Monday, December 16, 2013

Women Need Expectation of Recognition

I broke my pedicure rule today and read a magazine article while I was supposed to be om mani pedi humming. I don't believe I just wrote that, but I got up at 5 am, so I'm a little zizzy. It was Elle, January 2013, an article about ambition + power + women, featuring Lani Hay, written by Laurie Abraham. Understood that Elle is a fashion mag, evidenced by the photos of horrendously skinny women, and ads like London Fog, which until today I thought was a trench coat maker, but apparently not. Abraham takes a both sides now approach to the interview about women + ambition + power that reminds me of Chuck Todd – everybody is to blame, everybody gets a high five. You can read the whole article if you'd like, but for this post, let's sum up that Lani Hay will be president in 2024. It is her goal. She's accomplished a long list of things already, including the Naval Academy as a pilot, starting her own company, growing that to the multimillion level. She's done research enough to know that governor is the title to get to the White House, and she is eyeballing the guv mansion in Virginia. Never been a female governor in Virginia, but heck, there's never been a woman president of GM until this month either. Hay is getting her creds together, polishing her image, doing all the smart stuff necessary for a successful political career. I'll be keeping watch on Hay's career path. She also mentors other women interested in military training and careers. Abraham makes a point of twitching at the idea of a woman with ambition. She is twitching on the reader's behalf, but she doth twitch too much. Abraham labels some of Hay's funnier anecdotes as cringe worthy. This is the attitude we need to adjust: women calling out women who are honest, tough and don't pull punches. Not reacting to female ambition and power is the response we need and expect. I don't need anybody to twitch for me. And I certainly don't want a female writing about how another female seeking high and higher office makes us twitch. There was one excellent line in the article, and it was quoting somebody else. What women lack–and I will be thinking that this is the critical piece for a long time–is expectation of recognition. Not twitching.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Challenge Number One for Caregivers

The biggest challenge for caregivers is The Bureaucracy Beast. Once you've engaged services outside your home, especially if these are state agencies, or subsidized care providers like home health workers paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, you are in the belly of The Bureaucracy Beast. A few years ago, desperate to get a paperwork tangle cleared up (because doesn't one paperwork misstep just cascade into total chaos?) I called an emergency help line I found on the internet. That organization was a 501(c)(3) that was about 6 levels below the 501(c) I was trying to get answers from. You're seen those ORG Charts in PowerPoint, right? With arrows pointing every whichaway indicating who reports to whozeewhatzit? In nonprofit realm regarding the developmentally disabled, what we have in Michigan is nonprofits that started as state agencies, and were privatized. Through the decades, those nonprofits hire other nonprofits to farm out the work. And it gets confusing, ineffective and frightening. The Beast grows. And, the goddess forbid that they work together to solve problems, because that is called DOUBLE BILLING. Today alone I used too much time trying to make a caseworker understand that people trump paperwork. She did not understand — may in fact be incapable of understanding. But, by golly, she did set up the next round of next level private contractor nonprofit interviewers clutching their paperwork to fill out our SIS or PCP or LMNOP. Meanwhile, my father got his new round of medications from the VA. He's concerned because something is different about the dosage and instruction labels. He knows, because this is not his first rodeo. I called the VA to talk to the doctor. A nurse called me back. She's a third party. We've got an entire day of 3rd party. I'm done with 4rd, 9th, 5th party. If you're not who I called, get off my phone. Doesn't this drawing look like a Beast? It is made of words that cover the officious piece of caregiving, and the agencies that shuffle paperwork from one nonprofit to another. I know what's wrong with our healthcare system. Nobody is face-to-facing with their clients, and may in fact not believe they are customers. I can't believe I'm going to say this but we need a nonprofit ombudsman that does nothing but shuffle through the paperwork for the elderly and senior caregivers. I feel so sad for people who don't have the ability we have in our house to 1) get through the red tape, 2) get the services we need, and 3) not have anyone new added to the family members who need help. Once more today I remember that I have told my friends that if I end up in a straitjacket, please make sure it's a purple one.