SOL18: Assisting a Local Journalist: Future Story About Coping with Obstacles to Success Faced by Locals

I received a Facebook message from our star local newspaper’s photojournalist that she was in the process of co-authoring an article about obstacles to success faced by locals: poverty, medical/mental disabilities, incarceration, and lack of housing. I was flattered that she wanted my input; she’s been a favorite acquaintance and neighbor for a few years. You’ll notice that I added “coping” to this article.

I’m a former teacher who is disabled with COPD and asthma. To get on SSDI, I went for tests at a local hospital–East Texas Medical Center. Later I got on Medicare and became connected with the East Texas Council for independent Living (ETCIL) and entered a nursing home for eight months. I got two overdue surgeries while I was there. However, I couldn’t get discharged until I got on Medicaid and was turned down the first time. So I went to the Records Department of ETMC and got a complete list of my Emergency Room visits for the previous four years. Most of y’all have probably heard that Texas is the largest state not to have Medicaid expansion. It’s so wonderful to have Cigna health care. I get maintenance medicine, have a pulmonologist and a G.P. that are really great and nice, and discovered what else was wrong with me health-wise. I study my Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome and have a binder and a couple of folders on the illness; some articles are by me on my Word Press.

I mentioned that I went to the City of Tyler Neighborhood Services to get an apartment rental discount through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The local center for independent living relocation specialist facilitated the process. Later when I moved across town, I did it all myself. Before I got on Meals on Wheels and SNAP Food Stamps, I went to a couple of local food pantries once per month.

Besides specifically telling her to call Neighborhood Services and ETCIL, I told her about my main volunteer activity: East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN). We have five committees: Education, Employment, Healthcare, Housing, & Transportation. Transportation is my main focus because I ride the bus regularly, as I quit driving several years ago. I’ve arranged field trips with lunch for all five lines. We went to both shopping centers, two grocery stores, and Neighborhood Services. I also attend Education and Healthcare committee meetings.If more people rode the bus, we’d have less traffic, pollution, and more bus routes.

Just between us for now, I’ve really been trying to advertise the importance of finding a match between personality and college major choice/vocation. The local university wants to improve its graduation rate, so I sent my article on the topic to a couple of friends who work there. Furthermore, career counseling centers should advertise the free online Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instruments.

To conclude for now, I told the photojournalist that I may not make much money, but I don’t spend much either. Just because one may be a retired teacher (prematurely, in my case), a teacher never quits teaching.

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