Orlando

Three weeks out

June 23, 2018 – I was with my mom and brother in Disney or most of this week (where I couldn’t take any photos because I couldn’t steady my camera without use of my left arm), so I don’t have an exact arrival date. But, as soon as I returned on Saturday, I found a letter from Florida Blue: “Our independent panel of medical experts have reviewed all documents associated with your claim and determined that it DOES NOT meet the criteria for a medical emergency.”

Wait, getting hit by a fucking car is “not a medical emergency?”

“…therefore, neither Florida Blue nor any of its subsidiaries are liable for any payments associated wit your claim.”

But don’t forget to keep paying us – that’s right, I have to pay them to not do the one thing I overpay (due to an error on their part but claim it’s MY fault for “not catching it sooner”) them to do

June 25, 2018 – I finally got the nerve to call the lawyer the physical therapist gave me, and he has tentatively offered to take my case. I meet him at the IPM offices on Thurs, which is good since I can show him the rejection letter from Florida Blue.

June 27, 2018 – Got a call this morning from an “unavailable number” who turned out to be the “Billing and Payment Office” at ORMC informing me that my insurance is not paying for my Emergency stay but SOMEONE is…and I get the distinct feeling I don’t want to ask who that “someone” is (especially since I was the one on the other end of their message).

If only, there was a way to prepay into an account in the event that something like this happened to me… oh, I do? Tough luck, kid, here’s your bill. Yes, you HAVE to pay it.

Advertisements
Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, florida, Health, healthcare, insurance, Orlando, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Slightly better Saturday

4:23am – I thought being moved up to the surgical suites would make the rest of my night quieter, but, no, there were still people pacing up and down the hall, staff laughing at the nearby nursing station and machines making various noises.

In fact, if I got out of bed to use the restroom and an ear-piercing alarm goes off so now a half-dozen (young female) nurses know I have to pee: “That’s why we have that pitcher next to your bed. Just go, we’ll turn it off.”

4:43am – I finally get my pants back up and my belt redone (neither task is easy to do one handed), and as soon as I’m back into the bed and almost asleep, a female Orderly comes in to clean the bathroom.

7:30am – Daylight.

Also, the time I hear the door to the room open and Dr. McDreamy from whatever that show was called walks in. He’s a surgeon, he’s gone over my reports and has determined I don’t need surgery after all. However, he still needed to hear a comprehensive medical history, a complete report on what caused the crash, a full list of symptoms (tbf, the pain had gone down noticeably overnight). He tells me “I’m not releasing you today” and leaves.

8:37am – A male Orderly comes in holding what turned out to be a standard Continental breakfast, and just as I’ve almost pulled myself up to an eating position… the NT comes in, takes my temperature, gives me a pain pill and checks my blu-presser: “Eh, eeeezzz still no good, but maybe better. 143/105.”

9:23am – Regular floor Nurse arrives (not the one from earlier). She tells my vitals, while “not good” appear to have “stabilized,” but the doctor said I’m “most likely” staying overnight again for “continued observation.”

10:29am – the exact same nurse walks in, and immediately asks: “What the hell are you still doing here? You were discharged over an hour ago.”

12:29pm – Yes, I am still here, but I just finished the saddest “Turkey Club” since my mom packed my lunch in the 4th grade, but at least, I got to eat it sitting up. I’m told the discharge papers should be ready any time now.

As I force myself out of the chair, I see a familiar chocolate colored boy in a tight, black shirt ambling down the hallway before the door next to mine slams. Apparently, you can have the same highlight twice on the same trip. Who knew?

1:15pm – The nurse comes back in with a copy of my discharge paper which she rather quickly goes over with me. No weight on shoulder, contact primary for folo in 5-7 days, pills every four hours… when I asked when the cab was coming to get me, she just looked at me blankly. Why not just drive my own car back? Oh right…

2:29pm – The nurse just happened to be outside my room (walking an elderly patient) when her cell phone rings telling her the cab was “en route” and would arrive shortly so she had to quickly (or as “quickly” as hospital staff move) her patient back to her room and get a wheelchair out of the closet at the end of the hall for a leisurely trip down to the lobby.

2:43pm – Finally arrive at the main entrance where, yes, a cab was already waiting. Surprisingly enough, the driver was friendly and managed to get me back to Williamsburg in decent time, despite “heavier than normal” afternoon traffic.

I get out of his vehicle, go up to the unit, open the door and see the time on the oven was… 3:15pm.

Categories: florida, Health, healthcare, Kissimmee, Orlando, Osceola Regional Medical Center (ORMC), Williamsburg | Leave a comment

WORST Friday ever: part 1

2pm – Realize I’m still wearing the same clothing I wore to bed last night so I hurriedly changed shirts and put on the nearest pair of shorts I could find before going down to check the mail. There is a medium-sized package from my mom and a dividend check that she forwarded to me.

2:45pm – I take the package up to my room, grab some change off the counter and go downstairs to wait for the trolley. I was hungry too. Maybe, I’d get something to eat on the way back…

3:15pm – Wait for trolley to leave, check that were no cars coming and got two feet away from the median when suddenly a navy-blue car came out of nowhere and struck an old, fat guy dressed identically to me. A few seconds I reach for my glasses under the aforementioned car, more worried about the checks not getting lost or damaged than the throbbing pain in my left shoulder or the bleeding from my left ankle.

3:35pm – Firefighters show up (they had a station literally 3 blocks away so, of course, they arrive first), and stand around while one guy takes my shirt off (that’s right, I’m surrounded by a dozen hunky firefighters and I’M the one taking my shirt off) and another probably older one barks: “this don’t look like no ‘crosswalk,’ so I reckon you deserved this” (no, really).

3:45pm – Paramedic van arrives, and I’m lifted onto the gurney and into the vehicle. As they are about to shut the door, the older firefighter sneers and says:

“Don’t worry, buddy, the cops will meet ya there, hahaha.”

Not only were both of the EMTs are younger than I am, but one casually mentioned that he’d only been on the job a few weeks and had to ask where everything was as we careened down the highway, every bump, stop and acceleration felt like bloody murder on my already hurting shoulder and it didn’t help the soreness from where the rookie hooked the IV into my right arm.

This wouldn’t have an issue if they had taken me to Dr. Phillips Medical center (which the rookie correctly stated was “less than 15 minutes out”) …but instead they drove me to Osceola Regional Medical Center (a roughly 30-minute drive in late-afternoon traffic) because as the older guy said:

“It looks like he’s some trauma or something from the collision. We should take him to Ozzy, they have a Shock-Trauma center there. It’s better to cover our asses NOW than get in trouble later if he needs a transfer.”

4:15pm – Arrive at ORMC and dropped off unceremoniously in a hallway in the back of the E.R where doctors and nurses rarely tread. It is also one of the last confirmed time stamps I had on my visit.

An hour or so passes and a woman with a clipboard, a name badge and a rambling cart with a laptop computer stopped next to my bed. I initially thought she was a nurse coming by to take my medical history. Nope, just my insurance information (I should have known better, actually).

However, a few minutes after she leaves, I’m met by another person with a badge, but, unlike my threatened encounter from earlier, the officer was generally calm and professional which was a huge help considering the level of pain I was in (remember, no doctor or nurse has come by to see me yet).

Roughly two hours later, a doctor finally found my bed. He asked me about the accident than pushes and pulls my shoulder. I ask him to see if my ankle had stopped bleeding, so he reluctantly lifted my leg for two seconds, put it down. He turned to me, said “no,” and disappeared into the ether, never to be seen again…

Another hour passes and a cute girl in red scrubs with a faded “Rad-olo-y” badge comes by and wheels me 500 feet through the double doors and into the ancient, positively cavernous room with a monstrous X-ray machine that looked like an early boss battle from a video game. It was slow, loud and not particularly agile… kind of like me, and if I thought that realization hurt, they had to reposition my shoulder five or six times to get “good” shots.

So, after 40 loud, painful minutes, I’m rolled back into the ER and dropped back in the hallway where I eventually retrieved for a CT scan from a surprisingly modern, almost normal looking machine. The only real problem I had was that the guy working it pulled me off the bed with my LEFT hand. Thankfully, when he pulled me off six minutes later, it with my right and that was nowhere near as painful… as being wheeled out into the same lonely, depressing hallway.

8:45pm – A nurse comes by and offers to get me pain pills (finally). She returns 15 minutes later with a shot of Morphine (administered through my IV) and a single Motrin tablet. It wasn’t much, but it was a welcome start. Now, all I needed was some food, as the nurse disappeared into the ether…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, florida, Health, healthcare, Kissimmee, Orlando, Osceola Regional Medical Center (ORMC) | Leave a comment

Two sides, same coin

My dishwasher has been out of commission for the past week or so, but they finally sent someone up to “fix” it this afternoon – and by “fix” I mean they ran half an empty cycle before deciding it was “good enough” for me to use (even though that’s exactly what they did LAST time I reported this and obviously, it worked because I reported it again).

Since my dishwasher was out of service, I have been forced to hand wash my dishes, so I didn’t have a huge reserve available for a test load. However, I did it anyway, but since I hate the amount of noise it makes when it’s running so I went out to eat at the Golden Corral on I-Drive (in the plaza as Cici’s and 1-2-3 Dollar).

Anyway, I leave the apartment and when the trolley arrives, I sit in the front row behind the driver and across from a young family visiting from DC who were complaining that their 2yo daughter couldn’t get on any rides at the Magic Kingdom.

“Come on, you think Disney, you think ‘KIDS.’ So, of course, I took my kids (ages 2 and 1.5) with me, but the only ride they were tall enough to ride was fricken Dumbo. I’m sooo glad we paid all that money to get into a KIDS park without any kids rides. Grrr, what a rip-off (neglecting to mention that both of his kids got in free, and that height requirements for all rides are easily found online). We’re going to take the trolley to Discovery Zone or SeaWorld tomorrow afternoon – at least THEY have kids’ rides.”

“Actually, it’s Discovery COVE, and it’s a fairly far walk from the nearest troll-”

Suddenly, he leans forward and taps the driver on the shoulder, he then gestures towards me and says:

“Buddy here’s got a question for you.”

“Wait, I do? I was trying to-”

“No, no, buddy, it’s okay. You’re allowed to ask questions here. Go on, I got his attention for you.”

“What ‘question?’ I don’t HAVE a ‘question.’ Why do I need to come up with a question I don’t have to ask the driver when I was trying to tell you about Discovery Cove? Then he can answer the question you are forcing me to come up with, so you can justify getting his attention, so I can tell you more about SeaWorld and Discovery Cove.”

That’s the point when his real message finally hit me. Fortunately, because I’m crazy and stupid, he gave a nice summary of his ordeal…

“God, buddy, what is your problem? I’m trying to be NICE to you here, you freakin’ jerk.”

Am I your “buddy” or am I a “freakin’ jerk,” make up your mind? However, I have been doing this blog long enough to know “what is your problem” is an insult. Period. I can give a wonderful explanation of Aspergers’ and Autism completely on the fly (okay, not really), but it would invariably fall on deaf ears because no presumably smart and/or sane person likes (as a far blunter observer once put it) “being lectured by crazy-ass retards.”

The Golden Corral is stop 31, and when I got off “buddy” was his buddy again. Also, crossing southern I-Drive can be tricky at times, but I managed to get across pretty easily. The parking lot was unusually full, there was no line to get into the restaurant nor did I have any particular trouble finding a table.

I’m never sure if I’m supposed to wait for my server to stop by and “sign” my check or just go up to the buffet, but since the former is usually easier, that’s the one I chose. I came back to my booth and the check was signed so all was good.

She came back as I was eating to find out if I wanted another drink which I declined, but instead of going away, she stepped closer, taking my plate, asking what kind it was and I repeated I “wasn’t ready” for another drink at which point she makes a sassy comment about “I was asking for next time” and storms off as if I did something wrong (or at least not intentionally).

I go up to get my second (and last) round of food. I am nearly finished, and had opened my wallet to see if I had enough to give her a tip when I hear a sharp: “You want another root beer?”

I tried to tell her “no” because I was busy, but instead of going away, she comes right up to my table, essentially blocking me in and says “I couldn’t hear you from back there. What did you need again?”

“I’m trying to determine if I have enough money for a tip, so I can leave the restaurant without getting another drink.”

“Oh, let me see that… Oh, ’21.01’ that would make a ten percent tip $2, a fifteen percent tip $3 or a twenty percent tip $4. You never answered me if you wanted another root beer or not.”

Apparently, I’m an idiot.

“Well since I don’t have $4 on me, I guess I might as well give her 15%. Yes, I already answered your question: I said I needed to ‘figure out your tip so I can leave your store without getting another drink.’”

“There is something seriously WRONG with you,” she said as if I couldn’t hear her. “Who the hell gets scared by someone asking for another drink from four tables away?”

It was technically TWO, and she were saying it rather loudly – just as she had the “questions” poste above. At least she got out of my way to “ask” them. It wasn’t until I got the first exit door that I realized the irony of this evening’s conversations.

Fortunately, when I went to the discount grocery store next door, the cashier barely spoke to me. She coldly rung up my order, and we didn’t talk. It was quite refreshing actually… kind of like coming back to mostly clean dishes.

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, florida, Orlando, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Fiction: Mouseland (part 2)

Scott and Madix arrived at the bar at the same time. They had never met each other, but they felt an instant camaraderie. In fact, it quickly became apparent that they shared more than a sour mood – particularly when a certain blonde haired girl in a green shirt strode into their hole-in-the-wall completely oblivious to their presence.

However, they weren’t the only ones to see her enter. A dark haired boy about Daniel’s height with light brown skin and a bright replica soccer jersey sat alone at the table next to theirs staring at her with a mix of bitterness and lust.

“Hehe, okay, blondie, come to papi.”

“That can be arranged,” Scott said pulling up a chair next to him as if they’d been friends for years. “She is single…broke up with her boyfriend just this afternoon. It’s tragic really…”

“But not for you…” Madix continued taking the seat across from his ginger-headed cohort. “No, this is an opportunity – YOUR opportunity – and we’re more than happy to help you achieve it.”

“After all, we LOVE helping people. It’s what we do…”

 

“I know,” Michael said. “He seemed almost disappointed about not getting to cook anything for us.”

“Well, it sounds like you’re lucky to have him. I wish MY roommate would offer to cook meals for me.”

“Oh, I’m sure that could be arranged…”

“Heck,” she continued barely hearing her younger brother’s comment. “Regardless of how good or bad he cooks, it would be still cheaper than eating here AND we’d probably be getting better service.”

“You don’t know the half of it. Excuse me, waiter? Damn. Excuse me, could we? Fuck. What the hell do we have to do to get another glass of water around here?”

“I don’t know, but it’ll probably cost more than you’ve more than you’ve got on you.”

 

“Yes, Carlos,” Scott said. “If you want to succeed, you have to picture in your mind what success looks like.”

“Just close your eyes, relax and picture yourself alone on a deserted beach with her as the sun sets behind you.”

“Breathe deeply. Focus.”

“Imagine her luscious breasts hanging in front of you like low hanging fruit. They’re so tantalizing you want to touch them.”

Carlos lifts his hands off the table as if trying to grab them, and Madix takes a piece of peeling plastic from the side of the table, pulls it back slightly and releases it with a SNAP causing their friend to wince in pain even though it was nowhere close to hitting him.

“We said you ‘WANT to touch them’ not you could. Do you want to continue this exercise or not?”

“…Yes, sirs…”

“Then you need to dig deeper and focus harder on your objective!”

“Ignore everything else around you except the sound of our voices. We will guide you to your objective…”

 

Michael didn’t see the man at the end of the bar with the grey shirt. Hell, he could barely see his own waiter, so it didn’t come as a surprise that he didn’t see the man vanish into thin air either.

Except he didn’t “vanish,” he stood in the corner of the bar near the kitchen as if waiting to use the nearby restrooms. Then a young man in a black waiter’s uniform brushed past him, and he grabbed his arm.

“Who’s serving that table over there,” he said before his captive could protest, “the one by the window?”

“I don’t know,” the server said irritably. “And I don’t care either.”

Suddenly, the mysterious man holds his hand in front of the server’s face and quickly snaps his fingers just out of his peripheral vision.

“Who’s serving that table over there?”

“I…am…sir,” he said flatly.

“Much better, now get to work. You’ve got customers to serve, oh,” he said with a devious smile, “and one more thing…”

 

All Claire wanted was a few drinks to help her forget her day. Unfortunately, all her friends wanted to do was ask her about Daniel, and, as much as she hated lying to her friends, there was no way she could answer their questions honestly without giving away his “secret” (and thus implying that she was somehow complicit in it).

“Look, I need…I don’t know what I need just something…different – something he can’t give me. Does that make any sense to you?”

“Everyone needs to finds themselves at some point, I guess now it’s your turn.”

“You really think so?”

“Yes, go out, explore the world, meet new people and eventually you’ll find exactly what you were looking for…”

“Sure,” she said skeptically. “Like the perfect guy for me is just going to come striding in out of nowhere and offer me a drink…”

 

“Water,” Will asked holding a pitcher in his hands.

“Yes please,” Rachel said, and he dutifully refills both glasses.

It might have been his imagination, but Michael thought for sure his server was slowly spelling out “MIC…” as he refilled his glass.

“Did you say something?”

“No,” said continuing his song under his breath. “You… real… soon…”

“I thought for sure I heard you say something. Ah, never mind, thank you.”

 

Carlos steels his nerves as he approaches the front of the bar and walks up to Claire who’s leaning against the counter talking to some friends.

“Hi, can I get you a drink?”

“Get lost, pig.”

He turns around dejectedly and after three steps nearly collides into his new friends.

“Well,” Madix said. “That didn’t go well, did it?”

“Fortunately, Carlos is a strong boy, a resilient boy and most importantly Carlos is a GOOD boy…”

“Carlos…is…a…good…boy…”

“Yes, he is,” Scott said patting his shoulder reassuringly. “And good boys like you ALWAYS have a ‘Plan B.’ Don’t they, Carlos?”

 

“This isn’t the first time you’ve been rejected by a member of the ‘fairer sex,’ is it?”

“No…sir…”

“Well,” Scott said. “As my father likes to say ‘anyone who rejects you, isn’t worthy of your time anyway.’ Would you agree with that?”

“Yes…sir…”

“Maybe, you should consider switching sides. You’ve always gotten along better with boys anyway, haven’t you?”

He thinks for a moment and then slowly says “yes” as if a light just went off in his head.

“That was the problem all along, you were gay – and always have been – you just never wanted to ADMIT it until just now.”

“Yes…I was always gay…couldn’t admit it until now…”

“And in fact, you love us, don’t you? It’s okay, you know we will never harm you just as we know you will never harm us, would you?”

“NEVER…sir,” he replied as if that was the dumbest question he’d ever heard.

“In fact, you want to make us HAPPY, don’t you?”

“YES,” he said deliriously.

“It’s all you want. It’s what you dream about at night…”

“And the first thing you think about when you wake up, and you would do anything in the entire world to achieve that, wouldn’t you?”

“Absolutely anything,” he beamed. “Because, Carlos is a good boy…”

“Yes,” Madix said kissing him on top of the head causing him to blush embarrassedly. “Yes, he is…and we love him to death…”

 

Now…it’s…time…to…say…goodbye,” Will sang picking up Michael’s check and taking it over to the register.

To… all… our… company… That leaves us with two choices: you can go back to being the snooty server ignoring his customers…or…you can continue serving me. Remember, Will is good boy.”

“Will…wants…to…serve…you…sir.”

“See, I knew you’d make the right decision. Good boys ALWAYS do. Now… go deliver their change. I’ve got other plans for you…”

 

“Good evening, Claire,” a vaguely familiar voice said as she approached her car.

“Who are you, and what are you doing out here?”

“Just getting a little air, that bar was getting a little stuffy.”

He took a step towards her, and she instinctively took one backwards only to collide into a second person standing immediately behind her.

She tries to scream, but a hand comes up from behind her and covers her mouth. Suddenly, she felt a sharp, pressure across the front of her neck and she fell instantly to the ground.

“He’s my friend,” he said crouching down and lifting her barely conscious head up by the hair. “‘…And ANYONE who tries to hurt him…’ Well, I think you can guess the rest…” he said letting her head fall back onto the ground.

“Good-bye, Ms. Parson. You were nothing more than a nuisance anyway. A cute nuisance, but still a nuisance.”

He takes her keys and throws them to his accomplice, “The blue Honda Civic on the corner, I think you know what to do with it.”

“Yes…sir…”

 

Michael came back from dropping his sister off at her hotel to find his followers sitting on the sofa in the same matching Mickey Mouse T-shirts they were wearing when he left.

“You’re not going to believe this,” he said excitedly. “My sister was scheduled to go to Disney World next week with her friends… but they dropped out and she doesn’t want to go alone so she offered to let me and two friends stay in her villa for five days. Isn’t that awesome?”

“That’s very generous of her, master.”

“Now the only problem is finding two people worthy of going with me – and, of course, the ONLY option I could come up was the two of you.”

“If you wish, master,” Madix said. “After all, we are very grateful for any opportunity to please you – regardless of where it is…”

 

“Wow,” Scott said. “You’re looking resilient for someone who just lost his girlfriend. What are you doing up so late anyway?”

“Brendan wasn’t happy with the photos from today’s project so I’m planning another one for tom…,” he looks at his watch and continues, “well, today actually. You can join me if you want, I’ll need someone to take photos anyway. Besides, as my mom always said: ‘any girl who would dump you wasn’t worthy of your time anyway.’”

“A wise woman, she and my dad would probably get along. Well, anyway, I’m going to bed. If you need anything – ANYTHING at all – just let me know. You know where to find me, good night, Daniel.”

“Good Night, Scott,” he said with a tired smile. “You’re a good friend…”

“Thank you,” he said blushing. “You have no idea what that means to me…”

 

One week later, the three of them arrive at their resort. Michael had given instructions on how they were not to make his meals (as they “came with the room”), address him as “master” or act in an obviously subservient manner. In fact, when they got to the room, the first thing he did was dismiss his “friends” for the afternoon and laid down for a nap.

“Well, they certainly didn’t skimp on the pool,” Madix said. “God, it’s huge…”

“And crowded too, where are we going to put our stuff down? I don’t see a single open chair.”

“You can use mine,” a bespectacled young man said approaching them. He looks Matthew in the eyes and suddenly his own went blank. “My name is Dave…and I serve Master Brendan…My parents don’t know … but my brother does… I’ll move my stuff onto his chair…”

“Ahem,” Madix said. “I’m here too.”

“He can’t see or hear you in this state,” Matthew said flatly. “But I can introduce you if you want…”

 

He turns the mousy haired boy towards Madix and as he does so the young blonde is momentarily blinded by a bright flash of light. He then stares blankly into Dave’s eyes transfixed by the image of the sunlight dancing on the water reflecting off the window behind him directly onto Dave’s glasses.

“The light,” Madix said, his voice getting slower and flatter as he talked. “…It’s so beautiful…how it shimmers…moving with the waves…”

Matthew slowly raises his fingers up and quickly snaps them just out of Madix’s peripheral vision causing his head to fall limply onto his friend’s shoulder.

He kisses the top of the boy’s head and whispers: “Madix is a good boy, and always will be. Now open your eyes and meet Dave…”

 

“Well, that was a fun trip, wasn’t it,” Michael said as they exited the elevator.

“Yes, it was very nice of your sister to pay for it for us.”

“I know, she’s full of surprises, but at least we don’t have to worry about any more of those happening any time soon. Could you get the door for me? My hands are full.”

“Yes, master,” Matthew said.

He opened the door, and he and Madix came in to find Carlos and Will sitting patiently on the sofa, their faces lighting up when they recognized their respective masters.

“Welcome home, sir,” they said simultaneously…

Categories: disney world, entertainment, florida, Orlando, writing | Leave a comment

Fare is fair… except when it’s not

Today I went to Publix to buy milk. I took the Red Line trolley to the end of the line. I got lunch at the Subway next to the store, bought my low-fat milk and waited 10 minutes for the trolley back to my apartment.

“STOP,” the driver barked opening the door, but refusing to let me on. “Why you always pay just quarter? I ask(ed) you a question. Why do YOU pay a quarter? That rate is for people who WORK along route. You no work. You have no work, do you? You ‘work’ here? Fine, show me an ID from your job?”

Wait, what? I thought it was a “resident” rate, but I could be misinformed.

“Huh,” he taunted before I could answer him. “Ha, you don’t have one. You are not ‘special,’ unless you are a senior or in a wheelchair – which are neither – you pay this much,” taps signs on farebox.

Right, because only people in wheelchairs are “disabled?” Gotcha.

“You see that,” he said condescendingly. “Do you? THAT is how much you pay. I am not a fool. I have job, and I am doing it. Now, you pay $2, or you do not get on. Period.”

I remember my Nextbus app saying “6 minutes” and then “39 minutes.” It probably wouldn’t have been THAT long as I was at the second stop on the route… but I didn’t feel like chancing it, so I pulled out 2 $1 bills (out of the $5 that were in my wallet) so the hero driver wins the day.

But victory wasn’t enough for him. He has to lecture me about how I can’t be mad at him for “doing (his) job” when I don’t have one of my own (because I was holding a SHOPPING bag, and “shopping is no working”). Finally, I just tune out his prattle and pretend this is all his being a jerk… and realizing I could get a “disability card” for Autism in Florida with a valid assessment (which I don’t have at the moment) and a consultation with an affiliated psychologist.

Three stops later, the driver stops for a young black man in a grey T-shirt with “DKNY” written on it with baggy white sweatpants. He drops a quarter in the farebox and heads to a seat across from me without a word from the driver.

See, I thought with a passing smile, I am “special” after all…

Categories: adventures, Autism, florida, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando, transportation | 1 Comment

Fire Sprinkler Inspection Day

Today is “Fire Sprinkler Inspection Day” at Sea Isle (required by law for all apartment complexes in Florida). The fire Marshal, apartment manager and maintenance supervisor come around to poke around the apartment – including the closets 😮 – to check smoke detectors and see if you have the right number of fire sprinklers in your unit.

I can hear the alarms getting louder, so they must be coming soon. I HATE the alarms they’re extremely loud and the flashing lights give me a headache. At least this time I won’t be in the shower…

Fire Marshal,” he shouted over the roar of the water. “You have less than one minute to open this door before I knock it the fuck down!

Back to the present, I’ve been hanging out on the balcony with headphones on for the past hour as the noise from the other buildings has gotten steadily louder.

I think they left now, but it was 15-20 minutes of pure TERROR while they were doing my section of the building as even with headphones the noise was absolutely deafening.

Fortunately, I wasn’t naked this time (as my balcony overlooks the main walkway through the complex). However, I still managed to make a fool of myself in front of the Fire Marshal and the maintenance woman when I was blinded by the flashing lights AND doubled over in pain from the noise (as jolting up when they knocked on my neighbor‘s door threw the earbuds out of my ears leaving my ears unprotected). I have no idea how they do that without earplugs.

Oh, and the inspection of my unit itself took less than a full minute so there was that…

Categories: Autism, florida, Orlando, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | 1 Comment

“Buddy, ya mad psyc elf”

Did that headline make sense to you?

Good, that makes TWO of us. I was thinking of that annoying Will Ferrell movie, but, sadly, it had nothing to do with that abomination.

I was going out to buy milk from the 7-11 catty-corner from my apartment. That was my only intention for this humid fall night – nefarious or otherwise… and, yes, I’ll get to that later in this essay, but first some context…

It was 7:45pm, and, due to the quaint anachronism known as “Daylight Saving Time,” it was practically pitch black out there save for oncoming traffic (which are extra dangerous for me due to my having a 1.5 second processing delay – which can be absolutely deadly as a pedestrian), a couple of flickering/sparsely placed streetlights and the signs on top of the two hotels – plus the aforementioned convenience on the other side of the extremely busy intersection.

That is stressful enough for me under normal conditions (but is far better than being out in the day’s heat), but did I mention that I also had to deal with the deafening noise of a rapidly approaching fire truck with horns blaring and sirens at FULL VOLUME.

I get it – it’s an actual emergency, but it doesn’t have to stop an inch behind me blaring said horns directly into my ears while I’m in the middle of a busy intersection with the pedestrian signal up (it was also the very thing I was trying to avoid so, congrats, mission accomplished).

This caused me to jump 3 feet in the air and freeze temporarily while their sirens were still going and now they were shouting “MOVE YOUR (horn)ING ASS (double horn), YOU (horn)ING RETARDED ASS(horn)!!!”

“Shit. God damnit, that hurts,” I said holding my ears in pain as I tried to continue crossing the street while the fire truck nearly clipped me as it shot off behind me.

“Buddy, up ya mad psycic elf,” this guy in a black and grey hoodie said passing me from behind, I could barely hear over the ringing in my ears.

“HEY, BUDDY,” he said repeating it for me impatiently. “I SAID ‘YOU’RE OFF YOUR MEDS AGAIN, YOU FUCKING PSYCHOPATH!!!’”

That is both helpful and not helpful at the same time – especially since I once again only caught half of it.

“God damnit,” I said stepping onto the sidewalk, “that horn was loud and an inch away from my ear. What the hell is wrong with them? Fu…ow. Seriously.”

“I SAID ‘SHUT UP, YOU ARE A FUCKING LUNATIC! GET IN THERE (pointing to the CVS on the corner), BUY YOUR MEDS AND GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY TOWN, YOU RETARDED ASSHOLE!!”

That I sort of understood, but as I tried to work it through in my head, I didn’t realize I was repeating everything I was saying out loud.

MASS SHOOTER!”

“MASS SHOOTER?!! WHERE,” I shouted looking around frantically for a place to hide. Of course, there wasn’t so much as a bush in a 100-foot radius, so I looked like a madman to 100s of oncoming cars.

YOU ARE,” he said flipping me off as he finally disappearing somewhere into the darkness.  “YOU GOD-DAMNED RETARDED LUNATIC!”

Sure, he was gone… but what if he came back later in my trip? I wondered as I continued to walk towards my destination, my body still shaking as I entered the convenience store, but, hey, at least, my hearing was starting to come back…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, florida, Orlando, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Photos: A walk in Orlando

These are pictures I took on my phone on a walk in Orlando almost 2 weeks after the storm. A lot of downed trees and branches, but most of the debris seems to be cleaned up. I may add more photos later.

Categories: florida, Orlando, photography | Leave a comment

Why I hate getting my haircut

Just got a haircut, after waiting for over a half-hour in the half-full waiting room I was finally called back to the chair. I told the barber that I wanted “scissor cut” (because I hate the noise/vibration against my head), and he replies: “Right, okay, like a 4 or 5? Okay, I see, gotcha.”

“No longer like-”

“You mean like a 6 or 7? Okay. Okay, I see. Gotcha,” he pulls out his clippers and starts giving me a 5 anyway.

When I tell him I wanted a scissors cut, he says “you did not. Your said ‘give me a 5 with clippers.’ Yes, you did, and that is what I am giving you.”

“No, YOU asked about a ‘4 or 5.”

“I told you that was too short and you recommend ed a ‘6 or 7.’ Why would I tell you to give me a clipper cut when I know I hate when barbers do those things?”

“Because you did,” he shrugged, “maybe if you told me in Spanish…

“What, you don’t speak Spanish? Pfft,” he said putting his clippers down and picking up a large, shoddy looking pair of scissors. “How do you understand what the people in the next chair are saying if you ‘don’t speak Spanish.’ I mean come on, this is Florida, EVERYONE speaks Spanish.”

He then proceeds to spend the next ten minutes manhandling my head with his giant hands (good thing I’m sensitive to touch too). I REALLY wanted to rip my apron off dramatically and walk out (wouldn’t be the first time), but I didn’t because “!el Stupido” or something – especially since I knew without even looking that it was already too short.

He then pulls out the razor for my ears and neck which is even worse from a noise/vibration stand point and doesn’t seem remotely phased by how clearly uncomfortable it is for me (as I had a stylist in Baltimore nearly cut my ear off doing that). He then puts it down, shows my hair and it looks like a damned buzzcut – and a sloppy one at that.

“See, what did I tell you? I gave you a great haircut. Huh, huh, huh,” he said elbowing me annoyingly. “Ya look great.”

Um, no.

On the plus side, he charged me full price for it (couldn’t understand how I couldn’t be happy with such an “awesome” cut), and I gave him a $2 tip simply because I already had too many 1s on me to get change from him. Very frustrating and disappointing, and it happens nearly every time I get a haircut.

Probably the reason I avoid them at all costs, just like my dentist…

Categories: adventures, Autism, florida, Orlando | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.