Back to the Beginning: Bad News – Energy Assistance Gone (posted Apr. 24, 2009)


As soon as I learned I was down to a $65 credit balance on my natural gas, I got in touch with the community services to get help. I emailed, they had me call to schedule an appointment.

This is the place where they only open up the phone lines and online scheduling for appointments one month in advance, and you can only schedule on that ONE day for appointments.

Since I already receive assistance and was getting to an emergency place, I asked them if I had to wait or could I go ahead and schedule.

The gal I spoke to on the phone scheduled me for today and comforted me saying if I was getting too close to getting a shut-off notice to let my heat company know I have an appointment scheduled and that would take the pressure off.

So, in preparation, I had to contact the Unemployment Office, get the form filled out correctly (took me a couple times to get information in the right places.) Because this was short notice, I would have to fax it to them, so I went to the community resources office early this morning and asked if I could pay them to fax it. They faxed it and said they couldn’t charge me. I thanked them and went for a walk before my appointment.

On my walk I was grateful for help being available, but asking for help and being in this place are very difficult. It’s depressing and dehumanizing. A reminder your life is spinning out of control and despite your own best efforts, it continues spinning in an unfavorable direction.

I heard and saw two beautiful bald eagles, walked more and returned to the office. Having been a brisk morning, the walk would cost me in brain bucks.

I went back to the Energy Assistance Office to find the open area now a wall with a door and two small windows, we are to check in at the windows which are placed strangely high, and feels like a secure zone than a resource office.

I check in. The gal asks my name again, asks what time I’m scheduled. I’m not on the schedule. I say I can come in later. She said no. She asked for my appointment confirmation paperwork they’d sent me. I hand it to her and she tells me someone will be with me shortly.

Then she announces to the room my name and says I’ve been in before for assistance and I agree. She then tells me they have no resources for people who are already receiving assistance and I need to try back NEXT MONTH! I tell her I’m almost out of heat.

I sit there in complete shock and don’t know what to do. I’m mad and upset and ask if I can reschedule now, and she says NO, I have to wait until next month.

As if it isn’t bad enough you tend to lose your right to privacy because you’re carrying your life in black and white to show everyone, but to go to all that length to get help and be turned away, oh my gosh.

This was not good news.

I didn’t even get to my car before I started crying. I went to a park to cry more before I went home, I have this thing about not wanting to cry in front of my animals and have them become concerned.

I later went to my chiropractor and the dear receptionist said they got my letter. I’d sent them one too, just as an encouragement to see if I couldn’t make a change. She said she thought it was neat that since I was going through that to see if I couldn’t help others, she had empathy for this process and that was sweet.

At that particular moment I wasn’t feeling like much of an encouragement. I had just had a difficult morning dealing with a lot of the darker feelings of being a person who is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It gets old being here. It gets old waiting on a happy ending, waiting to get better, waiting for a solution.

I understand why so many people with TBI stop praying for a miracle and give up. Systems don’t have feelings. Systems don’t care if you’re going to lose your house, or you’re struggling to put food on the table, or if you have no heat. Systems don’t care if you’re trying your hardest and doing your best. Systems exist for systems.

Having paid some big brain bucks for a morning that turned out to be devastation instead of a safety net, I came home to rest. After sleeping hard, I woke to find I’d left the front door wide open and had no recollection of it. Purse sitting right there. Not smart.

I am not okay and am damned to find out why no one is willing to put in black and white I am disabled so this process of getting on disability can go ahead. Anyone who would think I’d go from being a Type-A to someone who can’t get their act together is just crazy.

I was rear-ended on the freeway for heaven’s sake, and then rear-ended again, and side swiped two months ago. Brain injuries are cumulative! No one wishes I were the old me more than me.

I have two Neuropsych evaluations, I’ve gone to doctors, rehab, support group, I’ve done nutritional counseling and acupuncture at my own cost to try to get better. I have lost my life to something I didn’t cause and stay stuck because of politics and greed.

It is unfortunate I present well, or whatever excuse people need to use. If you look merely at the testing, the documentation shows deficits clearly. The tests just show what I’ve been struggling with. If I had Cancer, would anyone go through the same and say I present well and since I can’t see it, therefore it doesn’t exist?

Just because people choose to not see it, cannot see it or whatever doesn’t make my life any different. Who in the world has the right to judge me without taking into consideration my experience?

This is MY life, doesn’t that matter?

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About Resilient Heart

TBI x3, that's me! If you had a Traumatic Brain Injury (or Injuries!) and knew you might not remember dates, events, people, etc., would you live each day differently? Would you give more, forgive more, heal more? I am. The statistics for me developing Dementia or Alzheimer's is a high possibility - one, because of the TBIs, and two - because I'm genetically predisposed. Come with me as this present moment is all we know we have... Wishing you all the best - today & always. Blessings, Love & Peace, RH
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