,” she said marking a paragraph with a highlighter. 

   On the fourth try, I have just about had it.  Still, I went back to DMV to resubmit my application form for a temporary disabled placard.  This time it was on a Friday and the line to the “Appointments and People with Disability” counter was a quarter of a mile long.  

   After I had stood in place for two hours, another Latina employee asked the line who has an appointment and who were the disabled.  She then rearranged the line to put those with appointments who came late up front and threw all the disabled to the back of the line.  I had stood on this line before, as this was the fourth time I was resubmitting.  This was the first time the disabled were thrown to the back of the line.  My anger at the injustice started to rise.  

   Finally after two additional hours of standing, making it a total of four hours, I reached the counter.  I was given a number to watch out for at the monitor hanging from the ceiling.  I sat down in front of the monitor and stared at it for another thirty minutes.  

   Just when my number was almost up, the numbers went ten numbers back away from mine.  I jumped up to ask the lady at the counter why the numbers have gone back.  She said someone made a mistake and I should just wait for my number again.  My anger is now a notch higher.  An African-American old woman seated next to me must have been observing the entire thing. 

   “I am gonna leave you now.  Don’t do anything that will make them take you away in handcuffs.  It’s not worth it.”  She whispered to me then stood up to go.  

   I was stunned!  I didn’t realize smoke was coming out of my ears!

See also:

A Scary Filipina 
Api (Oppressed) Syndrome 
Bullying a Dialysis Patient

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Books We Read

   It’s not the tragedies we suffered, not the movies we loved, not the association of different communities that made us who or what we are today.  It’s the books we read that shaped our minds, honed our hearts and charted our future.  

In the late 60’s I read:

The Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan
by Teodoro Agoncillo

Struggle for National Democracy
by Jose Maria Sison

1. Quotations, 2.On Contradiction and
3. Selected Military Writings
All by Mao Tse-Tung

How the books changed me:

   I learned how Bonifacio’s revolution was thwarted.  I joined a nationalist student organization

   I saw firsthand the poverty of the masses by going to the slums and poor urban communities and countryside peasantry.

   I ran away from home and quit college to be a full time underground political activist.  I married a comrade.  

In the 70’s I read:

The Cinderella Complex: Women’s Hidden Fear of Independence
by Colette Dowling

The Assertive Woman by Nancy Austin and Stanlee Phelps

The New Executive Woman
by Marcille Williams

How the books changed me:

   I left my first husband because he refused to take me with him to the countryside like he used to.  He said it was for my safety.  I remarried.

   When my second husband saw what I was reading, he commented,  “Really?! You need assertiveness?!” He was being sarcastic.

   I joined and committed to the unorganized, disunited, exploited working class I fought to uplift. 

   In the 80’s I studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses.  If the order of the books were reversed, if I studied the Bible in the 60s, I would not have left my first husband. 

   “A wife is bound as long as her husband is alive. But if her husband should fall asleep in death, she is free to be married to whomever she wants, only in the Lord. But in my opinion, she is happier if she remains as she is; and I certainly think I also have God’s spirit.” (1 Corinthians 7:39-40)

   Paul says he’s got God’s spirit in saying so.  Jehovah’s spirit can’t be wrong.  I was never again as happy as I was with my first husband.

See also:

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Importance of Meditation Part 2



   This part of Moses’ story was never included in any of the movies made about him.  Let’s focus on the verses and their initial impression, then what meditation brings to the table.  

Initial Impression
Meditation Brings

Deuteronomy 34:4-7 says, “Jehovah then said to him: “This is the land about which I have sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross over there.”  After that Moses the servant of Jehovah died there in the land of Moʹab just as Jehovah had said.  He buried him in the valley in the land of Moʹab, opposite Beth-peʹor, and nobody knows where his grave is down to this day.”
Jehovah showed Moses the view of the promised land he missed.  Was that being cruel or kind?  Moses was assured that his offspring will get the land but not him.  It sounded like Jehovah was punishing him without end. 

His grave is unknown because if the Israelite knew, they might make him a monument and worship him for all the miracles they saw him perform? 
It was kind of Jehovah to show Moses a view of the promised land with the assurance that his offspring will inherit it.  Any loving parent would appreciate knowing his children will be in a good place, even if he himself won’t be there.  The view that he got to see also rewarded his efforts in taking the Jews out of Egypt.  It showed him a happy ending to his life story just before he died.

In Proverbs 3:11-12, it says “My son, do not reject the discipline of Jehovah, And do not loathe his reproof, For those whom Jehovah loves he reproves, Just as a father does a son in whom he delights.”
Did Moses lose Jehovah’s love when he died without ever getting into the promised land he led the Israelites to enjoy? 

 Jehovah disciplines with love. 

What’s the proof that Jehovah continued to love Moses after he was disciplined?
Centuries later, Matthew 17:1-3, says, “… Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John along and … he was transfigured before them… And look! There appeared to them Moses and E·liʹjah conversing with him.”  In verse 5 Jehovah himself spoke.  The presence of Moses in this “meeting” shows that Moses remained in the level of Isaiah who was never disciplined.  He was shown conversing with Jesus like they’ve all known each other despite having lived centuries apart.  What a show of Jehovah’s continuing love for Moses indeed!

See also: 
The Importance of Meditation 
Alternative Facts 
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