Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dear Target

Dear Target, Through the years you've made my life so much easier. As a disabled mother of three children, two of which have special needs, life can be difficult at times. So, you're policies make life more bearable, and even easy at times. When my autistic son was younger he was non-verbal and spoke in signs. However, since you actively employ those with disabilities, there was almost always someone working at the store that signed and would interact with him. Considering he couldn't tolerate stores, and was in immense pain when we went in public, this gave me time to grab items I needed. My teenage son has Aspergers. Determining if clothing fits is not an ability that he currently has. I would go into the changing room with him, wait outside his individual room while he tried on clothes, and then determine if they fit or not when he opened the door to allow me in. Your employees never even cast so much as a disgusted glance in our direction but merely asked when I exited if they could go get another size for me. When I married, I was in a wheelchair. The dress I wanted was a beautiful, flowing, off the shoulder dress at your store. When my fiancee followed me into the dressing room to help me change to determine if the dress would fit, no one attempted to stop us. When I was breastfeeding my children many years ago, every Target I went into willingly allowed me to step inside a changing room with children in tow. If a friend accompanied me, they'd often come and relax with me as I nursed my child. It didn't matter if this friend was male, female, or if their sex was indistinguishable. No one ever tried to run us out. Through the years I've seen couples enter dressing rooms with their children, all as a family. I've watched as elderly couples entered dressing rooms together to try on their clothes, helping each other just as they do at home. I've seen persons with special needs enter a changing room with their opposite sex caregivers, whether it was a parent, a friend, or a sibling. Through the years I've seen Target employees with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, paralyzation, dear and also mute. I've never seen a Target employee behave inappropriately, whether straight, gay, trans, or any other thing. I could go on and on with all the things I've seen that Target has done to enable persons with special needs, differences, unique circumstances, and so forth have the same options as anyone else. I know that I'm not the only one that has chosen Target through the years simply because they make shopping so much easier. I can't even begin to count the number of times that I've told another parent of a child (or children) with special needs to shop at Target, especially if their "child" was a teen or adult, knowing that Target would allow them to accompany their "child" in a changing room or restroom if needed. Target makes lives easier. I live in NC and have been embarrassed to admit it of late. A lesbian was forcibly removed from a women's bathroom by police officers because she didn't have ID on her. At least one of the police officers that entered the bathroom was male, while there was at least one woman in a stall using the bathroom. Two men threw another gay man out of a bathroom because he looked feminine. People have told mothers they can't take their male children into the bathroom with them, and fathers that they can't take their female children into the bathroom with them. They've been advised to send their child into the bathroom appropriate for their sex.... alone! A young child, in a bathroom, alone due to HB2. I have no words for the atrocities being committed in this state. Now, the media has started listing sexual crimes that have happened at Target stores across the country. Yet, between 2010 and 2015 (5 years) teachers in the NC public school system has been charged over 700 times with sexual misconduct against children. Maybe NC needs to start looking at it's own issues before making ridiculous accusations implying that anyone who is not a conservative, white, heterosexual Christian is a sexual child predator. Especially when NC apparently has a history f hiring sexual predators to be teachers to our children! Thank you Target for making lives easier and for standing by your morals and values of doing so, even when a state tries to tell you that you shouldn't. Thank you for allowing my family to shop at your store and accomplish the same thing as your non-disabled employees. Thank you for basing your decisions on fact instead of stereotyped myths born out of self righteousness and religious extremists. Thank you for giving me a place to shop when I couldn't go anywhere else.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Always An Addict

I recently switched doctors. Although my children and I shared the same doctor for over 8 years, it had become impossible to get appointments in a reasonable amount of time. This doctor knew everything about my family, and had literally been caring for my son since he was born. When she switched offices, we had followed her. Leaving her wasn't a decision taken lightly. I've been seeing my new doctor for over half a year now. My family was extremely pleased with her. I've been battling some pretty nasty health issues of late. On my last visit I was told they wanted to take a urine sample to see if there was another cause for my lower back pain. When they sent me an email update that the visit summary was available, I jumped over to see if the lab results were back. They weren't, but the lab summary stated, "urine today due to pain". Fast forward a couple of weeks when I log back into my account to see if the labs had posted yet, since my doctors office had not called with the results. Imagine my surprise when I saw that a full drug panel had been done on me! Due to my chronic pain issues, I do have a prescription of Hydrocodone 325/5mg. I am prescribed enough for 2 pills a day. Every single month I have meds left over. At each doctors visit I take my bottle with me. It's a habit I picked up in 2001 when I was first diagnosed and had only 4 years clean time. Since I have always filled out my doc profiles legit and checked the little box beside the question that asked about previous drug abuse, doctors worry about someone with only a few years clean that have health issues which cause chronic pain. I didn't mind....... back then! I rarely even have a prescription for pain medication. Through the years, I managed to find alternate ways to manage my pain. I'm proud of that. Narcotic pain relief isn't really relief at all. It dulls the pain, bringing it back with a vengeance when the meds wear off. This typically results in the patient taking the medication every 4-6 hours to keep that rebound pain away. It's a nasty cycle. It's no wonder people become addicted to prescription medications so easily. But I know this! I spent over a decade of my life working with addicts. I'm aware of how the medications work and why it is literally a physically painful process to come off of them once addicted. If I were going to abuse prescription medications, wouldn't I go to a pain clinic that takes one look at all my medical diagnosis and is ready to prescribe me anything I ask for? The same pain clinic's I've complained about for years because they don't want to manage your pain, but merely drug you enough so that you don't know who you are, much less feel pain? Why would I stick to a measly bottle of 60 5mg hydrocodone if I was looking to get high and abuse them? If I were abusing them, how could I have pills left over every month? This May I will celebrate 18 years clean time. 18 years of not abusing drugs, prescription medications or alcohol. 18 years is a big deal. I was 19 when I got clean. 18 years is almost half my life span. As most of my regular readers know, I despise the fact that, at 13 years old, I was prescribed an addictive medication. I despise that no one talked to me or my parents about the risk of addiction. I despise that, as a result, I lost the next 6 years of my life. I spent 6 years of my CHILDHOOD strung out. I've spent 36 years of my entire life CLEAN. Six years of MY life that was WASTED because a doctor felt it was more important to drug me then to deal with the effects of the abuse I was enduring. Six years of MY life that was WASTED because a doctor didn't care if I ended up addicted, as long as my parents kept bringing me back and paying the bill. I'm proud of the woman I've become. I lived through a kind of hell most people can not even imagine during the 6 years of my life that I wasn't clean. It wasn't easy getting clean. Getting clean meant I had to deal with my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Getting clean meant I had to feel emotions about incidents I just wanted to forget about. Getting clean is, to date, one of the most difficult things I ever did. As I've mentioned before, I wasn't even aware of what addiction was. Other addicts taught me about addiction. Told me what it meant, what their lives were like. Told me that I didn't want the life they had and I should get out while I was young. When I realized that I was addicted (I was 18 then), I started thinking deeply about what that meant. 6 months later I woke up one morning and declared, "I want to get clean". After the initial jokes of "take a shower" subsided, the same addicts who told me that I didn't want their life were the ones that sat by my bed as my body was wrecked for days. Yeah, getting clean was one of the worst experiences of my life. It ranks right up there with being gang raped. Getting clean is, most likely, the hardest thing any person will have to go through. It means making amends with those you've hurt. It means dealing with the hurt and pain you were trying to run away from. It means accepting responsibility for your actions. And apparently, to my current doctor, it means "Once an addict, always an addict". Ironically enough, I accept the phrase "Once an addict, always an addict". I know to never take a prescription that can later senses if I am extremely sad, depressed, or feeling any type of negativity. I will lay in bed and suffer through my physical pain rather than take something that will also deaden the emotions I may be feeling. I know that, even though I never think about getting high anymore, that I easily could. I know that somewhere, hovering around the edges of my mind, is that girl that was so easily addicted and then kept with the addiction because it was better than dealing with the hell she was living with. The same girl who kept taking the meds even after she left her current hell, and told herself it was because of the hell she had run into. That girl is still somewhere deep inside of me. I hold all her memories, all her fears, all her reasons for running. I'm not that same girl, but I cling to the belief that she is still inside of me and could resurface. However, I know firsthand that having been an addict does not mean that you will never be able to remain clean I know that having been an addict doesn't mean that my pain can not be managed without abusing it. I know that if a doctor has concerns, they should DISCUSS THEM WITH ME, instead of being sneaky to get a drug test behind my back. I know that I deserve a doctor to be as honest and upfront with me as I've been with EVERY SINGLE ONE since the time I first got clean. I am angry. I am hurt. I even feel betrayed. I was told that my kidneys and bladder would be checked to attempt to determine if anything else was causing my pain besides the issue we knew of. Instead, they didn't check anything except to see if I was abusing drugs. I was lied to by my medical provider because they assumed that, since I readily admitted I had been an addict between the ages of 13 and 19, I must be an addict now. Guess my family will be searching for a new doctor. Honesty runs high on my list for a medical provider.

Monday, January 4, 2016

American Girl Type 1 Diabetes

Rarely do I see something that makes me throughly thrilled. This is one of those moments. As of January 1st, American Girl began selling a Diabetes Accessory Kit for their Truly Me dolls. The kit includes the following:

  • A blood sugar monitor and lancing device
  • An insulin pump that can be clipped to a doll's waistband, plus an adhesive to attach the infusion set
  • An insulin pen, for dolls that aren't using the pump
  • A medical bracelet
  • Glucose tablets
  • A log book
  • A special case for the supplies, plus an ID card
  • Stickers to add personalization
  • As many of my readers know, my now 18 year old son was diagnosed a little over two years ago with Juvenile Type 1 Diabetes. I just showed him the diabetic set for American Doll and despite his being a teenage guy, his face still lit up as he exclaimed, "Oh cool". Way to go American Girl....way to go! 
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