A short update

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I have been trying to move some things along and hopefully I’ll get somewhere because of the message I sent to my Congressman.  At least that is what I hope has been the fire that has been lit.  I spoke with the Congressman’s office today and I was assured that the paperwork that was supposed to go where it was supposed to go has been sped up to its destination.

I’ve attempted to contact my shrink today to make another appointment for tomorrow and I haven’t heard back from him today, but he has been good about checking up on me so I feel confident I’ll hear from him tomorrow.

I’ve also received two phone calls from Human Resources.  One of them did not turn out to well as it ended in a bit of a screaming match and my frustration about unqualified people deciding who is qualified for jobs they are unqualified for was made more than clear.  At one point she made a statement about how “that is just how things work with Human Resources and the hiring process”.  To which she was told that it does in fact NOT work at all.  People need work, the hospital needs people to work and NOTHING happens to take care of either of those issues.  Jobs remain unfilled, people remain unemployed and the hospital does nothing but NOT spend money to help take care of the veterans as they should be.

Ok, so that was the bad phone call.

I was called by another member of HR yesterday.  Someone much more menial to my frustrations and offered to help me with my resume to make it work for where I want to get into.  I still may end up pushing a broom, but it will get me in the door and will allow me to transfer to a better position within 90 days.  My only reason for being hesitant about this phone call is that this is the same individual that told me I wasn’t qualified to push a broom because I wasn’t a veteran from “the right time”.  I will speak with him tomorrow and see where it goes.

I’m past the DT’s and still living not where I should be, but the fight is back in me and we’re going to make every effort to get back on track.

Here’s hoping that actually writing your Congressman gets something done.

I’ve been trying to communicate with Denise better and keep her up to date.  I only hope that I can repair that as well.

I still will not let them win.

And I thank you all for following along this miserable tale and for all the words of support you’ve all given me.  There is no greater community in the world than that of my friends, family and fellow bloggers.  You are all amazing people.

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Another day of nowhere

GoingNowhere
First, to those of you who have sent me donations, thank you, thank you, thank you.  It hasn’t got anywhere near what I need, but I know that those of you who have given have done what you can and I deeply appreciate it.  I won’t name anyone by names but you know who you are and again, my gratitude runs deep.  If you could keep spreading the word it would help a lot.

I went to the docs this morning to be told that I have arthritis in my back.  Forget the fact that I can’t bend over to tie my shoes, it’s just arthritis.  I’ll get a message as to whether or not I get any meds for it . . . tomorrow.  Everything is tomorrow.  It’s always tomorrow.

Well, tomorrow is Friday, and those that bother to show up to work on Friday don’t do any work.  So I guess maybe I’ll know something monday.  In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the last night I’ve managed to squeeze out of this hotel who have bent over backwards to keep me with a place to stay and pray for the best for tomorrow night.  I don’t know when I’ll get wifi access again, so I’ll update with you as soon as I can.  In the meantime, please keep spreading the word on getting me some donations as I need all the help I can get.  The PayPal route is faster, but the GoFundMe works too.

Thanks for all your help, support, love and prayers.  I love you all.

Please donate either way . . . .

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I’m alright, probably

Artwork by HastyWords
Artwork by HastyWords

That song probably wouldn’t have been as popular if Kenny Loggins had titled it that way.

Life is still all weird, as I suppose it will be for a while now.  I’m still looking for a place to live and a job to start but unfortunately, people who have jobs and places to live aren’t in as a big a hurry to help me find them as I am to have them.  They go home at night and I am forgotten.

It’s not right.  I’m a veteran, a legal US citizen and a willing and able to work individual, so why is this so hard?

Seems like it would be easier for me to get things done if I’d snuck into the country and just started asking for shit.

Even my conversation with Human Resources yesterday went nowhere.  They claim they decide who gets hired, yet none of them are qualified to decide who is qualified.  They decide based on how broken we are.  If the military has decided we are at least 30% broken, we can work wherever we want.  If not, well then suck it up and wait.

I even have a letter certifying that I’m crazy.  Yeah, that’s a thing, and I have one.

Still nothing.

So I’m spending my last night in this hotel.  It’s been a good one and they have cut me every bit of slack they could but that money is gonna run out too.  I had to pay my car insurance so I can still drive and I’ve rescued my phone for a bit longer.  All things I need to keep trying to get a job and a place to live.

I’m working my ass off to get myself ahead and I feel like I’m on a treadmill going nowhere.

Six months I’ve been at this.  Even longer.

I’m smart, and I have skills and I’m a loyal and hardworking employee.

And nobody wants me.

But I’m going to keep trying and someone will be lucky enough to get me, someday.

I need help, guys.  Seriously.  If you can find it in your heart to use the donate link up there in the corner, you’d be helping a down on his luck veteran.

If not, that’s ok too and I’ll understand.

I just need help.  Even if it’s just for another night in the hotel until I can get some government housing.  My car is kinda full and uncomfortable to sleep in.

Please, and thank you.

-Eric

Trying to pick up the pieces

It’s an Eminem kinda day.  I just want to cuss and find all the good words for lady parts and just shout them out an open window.

A relapse to me seems like the end of the world sometimes.  You just have to fight whether you want to or not.  Most of the time you aren’t going to win.

I could never describe what a relapse was like before.  How it happens.  Why it happens.

Then Eminem did this skit, and it described it perfectly:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBKz6qFyUOU]

The outpouring of love and support from all of you was amazing and I couldn’t possibly find the time to answer every single one. but I thank you one and all.  Friends I didn’t know even followed me, people I have never heard from before. and even some real life friends.  For that, I thank you once again for your love an support.

Today didn’t really go as I would have liked.  I had visions of kicking doors in and ,making demands and none of that shit happened.  I suppose Librium is decent stuff but in my case it apparent’ly isn’t worth a fuck.  Of course, nobody listens to me about my tolerance for Benzo’s, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

I told the doc the other day that I wrote a complete and coherent blog post on 15MG of Valium.

She laughed at me because she thought I was kidding.

I wasn’t and most of you read the damn post.

What actually happened was that I made it to the director’s office only to find that she was out . . . .

for a few days.

So I left my info with her secretary/assistant whatever she is and went on my way.

I went back to the Patient Care Annex to see if I could get a walk in appointment to have someone look at my back. Which they did, by sending me back to the main hospital to get x-rayed.

X-rays done, I head out to look for the lab and I get a phone call . . . . from HR.

So apparently they are REEEEEEEALY pissed that I went to the director to bitch about them.  We went back and forth on the phone, in circles.  Getting nowhere.  With her telling me that they decide who gets hired and me asking her who over there is qualified to decide who is qualified.  And me, YES ME, who can cuss with the best of them had maintained himself the whole time actually used the word “DAMN”.

‘”Sir, can we please do this without cussing?”

REALLY?!

So after approximately 30 minutes of beating the living fuck out of a dead horse, she finally agreed to “look into this and see what is going on” and that she would call me back later.

If that happens just by going to the Directors office, I can’t wait to see what happens when Congress gets there.

I scheduled an appointment for some labs in the morning and I’ll also go in and see my doc to see what is us up with my back.

For tonight, I’m back in my hotel room, taking my Tylenol and just trying to figure out what to do next.

I offered my life for my country, why can’t I get the same level of dedication?

OUR VA SYSTEM NEEDS A MAJOR REORGANIZATION, BECAUSE OUR VETS DESERVE BETTER THAN THEY ARE GETTING!!

From a man who suffered the same afflictions I do, and who loved his veterans the same way I do.  May you rest in peace, Robin.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QD9QAAEfQEA]

I was weak, and this post scares me

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I hardly know where to begin because I’ve made no secret of my past or my history or my afflictions or mental defects or whatever the hell you want to call them, so I’m just going to start since it is still fresh is my still somewhat addled brain.

I fucked up.

Someone should have seen it coming.

I should have seen it coming.  It’s been no secret that I’ve been down at the lower end of my depression lately despite the medication that I probably should have been taking more often than when I remembered to.

But it happened.

I don’t remember when I bought the first beer.  Or the next.  Or the vodka.  All I remember is that I was low.  Lowest I have been in a while.

I had been riding pretty high for a while.  Things were going good at work, whether it was just a program or not, it was work, and I was damn good at it.  The people I worked with wanted to keep me.  The nurses I took care of wanted to keep me.  I had been at that building since the doors opened and set it up from scratch and I had it operating like clockwork.  When people needed something, they skipped over my boss and looked for me instead.

My boss asked for extensions to keep me there longer.  My bosses boss asked the same.  I had/have jobs lined up and waiting for me at the main hospital, but they are stuck in the black hole that is Human Resources.  A situation that the program that I was in was well aware of, but still refused to give me the extension.  With all the nurses, doctors, bosses and everyone else that had my back . . . one man held me back.  One man that could grant the extension as he has done for many others before me.

He refused.

In fact, not only did he refuse, he called my boss right in front of me, asked him how many hours I had for the week and when he told him, he simply said, “He’s got enough.  Tell him he is done and to turn in his badge.”

This was on Thursday.  The rat son-of-a-bitch wouldn’t even let me finish my week.

Now, given my family history, I’ve become somewhat immune to being told that what I did wasn’t good enough.  Yeah, I blame that on my dad.  My dad has an idea as to how people should be, and right or wrong, you can’t change his mind.  If I’m not wearing a fucking tie somewhere making 6 figures, it won’t be good enough.  That’s him and I can’t change that.

That being said, I don’t blame him for it.  He’s a WWII refugee that managed to escape Germany with his unwilling Vermacht soldier father as soon as the war was over.  It’s how he was raised.

I blame myself for not being able to overcome it.

I took that rejection of all the work I had done HARD.

I’m a sufferer of depression and I’m always standing on the edge of the cliff.  That rejection was the nudge that shoved me off the edge.

I responded in a way that I’ve become accustomed to all these years.

I drank.

First a few beers.  Then a few more.  Then it wasn’t enough and it was vodka.  I’m sure I picked it up on the way home that Thursday.  Things get blurry after that.  I know I locked myself in my room and just drank, hoping the hurt would go away.

It doesn’t.

It didn’t.

I shut everyone off.

I ignored the phone.  I cried.  I suffered.  And at that point, I couldn’t stop.

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An ambulance was called for me and I refused it.

If it was in the house and had alcohol in it, I drank it and still the pain didn’t go away.

Finally, with the last bit of sense I had left, I called 911 myself.  I had to convince them that I was going to go this time, and I did.

I was taken to the Emergency Room and eventually admitted.

I spent two days there.  There were good nurses and bad and I was detoxed pretty well.

Then an incident happened in which one particularly nasty nurse kept ignoring me.  I finally got a doctor to come up from the ER and he spoke to me briefly because I had experienced a fall while I was there and suffered some damage to my back (which, to date, no one has bothered to check but yet I am unable to bend over to tie my own shoes).  The doc  said he would be sending up some medication for both my detox and my back and left.

I waited, and waited.  An hour and a half later, I crawled my ass out of bed to hunt her down.  When I found her, she said there was no medication of any kind sent up for me and that according to the doc there never was.

Needless to say, I may have lost my shit at that point.  I told them that one or both of them was lying to me and all I wanted was to have something done about my back.  An x-ray, MRI . . . for fuck’s sake, someone to lift my goddamn shirt and LOOK at the fucking thing!  All my frustration at the VA poured out at that point six fucking months of VA frustration poured out through tears and yelling and every fucking one of them was the problem and I made quite the scene at the nurses station, including one nurse that I knew from the Annex where I had worked.  (Who I apologized to for having to see that as she is one of the good ones)

I have a witnessed fall that NOBODY from my unit responded to (7 nurses from another unit came and picked me up, a doctor that either lied to me or told me what I wanted to hear so he could get out of the room and a nurse who could not have given ONE SINGLE FUCK.

And yet somewhere, there is an illegal immigrant with a drivers license and a social security number getting welfare and food stamps and here I am, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and I can’t get a fucking doctor to look at my injured back . . . IN A HOSPITAL!!

Being largely detoxified, I left the hospital AMA (against medical advice).

I found a cab and travelled 5 miles down the road and found a hotel right across the street from my primary care office where I planned to go in and visit my psychologist first thing the next morning.  This time I took Liz with me.

They convinced me to go back and check back in to the hospital, which we promptly did.  As I sat in the ER, they gave me a “banana bag” which for those not in the know is kind of a high powered IV of Gatorade with some extra potassium, took a few vials of blood, gave me some Ativan for the shakes and said have a nice day.  In other words, I wasn’t being readmitted.

I was dismissed with a “Don’t drink anymore and good luck.”

Which brings me to now.

I’m back in the hotel across from my Primary Care Clinic waiting for Monday when they open again.

I’m alone in my room on a laptop that Liz let me borrow.  Trusted not to drink again.

I won’t.  I can’t.  I have to find the fight to get my shit together.  I have a plan for Monday.  It might work.  It might fail miserably, but I WILL WIN!!

I know this sounds like a story of overcoming some deep adversity, but it really isn’t.

I’ve lost the respect of friends.

I owe apologies to people I never should have had to apologize to.

I have to find a new place to live.

I lost a girlfriend who loved me dearly and I have no way of apologizing to.

I am ashamed and afraid and I have no memory of what I’ve done.

I can only thank God that I never drove a car or killed anyone.

In three days I have completely reset my life and have to start over again.  Hopefully I can salvage some of it.

I am an alcoholic, and I always will be.  I can only hope to beat it into submission and that I’ll still have somebody left when that happens.

NOT WIN

The Human Resources Vortex

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It’s been a while.  A long, long while and I have no valid excuse.

I haven’t been absent.  Just haven’t been writing.  You all have seen me on Facebook, so you know I’ve been around.  I’ve been reading your stuff too.  I just haven’t commented on your blogs because, well, frankly I haven’t even bothered to turn on the computer much at home and trying to post a comment on a blog from the phone can be a maddening effort.

It’s not your fault.

I’ve been tense, and while I’ve said that writing helps ease that tension sometimes, the things I have had to say or post have just been angry or rampant bitching and I’m sure you don’t want to hear that.

I do, however, think you ought to know why I’ve been absent from here.

For those of you who might be new here and don’t know of my recent background, I’ve spent the last 6 months in a program for Veterans that help me find decent work while they allow me to work in the VA Hospital here and make an hourly rate so I don’t starve while I’m looking.

Sounds like a pretty good idea, right?

In theory, it is, and largely, it has worked.

But like any government program, it is flawed and overwhelmed with idiocy.

It has worked because I have job offers within the hospital.  GOOD job offers with fast and impressive growth potential.  Federal government positions that pay well and put me in positions of ever-increasing responsibility with raises to match.  Federal government benefits and I’ll even start off with 4 weeks of paid vacation a year because my service in the US Marine Corps will count toward my time in service with the government.

I have no less than 4 positions that are ready and waiting for me to start in them.

“So why so tense, E?”

I’ll tell you why.

Because everything has to go through Human Resources.

Everything.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with HR at a Veterans Hospital, let me break it down for you.  This is a group of people who decide who is qualified for what jobs and whether or not to send the applications and resumes to the people actually looking for the help to review them.

That might be a little confusing, so let me try to clear that up for you. . . .

Let’s say Dr. Foot needs a Medical Technician to help him.  Cleaning up after patients leave, taking vital signs, updating patient records, assisting in procedures, etc.  Dr. Foot then creates the job posting and sends it to HR to post on usajobs.gov.  When you send in your applications and resumes, they don’t go to Dr. Foot, they go to HR.  If you’re lucky, within a couple of weeks, someone in HR will get off their ass and maybe review your application.  Then, maybe, a couple weeks after that, they will send your application to Dr. Foot (known as a referral) if and only if, the unqualified pencil pusher at HR has decided if you are qualified to even be referred to Dr. Foot, because HR has its own standards upon which to base your qualification.  Such as:

  • Number of years in military service and type of discharge.
  • Whether or not you are a disabled veteran.
  • HOW disabled are you? (This one gets better, hang on.)
  • When did you serve in the military? (This one does too.)
  • Are you mentally unstable and require psychiatric care? (At least I have a check mark in one category.)

So again, why am I tense?  I served a complete contract with the US Marines, left with an Honorable Discharge, served in between the first and second “Desert” campaigns and I am not disabled.  I was also a Paramedic and an EMT Instructor for 5 years, so I should be a prime candidate to work in the VA Hospital.

Also, I’m bat-shit crazy, so cherry on top.

The discharge is good, but I’m not disabled, and that is a problem.  If I was at least 30% disabled, they’d invent a fucking job for me.  I wouldn’t even have to be qualified to actually perform the job, but I’m not disabled, so I get slid down the list.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against taking care of our disabled vets.  I support it completely and I’m glad that there is something available to them, but let’s do this with some common fucking sense here.  You have a job that requires heavy lifting, continuous walking and pushing of heavy carts around the building and a guy that needs a nap and a tank of oxygen after he carries his lunch across the cafeteria is going to get preference for that job.

That’s good for the disabled vet.  That’s bad for the supervisor that actually needs to get the job done and total bullshit to the guy that needs the job and can actually DO it.  It’s a hospital.  Shit needs to get done or people DIE.

Now we’ll rub a little more salt in the wound because I apparently did not serve during the right time.  When I was in the Marines, there was no technically recognized campaign going on.  Like I said, I served between Desert Storm and Desert Shield, but my military service doesn’t count because there wasn’t anyone getting shot at (that the public knows about) at the time I was in the Marines.

I was actually turned away from an interview for a wage-grade position with Housekeeping because I wasn’t in the military during a time of war.

Human Resources decided I wasn’t qualified to push a fucking broom, folks. . . .

. . . but the guy that runs supply is standing on his desk to get me into the position with him which is 4 pay grades higher and has a much bigger promotional potential.

. . . and Dr. Foot personally told me to send in my application because she was posting the job because she specifically wanted me to get it, which is 5 pay grades higher.

. . . ALL THREE of my bosses at the place I’m currently working via the program are trying to get a position created FOR ME, because I put that place together from scratch beginning on the day that new building opened its doors and nobody knows it like I do.

Human Resources is the place applicants go to die.  It is the choke point of the hospital.

Just to give you an idea, here is how the application with Dr. Foot is going. . . .

  • She posted and told me about the job on February 9th
  • I submitted my application, resume and all required paperwork on February 9th
  • The posting closed (stopped accepting applications) on February 27th
  • As of today, March 24th, the status of my application is “Received”

Which means that the job was requested two months ago.  I applied for the job two months ago.  The person that asked that I apply for the job hasn’t seen ONE application come her way yet, and my application is still sitting in HR being all “received” but as of yet, still completely untouched, looked at or even acknowledged.

For all I know, it’s someone’s goddamn coffee cup coaster.

You have people that need work, and you have people that need important work done . . . and in between you have Human Resources, unqualified to be on either end, deciding who is qualified.

So, having gone through the process backwards and starting with the people that need the help, I’ve opened the proper doors, but it’s going slow.

Very slow.

Federal Government slow.  Like the kinda slow when they owe you money and not the other way around

I’ve harassed every department chief I can find.  I’ve got people pulling favors for favors for favors.

I have contacted my Congressman, and he is interested in what I have to say and I had a response from him within 24hours.  Unfortunately, that is moving at Federal Government slow as well.

In the meantime, I am in this program designed to help me . . . until Friday, because then I have been in the program for 6 months and that is all the time they will give me.  Because every other person I have been in this program with has been extended to 9 months, a year and in one case, 18 months, to accommodate for the time required to wait on Human Resources, for some reason they are determined that I will get no extension and I will be out at 6 months.  Period.  End of story.  Good fucking luck, Marine.

They have straight up lied to me.  Told me shit I wanted to hear just to get me out of their office only to claim they never said it the next time I walk in.  They tell me they can’t give me an extension . . . while I’m standing next to a guy that is in his 9th month.  My boss has stood in their office and pleaded that he “NEED him.  We are going to be lost without him” and nothing.  The counselor insists that I should already be gone and that he is “hiding me” from his bosses as a favor to me, and then insists that I spend two days a week at their office . . . where I pass his bosses 15 times a day in the hallway.

I’m sorry, but can you smell the bullshit too?

What do I know?  I’m apparently not qualified to push a broom.

I’ve been busting my ass for six months to get into this job and I’m stuck behind bureaucratic bullshit and endless, nonsensical paperwork and people who keep changing stupid rules to other, newer, improved stupid rules that don’t make any sense and are devoid of any logic.

I’m tired.  I’m angry.  I’m frustrated.  I’m worried.

I just want to work and help take care of my fellow veterans.  Somebody needs to be.

I have 3 more days and I go back to broke and unemployed.

At least I know what to put on my cardboard sign I’ll be holding at the end of the exit ramp.

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Now you know why I’m so tense, and why I’ve been so absent.

My day will come, and I’ll be back around.   Bear with me, Friends.

I love all ya’ll.


I’d like to ask everyone a favor, in particular my fellow male bloggers and in more particular still . . . the Daddy Bloggers out there.  I want to introduce you to my good friend that I even know in real life.  He’s tentatively taking a step into the blogging world, and God knows I’m all for encouraging more male bloggers, especially when they’re this damn funny.  So if you would, please go check him out and give him some feedback on his very first blog post EVER on his brand new blog, Big Wood Peddler.

Show him some love, ya’ll!!!