Slow, sleepy day

Days like this one are the official reason I have a disability. Who wants to hire someone who can’t stay awake in the day even if he sleeps well at night? Besides the usual sleep apnea, I have “hypersomnia,” which is what they call being very sleepy in the daytime when they don’t know what causes it. That’s what my lawyer used to get my disability.

I woke up today determined to finally try to get something done about my SNAP (food stamp) benefit being reduced. My housing cost more than doubled when I moved and my benefit was reduced by exactly $100. Huh? I think somebody made a typo by leaving out a “1” in front of the amount.The letter for that change was dated June 15, a week before I moved. It caught up with me later, and I let July go by between settling in and having bad days of one kind or another. In the past week or so, I made a couple of phone calls and worked my away around a few web sites. I concluded the only thing that might help was an in-person visit to the “Opportunity Center” located about half a mile from where I live.

I walked in there about 9 a.m., prepared for a long wait. That’s how this works. I took a number and sat down. I’d decided to bring only a puzzle book to pass the time. Soon I realized I was already too drowsy even for that. (I slept around 7 hours last night, but that doesn’t affect my daytime condition. I’m out of the medicine that’s supposed to keep me awake during the day until at least Tuesday, my next doctor appointment.) Drowsiness really doesn’t hurt for waiting. It keeps me from becoming restless. I let myself go ahead and nod off a little. There’s nothing else to do anyhow. At some point, I realized I’d forgotten my rent receipts, so I walked home, picked them up along with my lease, and walked back. My number was finally called about 20 minutes after I returned. I explained the situation. The person I talked to brought her supervisor into the discussion. They copied my rent receipts and advised me the lease was already in the system.They also recommended I get my utility receipts from my computer at home, bring them back, and have them scanned in. I did so, although I had tired of walking and rode my bicycle back that last time. I worried a little about the people who hang around outside the building stealing it or doing damage by trying. My bike was there and intact when I came out. By the time I got home, it was around 11:45. That’s actually a pretty good time for getting something done at the Human “Services”office.

The people I talked to also made it clear that they had no control or power over any decision about my benefits. They couldn’t tell me what “the caseworker,” who is never named, would do, either. Having been a State employee myself, I know how that works. The person who decides your future (whether you eat, in this case) is completely insulated from anything you might do. The people who are supposed to help poor people are deathly afraid of poor people.

Then I took on another boring task. I called Social Security to try to get my addresses straightened out. I prepared for that by eating, drinking a few more cups of coffee, opening my account on their web site, and generally preparing for “indefinite hold.” I was on hold for about 50 minutes, not especially long. Sleepy, sleepy. Eventually a nice man answered and tried to resolve my issue, which was that the Medicare part of the operation has my current address but the Social Security side had not been changed after my move. I believe from what I saw on the screen that he got those backward, but I was unable to explain that to him. He kept saying, “That’s ok, sir” as if I were senile and he was not listening. He seems to think I’m stupid and I feel the same way about him. I’ll check it tomorrow and probably call back Monday.

Then I took a nap. I didn’t want a nap; I never do. All the same, I could not fight sleep any longer, so I laid down for about 40 minutes.

The high point of my day was a bus trip later (evening rush hour) to Dollar General. At least I didn’t have to sit in a room for that one. There was plenty of people-watching available and the walking (to and from the bus stops) helps with staying awake. I’m always grateful to have my bus pass, too. I would rather not have to deal with the high humidity, but Ohio’s like that in summer. (I have asthma and maybe COPD or another lung problem, depending on which doctor I believe. My arthritis doesn’t like it either, but then the arthritis doesn’t like much weather at all except very dry and in the 70s.)

This is the kind of day that makes poverty a job. It doesn’t pay enough to be a living.


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