You know the old saying, “one step forward, two steps back?” Well, that’s been my M.O. for the past 4 years or so (in fact, it may have been going on for longer than that). Seems like these kind of things start out benignly and slowly over the years/decades begin to accelerate, to the point that eventually one doesn’t dare do much of anything lest they might slip and make that final drop into the yawning jaws of fate!

I’m not there yet (?), but these days everything seems to be leading to such a fate. It started with my failing energy…that was about 3 years ago, a year after my diagnosis of Diabetes. It’s funny, when I was diagnosed I was able to do all kinds of stuff that I now find it very hard to do. I could drink and eat whatever without too much difficulty. I could work for hours on end. Come to think of it, I could even get an erection (not that I needed one all that often). But after my diagnosis and my getting right with the gods of diet and sobriety, I noticed that my energy began to fade. Within a year of my becoming a new citizen in the Healthy Way L.A. (L. A. County Health-care) system, I could hardly work more than 4 hours! I was controlling my Diabetes with my diet, my blood glucose numbers were around 115 (down from 300 +), I seemed to be on the fast track to recovery…but what happened to my energy?

One step forward, two steps back.

Eventually, because I just didn’t have the energy to do manual labor, except in it’s lightest form, and because my right foot was becoming deformed thanks to a condition known as Charcot Foot, I had to give up working, except for small jobs that could be done in a day or less. I’ve been working as a handyman/laborer for twenty-plus years and now that’s yesterday’s news. My last “job” ended in June of 2010.

Perhaps you can imagine how I feel…losing my purpose, my reason to be here. I got very depressed. Sure, I tried to keep occupied. I publish poetry books and that keeps me pretty occupied; but it is pretty much a hobby for the most part because few of the books I publish have really taken off. I’m hoping that will change soon and maybe I’ll have a “best seller.” But for now my income just barely covers my rent and a few bills. Thank God for food stamps!

Somehow, each month I manage to pay the rent and cover my bills (not without having shutoffs on a regular basis). Friends help me out too. God bless my friends! I’d be on the street without them…and, for me, those are the gaping jaws I fear the most! That’s what keeps me motivated to not give up. I applied for SSI in July after being rejected for SSDI and I’m waiting for their (more than likely) rejection of my claim (I hear that they reject just about everybody at least once). I got the number of a lawyer that I’ll call if they do that. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer of a wait…maybe I’ll be able to breathe a little easier.

In the meantime, my car finally gave up the ghost. So, I’m walking more, which is good, I guess. I’m not sure, because my foot is getting worse and I don’t know if walking on it is such a good idea. But not having wheels is really inconvenient. I can walk for 45 minutes in one direction, so whatever can be reached in that time is accessible but not if it involves hauling groceries or parcels for mailing. So, I have to rely on friends for banking, shopping and other trips like going to the clinic. Soon I’ll be on the bus.

I can’t help but feel that losing my car brings me closer to that final drop. Personal independence is manifested in owning a car. With a car, you can do whatever you want as long as you have fuel & oil & coolant…you don’t even need to have a plan. Without a car, you are free to do as you please as long as your schedule coincides with whatever transportation is available. Gone is spontaneity and the illusion that you are free. Once you start “hoofing it” you realize how few options you really have.

“One step forward, two steps back…”

If you would like to help me get a car, I have a fundraiser going on my webpage.

RD

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