“I Don’t Know; I Really Don’t.” (Part IV)


Without aides—

I only get a shower about once a week.

The bed sheets get changed about twice a month.

My income is $834/month. I spend about $60/month on private-pay aides.

Because there is no one to wash the dishes, I have to spend money I don’t have on environmentally bad paper and plastic plates and utensils.

Because there is no one to cook, I have to get Meals on Wheels.

My floors have not been swept, mopped or vacuumed in months.

My tables, shelves and windowsills have not been dusted in months.

Black mold is growing in the toilet.

My houseplants are dying.

I’m too tired to get out of bed today and don’t know what to do about tomorrow.

The director of Long Term Care wants me to go into Managed Care. I don’t want to be “managed”; I want to be free to make my own choices.

The county only contracts with five of the 56 licensed home health care agencies in Onondaga County.

The only people working as home health aides in the city are from the Southside and come with “attitude.”

Aides from the surrounding towns and villages will not come into the city either because they are afraid to drive there, or perceived racism. (In a random test of aides living outside the city, they perceived the city as being as much as 75% black. Fact: it’s 28% black.)

Aides are paid about $10/hour. Neither the director nor the commissioner know what the rate used to be or how long it’s been since it was last raised.

My last aide, who only had been with me two weeks, declared me a racist based on a single statement, and walked off the job leaving dishes half washed, laundry in the washing machine and a pot boiling on the stove. Why didn’t his agency tell him to finish his shift, then come to the office to discuss it? Why did the agency terminate me instead of the aide?

The previous aide was on her cell phone all the time. When reported, her agency took no action to discipline her. When I did, she resigned from my case, stating that I was “rude.” The agency fired me instead of her.

If the rate of pay for Medicaid aides were raised, would it draw a higher class of people to the job? If there were more aides than clients, would agencies start serving their clients instead of their employees?

Or is all this because I post blogs and file complaints when the service is below the standard set by law? Am I the victim of retaliation and discrimination because I speak freely?

Are the agencies in Onondaga County afraid to take my case because they know they are providing substandard service? Or is the county only contracting with substandard agencies? Or are there no quality agencies contracting with Onondaga County because the Medicaid rate is so low that there’s no money in it?

And the commissioner of Adult and Long Term Care says he doesn’t know what to do; he really doesn’t.

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
This entry was posted in activism, disability rights, Government Services, Medicaid, Medical care, Onondaga County, Poverty, Powerlessness and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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