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Sunday, January 29, 2012

come out, come out & be counted

Authorities, volunteers count area's homeless population

Results will be used to provide assistance

11:33 PM, Jan. 26, 2012 |
Volunteers Kim Parker and Amy Jones talk to a homeless man known as Cave Man Thursday while collecting information for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development about people who are homeless. / JACOB MOORE/The Jackson Sun

HUD requires that cities that receive funding from them conduct an annual point-in-time count the last week of January, to determine how many homeless people live in their city. They use that data to help them determine how much money various locations need to receive as they attempt to get people housed. Not everyone counted wants to be housed, and not everyone that desires independent housing gets counted. Read the article above here, if desired.

When they first announced this count in Jackson, they said we were going to ride around in cars and count how many people we saw. If we did not know how many people lived in 1 spot, count "1" unless we saw toys, in which we'd count "2" to acknowledge there being a family present. We would not be getting out of the car to engage in conversation or complete surveys (as they do in Memphis). When the time arrived on Thursday, my first stop involved getting out of the car, walking through mudpaths and up hills in the woods, to arrive at Caveman's rockin' tent. no getting out? Dag. I really need some rain boots. I was not expecting that or the media accompaniment we had. I never heard them ask Caveman for permission to film or photograph him. We were at his place that night. I found that rude.

The night continued to see me slush through woods looking for people. Very few were found in my designated area. I know of one other group with similar results and one group that found lots of people in places "unfit for human habitation" (missing roofs, windows, utilities, holes in the structure, etc.). Caveman is friends with a veteran and promised to pass my information on to him. I hope he does. As of today, he has not left a message or made contact with me. Maybe next week, I will go to his place to see if he is home.

There were 3 of us riding in a police car. Thus, one person had to sit in the back seat. That lucky person was me. The seats are hard, plastic bucket seats, a great contrast from the plush seating up front. It's narrower than the space given in the backseat of a typical car, unless you're comparing it to a Celica or something. Every bump is felt. In the beginning, I felt like I was being thrown around in the back and my body moved with every turn the officer took. I wondered, could they possibly feel this trip the same way up front? There was a thick, surely bullet proof plastic divider between the front and back. I could see hand motions and hear mumblings but could not hear to engage in their conversation or even tell you what they were talking about. It made think about the saying that children should be seen, not heard. It occurred to me that sitting back there was dehumanizing. I thought about how much worse it must be for someone picked up for committing some crime-- the harsh words, the disregard for how they feel back there, the rough handling.... Officer Chilcote seemed really kind. I got that from the way he spoke of and to those who are homeless. A few minutes into the drive, he though about me and opened a window that plastic divider has so that I would feel less like a prisoner. I discovered that he and Kim are actually soft spoken. Even with the window opened, I couldn't hear what she was saying. lol.

Each year that I do this count, I always learn something new about locating people without housing "in the wild". Before, I learned to focus on bridges and that displaced trash near dumpsters was a good sign that they hung out in that area. This year, I learned to peer deep into the woods and search for tents. Trash, grocery store buggies, clothes lines and other signs of life are a sign that someone lives in the area where those items are present. Caveman's tent looked much like a 1 bedroom apartment. He even has an enclosed porch! My house is more comfortable that his tent, even with its full-size mattress, but his efforts to make his tent "home" are stunning.

I rode with Officer Chilcote (Jackson PD) and Kim Parker (Pathways). We discussed various places we've heard of people living and checked other wooded area in our district. The organizers said they would provide a listing of where folks were living during the count last year to help us locate people. That, sadly, didn't happen. We looked for 2 hours and found 2 people during that time. I do look forward to hearing the end result (# located) from the group's efforts
at large.

The local news led with this count. I can't see Memphis' news ever doing that :o.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

note to self: migraine

This morning, I took a tramadol. Few hours later, 2 tylenol. Later still, another tramadol. Somewhere later, nausea, then a headache. Not a full blown migraine, more like unrelenting nausea + headache. Laying in bed, in pain and thinking about tramadol #3, a small voice said no-- remember you getting migranes the day after----- Do I really? I don't remember. I checked my migraine tags here and no mention of tramadol. I remember migraines with weather change and migraines after menstruation (last migraine started 2 days after btw- note to self), not so sure about migraines after tramadol. But, "worse ever headache" is one side-effect, as is nausea. I need to notice and remember if that's common for me. If so, it can be added to my "medicines I use to take" list as this lost of productivity and feeling miserable just isn't worth it.

Now to try food despite the nausea.

EDIT: Come to think of it, I had a migraine last Saturday. That Friday, I was in extreme pain to the point of not being able to walk. Surely, I took Tramadol. It was a day after migraine. ummm....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

fried green tomatoes is on hbo

interesting to grow up and realize that those relationships-- "friendships" that made me pause earlier in life really are, or at least thought to be, more than mere friendships.

i shall read this book, fried green tomatoes. I didn't understand Celia & Shug until I read the color purple. lol.

Friday, January 20, 2012

today's pain

Today is not a day that I am proud of. An ever-present challenge/goal of mine is to not allow fibromyalgia interfere with my commitments to my clients. Well, that's a hard thing to keep when one can't walk. I hate when this happens! I feel so cripple and limited. I was supposed to take someone to the Dollar General at 9:30am. I promise I got up to honor that commitment but I can't get there. If it doesn't happen today, we can't do it next week because of his schedule. I don't know how to accelerate my healing. I did an epson salt and baking soda soak last night. Tramaddol really does nothing for me. I can add tylenol, muscle relaxers, trauma oil or bengay but the risk of being too sleepy or drugged to drive comes into play the more of that stuff I take.

Last night, I cried in bed because of the pain. One lady in my Mphs chronic support pain group used music to soothe her when things were especially bad. I tried to groove to Goddess and She but that did nothing for the pain. Eventually, I focused on my belly and gratitude for it not hurting. I expressed gratitude for fat as every muscle some joints from ankle to shoulder seemed to be in pain. And I had already taken trammadol before bed. I consented to taking tylenol because I knew the pain wasn't going anywhere with the way it was. Then I woke up every 2 hours throughout the night.

This morning, I questioned if I would be able to walk for the 3rd time in a week due to the pain I felt when I first got out of bed. This time, unlike the others, I couldn't walk to the living room to get to the trammadol. It took me 45-60 to get from my bedroom to my living room, with a detour to the kitchen for water and food. It hurts to stand but I can do it. Walking elevates the pain and I can't take it. Does that make me a punk? I feel like such a quitter when I have to throw in the towel and admit defeat. I'll probably spend much of the day in bed or on the coach doing things I can do from one location but the _UCKING PAIN. I can't get rid of it and it keeps bringing me to tears. When I called in to work (3 ppl), everyone thought I sounded sick. That's the effing pain, maine. i'm not coughing. My nose has been bleeding for 2 weeks but I don't have the sick leave to see a doctor. blah. I tried going to the Little Clinic (Kroger) in Mphs but they wouldn't see me bc of my symptoms. darn. There's an after hours clinic here too. I need to get info on how to be seen there. Today's illness symptoms is cutting into the vacation time I'm trying to save for CA. If I only had a wheelchair....

I'm so sleepy.........................

EDIT I regained the ability to walk short distances around 4 o'clock. Now the disordered day is being topped with a migraine. Again, computer light is especially troubling. My screen is dimmed as low as it can go. However, the nausea is increasing again so goodbye.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I just lost my last grandparent.


I don't know why he died tonight (well, around 11:15pm yesterday). His lungs have been giving him the blues and he's been in and out of the hospital for 2 months now. He's been singing old spirituals, calling out to Jesus, and praying with others. I knew it was coming, but not this soon. He was put on oxygen less than a month ago. We were looking to maintanence and seeking comfort for him. He was just referred to Hospice, thinking the referral was made early enough for them to get to know him and his family before he got really sick. They were scheduled to come for the first time today. It goes to show: no one knows. Even when it looks like bad health will be cause of death, sometimes, we even surprise our doctors by passing on.

It's been about 2 weeks since I last saw him. I didn't sense the urgency New Year's Eve weekend. I am glad I traveled to Memphis to see him in the hospital last month. I am glad for the time he and I shared. I'll miss him.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jan. 2

To me, today is like the 1st. On the first, I vacuumed my car, ate at a friend's (Memphis), and returned to Jackson where I worked on balancing my checkbook, looked up CA attractions, and began to list my goals for 2012. Today, I shampooed my car, cleaned for 1.5 hours, unpacked my going to mphs bags, ate lunch with a friend, took a nap, exercised, worked on my checking acct more, and washed 3 loads of laundry. I haven't fully written out my 2012 goals but you can see some of what I've been up to at Eventually, I'll get them on paper and share. Right now, I'm busy working on them :). They say that you'll spend the year doing whatever you do on the 1st; I'm hoping so.