Ms Rich Bitch Asks if I’m a Lesbian (Part I)

I am just about as mad as I’ve ever been. Here’s the question: Just because I’m poor, sick and need food, should the government be allowed to ask me if I’m a lesbian?

On December 30, I asked the county government, in the form of Long Term Care in the county’s Office of Aging, if they would please get me a home health aide. They decided I should have help 12 hours a week. It is now February 6 and I have not received any help at all—no home health aide.

So, in order to get by—and because my blood sugar is around 450—I called Meals on Wheels and requested the regular diabetic diet five days a week. I was talking to Melody Holmes, 68, African-American, and a social worker. My income is around $820 a month, and she told me that the cost of the meals is $4 a day. Then she asked me how much I wanted to “donate” for my meals.

That didn’t make any sense to me and, in the process of trying to get her to explain it, Ms Melody Holmes got mad at me. She interrupted the conversation with “Why are you talking to me like that?”

I was talking to her “like that” because she wasn’t making sense or, as a doctor once told a nurse, “Anne doesn’t tolerate fools.”

Okay, so I start getting my meals and they taste pretty good, and are filling, and are delivered by nice ladies who have little pleasant chats. The diabetic diet is not lowering my blood sugar but it is lowering my weight, and—most importantly—it’s feeding me when I’m too sick to cook and have no aides to cook for me.

Then Ms Melody informs me that she has to do a home visit—WHY?—and shows up at my door this morning. Ms Melody is enormously fat, which is to say fatter than I am, which is saying a lot, and asks if she should take off her boots (having just trekked through yesterday’s foot of snow). I say yes, please. Everybody who comes into my home leaves their shoes at the door. I had asked a friend to be with me for this meeting and his boots were beside the door.

So Ms Melody asks me if I have “footies” for her. Excuse me? She expects me to provide foot-coverings for her? This is the height of rude. Then she tromps in wearing her boots, which are extra-wide, knee-high and leather. How much do you figure she paid for them? About $120? I have no boots. The rich bitch has just invaded my home.

Recently Diana, who is one of my care providers and shares church sistership with me, told me about an experience she had. She was taking an academic course or preparing to do some volunteer work or something, and they brought in a trainer to help them understand THAT THEY WERE GOING INTO THE HOMES OF POOR PEOPLE AND WE DIDN’T WANT THEM THERE.

Seriously. Us poor people want you to stay the hell out of our homes. Do you know how many times I have to tolerate some damned stranger coming into my home to interrogate me? Well, there’s HUD housing, which inspects me a couple times a year, likewise the home health agency and Long-Term Care and now Meals on Wheels, and I don’t remember who all else but there’s a bunch.

So Ms Rich Bitch comes in, sits down, and tells me she’s here to tell me about other programs and services that are available to me. She’s a saleswoman here to make her pitch! I DON’T WANT ANY PART OF HER OR IT! I DO NOT WANT THE GOVERNMENT IN MY HOME! I NEED FOOD AND THAT’S IT!

So I pick up her letter to me in which she threatened to discontinue my meals BECAUSE SHE COULDN’T REACH ME BY PHONE. Yeah, seriously.

Let me remind you of who I am and where I’ve been: I spent eight months shuttling between Iroquois Nursing Home and Crouse Hospital. I have myalgic encephalomyelitis, uncontrolled diabetes with a glucose of 450, a rare kidney disease, stage 3 kidney failure, severe unstable obstructive sleep apnea, and a bunch of other stuff. I have an indwelling catheter, an auto BiPAP, a power wheelchair, and a hospital bed.

I came home from the hospital to an apartment that had no heat, lights or furniture. And it had no phone. At one point, I had a cell phone with no minutes, a handheld phone that was missing its base, and a regular phone that shut off after four rings and before I could get to it. So Ms Melody Holmes sent me a letter that, among other things, said she’d left me phone messages. Liar, liar, pants on fire. My phone isn’t set up to take messages.

So after Ms Melody tells me that she’s here to take over my life with more government services, I quote her letter to her (and it’s in bold print because she’s threatening me): “An assessment of your needs and services is a requirement . . .” so I tell her to get on with it—do the assessment.

She pulls out A SIXTEEN-PAGE QUESSTIONAIRE. Then she tells me that she has to ask all these questions because the federal government requires it, but I don’t have to answer them. Then Ms Melody asks me to spell my name and address—she already has it, as evidenced by the letter she sent me—then she asks my ‘sex at birth.’

Then she asks me if I’m lesbian, transgender or straight.

Let me ask you a question: Have you ever been seated in a restaurant and had the hostess come up and tell you that before you can order a meal, you have to identify whether you are gay/lesbian, transgender or straight? What would you do? Look at her like she’s lost her mind? Get up and walk out? What if it was the only restaurant in town?

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
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5 Responses to Ms Rich Bitch Asks if I’m a Lesbian (Part I)

  1. Judy says:

    Anne, I love your posts and take on life!

  2. Jack Joe says:

    um so what, transgendered people get More Food now?
    Or maybe lesbians eat more steak and eggs than most?
    me no under-stand.

    there’s Always a point there somewhere, as I’m sure you know.
    and that point is usually money.
    OH! Maybe there was a follow up question if you’d have said “why yes, yes i am” to any of those.
    great. Now i won’t be able to go to sleep wondering What follow up questions they’d have been! Because I am THAT nosey and now we will never know!

    You know what Anne.. The new gay bar down at the corner probably sent her.
    you know, to scare up a few new customers and all that.
    maybe the Only List she was carrying… was a drink list.

    don’t let strangers in your home Anne.
    and people are certainly strange!
    hence, don’t let anyone into your home.. unless they Bring the Drinks.
    and even then.. tell them to leave em on the door step.

    and i thought i was a weirdo-magnet

    Peace my friend!

    • annecwoodlen says:

      Please note that the blog was labeled “Part I.” I absolutely positively promise to answer your questions in Part II today.

      And today the bleepin’ government screwed me over again! Two mailings regarding my fair hearing being scheduled for Monday were not delivered BECAUSE THE FLIPPIN’ POST OFFICE RETURNED THEM! I was at home; they were sent to me at home; there was no change of address; the bloody P.O. just up and returned them!

      All in favor of boycotting the government, let me know!

    • annecwoodlen says:

      Okay, Jack Joe, it turns out despite my “absolutely positively promise,” I’m not going to get the second part written today. I was attacked on the street this afternoon by a man who lives in my building. He kept ramming his wheelchair into mine and hitting me with his hand. The manager refused to tell me his name, and as of now–3-1/2 hours after the incident–the police still have not come to take my complaint. I am physically unhurt, but deeply shaken. I’ve never before had a man hit me.

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