The Peace-Be-With-You Superpower

Even though I have an award-free blog, sometimes a friend will challenge me anyway. And on the few times that I’ve answered a challenge, I’m notorious for not following the rules. Some things never change. 🙂

Lisa wants to know:  Which or what super power would you want and why?

I don’t think humans were meant to have any kind of superpower. I have a feeling that if any of us were given a superpower, we’d somehow, I dunno, accidentally destroy the planet. (Not that we need superpowers to do that.)

But just because I’m a realist, that doesn’t mean I can’t play.

My first thought was that I’d like to be able to heal. Then I thought that I would specifically like to have the ability to see inside a person’s brain, find the areas that aren’t working, and fix them. Thinking further, I could easily imagine how this superpower could backfire, possibly creating more problems within the brain. After all, could any superpower be stronger than the human brain?

And now I’m back to my belief that humans shouldn’t have superpowers. If you think about it, we already have superpowers. Why do we need more? Oops, I forgot we were playing a game…

When I was young, I had to pretend to be Catholic at church every Sunday. At one point during the mass, the priest would direct us to turn to the person on each side of us, shake their hand and say, “Peace be with you.” The person would reply, “And also with you.” It would’ve been nice if people really meant it, instead of just saying it by rote.

I’ve decided that I’d like to have a Peace-Be-With-You superpower. I’d like the ability to create peace wherever I go, whomever I encounter. If another person has any bad or violent thoughts, with just one look from my tired, blue eyes, all those thoughts would disappear. Cease to exist. Poof! I would smile at the look of bafflement on people’s faces, then they would shake their heads, as if coming back to the present, and smile back at me.

My superpower would be transferable with each look, and so peace would then spread throughout the world, from person to person, city to city, country to country.

We would never have another war. And we would all work together to live happily ever after. The End.

And because I don’t follow the rules, I’m picking two superpowers. I would also like to be invisible, like Lisa, because I think it would be loads of fun. 🙂

(Photo taken by my sister — and cropped by me, #croptilyoudrop — at the 2013 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.)

Protection or threat?

My daughter and I are from San Francisco, on vacation, traveling through the Southwest. Today we were driving from Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon in a Toyota Camry we’d rented from Fox Car Rental in Las Vegas. In Williams, Arizona, as I exited Interstate 40 to head north toward the Canyon rim, I was pulled over by an AHP officer who’d been tailing me for a couple of miles. I hadn’t been speeding, so I wondered if perhaps the car had a broken taillight or something. I rolled down my window and waited.

Suddenly, the officer rapped on the rear passenger side window with his pistol. My daughter, who was sitting inches from the barrel of his gun, jumped with fear as the officer yelled at me to roll down the front passenger window, his service weapon pointed directly at me. I knew something was terribly awry and I tried to remain calm, keeping my hands visible as I slowly fumbled for the window controls in an unfamiliar car. My daughter rolled down her window and I explained that we were in a rental car, that we had no weapons, and I was having trouble figuring out how to roll down the front passenger window from my driver’s side door. The officer didn’t listen, and kept yelling louder and more insistently, ordering me to comply with his request as he leered at me down the barrel of his pistol. My daughter panicked and tried to get out of her booster seat to reach forward to roll down the front window, and the officer screamed her at her not to move as he pointed his pistol at her…

Then, as I had my hands in the air, he yelled, at the top of his lungs, in a voice I will never forget, as my daughter looked on in terror, “Get your hands away from your waist or I’ll blow two holes through your back right now!” My hands were high in the air as he said this, and I was not in any way reaching for my waist. I was utterly terrified…

Why was I arrested? The car I was had rented had previously had its front license plate lost or stolen, so the car rental company reported this to the Nevada DMV. The Arizona highway patrol officer, who looked up my plate number while he was tailing me, misinterpreted this Nevada DMV report as meaning that I was driving a car with a stolen license plate, and somehow this prompted him to approach me at gunpoint and threaten to kill me in front of my little girl…

If you are a person who has ever looked skeptically at the claims of Black Lives Matter, or others who talk about police violence, I urge you to consider what happened to me and put yourselves in the shoes of others. I just survived a bizarre gunpoint situation in which I was as innocent as Philando Castile, who was not as lucky as I was…

Under comments:

Oneal Isaac: I’ve a B.R. policeman pull a gun on me when I approached him to ask for directions. I was on my way to yoga class. Once you are facing a gun, it changes how you see things.

I’m not sure anyone can understand this kind of terror unless you’ve experienced it. I’ve never had the barrel of a gun pointed at me, but I have been threatened with a gun by a police officer. And it does change how you see things.

At that moment, you realize that as far as society is concerned, the bully’s life is far more important than yours. That he could use that gun to end your life, make up some story about how he felt threatened, and everyone would believe him. Really, your life means nothing, especially to a gun.

Being threatened with a gun is like finally understanding that your life is meaningless and could end in an instant — a hair-trigger of an instant. That life isn’t precious, it’s precarious. That life is chaotic and violent, so aptly illustrated by the presence — and under the threat — of a gun. A gun says, “You don’t matter. The End.”

I guess to those who like guns, they represent protection and sport. I can understand that. But for me, guns will always represent violence. Violence and death.

Thinking of you, Sgt. Brandon Michael Ketchum

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Sgt. Brandon Michael Ketchum, age 33, of Davenport, Iowa lost his battle with PTSD on Friday, July 8, 2016…

Here’s what Brandon experienced. Unedited and in his own words…

Brandon’s last post to OIF/OEF Veterans – Military Empire’s Facebook Page.

“Have any of you had a similar situation to my VA shitsh0w today? I went in to see my psych doc for an emergency appt due to some serious mental health issues I’ve been having. I requested that I get admitted to 9W 9psych ward) and get things straightened out. I truly felt my safety and health were in jeopardy, as I discussed with the doc. Not only did I get a NO, but three reasons of no based on me not being ‘fucked up enough.’ I wish I were making this up, but I’m sure I’m not alone. At this point, I say, ‘why even try anymore’ They gave up on me, so why shouldn’t I give up on myself? Right now, that is the only viable option given my circumstances and frame of mind. Insight and/or advice welcome. Tell it as it is, I’m thick skinned.”

Hours after writing this post, Brandon shot and killed himself…

Here is Brandon Ketchum‘s bio that I received from him in preparation for his going to Peru to participate in the veteran plant medicine healing. Rest in peace brother.

“My name is Brandon Ketchum and am a 33 y/o veteran. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and joined the military when I was 21 y/o. I served in the Marine Corps from 2004-2008 as a combat engineer, serving two tours in Iraq, locating and clearing road side bombs. I survived 5 “hard hits” or explosions on the vehicles we used to mitigate explosive obstacles. Unfortunately, not all of my brothers were as lucky as I was…

Since exiting the military I have faced many struggles with my mental health and also substance abuse. I was addicted to a high dose of narcotic pain meds, began abusing them and eventually started using heroin. In February 2015 I overdosed and nearly died but was saved by paramedics and coincidentally a police officer who I had once served in the military with.

I have been involved with the substance use disorder program at the VA since 2014 and will graduate the final portion of the outpatient program this Thursday, the 24th of March, 2016. Now that I have more control of myself and my life I have begun the daunting task of starting to piece my life back together after the traumas of three hard fought combat tours had taken a costly toll on nearly every aspect of my life.

The physical and mental symptoms of severe PTSD, depression, anxiety, and the inability to adapt back to the real world has been a tremendous obstacle for me, particularly going through nearly 25-30 different types of meds yet finding no solid gains or improvements. I am a firm believer in medical marijuana but unfortunately it is not yet legalized where I live…

Although I find a great deal of therapeutic value in woodworking, every day I am haunted by my past; I struggle to find meaning in the wars I waged against people I felt we didn’t protect or help…

Asking for help has only clouded my life with such a stigma that I have carried the ‘crazy’ or ‘broken’ labels, forcing me to have to fight for custody of my little girl that I love more than the world. I’m nearing some possible successes in some aspects of my life, directly as a result of my unwillingness to be discarded and dismissed by the country I swore to give my life for. But at the end of the day, I feel that I am also at war with myself and my ‘demons.’”

Is racism a mental health condition?

I watched someone die yesterday. I wondered about the thoughts going through his mind — the amount of pain he must have suffered — as his murderer stood outside his car window pointing a gun in his face. Was that the last thing he saw? As his girlfriend recorded his last breath. As a little girl, now scarred for life, watched from the back seat.

If this had happened in Iraq or Syria, that little girl could very well grow up to be a terrorist.

Then there’s Micah Johnson, the 25-year-old veteran who shot 12 police officers, murdering 5 of them. Here are the most informative articles on this tragedy so far:


I am a part of the Black Lives Matter movement. We did not ask for this. The protesters in Dallas did not want or ask for this.

However, and this is as uncomfortable for me to say as it may be for you to read, we should not be surprised by what he did.

Micah Johnson is the cake that this country has baked.

I’m not sure that the Micah Johnson tragedy was about race. I think it was about his mental health, and because he was black, his brain made it about race.

Micah was about the age in which schizophrenic symptoms can start to appear. Those who suffer from this condition are quite normal before symptoms begin. Everyone who knew him described him as quiet, yet he obviously had some kind of mental break, turning his home into a weapons storage unit. As if he was paranoid and felt threatened. But he also seemed to feel invincible (or suicidal), starting a war with the police. And in the middle of this war, after he was shot, the cops said Micah was laughing.

After a long showdown, during which he was reportedly laughing, singing and bragging about training for the attack…

I would imagine that it’s not too hard to radicalize someone who suffers from a mental health condition. And I assume that anything radical would be appealing and a temptation for someone with an unbalanced mind.

Is racism a mental health condition? How about gun addiction?


Meet the combat veterans who grow medical marijuana for their brothers in arms

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors prescribed drugs — lots of drugs — for Scallan’s PTSD after his return from Iraq in 2009. He says he took 600mg of Seroquel, a powerful psychiatric, each night to sleep. He popped 3mg of Klonopin whenever he felt an anxiety attack flaring up. He took 200mg of Zoloft for depression each day, as well as opiates prescribed for pain…

After about of year of smoking pot daily, Scallan was able to stop taking the opiates, Zoloft and Klonopin. He was down to 150mg of Seroquel each night to sleep. Then he ditched that as well.

Scallan had finally found relief, but his journey had just begun. Soon, he’d meet other combat veterans with similar stories. Soon, they’d help spearhead a movement for their peers, some of them struggling, some of them homeless, all of them sharing a military history and an appreciation for medical pot.

Scallan had no way of knowing this at the time, but he was soon to find an entire network of support, purpose and community through marijuana…

Could Marijuana Help Treat Painkiller and Heroin Addiction?

Advocates argue a growing body of scientific literature supports the idea, pointing to a study in the Journal of Pain this year that found chronic pain sufferers significantly reduced their opioid use when taking medical cannabis. And a study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found cannabis can be effective in treating chronic pain and other ailments.

But the research falls short of concluding marijuana helps wean people off opioids – Vicodin, Oxycontin and related painkillers – and heroin, and many medical professionals say it’s not enough for them to confidently prescribe it.

In Maine, which is considering adding opioid and heroin addiction to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana, Michelle Ham said marijuana helped her end a yearslong addiction to painkillers she took for a bad back and neck.

Tired of feeling “like a zombie,” the 37-year-old mother of two decided to quit cold turkey, which she said brought on convulsions and other withdrawal symptoms.

Then, a friend mentioned marijuana, which Maine had legalized in 1999 for chronic pain and scores of other medical conditions. She gave it a try in 2013 and said the pain is under control. And she hasn’t gone back on the opioids.

“Before, I couldn’t even function. I couldn’t get anything done,” Ham said. “Now, I actually organize volunteers, and we have a donations center to help the needy.”

Most states with medical marijuana allow it for a list of qualifying conditions. Getting on that list is crucial and has resulted in a tug of war in many states, including several in which veterans have been unsuccessful in getting post-traumatic stress disorder approved for marijuana treatment…

My comment:

While some in the medical industry and the government believe there isn’t a difference between addiction and dependence, medical science shows there are plenty of distinctions between the two. So, instead of saying that we should use cannabis to treat opioid “addiction,” the more precise (and palatable) term might be that it should be used to treat opioid “dependence.”

A tiny, first step

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has granted approval to clinical trials assessing the therapeutic use of medical marijuana to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among US veterans…

The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will test medical marijuana’s potential benefits on 76 U.S. military veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD, evaluating the efficacy of marijuana strains with different levels of THC and CBD, as well as effective doses and potential side effects. A $2 million grant from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will fund the research…

What about veterans suffering from chronic pain?

The VA Isn’t Broken, Yet


The long arc of the VA’s place in American life shows that the agency has always struggled against ideological enemies and against commercial health care providers who would stand to gain business from its being privatized. The only hope is that Americans will wake up in time to save the VA from those who are trying to kill it…

For example, in 2003 the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published a study that used eleven measures of quality to compare veterans’ health facilities with fee-for-service Medicare. In all eleven measures, the quality of care in veterans’ facilities proved to be “significantly better” than private-sector health care paid for by Medicare…

In 2007, the prestigious British medical journal BMJ noted that while “long derided as a US example of failed Soviet-style central planning,” the VA “has recently emerged as a widely recognized leader in quality improvement and information technology. At present, the Veterans Health Administration offers more equitable care, of higher quality, at comparable or lower cost than private-sector alternatives.” …

And because the VA is a large, integrated system, it has the ability to coordinate care among specialists, so that patients are treated as whole persons rather than as collections of failing body parts. Though no one used the term at the time, Kizer transformed the VA into what health care policy wonks today describe as an “accountable care organization,” or ACO, in which the well-being of patients and providers are actually aligned…

“I know the veterans who are here are going to be proud to hear that the Veterans Administration is on the leading edge of change,” Bush explained, without showing any evident discomfort with praising the largest actual example of socialized medicine in the United States…

The Bush administration also reversed the liberal eligibility standards that the Clinton administration had established. No longer were all honorably discharged veterans welcomed at VA hospitals; instead, to qualify for care veterans would have to prove that they were either indigent or suffering from a service-related disability. This gave rise to much more time-consuming and bureaucratic processes, as VA employees had to determine, for example, whether a veteran’s Parkinson’s disease was due to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam or to some other combination of environmental and genetic factors…

Under Shinseki, the VA also fully integrated mental health professionals and substance abuse specialists into its medical home teams. This practice of treating body and mind together is virtually unknown outside of the VA because insurers, including Medicare and Medicaid managed care organizations, won’t pay for it. But the innovation was crucial in treating the VA’s patient population, 25 percent of whom suffer from chronic mental illness and 16 percent of whom struggle with addiction…

By late 2013, Hegseth and the CVA were making the case that the VA needed “market-based” reform that provided vets with more “choice” to receive care from private doctors and hospitals (though they were careful not to use unpopular words like “vouchers” or “privatize”). They were also signaling their sympathy for another abiding cause of the Koch brothers: crushing the power of unions…

The ultimate fate of the VA will likely be determined in the coming months. The Commission on Care, which has been holding hearings throughout the winter of 2016—hearings that have received no attention in the mainstream press—is scheduled to announce its recommendations in June…

Another Sexual Assault in Service of the Drug War

Suddenly claiming to smell the odor of burnt marijuana coming from Carbone’s car, Maiella arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence…

At the Lawrence County Correctional Center, Carbone was forced to remove her clothing, “bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough.” Carbone says two corrections officers, April Brightsue and Niesha Savage, mistakenly thought they saw a plastic bag protruding from her vagina, so they repeatedly instructed her to “prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina” in the hope of dislodging the imaginary item. Then they had her bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough again. Carbone was “crying hysterically” and insisting that she was not concealing anything inside her body…

Maiella, the arresting officer, asked Salem and Lamancusa what he should do next, and they instructed him to take Carbone to Jameson Hospital in New Castle for “an internal examination of her body cavities.” At the hospital, the cops found a doctor, Bernard Geiser, who agreed that Carbone needed treatment “for a possible overdose, rectal packing and/or oral intake of a controlled substance.” But Carbone did not consent to “treatment,” and the police did not obtain a warrant authorizing the procedures that followed.

Carbone “was restrained to a bed by her wrists and ankles” as Geiser “performed an internal inspection of her vagina and rectum.” He did not find anything…

Since Geiser and the cops thought Carbone “might have something located deeper in her vagina and rectum,” she was subjected to an involuntary CT scan, which found no foreign objects…

Still determined to discover contraband, Geiser “performed a second internal examination of [Carbone’s] vagina and rectum,” then instructed two nurses to perform a third. They also swabbed her vagina “for testing.” After none of these inspections turned up evidence of a crime, Maiella told Carbone she was free to go…

Please sign

My boyfriend Greg served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He did his duty for his country, but it came at a cost. He was diagnosed with PTSD and started seeing a therapist through the Veterans Administration (VA).

His therapist is fantastic, and he often went over the allotted hour, giving Greg as much time as he needed during each session. Unfortunately, his therapist has been forced to cut each session down to a half hour, in an administration-wide attempt to manage their overload of mental health cases….

My boyfriend recently said he’s not sure he will continue going to therapy once it’s reduced to a half hour. It will take him longer than that to drive there and back. If he stops going, I know that his PTSD and depression will only get worse…

Please join me in urging the Department of Veterans Affairs not to cut back mental health treatment for veterans and military families…

Michelle Walker started this petition with a single signature, and now has 81,637 supporters…

No More Shame and Blame

(2/25/2016) Why I don’t use heroin by Chris Arnade

I spent the last five years documenting drug traps in neighborhoods poorer than is decent for such a rich country. I have become close friends with women and men who live under bridges and earn money for heroin by selling themselves for sex. I have bought heroin for them, unable to stand by as their body rejected the lack of drugs. I have provided them with clean needles, water, and a safe space to inject…

I am surrounded by heroin but have never used, because I am not in pain and have it good. I grew up with parents who cared about me and kept me safe, surrounding me with books and toys. I was encouraged, and expected, to finish high school, and to keep learning beyond that. After my education I was lucky to find a job (I was good at thinking in numbers), and was paid well.  The people I met in the drug traps had none of that. Their parents, if around, were too busy with their own problems to keep them safe. Many did far worse, abusing them physically and sexually. If the abuse didn’t come from a parent, it came from an uncle, or the mother’s boyfriend, or a stepbrother, but the abuse almost always came. It was the ultimate betrayal of trust: being raped by men who were supposed to keep them safe.

Their childhoods were spent dealing with problems that would break most adults…

And so drugs are popular, because drugs work. They allow people in pain, whom society has rejected, a way to integrate into a community that does work for them. How much someone uses drugs is often a measure of how much pain they have suffered, how isolated they are…

That in any city or town, across all of America, people live on the streets, shooting up, selling themselves for another bag, should make us all stop and ask ourselves “why does our society create and allow such pain?”.

I never saw Bernice again, she disappeared from the streets, presumably into a rehab, jail, or perhaps she moved to another town. Still, I cannot forget the last thing she said to me, “Why am I using drugs and hustling? Because I am out here trying to kill myself. I want to get a gun and do it faster, but I am too scared to blow my head off.”

Try not to judge people for how they decide to manage their pain. I know that many of these ways are often destructive, like my addiction to cigarettes. I don’t have the looks to be able to sell my body, but I know what desperation and pain can drive a person to do. And if you don’t understand that kind of desperation, then you’re lucky.

According to all of my reading on this subject, most drug addicts are like the ones described in this article. And so I’m wondering about the homes they ran away from, specifically if most drug addicts are from poor neighborhoods. According to the government’s statistics, most heroin addicts are white people from middle-class homes. I’m not sure about the government’s definition of “middle-class,” but I know that most patients who can afford an addiction clinic are usually from the middle-class.

And so I’m wondering, what kind of pain are these middle-class heroin addicts running from? I’ve been comparing the current heroin “epidemic” to the drug epidemics of the past, specifically in the middle-class. It seems like boredom is one of the reasons for drug use in the upper classes, and I suppose we can also blame the immaturity of young brains.

I used to think I was in the middle-class, perhaps lower middle-class. It’s hard to remember every day of my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever been offered heroin. I don’t know what kind of crowd you have to hang out with to be exposed to drugs like that, but I’m guessing it’s people with a lot more money than I’ve ever had. And perhaps, also, people with a lot less than I have.

I can see why a lot of parents blame legal drugs and drug dealers (I mean, doctors). Who else is left to blame? There are many people who believe that parents are to blame when children do things like take drugs. But parents who don’t take drugs also have children who do, and vice versa, so I think the blame falls more on our DNA (along with the types of drugs that one is exposed to). And yet, there’s all this violence, abuse, rape, and bullying, that contributes to drug addiction…

Does the white middle-class really want to stop the heroin “epidemic”? Does it really want to delve into the reasons for addiction? Abuse and violence are already against the law, yet that hasn’t stopped drug use and abuse. The drug war hasn’t stopped it either.

People abuse sex, just like they abuse drugs. In the past, most people felt that unmarried women having babies was shameful (only for the woman, of course). People used to think that women who took the pill were sluts. One day, our society will progress to the point of not shaming those who use drugs, for whatever reason.

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Thinking of you, Bernice.

Honeysuckle Haven


I dream of a future where pain patients come together and create their own pain clinic. The one pictured in my mind is called Honeysuckle Haven.

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Since it will be totally self-sufficient, health insurance will not be required for admittance.

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Honeysuckle Haven is not like the Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehabilitation Center — housed in a building made of concrete and steel, with doctors and tests to monitor your every move — or any other pain programs that currently exist.

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And in my future, the drug war will be over, so the Haven will offer all available treatment options.

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It will be a sprawling commune, nestled in fields of honeysuckle and bluebonnets, with large trees standing guard nearby. (The land will be a gift from the federal government as reparation for its cruel torture of pain patients in the opioid war, and in memory of those who didn’t survive.)

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Each building will offer different treatments, like water therapy and massage. There will be a building for patients who want to fight their pain with vitamins, a farm for those who are currently choosing cannabis, and patches of land for garden therapy.

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There will be a building where all sound is cushioned, and another one where patients celebrate loud music. There will be a building for those who like to pray, and bakery therapy for those who like to eat.

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There will be grief counseling (and comedy therapy) for all.

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Patients will move at their own pace, not dictated by schedules and appointments with professionals.


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I also picture a building where the mastery of pain management is taught. Newly-defined experts will come from all over the world to share experiences and discuss the many different issues surrounding pain and the brain.

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Patients will come and go; some staying for a day or two, and some for the rest of their lives. But everyone will be treated equally at Honeysuckle Haven (where eviction is against the law).

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Thanks for sharing my dream with me, and have a nice weekend. 🙂

The fear of poverty

I know apartment complexes need to enforce the rules, but whenever I see a car being booted, I feel really bad for the owner. This photo is from last year:

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My car registration was due in December, but I couldn’t afford to pay for it until January. I was nervous about it, thinking my car would be booted at any moment. I don’t know how a tenant can rectify this problem with a freaking boot on the car.

Ever since I received the eviction notice (which is actually a notice to vacate, but it may as well be an eviction notice), I’ve been on edge. Waiting for a knock on my door, with the police on the other side, forcing me out of my apartment. I’m very thankful for my friend, Payne Hertz (Sean), who explained that I can’t be thrown out of my apartment until March 31st.

And then this morning, I hear a large vehicle outside, which is getting ready to tow a blue car (that looks just like mine):


I’m not what you would call presentable at this moment in time, but that didn’t stop me from hopping to the front door, slipping on some shoes, and high-tailing it outside. Not that I could have stopped this guy if he was actually towing my car.

I don’t know what I would do without my car. As I’ve said before, if or when I become homeless, it will be the only home I have.

Still, I was surprised at my acute reaction. In fact, I’m still shaking. I’m feeling that kind of fear that people who suffer from anxiety must feel all the time. That kind of fear that can make your head throb and your pain worse. I suppose it’s a fear of poverty, although in my case, there’s a little more to it.

Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t diagnose myself with PTSD. But I think my anxiety comes from my past as a pain patient. For those who are interested, that part of my story is here:

Since I’m so shaken up, I decided to do some packing today. Downsizing means deciding what’s worth keeping and how much I have to let go. Remember all those cute (but useless) nicknacks you bought at Pier 1? They were the first to go. (I don’t know what I ever saw in nicknacks — sure, they’re cute, but all they do is collect dust.)

Remember those clothes you thought you would fit into someday? Yeah, those have got to go now, too. I’ve been hanging onto my medical records for 30 years, so no doubt there’s plenty to get rid of there also.

It’s hard to worry about taking care of myself when I’m faced with eviction. I’ve already tried chocolate therapy today, but it’s not working. The only good news is that bud is currently helping me cope, along with all of my blogging friends, of course. Can I say “thank you” too much? 🙂

In my search terms

“will medical marajuana hurt my unum disability claim”

No one really knows the answer to that question. I asked Unum for “all documentation which shows Unum’s position on medical cannabis.” But the corporation refused to respond. I would have to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit to have access to the documents I requested here:

However, if I had to guess, I would say that, considering the effort Unum expends to deny benefits, it would definitely use your treatment choice against you —  not that they would ever reveal that information. But since Unum requires medical updates, you have no choice but to tell them. Unum has access to all of your medical information, so if you want to keep your marijuana use a secret, just don’t tell anybody (including your doctor).

Problem is, how are you treating your medical condition? Without proof in your medical file that you’re being treated by a doctor, insurance companies will question if you are really disabled. So, keep seeing your doctor if you can afford to, just tell him or her about all the other treatments you’re using, leaving out the use of cannabis.