Summer & More K9 Deaths But First…

Summer & More  K9 Deaths But First…

Before I begin detailing the 2017 senseless, heat-related K9 deaths and one K9 who was mysteriously murdered, I want to do an update on several deaths from the summer of 2016.

I first wrote about the hot car death of K-9 Lina, an officer with the Madison County Sheriff’s department in November 2016,  The Senseless Death of K-9 Lina….Part 1

I knew there would be the second part because no decision had been made regarding disciplinary action or charges against the handler who had forgotten about her in a hot patrol unit parked in his driveway. Little did I know how convoluted her story would become until it began unfolding. I eventually wrote four parts because I wanted the public to know how some departments dismiss a hot car death as “an unfortunate accident”. The negligent handler might receive a minor disciplinary action but charges aren’t usually brought and if they are it’s typically a misdemeanor. The reasoning behind the prosecutor’s decision (with department input) basically comes down to negligence versus intention. Was the handler negligent? If the parties involved believe this then the K9s death is ruled accidental. If they believe the handler had intent then it’s criminal. I agree there’s a difference between intention and negligence for clearly in most cases but not all,  the K9s death was not the handlers intent. However, prosecutors and departments cannot continue to dismiss these deaths as unfortunate accidents and therefore deem the handler simply negligent. They must be held to a higher standard to protect their partners. These deaths are preventable and illustrate acts of wanton negligence or over-reliance on technology to protect the dogs when in reality, it is the handler’s responsibility. When an officer is partnered with a K9, they become just as close as a human partner. Would they lock their human partner in a vehicle for hours? With no means of escape? Unequivocally the answer is no. And if they did? The charges would be much harsher than a low-level misdemeanor and their careers would instantly end. Yet the powers to determine time and time again that the K9’s death is negligent accompanied by a plethora of excuses for the officer; overworked sleep deprivation ~ the list is endless.

lina-white

The September 9, 2016, hot car death of K-9 Lina was deemed an accident. Matt Durrett, 4th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney announced on September 23 that he was not charging Deputy Cornelison. To his credit, on September 26, Sheriff Phillip Morgan took disciplinary action for K-9 Lina’s death:

Deputy Cornelison will:

  1. Be suspended without pay for 60 days.
  2. Be removed from the K9 program.
  3. Be decertified as a K9 Handler.
  4. A letter of reprimand will be placed in his file.
p-morgan1
Sheriff Phillip Morgan

The community rallied around the deputy by forming a Facebook support group and collecting funds to help him while on the unpaid suspension. Finally, on November 12, a memorial service for K-9 Lina was held. Yet her name wasn’t on the MCSO Memorial Page.

582c6f70ab094.image 2

She was only two years old.

IMG_9058 (1) copy 2

Now…

On January 1, 2017, Madison County had a new sheriff,  Sheriff Rick Evans.

R Evans

K-9 Lina is finally listed on the MCSO Memorial page. In June 2017, a new K9 handler was announced on the MSCO website. Former Sheriff Phillip Morgan kept his word about having heat-sensing equipment in the K9 vehicles:

Clint Ham, is our new K-9 Handler, he has been partnered up with Kandy, and equipped with a new vehicle which has been paid for with 100% drug forfeiture funds, the vehicle is equipped with all the latest equipment, including heat sensor/alarms which will signal the handler if the temperature in the vehicle rises to a dangerous level, in addition it will roll the windows down, and will activated lights and siren if the condition is not corrected. Kandy from all indication will be an outstanding asset to the Madison County Sheriff Office.

As for Deputy Jonathan Cornelison? He has been promoted and is now Corporal Cornelison.

K9 Lina Cornelison

 K-9

The first to sense the hostility of a suspect,

The first to react to protect his master.

The first to enter where danger lurks.

The first to detect the hidden intruder.

The first to take action against violence.

The first to sense his master’s joy.

The first to know his master’s sorrow or fear.

The first to give his life in defense of his master.

The last to be forgotten by those who work with others like him.

They know him as a “Partner,” not just an animal.

58249abc79c29.image copy

 

Lina, we haven’t forgotten… 

 

Maine: Passed A Law That Could Harm Animals And Their Veterinarians…Part 1

Maine: Passed A Law That Could Harm Animals And Their Veterinarians…Part 1

Like nearly every state, Maine is dealing with an opiate and heroin epidemic. In 2015, Maine experienced 272 overdose related fatalities.

In an effort to combat the opiate epidemic, the Maine Legislature enacted   P.L. 2015, ch. 488 (An Act to Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program) which became effective January 1, 2017. PL 488 affects nearly all facets of healthcare by establishing specific rules for prescribing and dispensing controlled medications. It defines the protocols that must be followed and sets prescription limits on how much opiate a patient may legally be prescribed to take per day. This is called the Aggregate Morphine Milligram Equivalent and the total daily amount allowed is 100 Morphine Milligram Equivalents (100 MMEs).

PL 488 mandates that whenever a medical provider prescribes a controlled substance, they first check the PMP (Prescription Monitoring Program) to review the MME for the patient, what controlled drugs the patient is currently taking, who prescribed them and the pharmacy that filled the prescription. They must calculate if the drug they want to prescribe will, when added to the patient’s current daily MMEs, increase the allowed 100 MMEs and if so, not prescribe it. They must note if there are multiple prescriptions, providers or pharmacies. If the provider notices anything in the patients PMP profile that raises a red flag, they are required by law to report it to the PMP Coordinator. There are of course many other components to PL 488 but I only want to touch on the highlights and how it impacts Maine residents who are pet owners in addition to veterinarians. Yes, that’s correct ~ veterinarians because Maine’s Legislatures have determined that the inclusion of veterinarians in PL 488 will help reduce the opiate epidemic. I disagree because including veterinarians in PL 488 creates two major violations. First, however, I’d like to walk you through a veterinarian’s education.

If a young person thinks they want to become a veterinarian, they should begin preparing in high school by paying attention to their performance in science courses, such as chemistry, biology, and physics. This same attention applies to math courses; trigonometry, geometry, and algebra. After high school graduation the student attends a 4 year college to earn their bachelor’s degree where they take the prerequisite courses for admittance into veterinary college.These consist of many advanced science courses, such as biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics. They are necessary to prepare the student for the vigorous coursework in veterinary college. Prospective veterinarians must complete a doctor of veterinary medicine degree. Typically, a doctorate in veterinary medicine takes four years to complete. Of these four years, three are spent on classroom training where students take courses in animal anatomy and physiology. They also take courses on disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment. After completing three years of classroom training, students take another year left to complete their degree in veterinary medicine. The fourth year is typically spent getting practical, hands-on training. This takes the form of a one-year clinical rotation in a veterinary medical center or veterinary hospital to gain experience in a variety of areas of veterinary medicine. After graduating with a doctorate in veterinary medicine, veterinarians are not yet able to open a practice. Before practicing veterinary medicine, graduates must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and any applicable state exams. Their path is definitely not a short one but throughout it is focused primarily on one thing ~ animal anatomy, physiology and wellness. 

Maines’s new PL 488 and its impact on veterinarians is such. If an owner takes their pet to be seen and the veterinarian feels it necessary to prescribe a narcotic or benzodiazepine for your pet, they must first do a check on the owner with DHHS to determine if the owner is taking a controlled substance. As I previously mentioned I still need to clarify the parameters but the fact that a veterinarian or perhaps his staff has the power to access a person’s prescriptions is a huge HIPAA violation. But I digress. Let’s use a hypothetical situation. The owner has an anxiety disorder for which he takes Valium on a daily basis. He also has a severe back issue (long-term) so is on hydrocodone for pain control. His cat is hit by a car and taken to the vet where she undergoes successful emergency surgery but because her injuries are severe, the vet prescribes a pain medication; hydrocodone. Would the fact that the owner is on hydrocodone prohibit the vet from prescribing it for the cat’s postoperative pain? If so, would he be allowed to prescribe a different pain medication such as tramadol which also falls in the opiate category? Is he is prohibited from prescribing any narcotic because the owner is on two (2)?  Or is it only if the owner is on the same drug? If his prescriptive powers are limited because the owner is taking a controlled substance, what criteria is used to determine if the animal can or cannot get a prescription?

Whilst I understand the opiate epidemic our country is tackling, how can a veterinarian or anyone for that matter be absolutely certain that a person who is taking several controlled drugs is abusing or trafficking? Plus the thought that an innocent animal might have to suffer needlessly because his owner is on a controlled substance is not only abhorrent but inhumane.  I want to know if it’s possible for the check to be done during non-business hours when DHHS is closed. Does the veterinarian’s office have to speak directly to a DHHS employee or is the information accessible online? And if it is accessible online, how can we, the human patient, be assured it’s secure? If the drug check on the owner can’t be done when DHHS is closed, then what happens to the animal who is in pain?  Any pet owner knows that many accidents happen at night, weekends or holidays when government agencies like DHHS are closed; what then?  Going back to HIPAA, who has authority within the veterinary practice to request the DHHS information? Can a receptionist do it? A vet tech? Or only the veterinarian? Finally, I do not understand how PL 488, a state law, can override HIPAA, a federal law enacted in 1996 by Congress and signed into effect by then President Bill Clinton. Under HIPAA an individual’s medical and other health information including prescriptions is private and protected. The Privacy Law sets limits on who can look at and receive our health information such as covered entities and their business associates. As a nurse and former Union representative, I am extremely familiar with HIPAA. In light of PL 488, however, I reviewed it once again and nowhere did I find where veterinarians, veterinary technicians, or veterinary employees of any type are entitled to our records in any form. Additionally, PL 488 is, in essence, requiring veterinarians to understand human medication dosages compared to animals which often differ greatly.

I chose a veterinary team for my German Shepherd based on their reputations and expertise in animal physiology, not human. I value all members of her team despite being in different practices because of their knowledge. Having said that, I expect they keep current with the newest modalities of treatment for my dog. They work long hours yet now the State of Maine expects them to undertake additional training in order to understand and monitor the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)?  A program historically used only for humans?

This is ludicrous. There has to be a middle ground, a way the government, human healthcare providers, and law enforcement can work together in an effort to reduce the rampant drug abuse without violating a person’s rights or including veterinarians where there is potential for an animal to suffer because “something” raises a red flag when in reality it could be legitimate.

Happy New Year To Us….

Happy New Year To Us….

Another year gone and a new one started. Same as every year; takes a few weeks to automatically write 2017 on our checks instead of 2016. Resolutions made; some will be kept and some ~ not so much. Another year added to our age and if there are still children in the house, another year closer to their tweens, high school or leaving the nest. Some of us may lose an aging parent, a job, become engaged, marry or even  or divorce. The year is a bit over one week old so essentially a blank slate.

Anyone who reads my posts surely must recall what I’m looking forward to. My seven months overdue Botox for Migraine injections which I’m thrilled to say I received on January 2 and already booked my 3 month appointment. Now I’m counting down the days till January 31 when I have the vision in my right eye corrected with a simple laser treatment. That still won’t restore my near vision and I can’t make an appointment for my left eye until the right one is done. I also can’t make an appointment for a refraction (eyeglass fitting) until both eyes are done. Whenever I have the refraction done I’m getting measured for contact lenses because losing my near vision overnight isn’t working out too well for me. I haven’t knit or read a book since the winter of 2015-2016 ~ one year ago. I’m up to the highest strength of cheater glasses so hope this can be finished up as soon as possible. But I have the January 31 appointment so I’m trying to stay positive. It’s progress albeit it small.

My biggest dilemma of this year actually came on Christmas night but it took until January 1 for me to process it and decide how to move forward.  My best friend’s (since I moved to Maine) ex-husband with whom she maitained a good relationship  was killed in a single car accident the morning of December 20. He was a bit pompous and a womanizer which is why they divorced many years age, sharing custody of their only son. However he was an excellent physician who was in charge of the local ER for 18  years. He went on to implement new programs for the rural community, started a health center in an extremely rural area then went to work overseas with Doctors Without Borders where he worked on missions in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi, Sri Lanka and the Congo. He risked his life volunteering to care for Ebola patients in West Africa four times. I learned about the accident approximately 2 hours after it happened but waited till the afternoon to call her even though I knew afternoons were not the ideal time to speak to her. My friend drinks. She doesn’t talk about it nor does she stagger  or fall. She always has a Nalgene bottle with her sipping  water. However around noon she replaces the water with white wine and unless you talk to her you’d never know. When I had a legal matter my attorney spoke to her around 3pm and she spoke jibberish. At first I made an excuse for her but then I told him the truth. We had an understanding that if she was called to testify it would be early morning. Whenever my phone rang in the afternoon and I saw it was her number I wouldn’t answer. I simply cannot tolerate talking to someone who is drunk.  They make no sense at all and I find it beyond irritating. When I called her that afternoon as soon as she answered I knew she’d been drinking. She said “Hey he’s dead, what can you do? That’s life.” She assured me she was fine and didn’t need anything. I called her twice more in the next few days; the first time it went to voicemail and the second time I reached her on Christmas Eve morning.  Again, she was calm but in the years I’ve known her she never was a very emotional or demonstrative person.  I told her to please let me know when the memorial service was and we left it at that. On Christmas night  my daughter was driving home from the 6pm church service when her phone rang.  It was my friend. She demanded to know what was wrong with me. My daughter was confused and said “Well she can’t see very well”.  My friend went on and on about how she was dealing with a traumatic event in her family and couldn’t deal with “your mother’s stuff”.  My poor daughter was dumbfounded as she was sitting in the great room both times I was able to reach my friend. She had no idea what she was talking about. Being a rural area, there are dead cell spots every mile or so and the connection kept getting lost. My friend called back several times even more irate because of the dropped calls. The next time their call dropped she called back and was particularly nasty telling my daughter “I’ve had enough. Don’t ever call me again.” My daughter came in the house and asked if I had talked to my friend and I told her not since the  day before and asked why. When she told me I was shocked. I couldn’t figure out what I could have possibly said when we spoke that could have caused her to react like this a day later. To say I was upset is an understatement because I felt like a little girl again. Getting into trouble but not knowing what for. It really troubled me for nearly the entire week, causing insomnia and angst. I contemplated calling her and asking what I did to upset her. Then I thought I should call and apologize ~ but for what?  On January 1, 2017, I had my first clarity and told myself no. That I’d simply had enough. I am tired of being someone’s “punching bag” just because they’re mentally ill,  jealous or drunk. It started with physical abuse before I even began kindergarten and I am still allowing people to do it. So I blocked her number on both my phone and my daughter’s and haven’t lost any more sleep nor thought about it.10205960966445531

I’m not sure how I feel about her; I’m not angry but I’m not sad or upset. And I definitely don’t feel guilty which is a rather big step for me. I guess if I had to define my feelings I would say I’m done feeling guilty and done apologizing just to “please” someone else. I can’t guarantee I won’t feel guilty about something in the future, but right now I’m content to leave the past behind. Instead I’m enjoying the snow and …..

img_1338

looking ahead to getting my vison back.

img_0650

 

My Life Has Become An Old Country Song…

I don’t even now where to begin anymore for it seems that every day something else goes wrong. Still waiting for my January 31, 2017 appointment for YAG procedure  (but only one eye) to remove the scar tissue. The office can’t even give me a general idea of how long before the second eye is done. Then I have to go back to be fitted for glasses and the way they book far in advance I’m thinking that won’t happen until March or April. Meanwhile I have to keep replacing the cheater glasses as my vision worsens. I’m currently at the next to the strongest strength and have to practically have to hold something directly in front of my face to be able to read it. Then of course there’s the green circles and arches that appear every time I look directly at a light. Visual disturbances have always been a primary trigger for migraines so it’s like a vicious circle. I don’t want to keep the lights dimmed because of Sasha’s impaired vision so I basically try to avoid looking at lights or lamp fixtures. I don’t go out unless it’s to the doctors so haven’t left the house since Dec. 6.

When I saw the new neurologist on December 2, I was told his staff would call me as soon as they got the preauthorization for the Botox  injects for migraines (it’s very expensive so needs a PA). They also said that once they had the PA they’d get me right in because I  haven’t had Botox since June 13 and it’s supposed to be given every 3 months. I’ve been getting Botox for several years and my insurance company approves in 48 hours max. Since my appointment was on a Friday I hoped to hear from them no later than the following Thursday, Dec. 8. Nothing. So I called their office on Monday Dec 12 and after speaking to two different people was transferred to “Chrissy”. Left a VM for her around 10 am but no callback. Long story short I called every day and always had to leave a VM. On Thursday Dec. 15 I called and instead of the elusive Chrissy’s line I chose the prompt for making an appointment. Told the woman my story and upon checking my file she didn’t see anything about the Botox PA. I called again on Friday Dec. 16 and used a line I haven’t used in several years. Once again I chose the prompt for making an appointment and when a woman answered I offered my condolences on Chrissy’s death then asked to be connected with whomever took her place. The woman was quite shocked and said “Chrissy’s not dead!!!”. I started my response in a sickening sweet voice I break out from time to time and said “Oh dear me, I must apologize then because I surely thought she was. Followed that with full bitch mode by saying “Why else would someone fail to return nearly a dozen phone calls? What other reason could there be for such egregious incompetence? And by the way, will you send me an application because I’ve always wanted a job where I did nothing yet collected a paycheck”. She was really rattled but assured me she would get a message to Chrissy. I laughed and said that may be but she wouldn’t call back. She said she’s send the message from her terminal to Chrissy’s. Then I told her to add that IF Chrissy called back she would be reaching an advanced practice nurse so don’t even try to give me any BS “because that won’t float”. I didn’t even bother waiting to see if Chrissy (whom I’d decided may not be real) to call; I called my insurance company who has always been wonderful to work with. Upon checking the file and phone log, she told me someone from the neurologist’s office called on Tuesday Dec. 6 but something must have come up as they said they would call back in a minute. The insurance company said there was no record of a callback. I really had to fight to hold back tears at this point as I was beyond frustrated. The insurance company said they would have their pharmacy department reach out to the office and that she personally would reach out. By the way, never did hear from Chrissy that day. Om Tuesday Dec. 20 the same woman from the insurance company called at 9am. She started off ny asking if the neuro’s office had contacted me and I said no. She said that both she and the pharmacy department left VM’s the previous week and they had not been returned either. She asked my permission to open up a case so they could track this providers office and of course I said yes. She also suggested I call the office to at least make the appointment for the injections as they had approved them. Lo and behold  before I had a chance to call the neuro’s office they called me. After I got up from the floor where I had collapsed in shock, Chrissy told me she had taken a few days off the previous week. I won’t bore you with the details of what I said but it wasn’t pretty. She countered with “I was waiting on your insurance”. I followed up with something that also wasn’t pretty. She told me she had good news for me though ~ she had my appointment date. January 2, 2017. I was like WHAT?????? So by the time I get the injects it will be 7 months since I last had them and I’ll be so far off schedule that they won’t be effective until the second set of injections in April. I’m going to get them in Jan. but have already started looking for a different neurologist. He might be great but his staff is hands down the worst I’ve ever encountered and since moving here I’ve met my share of rude and incompetent medical support staff. I’m just not putting up with this nonsense all the time. Before I bid a farewell to Facebook I met a woman in a GSD group from Maine. We struck up a casual conversation and then I didn’t see her for a few days. When she came back online she said she’d had a “breakthrough” migraine. Not knowing what type of medication she took I told her of the good results I’d had with Botox. She said that she gets the injects every 3 months in Worcester MA. I remember being shocked as from her location to Worcester is over 250 miles and a 4 hour drive ~ one way! I wondered why she would travel so far but after my “Maine Botox Experiences (yes plural) I think I can understand. I initially made an appointment with a neuro in Lewiston (same city the current one is located) in 2011. They booked me out over 7 months which put me into 2012. A week before my appointment the office called to say they had to cancel my appointment as the neuro was out. I said let’s book it NOW. Then they said they didn’t know when he’s be back. Very odd. I called a week later and they said he was still out. A few weeks later I received a letter saying he had left the practice but they would be contacting me within 10 days to schedule me with one of the other providers. Yes you guessed it ~ they never called. Then I made an appointment with a pain treatment center that  did Botox for Migraines. Also in Lewiston which is 55 miles one way.  Now Botox has to be refrigerated so you pick it up from the pharmacy on the way to the appointment and keep it in a small cooler bag. First visit went well. The second visit I picked up the Botox and we were about 15 miles from Lewiston when I received a call  from the office saying that Dr. XYZ “doesn’t feel comfortable doing Botox and would prefer you book with Dr ABC”. I said “Are you kidding me? My appointment is in less than 30 minutes, you KNOW I live over an hour away, and Dr. XYZ decides NOW that’s he not comfortable dong Botox???”. I had to go the following week to see Dr. ABC whom I actually liked better. Saw him 2 more times and bam! The pain center closed. At this point I gave up on Botox I really did. Then a few months later I was driving down a road in the town closest to me (16 miles away) when I saw something that made me slam on the brakes. Hanging outside a medical building was a shingle for the neuro I had to wait over 7 months for and then he poofed from the practice! I jotted down his phone number, made an appointment and got in within a few weeks. He’s the one who’s been giving me injections until he announced this past August that he was closing his practice in September and relocating to Kentucky. I swear to God this is so bizarre I couldn’t make this up as I’m not that creative. And as I said in a previous migraine post, the states are clamping down on doctors so to get a small prescription for pain medication is like pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers ~ virtually impossible.

fullsizerender

I am most definitely not in the holiday spirit. It was with great reluctance that  I put a tabletop fiber-optic tree out today and called it good. It’s hard to be “ho ho ho” when you can’t see the floor, you’re terrified to walk outside lest you fall because you can’t see the ground and lights cause visual disturbances which in turn triggers a migraine. Extremely stressful and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to see anybody. In the past when I was stressed or feeling pressured I turned to books or knitting but haven’t done either in over  year. I was dreading Christmas anyway because my mind has been drifting back to last Christmas. Our dear friend spent the day with us and following dinner we sat in the great room with the fire crackling and watched movies. I was still very upset over the death of my dog on November 5 and it was his sarcastic humor that got me through both Thanksgiving and Christmas . Yet for some unknown reason I never took a single picture either holiday and after he committed suicide in April 2016  I’ll never have that opportunity again. He was our adopted family member; we spent every holiday together. It’s more difficult than I’d imagined.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

So I spend my days just piddling around, use the dictating app on my laptop to write a blog entry or Siri on my iPhone to make a call for me. The dictating app hasn’t mastered my NY accent so I have to try and manually correct the apps interpretation of some of my words (don’t even ask). And Siri the brat. Took me 2 years with my previous phone to train her and now I have to start all over again. Just today I told her to call “Mt. Blue Pharmacy” to which she replied “I don’t see a listing for your mother”.

Since this has been such a whiney post I’ll end with something funny. I have the new iPhone 7 but have only set up the most basic features until I can see better. There’s a new feature that, when enabled, lets you say “Hey Siri” and she’ll answer. The other night for the heck of it I said “Hey Siri”. The response was definitely a Depends moment. Siri said “I can’t talk right now as I’m having a staring contest with iPhone 7 Plus and I think I’m winning”.

maxresdefault
The Staring Contest
huge-iphone-7-plus-visualisation
Reason I chose iPhone 7 over iPhone 7 Plus

Maine: The Way Life Should Be ~ NOT…

Maine: The Way Life Should Be ~ NOT…

The hour is quite late so I’m deviating from my normal style of posting because I am so disturbed by what I heard on the news as I walked past the television that I am unable to rest. I realized after hearing the story on WGME 13, a CBS affiliate station covering Maine, that I live in a state where the very agencies created to help those in need often turn a blind eye ~for months. While this story may not be a graphic murder scene or the never-ending election debates, it nonetheless is truly unconscionable especially now, in the season of giving, kindness and faith.

The cover photo for this post is one of the first things one sees upon entering the state. Similar signs dot the major highways as well as secondary roads. I even photographed a weather worn sign on the Appalachian Trail in 2015.

I think the meaning behind the slogan is that life in Maine is perfect and perhaps to some it is. I personally find it less than ideal and honestly cannot wait to leave. The state and I have, shall I say, a mutual dislike for each other. I’ve grown weary of the never-ending sound of gunfire, of chasing hunters off my clearly marked property every year, of picking up empty beer cans, burned out firecrackers and an occasional condom from my private river area. Tired of making a doctor’s appointment only to be scheduled 4-7 months out. I’m done.

And what news report cold have angered me so much you wonder? Ir was a story of two women actually. One is a victim and the other the  CEO of KVCAP a non-profit organization that helps “hundreds of thousands of residents overcome the challenges of poverty”.

On your left is Peggy Lane, a homeowner in Central Maine who has been without heat since the beginning of November because her furnace broke and she doesn’t have the money to get a new one. Peggy has been living in extreme cold along with her small dog and her cat. Tonight the temperature is well below zero and the coldest on record for this part of December in 27 years. Peggy and her faithful companions have been making do with a small space heater and many layers of clothing and coats. On the left is Suzanne Walsh .CEO of  KVCAP. Her organization is aware of Peggy’s dire situation but recently advised Peggy  that they have to put her repair out for bid first. before they can help her due to federal regulations bah blah blah.

In desperation Peggy reached out to WGME’s I Team and today reporter Jon Crisos visited her. Here is the story:

“I’m just so cold” — woman without heat for weeks turns to I-Team for help

by Jon Chrisos

Friday, December 16th 2016

WEST GARDINER (WGME) — On this coldest day of the season, a West Gardiner woman doesn’t have any heat. Peggy Lane has been living in the cold in her home for more than a month now and it’s all because of a fight over her boiler. “It’s been a nightmare, it’s just been a complete nightmare,” Lane said.  As the wind whips outside, frost covers the windows of her home. “I’m really cold, and I’m miserable, but I’m just trying to get through this the best I can because I know people have it worse than I do,” Lane said. She said she hasn’t had any heat since early November when her boiler cracked and leaked all over the basement. Since then she’s been trying to get low-income assistance to replace it. “Obviously I do not have the money or I would put the boiler in,” Lane said.

She got a letter Thursday from KVCAP, which administers federal funding, telling her they could help, but would have to put the project out to bid.

“I’m just so cold. People shouldn’t live like this; it’s not right,” she said.

Lane called the CBS 13 On Your Side I-Team to see if we could help.

We asked KVCAP if there’s a process for emergency heating assistance.

KVCAP CEO Suzanne Walsh called back to explain based on funding rules, they’re required to get the lowest price for every project.

“We have to operate under very strict guidelines because we’re ambassadors of federal funds,” Walsh said.  However, after talking with Maine Housing, she said they’ll now work to expedite the bid process and get the boiler replaced.

“We definitely want to work the homeowner and make sure she is warm and safe,” Walsh said.  KVCAP also told us they’d send over some larger space heaters and would start getting bids Friday.

If you need heat help, Maine Housing suggests you apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

As of Friday, we’re told 32,700 applications have been processed in Maine and the average benefit so far this heating season is $732.

 

This is truly one of the saddest stories I have heard in many a year. It’s also inexcusable.

I Am WILD!!! I Literally Just Blogged About A Flawed VA System Earlier Tonight…

I Am WILD!!! I Literally Just Blogged About A Flawed VA System Earlier Tonight…

Where do they find their employees? Do they hire them fresh out of rehab or prison? Do they land in Florida on a boat? The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Seminole Florida is substandard ~ and that’s putting it mildly! That this occurred In February 2016 but just reported by the AP today is even more distressing.

excellence

The Welcome on their homepage:

Honoring America’s Veterans with quality health care services, part of the largest integrated health care

These uncaring, lazy, incompetent examples of human waste aren’t worthy enough to walk in a United States Veteran’s boots ~ not even a few feet! As a health care professional and an American citizen I am appalled beyond words for there is NO excuse to justify this abhorrent lack of action. I don’t want to hear about staffing issues, other patients, change of shift, an in-house emergency. NOTHING the Veterans Administration can say or do could possible validate such incompetency and lack of care. I am so angry, so ashamed that I cannot even write a rational post so am going to hyperlink then copy and paste.

VA hospital left body in shower room for 9 hours

SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) — Staff at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Florida left the body of a veteran in a shower for nine hours after the veteran died and proper pickup procedures to the morgue weren’t followed.

The Tampa Bay Times on Sunday (http://bit.ly/2goW2NK ) reported that an internal investigation concluded that staff at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System failed to provide appropriate post-mortem care to the veteran’s body.

The investigative report said that leaving the body unattended for so long increased the chance of decomposition.

The unnamed veteran died in February after spending time in hospice care. The hospital’s Administrative Investigation Board ordered retraining for staff.

Hospital spokesman Jason Dangel said hospital officials view what happened as unacceptable but have implemented changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“We feel that we have taken strong, appropriate and expeditious steps to strengthen and improve our existing systems and processes within the unit,” Dangel said. “It is our expectation that each veteran is transported to their final resting place in the timely, respectful and honorable manner. America’s heroes deserve nothing less.”

The investigation found that once the veteran died, hospice staff members requested a staffer known as a “transporter” to get the body moved to the morgue.

The transporter told them to follow proper procedures and notify dispatchers, but that request was never made, so nobody showed up to take the body away.

Instead, it was moved to a hallway in the hospice and then to the shower room where it was unattended for more than nine hours.

Some hospice staff “demonstrated a lack of concern, attention and respect” for the veteran, according to the investigative report.

The investigation also found that staff failed to check a 24-hour nursing report that would indicate whether the death was reported properly, and staff failed to update a nursing organizational chart that hampered efforts to determine who was in charge.

Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.

Why wasn’t this reported for 10 months? Considering the media are like jackals? And how DARE they write this:

Instead, it was moved to a hallway in the hospice and then to the shower room where it was unattended for more than nine hours.

Whomever this person was, be it 25 years of age or 85 years, they were A. a US veteran and B. a human being. They were loved, a son or a daughter, perhaps a spouse and a parent, and they defended OUR country. How DARE the press refer to them as “it”? How dare they refer to any deceased person as “it”? I have pronounced convicted pedophiles dead yet I never told the ancillary staff to “take care of it”. There are boundaries one simply doesn’t cross…

In closing I found even more detailed information in:

VA staff left veteran’s body in shower nine hours, tried to hide mistakes

PTSD: Secrets, Lies and Closed Doors…

PTSD: Secrets, Lies and Closed Doors…

PTSD is brutal

Those of us who suffer from it often morphs into another person just to deal with the demons in our head. Some hide by purposely not disclosing anything about the incident(s) or events, even to spouses or significant others. Some lie when asked. I usually do. When people ask me about my childhood I answer with what they expect to hear ~ “it was good” when in reality it was a nightmare full of horrors. Many of us compartmentalize by locking the trauma behind a closed door. For many men and women who’ve been through war, the battles continue long after the guns go silent. Sadly, their pain is often compounded by a VA system that is rife with problems and at best, difficult to navigate. Often the wait time is 60 days if not longer. A person who served our country in war should not return home only to do battle with the government agency that is supposed to be their lifeline. Many have a revolving door of therapists which in my opinion prevents the formation of that important bond, the continuity which is an integral component in the healing process. I’ve spoken to veterans that have had to “prove” to the VA that their brains are somehow hardwired differently now after returning from war. Why? Who knows why some engage in battle and return unscathed by the sound of gunfire, bombs, and smell of death while others are profoundly affected.

4ad9745c61f4dc7bdf127d3b94a33959

I’ve blogged in the past about the constant almost year-round gunfire in the Western Mountains of Maine. Coupled with the firecrackers/fireworks from late spring to November, someone could go bonkers, especially a war veteran who is triggered by the unexpected sound of gunfire. In my July 4, 2016, post called Caution! Major Whine Around The Corner… I ranted how the never-ending firecrackers and sound of gunshots disrupt our lives to the point where I’ve decided to list my house next spring.  Shortly after I posted that I had a chance conversation with a man I know slightly from living down the road. He used to wave at me and The Germs whenever we walked by.  We were at the dump of all places and I was still ranting about the incessant noise that emanates from our mountains. I learned he was a Vietnam veteran and suffers from PTSD. He told me he’d tried everything but because the gunshots and firecrackers are on any given day, there’s no way to avoid them. Knowing the noise was worse in the warmer months I asked if turning on the AC worked but he didn’t have one. We don’t really need them because of being in the mountains and the ones I’d brought with me when I moved didn’t fit my windows as I have casements. I did, however, buy one that would fit just to block the noise out. The next day we took one of our older ones down (he doesn’t have casement windows) and offered it to him. He was reluctant but after I explained it was just sitting there and really would help, he accepted it. For a military veteran, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be subjected to unexpected random noise like that. I read where many veterans with PTSD place signs in their yards:

24cda2db-99d6-401b-92b2-b4ecb6253983

I’m not sure there’s a specific scientific reason, empirical evidence that can answer that question. And honestly, why should they have to prove themselves? PTSD has been accepted as a valid and legitimate medical diagnosis. Yet every day many veterans fight not only the demons in their head but the inane bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration, a government branch that was created to help our returning heroes, not treat them as second-class citizens. They gave their all; is this really the best America has to offer in return? 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more information about PTSD and veterans, please visit these sights:

Military With PTSD

The PTSD Help Network

War (What Is It Good For)  🎤🎤🎤

Edwin Starr

1970