Posts Tagged ‘anecdote’

On Horses and Water

My all-time favorite provider lives in a slum with several family members who treat her like crap; she works for a heroin addict who runs ads for her and my ATF splits her income with this woman.  I’ve told her she doesn’t need to give this woman anything since she’s doing all the work, and I even offered to help her get a place of her own wherever she wants to live, but she avoids my suggestions.  She is absolutely the best provider I have ever been with and is stunningly beautiful; unfortunately she also suffers from bipolar disorder.  How can I help her?

horse to waterIt is a sad fact of human existence that one absolutely cannot help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.  It doesn’t matter how miserable her life is, how badly she’s being treated by her partner or family, how much she says she wants to change her life or how attractive you think the help you’re offering is; until and unless she actually makes the decision to accept your assistance, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  She may not find your offer as attractive as you think it is, or she may feel the price is too high; she may be wary of accepting help from a client, which very often comes with strings in which she may not wish to risk becoming entangled.  She may resent or even feel insulted by your attempts to “fix” her, and you really have no idea what her relationship with the other woman actually is; how do you know they aren’t lovers, or that your ATF doesn’t owe her either a lot of money or a deep bond of gratitude?  Even if you don’t think the relationship between them (or the one with her family) is healthy, that’s not your place to decide; every romantic relationship I’ve ever had has been called “bad” or “unhealthy” or “codependent” or even “abusive” by somebody, often (though not always) someone who wanted me for himself.  And it didn’t matter whether that opinion was objectively true or not (which it certainly was in two of the cases); until I decided those partners were bad for me, no amount of convincing, cajoling or outright bribery could convince me to leave.  And don’t forget, I’m not bipolar; mental health issues can amplify these problems by several orders of magnitude.

The short answer to your question, then, is “you can’t”.  You’re already made it clear to her that you’re willing to offer her help; when and if she decides to take either your advice or your economic aid, then you can give it to her (and you had better give it without strings unless you want her to change her mind once she sees the price tag.)  But you have to consider the possibility that the horse may never decide to drink, and if she doesn’t you have to decide how long you’re willing to wait on her before you wash your hands and walk away from the trough.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)


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Diary #275

CatsAs I explained in last week’s diary, things have slowed down a bit in Jae’s treatment.  I don’t mean that nothing is happening; rather, I mean that the pace of change has slowed somewhat, and by the end of the month it should slow even more.  But we did make one big breakthrough last week: thanks to advice from a helpful social worker and a very large donation from someone who dearly loves Jae, I’ve hired a private case manager to handle the Herculean task of dealing with all the different doctors, therapists, rehab facilities and home care assistance she’s going to need when she’s released from the hospital in a few weeks.  In fact, my first planning meeting with him is this afternoon; the initial meeting last week was just for me to learn about the services his company provides and for them to get the background of the case.  But today, the work starts in earnest and I’m going to do everything I can to expedite things so as to hasten the day when I can bring my girl home where she belongs.  As I’m sure you can imagine, she’s pretty homesick; with the exception of the night of September 16th, she’s been gone since late July and she misses her friends, her own bed and her cats.

imageFor the first few weeks after she gets home, things are likely to be pretty hectic, so my dear friends are watching me closely to make sure I have enough food, relaxation and sleep until then.  Last week Savannah and Sol cooked for me, Vignette cleaned my place (twice!), Sola let me soak in her hot tub and then treated me to a massage, Abby May gave me some truly delicious sweets and Matisse got me blissfully inebriated.  One gentleman took me to dinner at a lovely Turkish restaurant, and another treated me to a 3-hour-long happy hour at a fine old Seattle establishment.  And I plan to do as much of the same sort of thing as possible as many times as I can this month.  Everyone tells me I’ve earned it, and though I usually take a dim view of that sort of talk, I guess it won’t hurt to listen just this once.  There’s only one other thing I need to really get myself recharged:  work.  From August 16th to September 16th I didn’t work at all because I was with Jae in Idaho, and since I’ve returned to Seattle I’ve only had time and energy for a very few dates.  But I think it will be therapeutic to get back to what I do best, so if you’ve been holding off on contacting me because you think I’m too busy or stressed, hold off no more!  There’s only one caveat:  for right now, I don’t want to leave Seattle for more than perhaps one night at a time, so I’m not available for weekends or long travel.  But if you’re local send me an email, and find out what nearly two months of pent-up Maggie McNeill mojo feels like!

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Diary #273

IMG_7084As most of you probably know, Savannah Sly flew into Boise last Tuesday, and I drove over from Pocatello (where Jae was hospitalized for the past month) to pick her up.  On Wednesday morning we set out for Seattle and made good time; Jae slept in the back seat for the first half of the trip, and though she was much more wakeful on the second half (despite liberally-applied tranquilizers) Savannah was still able to keep her from getting too upset until we were crossing the Cascades, and then it was just a matter of time.  After a night at home, we took her into the hospital where we were told she had an appointment for her condition to be assessed for further rehabilitation; unfortunately, there is apparently a bed crunch going on in Seattle right now and we’ve been in limbo ever since.  Yes, you heard that correctly: she’s been kept in a room in the emergency department since Thursday, receiving medication and general care but no proper neurological rehab for her injury.  I’m really hoping that by the time you read this that situation will have changed, and she will have been properly admitted to the correct clinic; however, I’m not at all hopeful about it.  All in all, I’m pretty disgusted by the whole situation, which seems to have been created by lawyers inserting themselves into the doctor-patient relationship; everyone agrees that this hospital system is one of the best in the country for brain injuries, but bureaucrats have made getting anyone into it a nightmare unless they happen to be taken directly here after the accident.  And since Jae had her accident in Idaho rather than the Seattle area, we’re stuck in this asinine queue for an indeterminate amount of time.  Once she’s in the program, we can look forward to her getting top-notch care.  But until then, I’m more stressed out about the situation than I have been for weeks.  Let’s just hope I have much better news for you next week.

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Diary #272

There is very little I find more annoying than going to all the trouble to make a complex plan…only to have it cancelled at the last minute due to some unforeseen (or even worse, eminently foreseeable) circumstance outside of my control.  When I wrote the last diary column, we were planning to move Jae home on Wednesday…and that plan had to be cancelled.  Now once again, we were planning to move her on Wednesday…only to hit another snag.  To make it worse, this time I had to actually lay out money for the plan, and if it falls through several people will be put into a bind.  As of this writing just a few hours before post time, I still have no idea what’s going to happen; maybe we’ll be taking Jae home tomorrow, and maybe we won’t.  And given how badly she wants to go home, I haven’t had the heart to tell her that she might not be going just yet.  So keep your eyes on Twitter; I’ll let y’all know as soon as I know.  I just hope next Tuesday I don’t have to write another column much like this one.

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Diary #271

0907151507The second stage of Jae’s recovery is almost over.  In the first stage, she was unconscious under heavy sedation in the ICU, then last Tuesday her breathing tube was removed and she was allowed to awaken.  For the last week she’s been under observation so the doctors could determine what course of treatment would be needed to help her heal from her head injury; she’s also had to recover her mobility (muscles lose an amazing amount of strength when unused for two weeks) and regain her lung capacity, part of which was lost due to the collapsed lung and part due to a mild case of pneumonia she developed while on the ventilator.  But that’s now been cured and her lungs are mostly back to normal, and she’s been walking the length and breadth of the hospital several times per day (though always with me or a nurse’s aid in attendance in case she weakens or loses her balance).  Last Friday, she was moved from the ICU to a normal room, and has been making up for lost eating time by asking me to bring in all sorts of outside food such as pizza, cheeseburgers and hot dogs.  Her voice was at first nothing but a hoarse whisper, but now it’s become much stronger (though still raspy due to damage the breathing tube did to her vocal cords).  Still, she hasn’t much been in the mood to talk on the phone; as those who love her know, Jae doesn’t really like talking on the phone even when she’s healthy, and she spends a lot of time asleep while her body heals.

The doctor feels she’s ready to move on to the third stage, in-patient rehabilitation; she’s strong and alert enough to move, so he wants to put her in rehab back in Seattle, where she can be in familiar surroundings and visited by those she loves.  As a bonus, the facilities available in Seattle for this sort of injury are among the best in the nation, so her chances of full recovery are much, much greater than they would be in a lesser facility in unfamiliar surroundings.  So tomorrow, I’ll be putting her on a direct flight to Seattle with a friend who’s flying over to accompany her; I’ll drive my car back, and if we time things well I’ll be able to join her only a few hours after she checks into the hospital. Once I find out what the hospital’s visiting rules are and how many visitors a day Jae would like, I’ll tell y’all who’s going to coordinate that; I don’t want her overwhelmed, but I also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by turning them away at the door.  So a visiting schedule administered by someone other than me is the best way to go.  And speaking of schedules, I’ll be starting to take appointments again on Monday, so if you’ve been holding off seeing me because of this, feel free to , so email me at the meetmaggie address and we can schedule for next week.

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Whore Nation

When I was on the way out to stay with Jae, and in the first few days afterward, I had (as you can imagine) many practical concerns in addition to the ones about Jae’s health.  One of these, naturally, was money; supporting myself was only the beginning of that, because obviously my ongoing bills wouldn’t patiently await my return. But the city we’re in is small, and I no longer have an alternate work persona; if I advertised it would be announcing our location, ans I didn’t want to do that.  I mentioned my dilemma to Mistress Matisse, and she had an answer: “Don’t even try to work right now; you just concentrate on Jae.  The whore nation will provide for you.”

Babylon the WhoreI knew exactly what she meant.  Though we’re a long way behind our sisters in other countries, especially those in the Global South, American sex workers are at long last beginning to come together as a force to be reckoned with.   With our constitutional right to assemble ignored in most places (gatherings of sex workers can, and sometimes have been, raided and the participants charged with “conspiracy to commit prostitution” or “communicating for the purpose of prostitution”) and our activities spied on by the police, it was historically very difficult for pre-internet American sex workers to organize.  But social media changed all that; escort message boards, blogs and Twitter (especially the latter) have allowed whores to talk, plan, and organize collective effort.  Hashtag campaigns like #whenantisattack#notyourrescueproject and #rightsnotrescue attracted so much attention outside the demimonde that they were even covered in mainstream media, and we began to use our collective efforts to shut down prohibitionist evils and opportunistic exploiters alike.  But it was in the past year that the American whore nation has really come into its own: while SWOP chapters have sprung up like mushrooms and we’ve steadily won new allies, we’ve also expanded our ability to shut down dangerous “trafficking” rubbish that feeds on whores while amplifying the narrative that endangers us all.  Meanwhile, Amnesty International’s announcement of its support for decriminalization and the ill-considered federal raid on Rentboy have brought would-be allies out of the woodwork in startling numbers; the power of the Whore Nation is growing, and ESPLERP’s lawsuit could open a breach in the enemy’s defenses through which our forces could pour.  It is inevitable that we will win, and gain the same rights as anyone else, and once we do this time period will be the one our historians view as the turning point.

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Diary #270

20150805_132241-1For the last week, Jae has slowly but steadily improved, then on Friday the nurses started the process of lightening her sedation.  The physical therapist came in the afternoon and we sat her up on the side of the bed; she was groggy but definitely conscious and answered my questions and the therapist’s directions perfectly.  She let me know that she knows she’s in hospital and that she had an accident.  The next day, they continued to reduce her opiate pain medication and turned the ventilator to its lowest setting, so she was breathing for herself with the machine serving only as a backup.  I found out that there are several reasons for her breathing difficulties: collapsed lower lobes of both lungs, fluid in the chest cavity and multiple rib fractures. So even though she is breathing for herself, the doctors want to be sure she can sustain that before taking her off of the machine.

She spent most of Saturday asleep, but because of the dramatically-lowered pain medication her sleep was much more natural-looking; she even slightly awakened and yawned several times.  But on Sunday, the nurses began to lower her main sedation, Precedex; once it was down to roughly half what she had been on, she began to awaken and was very alert and coherent.  Unlike Friday, she did not merely answer questions (with eyeblinks or head shakes) and follow instructions, but also initiated actions on her own; she would make gestures to let me know that she wanted something, then I’d ask her questions until I pinpointed what that was.  She asked for hugs and kisses several times, and caressed my arm or hair when I leaned over her.  She told me that her ribs were very painful, but not as much as her guts (some of the meds were upsetting her stomach).  Later in physical therapy, she stood up with assistance and was able to follow the therapist’s instructions.  The ICU doctor said we’d try to remove the breathing tube the next morning, but unfortunately being awake all day tired her out again, and she couldn’t be awakened in time to make the window for testing and removing the tube; it has to be in the morning so she can be observed all day for any issues.  When she did awaken later, she was very unhappy about this; she became very grumpy and cried a few times, but we’re going to try again this morning and with any luck, the breathing tube will be out today and she’ll be able to speak and eat normally again. That also means an end to strong sedation and restraints, which should make her happy.

Now, this does raise a new issue that I think it’s very important I bring up: a lot of her friends are going to want to start calling to talk to her, and I don’t blame y’all.  But she’s still going to be very tired; she is likely to be awake for only a few hours a day, and she may not really want to talk to anyone during those hours.  So please, let her be; her cell phone has been found and I’m getting its broken screen fixed this week, so if she wants to call you she will.  If you call and she doesn’t want to talk, I will tell you so, and I’m not going to persuade her or twist her arm to speak to anyone.  She still has a long way to go before she’s recovered, and has the right to be as anti-social as she likes during that time.

Note on the picture: Grace took this of Jae on their trip to Sturgis; I asked her if I might use it for this column, and she said yes via eye blinks.

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