The 44th letter: please talk to me

July 6, 2014 by

The story of Larry and Linda Drain

July 5, 2014 by

From Tennessean

Couple married 33 years separate so wife can keep insurance

The day Linda Drain put baby’s breath in her hair and said “I do,” she had no idea that government policies would tear her apart from her husband. But 33 years later, she and her husband, Larry Drain, separated so she could keep her health insurance. Six months into the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Drains are among 162,000 Tennesseans who got caught in a coverage gap. Their household income is too little to qualify for a government subsidy to buy health insurance, and they live in a state not expanding Medicaid. Their predicament was caused by a series of legal, political and bureaucratic decisions that included the U.S. Supreme Court striking down part of the federal health law, but Larry Drain said he feels to blame.

The 43rd letter: What I want

July 5, 2014 by

The 42nd letter: July 4

July 5, 2014 by

The most important thing in life

July 5, 2014 by

The most important thing in life is not how we change things or what we make of circumstances but what they make of us.

1.  In all things strive to be the person you want to be.
2.  Be kind to yourself when you are not.      You are a human being.  We are all short of what we want to be.
3.  Help others to do the same.  You will often see the worst in other people.  Don’t accept it as a final verdict.
4. Never miss an invitation to gratitude.  Even a little bit of gratitude is a big thing.
5.  You will find much to be sad about.  But there is much to be glad about.  They come as a set.
6.  Fear is okay.  Courage is the human response to fear.  Sometimes the most courageous act is owning the fear.
7.  Most good things seem to happen too slowly.  Most bad things seem to happen too fast.  But everything is a process.  Knowing where you are at is the best way to see where you are going.
8.  What you have to say matters.  Particularly when you say it.
9.  Choose the difference you make in life.
10.  Life is what you do with other people, not what you do to them.
11.  Some things don’t make sense. Sometimes the question is not “why” but “what now?”
12.  When you have done what you can do don’t beat yourself up looking for more to do.
13.  If you don’t take care of yourself you will soon find yourself unable to care about other things.
14.  Sometimes things don’t work out.  It is what makes it so worthwhile when they do.
15.  Pain is important.  Show your first kindness to yourself.
16.  There is nothing wrong with feeling better.  don’t make it more than it is but don’t make it less either.
17.  When you are confused know you have a lot of company.
18.  Make life more about what you do and less about what you have done.


July 5, 2014 by

Normal is a measurement. It is the result of a comparision with where someone is with where some standard says they should be. By some standard everyone is abnormal, because in some ways we dont measure up to what we “should be.”

But it is easy to judge. We have a remarkable tendency to call names and assume that people are the names we call them. We have a remarkable tendency to believe that what they are called explains who they are and how they live. A large part of life is who is up or down, who is in or out.

No condition that I know of makes a person:

*less fallible, less self serving and less likely to see the things that make them look good and feel good.
*less capable of doing things to hurt other people.
*less capable of reaching out to other people
*less deserving of being treated as worthy
*have feelings that matter less than others
*less deserving to have a good life
*care less about mattering and living a life of purpose
*be less of whatever it takes to be a human being.

People have more or less trouble in life depending on their abilities, their opportunities, how they are treated, and the circumstances of life. Everyone has a hand to live with that is often unfair, unjust, and hard. That doesnt make them who they are. Everyone is more than their name.

We all deserve a chance. A fair chance. And part of treating others well is giving them the chance you feel like you deserve. We are all wounded. I just wish we did a better job of being Samartians.

MN Judge Frank Kundrat is denying TBI/PTSD/epilepsy Vet Mark Bowles a fair trial. | Wobbly Warrior’s Blog

July 4, 2014 by

MN Judge Frank Kundrat is denying TBI/PTSD/epilepsy Vet Mark Bowles a fair trial. | Wobbly Warrior’s Blog
【from Next Browser】

On the medical cost of stigma

July 3, 2014 by

I hope you will pray for my wife.  Yesterday she was diagnosed with encephalomacia.  It basically means softening of the brain tissues and is regarded as the most serious type of brain damage there is.  But it did not happen in one day.

For well over a year Linda has been going to ER’s with symptoms of what we now know is encephalomacia.  She has a mental health diagnosis on her chart and for a year has been blown off.  She has been told she is having anxiety attacks, seeking attention and told to get psychiatric help immediately.  It has been as if there has been a label on her forehead.

It didn’t have to happen this way. It shouldn’t happen this way. But it did, it still does for untold other people, and it will continue to happen tomorrow.

I read the other day someone saying we made too big a deal about stigma.  He was a doctor…You might figger….. 

The 41st letter: bless tenncare

July 2, 2014 by

The Murphy Bill will be unconstitutional

July 2, 2014 by

If passed as written the Murphy Bill will be unconstitutional.  In refusing to allow the federal government to compel the states to expand Medicaid the supreme court basically said the federal government cannot threaten the loss of funding for existing programs if the states refuse to set up a new program.  The federal government cant control state decisions by being a bully.  They cant take their ball and go home.

The Murphy Bill does exactly that. It makes the continuance of funding for existing programs dependent upon adopting federal guidelines for commitment.  For a state like Tennessee that change would inevitably lead to a vast increase in spending for commitments which would lead to a decrease in spending for community based programs.

I am certainly not a lawyer but it sure seems clear to me like there are substantial legal grounds to challenge this law.  It is a bad idea, a bad law and should not go forward.  Someone called it “Torrey’s revenge.”  It needs to be just another bad idea that dies in committee.

The Media Missed the Story: Civil Rights and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act

July 2, 2014 by

The Media Missed the Story: Civil Rights and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act | Mad In America
【from Next Browser】

“AOT” and Psychiatric Hospitalization is Costly, Ineffective and Dangerous

July 2, 2014 by

“AOT” and Psychiatric Hospitalization is Costly, Ineffective and Dangerous | Trauma Informed Systems
【from Next Browser】

Learning about survival

July 1, 2014 by

I am learning more about stress and survival  than I ever wanted to know.  Linda told me to look on the bright side.  “We don’t have to worry about post traumatic stress syndrome.  I don’t know if we are ever going to make it to “post-stress.” She might be right.

Right now she is in emergency room as I write these words. Her balance and numbness don’t look like they are going to wait for any doctors appointment. We will see. We need some answers….even bad ones. (They referred for more tests)

We find out about Linda’s test results from the neurosurgeon on Wednesday.  It will tell us something about the need for spinal and neck surgery as well as future prognosis. She is scared, really scared but has an amazing ability to focus on making life better regardless of how she feels or the challenges ahead.

Her neurology is a mess right now. Traumatic brain injury and unremitting stress don’t go to well together. Virtually every cognitive task is an ordeal. Seizures that for the first time in years are occurring in public places during the day just make it all worse.

Her mom is doing worse. Looks like she may have had a stroke. Not sure but her functioning has gotten much worse. Speech is almost unintelligible. Linda is afraid to leave her alone for long. She is 84 and for the first time looks older than she is. Linda is trying to come to terms with her death if that happens. Its not going well.

We live with overwhelming loss. The intersection of Tenn Care and Social security have left us separated and alone and each day it seems more apparent the chances of us living together seem really, really slim. I worry about her a lot. Much of it is probably pointless and needless but sometimes it seems the only caring I have left.

The options for housing seem more apparent than real. We have found more things to check out but we are struggling to keep our hopes alive.

I am engaged in a “virtual sit-in” of Governor Haslam. I don’t know exactly what to call it. I write him a letter each and every day asking him to expand medicaid. It is one of few things that would really help. I don’t know if the letters are more for his benefit or mine. Sometimes it is important to say things even when no one is listening.

This blog has really slowed down. Once I posted every day. Now I write when I can.

I am learning that survival is not about controlling what cant be controlled, or changing what isn’t going to change. It is about taking care of me and those I care about.

Survival is:

Doing as many good things as possible. Somethings make it more likely to be a good day. Do good day things.

Anticipate problems as far ahead as I can. “Getting worse” is a lot easier (and more effective) to deal with than “worse”. If you are standing out in the middle of the road cars get more dangerous the closer they get to you. From a mile off the success in getting out of the road is much higher than from a foot.

Have a plan to cope. Avoid all the unnecessary things you can. Cope with everything else. Use your plan. Change it to make it better.

Sometimes nothing works. No matter how well thought out or how hard you try things may not work. Get used to it. The things in the way are not in the way. They are the way.

Frustration feeds a desire and screaming need to be in control. You’re not. The pursuit of control feeds more problems than it starves.

Help. Give freely and receive freely. Know people that matter and let them matter. Easy to say…. hard to do.

Have a plan to survive what you cant cope with. Know how you can get past disasters. You already have many times. Make use of what you know.

Celebrate small successes. Eventually you realize there are no small successes.

There are no smooth paths. Life is not eraseable.

When a bad thing is over let it be over. Too often we don’t.

I don’t know our answers. Slowly I am beginning to realize some things don’t change. You do the best you can and try your best to be okay with it. Then you try again tomorrow.

The Myth Of Mental Illness And Gun Violence

July 1, 2014 by

The Myth Of Mental Illness And Gun Violence – Forbes
【from Next Browser】

On human rights and righteousness: | LinkedIn

June 29, 2014 by

On human rights and righteousness: | LinkedIn
【from Next Browser】


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