Tuesday, December 11, 2007

But what about the disability???

These guys got a bath today. What fun that was

12/11/07 Tuesday
The adventure continues. We had some lightning and rain last night. Pretty good rain judging from the puddle at the end of the drive. It was thirty five degrees out and still raining this morning but I was out by 8:00 to rake in the seed I sowed two days or so ago. The rain doesn’t bother me. I thought about how many in other parts of the world endure much worse in order to grow the food they need to survive as I worked. The puppies stayed with me the whole time as they always do. Oh, they wander around chasing birds and digging holes to investigate whatever it is they smell, but they are always nearby. As I steadily raked I watched pickup trucks slow down to see what I was doing. I imagine that there are a lot of folks keeping tabs on what this crazy white boy is up to. I know it’s probably a wrong way to think but I inwardly hope they are impressed by how hard I work and how dedicated I am to getting this farm going.

I came in around 11:00 to get out of the soaked clothes. If you remember I talked about rolling the 55 gallon plastic drum over the seeds to press them in. The rain packed the soil pretty good. I’ve read about that. Unfortunately the dirt is now a heavy mud and much harder to rake. That brings the pain level up and wore me out physically so I need to rest. The sun has come out now so after I take a short nap I’ll put some dry clothes on and get back to work.

Wally called a few minutes ago. I sent him and Eric a copy of the “Asking for help” letter to get their advice on the appropriateness of putting it on the Sunday school website. Wally made a good point that this was more a business thing than a personal need like paying a bill and the kind of thing that should be approached on an individual basis with people I know. Eric had a similar take on it so I appreciate both of their advice. I’m not always real sharp about the proper way to do things so need that kind of guidance.

As I was out working I got to thinking about the whole thing. The paper I wrote is pretty much a business proposal and you can see my business background coming out in it. But the one area I didn’t cover was my disability. If I was considering something like this that would be an important question to ask. So what about my disability??? Good question.

I’ve broken my neck three times and my back once. I am partially paralyzed and experience a great deal of pain but none of this has anything to do with why the Veteran’s Administration declared me disabled. Fact is I never put in an application for disability with the VA. A part of the VA’s homeless program required medical and psychological evaluation and it was through that that they decided I was disabled. My disability is from a traumatic brain injury.

Let me explain how that affects me and why it is considered disabling. Any of you reading this can tell I’m not stupid. Not even close. But there are big dead areas in my brain that show up on CT scans and MRI’s. The partial paralysis is because the area of the brain that controls my right side and particularly my right leg is one of those. When they taught me to walk they basically taught another part of my brain to take over that responsibility. That is an area of difficulty but is not disabling.

The disability is because of the following. My brain is unable to process information quickly and I can’t handle stressful situations well. When I am in a big busy store there is too much for me to mentally absorb and translate. This holds true for large groups, even when they are all friends. New and unfamiliar surroundings can be debilitating for me. I have what are termed “petite” seizures. These are not like an epileptic seizure at all. They are basically caused when neurons begin “firing” off and results in what I call a slowdown. A good analogy would be that my brain goes from being a high speed modern computer to one of the old 286’s. (That will date me) There are also other issues such as the ability to control emotions and understanding what I should and should not say in social situations. Headaches like the one I had yesterday don’t help either.

But here is the beauty of this when it comes to this farm. You see, I can’t hold a job at McDonalds because of everything going on in one and my tendency to tell someone what I really think. Plus who’ll hire you when you can only work “when you feel good enough”, when at any moment you are unable to, when you need to take a nap in the middle of the day, when you can't remember instructions or get lost. What the doctors tell me is I need to reduce stress and develop regular and familiar routines in life. Being a farmer is perfect, just what the doctor ordered. Things go at a nice steady and slow pace. Tasks can be scheduled and often involve a regular routine. When I need to I can go lay down and rest a bit. Of all the things I can do farming is the best option. I could stay on disability the rest of my life but have no desire to. I’ve actually had people ask me why I didn’t want to stay on disability, who encouraged me not to get off of it. It’s hard for me to grasp this. In my mind it’s better to stand on your own two feet and not depend on a hand out. Sure there are plenty who need the help and fact is I do too at this moment but I can’t just sit here and suck the government bottle. I can and will do better.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Bob, I wish You and Cherie the best in the fund raising venture for Farming. I believe in what you are doing and I did read The Love Story you wrote I believe you do have Angels looking out for you. Keep your faith, and always believe in what your doing and all your dreams will come true. Sometimes it may not seem like it but things take time to get to you just keep BELIEVING. We are going to start moving Thursday and as soon as can I will mail you some seed. I will make sure I label all seeds for you. You all will have quite a garden for your personal use this year. I am sure you will have enough to share as well and possible even set up by the roadside by your house to sell off some if you need to raise monies. When my kids were younger I used to set up out in the driveway on Saturdays to sell cuttings of my herbs and extra plants I had grown from cuttings or seeds and many times brought in two hundred dollars on that one day. It was much needed as I was a stay at home mom. Wishing you the best and Remember to Always BELIEVE in your dreams and KNOW that they will come true.