My Year 2004
January / February / March / April / May / June / July
August / September / October / November / December
At the end of January 2004, my food stamps and Oregon Health Plan coverage lapsed. I reapplied.
In April 2004, I was sent to a podiatrist (foot doctor) to be fitted with something to wear on my feet to allow the wound on my foot to heal. After taking X-rays of the foot, the doctor decided that when I put weight on my foot, the remaining bone in my big toe was pressing down on the wound, essentially re-wounding it from within, and that a further amputation was necessary. The end of April I went into the hospital and he performed the amputation, removing the last joint of the toe and part of the bone behind it.
In May I was released to an extended care facility, about a mile from my home and only a couple of blocks from the podiatrist's office. When I was sent from the hospital, the place was called Karrington Care, but when I arrived, it was called Evergreen Karrington. I stayed longer than the two weeks I had expected, though my foot seemed to heal well. I had to let the house go, as I was behind 3 months in rent. Though my foot healed, my knees (arthritis, I am told) continued to limit my ability to get around. With my limitations, and no place to send me home to, the facility obtained Medicaid coverage for me and I "moved in". I applied for Social Security Disability.
At the facility, which has since become Evergreen Portland, I got regular meals, the medications I need, regular exercise (I walked when I could with assistance, and moving a wheelchair by yourself is exercise no matter how you do it), and even an eye checkup. The eye doctor prescribed trifocals for me. For a while I was using someone else's bifocals, which were given to me. The doctor checked them and told me to hang onto them for backup, as they were close to his prescription.
Thanks to a member of the Ward where I was going to church before I moved here, I was able to earn some cash for necessities not covered by Medicaid by packaging seeds for an Internet seed supplier. I got paid by the package and not by the hour, and I was pretty slow, but I got to be productive and provide a little for myself, too.
Having moved to a new location, I had a new church building to attend meetings at. I had attended the same Ward seven years earlier, so there were many familiar faces to greet me. I was able to take three buses and roll down a hill in a wheelchair to get to church. Going back, I fortunately did not have to go back up a hill, because only two blocks west of where I arrived, the way to the bus stop for the return trip is fairly level. It takes another three buses to get home. On some Sundays, I was able to get a ride with another member in their car. Then, I took only my walking stick, as I can get around OK for short distances where the ground is level and smooth, or there is something solid to grab onto. It was good to get back to church; I had missed it.
My first room was Room 22, very close to the front desk. My first roommate was Loren Ellson. We got along well, and played a lot of rummy in the dining room with Joseph Lopez. That's about all the activity Joe would do.
About the first of August, 2004, I developed a boil near my right wrist, which they later said looked like it was caused by a spider bite. It made a mess of my right arm before the antibiotics they put me on set it on the right path again. It was once almost two inches across, with redness spreading nearly to my elbow, but after a month was only a scar about 1/4 inch across. After I began to recover, I saw a News item about a woman which had been bitten on the leg by a hobo spider, and that sounded similar to my own case, except that mine was caught early.
In September of 2004, my applications for Social Security Disability were approved. It was a welcome surprise because it took them less time than they had told me it would, and because I had been told by a case worker that they always disapprove the first application.
On October 25th, 2004, I got a new roommate, Donald Loughlin.