Tag Archives: money

Recommended Reading for November 5, 2009

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot!

Happy Guy Fawkes Day, UK-folks!

Via SpiralSheep: Feminist Spoons

Friends and family are aware enough of my health problems to understand when I have to cancel things, or rearrange them. But these days, I am much less involved in feminist activism than I ever have been.

This is definitely spoon-related, and also directly related to my main local feminist group meeting in an inaccessible venue for so long that I gave up arguing with them about it. (They now meet somewhere which may be accessible, but they’re not sure. I feel so thoroughly disenamoured with them that I’m not willing to test it out).

But I have also found that while individual feminists can be very understanding with my lack of spoons on a day-to-day basis, it sometimes seems less acceptable when it interferes with my ability to attend actions, protests and meetings.

Sick Bodies: Health Care and the Body-As-Machine

But, more fundamentally, I find it problematic that the entire set up of a hospital is about the production of health care, not the recipients of that care. Long after being shuffled into a room filled with equipment and posters not designed with my challenging body in mind, and as I watched the doctor treating me struggle to find words beyond, “Well, I’ve not actually met anybody who has done that,” I wondered seriously about what could possibly be done to fix a system that has so little respect for the bodies of the individuals it treats.

We all carry our scars, surgeries, allergies, broken bones, memories, genetics, blood, hopes, and guts with us wherever we go. We are stunning in our uniqueness, and our bodies are the seat of who we are. Of course, we all have the same basic parts, but I wouldn’t take a car to any old mechanic or my pet to any vet—I want someone who understands the particular quirks of my engine or that my cat needs to be coaxed gently out of her hiding spot.

In the news:

Politics are Crippling State-funded Services to the Disabled [US] [long]

This week, Meyer’s 16-year struggle for a productive life will become more difficult. Scheduled California budget cuts will increase the deductible some low-income disabled people must pay for workers from the In-Home Supportive Services program. The cost hike may leave him with as little as $600 a month to live on, pushing him closer to the point where he’s forced to enter a nursing home. “I just want to be able to stay here, live a healthy life, and be a productive citizen,” he says.

Lawsuit filed against school district:

The suit contends S.G.’s May 2007 Individual Education Program was never modified and he was “unilaterally removed from his ‘inclusion’ classes without notice to (his parents) solely as a result of disability in December 2007 and in direct violation of his IEP.”

The suit also claims S.G. was placed in a more restrictive environment when removed him from his inclusion classes, “caused negative cognitive and social effects as well as mental anguish.”

Moreover, S.G., who has an allergy to milk and soy products, was given them on a daily basis during the 2007-08 school year.

These links are to images that belong to Getty Images, so I’m just going to link to their site rather than post them here. I cannot speak for how accessible their website is, though.

They are shots of wheelchair-using athletes “finishing in the wheelchair division of the New York City Marathon”.

Hugging! Different hugging! Action shot!

Lucky for us, there’s money to be thrown

One of the many, many things that bothers me about disability & accessibility is how many of the problems can be solved by throwing money at them.

Let me just give the simplest, bare bones problem that’s on my mind this month.

Once a week, Don attends an appointment that is on the other side of the city from us. He has three possible ways of getting there.

First, he can take public transit. There is one bus from our neighbourhood that gets to where he has to go. (This is an improvement – the bus he takes “directly” only recently became wheelchair accessible.) As anyone with a chronic pain condition will tell you, though, taking the bus anywhere can be extremely painful. The bus drops him off a few blocks from where he needs to be, and he “just” has to navigate the non-existent curb cuts and the broken side walks. Then he gets to reverse the whole process, except the return trip is during rush hour, and wow do people get really pissy when a full-time wheelchair user needs a bus during rush hour.

Second, he can attempt to book Access-A-Bus. In our city, Access-A-Bus must be booked a week in advance. Not 8 days in advance, not 6 days in advance, just seven days in advance. You are not guaranteed a space if there are too many people that day. You will get a phone call two days beforehand if you’re going to be on the bus. You have no control over the return trip, other than that there will be one, and you should let them know when you’ll be available. Although Access-A-Bus is free for users, it’s not the most effective way of getting around.

The third option is that Don takes a taxi. It costs about 25$ one way. The taxi can be pre-booked on either end. It usually comes on time. It takes him exactly where he wants to go, drops him off at the door, and picks him back up at the same location. It just blows through a large-ish wad of cash every time.

Don takes a taxi to this appointment a lot. Unlike a lot of people with disabilities, we have access to family financial support. We can afford that 50$ to make sure Don can get to his appointment on time and in a relative degree of comfort.

For other people we know, the options are much smaller: Be in large amounts of pain while trying to get around the city, or don’t go out at all. (Buying a car is also a “throw money at it” solution. It also assumes you can drive, and have a place to put a car.)

People with disabilities are disproportionately poor. Many also have monthly costs that add up pretty quickly, like medications, purchase and repair of mobility aids, doctor’s appointments, etc. They may need to pay interpreters. Some of them have dietary restrictions or food allergies that require “special” food items, like wheat-free flour or lactose-free milk. A lot are no where near as financially privileged as Don and I are, and cannot afford the expense of a pain-limited trip to the doctor.

A well-funded, well-advertised Access-a-Bus program, along with funding increases to ensure that all buses are wheelchair accessible can make such a difference. But that is not the financial priority of my city at the moment. (Apparently, it’s a high-speed ferry of some sort, and a new hockey arena.)

So, instead, aiming to keep Don’s pain levels as low as possible (he’s recovering from surgery at the moment), we throw money at the problem. And thank our lucky stars that there’s money to be thrown at it.

So many others are not nearly so lucky.