If it has teeth….

My own quote today…Anything with teeth can bite you.

I mean real teeth, not metaphorical for once. I’ve had a guppy latch onto my finger. I’ve had dogs, cats and guinea pigs bite me. I’ve had children bite me by accident. I’ve had teenagers bite me on purpose. Family members, students and even a stranger have bitten me. Are all these people and animals evil for biting me?

I don’t think so. Sometimes I’ve deserved it…really, if you stick your hand in a guinea pig cage you should expect a nibble. Working with students who have severe disabilities means sometimes things happen when students are frustrated. Horseplay frequently leads to someone being bit in my house. It’s just part of what to expect.

By now, you are probably wondering why I’m talking about bites. In my social media platform I received notification about a company that denied access to a girl and her service dog (http://doggirlpitbull.blogspot.com/2013/09/famed-california-tourist-spot-bans-pit.html#). The girl has Autism, the dog is a pit bull. From the sounds of it, they were denied access because of the bully breed. My point is, anything with teeth has the capacity to bite you. It has nothing to do with the organism in specific. It’s just part of the package you have to accept when you decide to be around things with teeth.

Just in case you’re not familiar with service dogs, I’d like to correct a few statements made in the article linked above. By Federal law, service dogs are not required to be “certified” or “registered.”  Some states do require a registration tag for identification, but that is a state requirement for people who reside permanently in that state. Nor are service dogs required to be “vested” or “harnessed” for identification purposes. I’m not required to carry documentation or “paperwork” about my disabilities or my dog. By law, a business owner can ask if my dog is a service dog and does she mitigate a disability. That’s it. See http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm for more specifics. The owner may also ask me to leave if my service dog is acting unruly or disrupting business (although not if her alert is to draw attention to my medical needs).

My service dog is a blue heeler mix. The breed is well-known for their high energy and herding abilities. Most people seem to be familiar with how these dogs nip at ankles to get people to move along. I get many comments about “how can you have a dog like that around children?” The answer is easy – she was trained not to nip at ankles.

Before you condemn a breed because of reputation, look who’s holding the leash. I have many friends in the service dog community that rely on bully breeds because of their ability to perform mobility work. These dogs are highly trained and are no more threatening than the person standing next to you. A poorly trained dog, whether it be a chihuahua or a Great Dane, is a poorly trained dog.

As an aside, next time you want to bite someone, remember you just might get a reputation as a vicious individual.

Place Palm Here

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.~Andre Gide

I have spent the day explaining over and over to people why something needs to happen. Literally, the entire day. And I am no further in this quest than I was this morning. It seems that common sense really is a flower that doesn’t grow in every garden. The gardens of bureaucrats could sure use some re-seeding.

What now? I like metaphors, so imagine a rather large monkey wrench being thrown onto my set of train tracks. This wrench has the potential to, at a minimum, cause me to become more disabled. The stakes go up from there. It seems that efforts to reduce costs and “improve” efficiency have reached a level where policy is more important than people.

Yes, policy made by people in positions ranging from clerk to essentially CEO/COO has thrown my train of life off the track. Lest you think this has no effect on you, I will acknowledge that this involves healthcare which is something we should all be passionate about. In the name of progress, American healthcare is evolving. While some of the first ripples of this change are being felt by certain sectors of the public, those who receive any kind of medical benefit funded by the government are already experiencing great, sloshing waves. It seems this sector was designated as the roll-out platform. For some people this is wonderful news, at least for now. I just can’t wait until everyone gets to experience what happened to me.

People who only know my name and policy number decided that I was not deserving of care. People who have never met me, never spoken to me and most certainly never examined me decided that I was too expensive. What’s that you say? In 2014 you can’t be denied care because of pre-existing conditions! It seems no one noticed the standard of care is not defined. Yes, we will all be able to receive medical care. There is no guarantee it is the best care. There is absolutely no guarantee it is appropriate care. It, however, is guaranteed to meet the barest minimum of standards. And, since companies who offer “extended plans” will be assessed financial fines, we are all now guaranteed to receive the absolute minimum that can be provided.

For some people this medical care is more than they ever received and I am glad that many of my friends in the disability community will now receive care. Having had mediocre care for the last 23 years, I am now finding that the new standard is much, much lower than even my mediocre care. I surely did not realize how low the standard could go. Here I thought all the medical mistakes and oversights were just blips. It turns, out, those blips are defining my new standard of care. What I consider to be the low points of my medical experience are now appearing to be the high points. And the best part is…I get to pay MORE for less care. Wow, feels like socialism to me.

But, I digress. Congratulations to those who will receive benefits. It is indeed sad that we as a nation provided less care for our population than we did for the populations of other countries. No one should be shut out of healthcare because they can’t afford it. To the rest of us, welcome to the new standard. Unless you have the means to travel to private medical facilities and pay completely out-of-pocket for all your expense, your wake up call is coming.