Author Archives: annecwoodlen

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2


I have received a comment from a reader: “Homeopathy is not something I have tried or known whether to trust, but the one thing I am certain of is that it can do no harm, unlike allopathic meds . . … Continue reading

Posted in Health Care, Mental Illness & Health, Medical care, American medical industry, Depression, Poverty, Medicare, drugs, physician, Alternative therapies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cop Hits Cop

This morning I went in my power wheelchair to the Downtown Farmers Market. After purchasing beets, squash, zinnias and gladiolas, I headed home. About 11:25 a.m. I was sitting in the bike path headed east at a red light at … Continue reading

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“He and others”: The Post-Standard on Rt. 81

This morning’s Post-Standard, as read on, leads with a story headlined “Syracuse power brokers pushing I-81 tunnel, boulevard instead of elevated highway,” written by Teri Weaver with contributions from Sean Kirst under the auspices of managing editor Stan Linhorst. … Continue reading

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Good News, Chariot’s Comin’

Yesterday I went to see a new doctor—not my most favorite thing. It was only about eight blocks away from my apartment so I wheeled over, thereby saving you $53 in round-trip Medicaid transportation expenses. This is one good reason … Continue reading

Posted in American medical industry, Medicaid, Medical care, Medicare, physician, Poverty, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Status Update

My energies currently are devoted to producing a book on depression, drugs, psychiatry and recovery, circa 1971-2013. Chapter first-paragraphs are previewed on my Facebook page. Hopefully, before the summer is out the book will be available for sale. What’s your … Continue reading

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From Dr. Eastwood, Sorta

Today, July 2, I received a letter from Upstate University Hospital dated June 26. Herewith an exact facsimile: Dear Ms. Woodlen: Please have this serve as notification that we are in receipt of your correspondence to Dr. Gregory Eastwood [ … Continue reading

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What is Dr. Howard’s Problem?

On April 2 I saw Dr. Myles Howard at Syracuse Community Health Center (SCHC). (I had previously seen him once about three years ago.) He told me that SCHC did not do catheter changes and referred me to Upstate Medical … Continue reading

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Beginning the Weekend

So the woman who was to start next week as my aide called this afternoon to say she won’t be coming to work. Something about her grandson having to go to summer school, and her son bringing him to her … Continue reading

Posted in American medical industry, Depression, Government Services, Medicaid, Medical care, Onondaga County, physician, Poverty, Powerlessness, Values | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Dr. Eastwood, Interim President, Upstate (Part II)

This year I went to the Joslin Diabetes Center, a new patient presenting with a glucose level of 570. I was seen by a Fellow, then the attending, Dr. Kelly. I had googled “CFIDS + glucose” and found several recent … Continue reading

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To Dr. Eastwood, Interim President, Upstate

Dear Dr. Eastwood, I apologize for the fury with which I attacked you this afternoon. The top issue was that the sidewalks on Adams Street are blocked on both sides—one side because of Upstate’s building project and now, this week, … Continue reading

Posted in American medical industry, drugs, Medical care, Pharmaceuticals, physician, power wheelchairs, Values | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment