Friday, May 7, 2021

No housing help for a disabled Vet

Unless you’re a veteran who can afford a house in the hundreds of thousands. Or you can get a free house if you’re a disabled combat veteran or served during a combat war. 

But if you’re a disabled veteran on SSDI with a wife with three boys, one special needs you can’t get any help. My husband is a disabled veteran, with hearing loss who had a stroke in 2020 working two jobs. His left hand and leg still has paralysis from the stroke and here in a few months we’re going to be without a home. Our 85 year old landlord is selling the house we’re living in because his family says it’s time for him to retire. Veterans United approved us for a loan for 85,000. The problem with that is they will not approve of anything in the state of Michigan for that price. We have been trying house after house only to be told those houses would not pass.  For 85,000 you’re not gonna find something immaculate. So I reach out to Homes for Heroes in hopes maybe they could help us. But they have low balled us because even though we have savings they can’t help us until Nov 2021 when my husband gets his first SSDI check. It has made us ask why bother to keep trying? We want to give up because nobody wants to help us. A family who is in desperate need for a place to live and no one cares. Our disabled son is cognitive impaired and autistic and is already going to be making hard changes with changing schools and we will no longer living the home he has known for 13 years. Not to mention a whole new support staff (community mental health coordinator, doctor, behavioral therapist and psychologist). We will be starting new. But the hardest part of it all is we don’t know where we’re goin to live if we can’t get the VA to help us. It’s sad that not all veterans or disabled vets can get the same help as wounded veterans. My husband started to lose his hearing in the Coast Guard working on boats and flying on helicopters. It’s so bad he has to wear hearing aids. Yet we can’t get anyone to help us. We don’t want a free house. We just want a house for our family. Come June/July we won’t have anything. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

Fatigue and Pain

For over a year now I've been dealing with fatigue so bad that even if I went to be at 10pm and get eight hours of sleep, I'd still wake up tired and feeling like I sleep on a brick floor. I am 39 years old. Still young. I shouldn't be feeling like I'm a old lady struggling to get out of bed everyday yet I do. I feel like this past year its gotten worse. I was working so hard on losing weight. Worked out 5 days a week doing walking videos and other cardio. Cause I am 5'4" wearing a size 14. I have been trying to do what I can to lose the tummy. But then came the pain and the fatigue and I stopped doing the workouts. I didn't have the energy to push myself to do them anymore. So I started walking 2-3 miles with my daughter in the evenings with my daughter around our little city. We would walk multiple times a week and it felt great. I felt I was doing good at least for a little while. I would get energy and back into a routine and then my feet would hurt. Then my wrist started bothering me so much I started to wear a brace. I would have stomach issues so bad that I didn't want to eat. Or I would eat but feel full too quickly. Even now I don't eat a lot because I don't want the stomach issues that comes along with it. 

I have been dealing with fatigue so bad that when I sit in my chair I doze off. I'll wake up with a little boost of energy and then its gone. There are days where I feel okay and then I have days like today where I feel like my whole body hates me. Today I feel like if I move around too much its gonna kick my ass. But I get up and I walk around. Even went outside to get some fresh air. Don't know what's going on with me and I might have to give in and see a doctor. Its sad isn't it? When we get older we don't want to go to the doctor. Growing up isn't what its cracked up to be. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

"Mom what was the 90s like?"

My daughter Cheyenne is seventeen years old, a senior in high school who is supposed to be graduating this year but sadly with this Covid-19 virus it may not happen. We had a conversation about my life as a teenager back in the 90s compared to her here in the 2000s. I told her life back then was definitely easier. Definitely not as chaotic. This was long before the internet hit homes and pagers were a thing. Granted I never had one. My family wasn't rich. My parents had six kids in a big old farmhouse and whatever clothes we had came from thrift stores and we didn't care. I remember helping my mom lug bags of clothes to the laundromat. Going to neighborhood yard sales with my mom and aunt Nancy. I remember going with my mom to the fruit and meat markets in Detroit when I was a kid. Getting cheeseburgers under $1 and fast food in our house was a luxury because as kids we got it maybe once or twice a month. It wasn't often.

Both of my parents worked and missed out on school functions. My parents never went to any of my band concerts. But I know they were trying their best to provide. We didn't have all the shiny fancy gadgets they have now either. My time when I was her age was spent with friends walking around the mall, major magics, movie theater and even the skating rink. Cheyenne and I laughed about our differences because my kid doesn't want to even hang out with her friends. The thing is a lot of my time spent with my friends was therapeutic for me. It got me away. I told Cheyenne that my life than was different from hers mostly because she has a parent at home. She doesn't know what its like to come home in the afternoons to a empty house. She has the luxury of having both parents at home as my dad spent a lot of time out of the country or state. He was national guard. My parents did what they had to do to make sure we had food, clothing and a roof above our heads.

I told her back in the day that I was a tomboy. I wore flannels with tank tops, baggy jeans and tennis shoes. I didn't wear makeup. I didn't keep up with the latest fashion and I was a gamer. Cheyenne laughed because I still have a flannel I wore back then in a closet. In fact she has some of my clothes she wears now. If the show "What Not To Wear" was still on they would look at my closed and say YIKES.

Although I will say that even now I don't know anything about designers. Unlike my kid. Her favorite store is Rue 21. Where they sell "half shirts" for less than $20. Yes I call halter tops "half shirts" and it irks my kid. Parents are meant to irk their kids. I told her back in the 90s that tv and music was a whole different kind of ball game, Rap music was actually good back then. Music in general was far superior than as to music now. We talked about how now kids definitely have more technology. I didn't get a cell phone until 2004 and it was a flip phone. I hated texting on it because you had to tap the same number multiple times to get a letter. Honestly though even with a touchscreen I still hate texting. I told her that the way I communicated with my friends back in the day was with notes we would pass onto each other in school. I used to love that form of communication so much that even 20 years later I still have the notes from my friends. I kept them. I showed them to her. She and her friends have no idea how much fun it was to pass them on because now all they do is text. I told her that even though there are differences from when I was 17 and she is 17, that she should cherish these years as best as she can because once you hit adulthood the game changes. Life gets harder. But I told her I have faith shes gonna be fine. But it was nice talking to her about my teenage years. Even stories I haven't shared here.

If you have a teenager willing to talk to you sit down and take the time to talk. Give them that moment cause I love that my daughter loves to talk to me about everything. Not many parents are lucky.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Special Needs Parents & PTSD

There have been studies of parents of special needs children, teenagers and adults who suffer from PTSD. I have to agree with the studies as I have been suffering from it since Landon was a toddler and realized how much harm a head hurt can do. Back then it was head butting, slapping and the occasional hair pull. When they’re little it hurts but not as bad as it does when they get to be older. My 16 year old is special needs. My PTSD all started after he turned 10 and he resorted to more than just head butted and slapping. I would flinch even then not knowing what he was gonna do. But now... He isn’t a tiny kid no more in fact he’s 5’8” tall and 130lbs of solid muscle. Now... He gets frustrated and angry it’s all out war. I can tell you how many bones in my body ache from the wrath. How I naturally have reflexes now even when he doesn’t even hit me. It’s a unknown situation. I will flinch with worry about what’s about to happen. I react with flinching even when he’s just walking by. It’s my reality. So when I see stories from other parents who write stories about the meltdowns they deal with I relate on so many levels. Cause I feel their pain. Their exhaustion. The constant need to do what it takes to redirect the frustrations our special needs kids feel. I relate. 

Don’t get me wrong Landon is a awesome kid. He smiles a lot. Laughs. Loves to give hugs and kisses. Loves to pester you for the little things and enjoys lining up trucks, buses and cars with no care in the world. I love that dude of autism. I try to posit that side of autism because it’s rewarding. It taught me patience. It taught me compassion. It taught me to love his quirks. 

I’m not gonna lie some days I want to run for my life. Cause it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. My kid towers over me now. He has learned to punch and kick. He also slaps, pulls hair and headbutts. If I posted on Facebook right now that all I feel is aches and pains people would say “ it’s because you’re getting old” when they have no clue what I or any other parent if a special needs kid, teenager or adult go through on a daily basis. If I see someone say “we’ll have his meds changed” like it’s that magical I will tell them that meds don’t fix everything. In fact sometimes the meds make it worse. When my son was prescribed Abilify. I was at home with him and his siblings watching a movie when he pounced on me like he was possessed and started hitting me like I was the enemy of whatever set him off. I went back to the doctor and told him. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. His siblings had to pull him off of me. So needless to say I ended up going back to that doctor and telling him I wasn’t giving my son that med anymore. It was changed and he never did it again. But that moment scarred me for life. Ever since then I do reflexes like newborns do when they get scared. It truly sucks to feel this way. But it’s reality that we deal with every single day. So the next time you see a mom getting slapped, punched and even pulled down to the ground by their kid. Don’t judge. Don’t get video of it. Don’t laugh or tell that mom whose already feeling defeated she needs to whoop her kids ass. Do you know how many times I dealt with that? Like it helps when I’m already hyperventilating and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t redirect my kid to calm down. Just don’t do that. Show some support. Maybe try to help. Cause I wouldn’t wish that hurt even on my worst enemy. Hell I wish I had a machine that told me “ brace yourself cause here comes the storm.”

PTSD is no joke

Monday, December 2, 2019

When life gives you lemons

Oct 7 2019 my husband loses his job. Our only form of income. It’s now December and we’re struggling. No money to pay our landlord. So who knows if we will have a home in the new year. We have four teenagers who know that Christmas isn’t gonna be great. In fact I don’t even want to celebrate it. We usually bake cookies. Go buy a real tree. Paint ornaments around this time. All of that fun has been replaced with depression, anxiety and stress. Thanks to the UAW strike back in September and October, our family was screwed over. . Those who protested didn’t care about the people they were affecting when they were looking for more money. It was all about them. Forget about all the families that were affected including mine.

My husband has been putting in for jobs since Oct with no call backs. He has been waiting for unemployment to kick in. He filed in Oct and it’s now Dec.  It’s like 2019 is giving us a big ole fuck you. We have been to Veterans Affairs who have graciously helped him make a better resume and is determined to help him find a job. Just wish it would be better.

People say they’re praying for us and to keep faith. What is faith gonna do for a family of six? What is faith gonna do when you have rent due, bills and four teenagers, one who is special needs. Faith is for those who have something to believe in. At this point in my life I believe in nothing. The only good thing that has happened for us is we get diapers for our 15 year old now. We don’t have to pay for them anymore. That’s the only positive. Our daughter graduates in 2020 and we still haven’t been able to pay for her cap and gown. Might not be able to with the way it’s going right now. It’s sad how a man spends almost 17 years working at one place faithfully (was given other job offers years ago) only to lose it at the drop of the hat with no problem. He should’ve taken those jobs. Sure our family would’ve had to uproot out of the god forsaken state of Michigan but at least he would have a job. We wouldn’t be worrying about how we’re gonna tell our landlord today that we don’t have the $850 we owe him. Nor do we know when he can give it to him. We have never missed a rent payment until now and it’s so damn frustrating. So faith can go out the door and take a walk into the next century.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Loss of a Friend

September 1st 2019 a very dear person passed away. It was his birthday. He and I were close. For almost 13 years he was my friend. He and I were so close he knew things about me that not many people know. Not even my own family. He knew the darkness that lives inside me. It has since been slowly eating my soul again. I tried to hide it. Post happy things on Facebook. Pretend I’m okay when I’m not. I’m still sad.

I feel like he was my only real friend. Now he’s gone. Some days I find myself going to message him or leave a comment on his wall. But then I realize that the person who once would respond. Won’t anymore. It’s crazy that a man who lived on the other side of the world impacted me so much. But he knew me. The real me. The sad part of me. The dark part of me. The part of me that no one else knows. He knew the many things that my own siblings would know nothing of me. Not that they would care. They are so into their own lives I feel like if I told them how I really felt they would brush it off. That is why I loved Kaj. He would listen. He wouldn’t push me away. He would make everything ok. I confided in him when I felt I needed to and it’s because I could trust him. Now I’m on my own.

R.I.P Kaj Henry Osterberg

Thank you for being there for me when no one else was. You’re loved and missed ❤️

You cannot stop loving your friend because he's dead, especially if he was better than anyone alive, you know      
Jerome Salinger

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Autism - Exposing your kid to the world

I am writing this as a blog about my own thoughts and experiences as a mom with a kid/teen on the spectrum. I am in no way shape or form shaming parents. I feel like we all have our own ways of raising our kids. But I am gonna express a message I received last night about my son.

How can you take him on vacation or trips? Aren't you afraid what people will say or do? Don't you want to shelter him from the public? There is no way I could do that. My family doesn't do anything like that because we don't want people to stare or question. We don't want to face the public. I don't know how your family does it. 

I have to say that I am not gonna judge because not every family has the same relation to the broad spectrum. As her son is more higher functioning than Landon but still tends to have meltdowns. He can talk. Whereas my son doesn't. He makes noises, screeches and yells but its mostly mumbles. 

How can we take him on vacation or trips? Why not? Landon is a part of our family. Hes our kid. I didn't carry him for nine months and fed, bathed and change (still do) him everyday just to exclude him from the same experiences his non special needs siblings have. He has every right to experience vacations to Louisiana and the Great Lakes as we do. Road trips are the best! He got to experience the ocean for the first time last summer and guess what? HE LOVED IT!. Not so much the taste of it but he loved the waves crashing into him. He loved the different foods he got to try. He had a meltdown in the French Quarter but we redirected that quickly and he was fine. He did great on that trip and we were so proud of him.

He did awesome in Gettysburg, Washington D.C, Baltimore, Fort McHenry and Valley Forge too. Granted he did try to go for a swim in the Potomac River. Just last weekend he got to experience Lake Michigan for the first time and screamed because it was so cold. We did our first ever camping trip and took the kids up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he got to see waterfalls, more lakes and the Soo Locks. He did great and we never once had a meltdown or issue. Why? Cause hes used to being out in public. We have been taking him out and experiencing the public since he was diagnosed at 2. This past Saturday we all went to downtown Detroit and guess what? He did great. No meltdowns. All smiles. Even said HI! to multiple people passing by and nobody stared at him or judged him. 

We have never sheltered him no matter how ugly the public can be. Trust me when I say we dealt with our fair share of UGLY from the public. Stares. Comments. No matter what you do its gonna happen. The best thing you can do about it is to tell yourself that "that's the reflection of who they are as a person" and not your son or daughter. I have learned that when people stare I stare back and I mean I STARE right back at them. To the point that they feel uncomfortable. I find it amusing actually. But you gotta do it sometimes. As a parent we have to protect our kids. But we also have to get them used to the world. The world can be a scary place. But it also can be a great place. 

Sheltering them in my opinion only prevents them from experiencing the good things that we all get to enjoy. Special needs or not. A kid should experience life. Sheltering is not living. Its surviving.

No housing help for a disabled Vet

Unless you’re a veteran who can afford a house in the hundreds of thousands. Or you can get a free house if you’re a disabled combat veteran...