Rights On Paper Alone Are Utterly Useless

Time flies! I cannot believe it’s been over four years since I created this blog, made one entry and forgot about it, until recently.

The blog entry below is from October 11, 2013, while I was living in a shelter for disabled victims of abuse in New York City after literally escaping from a nursing home I had been dumped into (in Maine) at 41 years of age.

Since then, I’ve had a brush with death, made peace with my estranged mother, lost her to cancer and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area (where I recently had another close encounter with death).

The incredibly overrated Bay Area is one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever experienced. I refer to it as The Gentrification-On-Steroids Area.

Rights on paper alone make for great public relations, but they are utterly useless.

So, to go back to the beginning of this journey: I escaped from a nursing home in the middle of the night back in September of 2012, with nothing but two boxes of medical supplies and some clothes, and made my way to New York City (with the help of a couple of very kind friends), nearly died from a bone infection while in New York, moved to the Bay Area (where I recently spent 5 days in the ICU with a relentless respiratory infection), and here I am, in what was supposed to be the Promised Land for The Disabled, feeling shattered with hopelessness. Needless to say, this is not what I had envisioned…

Wait lists for affordable housing and personalized attendant care are so long I have become convinced that I will likely die waiting for these basic necessities.

So, I thought, why not renew my efforts to reach out and educate my fellow Americans, especially those naive enough to call this “the greatest country in the world”, about the plight of the disabled community? It never ceases to amaze me how little people know about what we have to go through simply for what most people take for granted. Unless you yourself are disabled or have disabled relatives or close friends, you probably have no idea about the incredibly challenging, sometimes downright hellish, conditions we are made to endure.

I can almost hear a conservative and/or libertarian minded person reading this and thinking “what an entitled little thing that Shannon is! What makes her believe that we should provide for her needs?” And my reply to that person would be “I did NOT choose to become disabled. I was working full-time, having landed my dream job after putting myself through dental school by waitressing. I was contributing to the system and living a very active life; until the day I dove into a swimming pool and broke my neck. As a civilized nation, we should take care of those who cannot take care of themselves: namely children, the elderly and the disabled. As a taxpayer, I never complained about my tax dollars going to schools even though I had no children. It’s what civilized societies do.”

And while that’s a long answer, I might have to add “do you have any idea how much this country spends on what it calls defense (military) spending, a huge chunk of which is absolutely wasteful and unnecessary? If a SLIVER–a tiny sliver–of those resources were allocated to taking care of those in need we would have a much more fair and just society. We might actually be able to earn the right to call ourselves ‘the greatest nation on the planet’.”

But what do I know? I only speak from, you know, personal experience.