real access to social services
Wednesday, February 1 2023
I've been a little concerned by the silence from my brother, who hasn't called me even once since the 24th of January, a day or so after our mother Hoagie was hospitalized after developing a seeming inability to sit upright in a chair. This afternoon, though, he finally called. He sounded calmer and happier than he had in the past. Hoagie was still hospitalized, he said, but she was being transferred to some sort of senior living center (or whatever the euphemism is these days) in Staunton soon. I asked if Don had talked to Hoagie recently, and he said he had talked to her some days ago, but that she hadn't wanted to talk. "Good enough," I said.
I asked how things were going living on his own, and he said he was doing okay. He then talked a bit too long about the warning of a cancer danger he'd seen on the packaging for a USB battery he'd bought to keep his phone alive. The warning had caused him to seal the battery back up in its packaging. "Oh Don, that doesn't mean anything," I told him. "California has a law that nearly everything made of plastic has to have a warning on it about the danger of it causing cancer." But there was no arguing with him. He still believes some YouTube video he saw months ago warning about the dangers of cellphone signals (and if it weren't one of the few things that gives him joy, he probably would've stopped using his cellphone). Don then went on to tell me about a set of headphones he'd recently bought that solve the problem of trying to watch a movie on a public bus while not fitting uncomfortably inside his ear. "Did they have a warning about cancer on them?" I asked. He said that they did not.
I asked if Don is being sure to feed the dog and horse, and he said he was. He said he's even feeding Lenny the Cat even though he hates Lenny because he shits everywhere.
Don then told me that a social worker (whose name he mangled to the point of unintelligibility) had been out to the trailer and told him that she was now in charge of the disbursement of his SSI check. Perhaps she was now giving him more money to manage, and this accounted for his new electronics purchases. For many decades now, Hoagie had dictatorial control over Don's SSI money, taking the bulk of it in exchange for a grubby room with no heat and dispensing a tiny allowance. But the moment it became obvious she couldn't physically maintain her custody, the bureaucracy decided it had to step in and take over. Hopefully they're making plans for the day when the Hoagie dies and the bills are no longer being paid.
This evening Gretchen made us vegan ravioli after she came home from her shift at the bookstore. She'd told me beforehand that her day hadn't been exhausting and she would be able to make dinner, so I hadn't done what I would've otherwise done: make either a pot of chili or fry up a pan of onions and such to be had with a pot of spaghetti.
The woodpile late this afternoon. Click to enlarge.
Neville on the tuffet in front of the stove.
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