When a sound becomes your nightmare: a metaphor about my computer

I ran into some computer trouble recently that in fact, has been plaguing me for months.  Allow me to make some wonderful metaphor for a moment. Why do I do this? Because I am a writer.

(Kindly don’t poke fun of me for often running into dilemmas like this.  People who live in poverty often have tech trouble and I don’t like being teased or told that this is a moral dilemma or that it has something to do with a bad choice or low intelligence.  I’m under enough stress as it is.)

So this was the problem.  I was wracking my brains trying to figure it out. Tons of calls to tech support only to be told first that a tower was down locally.

I googled. It wasn’t that there was a tower down.  Yes, there were tons of road blocks all over town, but this was because a funeral was being held locally. For a fire person, someone who had been on the force that came from Watertown so they were holding the funeral here in our town.

God help me, I am brave too. They won’t block any roads for my funeral. Do I even get a funeral?  I doubt it.  Give it a few weeks and I’ll be forgotten. I suppose I can feel all the self-importance I want and it’ll do me no good.

You can try to stand up to doctors and rescue your child from unwarranted hospitalization, I repeat, rescue your child, but you don’t get honored,  you are called a criminal and your child is stolen from you.

Anyway, so I called tech support back, and told them, no, that isn’t it, there’s no tower down, it must be something else. So they told me, “It’s your computer. Run a virus check.”

I’ve been getting that line for a while now.  It’s baloney.  I got it from another tech support once only to find out it was on their end all along, which at the time they weren’t aware of until others called in, and they did in fact apologize to me afterward.

However, this noise coming out of my machine was getting annoying.  Purring, like a lion purring.  I thought to myself, “Must be a fan.”

But no, it didn’t add up.  All kinds of things were going wrong.  Drivers reinstalling.  USB connections not connecting. The monitor was connected but not fully, and often, I’d start the computer and the monitor wouldn’t light up at all, so I’d have to restart over and over until I could get the monitor to comply.  Finally, I realized that my laptop was attached to a base, but not properly attached.

For those who don’t know, some laptops have docking stations. These are bases that the laptops go into. The laptop snaps into a base.  You’d have to go online to see one of these.  It’s a flat piece that is shaped like another laptop and the two pieces snap together.  You can take the upper piece off and this smaller piece is the actual laptop, which is very tiny and light.

I’ve attached it and re-attached the two pieces (three, actually) a number of times. I’ve taken it apart and put it back together over and over and checked to see if dust had settled inside. Finally, I found out what the problem is. This was a refurb when I bought it.

Okay, okay, don’t criticize. We poor people buy refurbs.  No, this isn’t a moral problem or a bad choice. We do this to save money. So it came without instructions. It’s a “scratch and dent.”  No issue there.  Cosmetic wear and tear. There’s nothing wrong with it except appearance-wise not exactly new-looking so I saved a ton of dough.  I’m not a bad person.  Nor do I have low intelligence.

So…due to lack of instructions I had no clue I was supposed to lock the thing when I snapped the three pieces together. No instructions, just a diagram. I had no clue.  For months, I was wondering what the cause was for all the difficulties.

All the misdiagnosis of these “problems.”  Being told the fault was mine. Being sent on a wild goose chase. Being told to do a virus check, even make extra purchases…I was on the verge of replacing my monitor or taking the whole thing to a repair shop…I was told to replace my computer at one point….

Dudes, poverty wears on you.

When there’s a problem, does anyone really bother to find out why? When a person is suffering, does anyone ask why? Does anyone really care, or do they just lock the person up and assume the person is an unworthy criminal, giving the person a cookie-cutter diagnosis?

We aren’t all alike.

So I don’t hear that purring noise coming out of my laptop anymore. I’m wicked happy about that.  Hearing it was getting to be an awful nightmare yesterday and it seemed to be so darned loud.  I’m glad it’s over.

Love, Julie

I was at the protest for Justina Pelletier yesterday…mixed feelings

My feelings are mixed right now.  Ambiguous.

1. Of course, I support the cause. This is a no-brainer.  No kid should be locked in a psych ward and denied medical care.  Justina needs lifesaving medical treatment so she will stay alive.

2. Justina will need help, lots of loving care, to help her recover from severe trauma that I’m sure she’s now suffering resulting from abuse that she endured from A YEAR IN A PSYCH WARD AND FOSTER “CARE.” She’s not even living with a family. She’s in some “group home.” This place is not providing the medical care she needs.

3. I myself know how traumatizing it is to spend a week in one of these psych wards.  Imagine spending whole year in such a place.  You don’t just leave a place like this, go home, and suddenly, poof! You’re just fine.  Get real, folks.

4.. Many folks have been abused by this system that has gone awry. Parents wrongly accused and many people locked up against their will and called “sick.”  Why do we lock up sick people and punish them? What kind of sense does that make? It only causes further illness and trauma.

5. And why are we putting down the folks that are angry about this?  If your kid was taken from you or killed by the System, wouldn’t you be pissed off?  If a parent’s kid got stolen by these medical criminals, and the parent then behaved perfectly, I’d be kinda worried, wouldn’t you?  I’d wonder what sort of brainwashing cult had gotten hold of them, or had they been shooting themselves up with needles or smoking something stinky, wouldn’t you?  If you’d been locked up and abused, you’d be pissed off just like I am.  The trauma doesn’t go away for a long, long time. 

6. I think people need to stop backbiting.  It really makes this movement look bad, and it turns people away.

7. I don’t make any links to religion here.  I don’t see it as a “Christian cause.”  Hardly. I do think it’s horrible that any human being is denied the right to worship as they choose. Likewise, the fact that Justina was not allowed to go to Mass even on Christmas is despicable.

I recall in recent years, I believe it was 2012, I when I was incarcerated on a “unit” and while there, I forced the staff to allow patients to celebrate Ash Wednesday. The staff weren’t going to allow it, but I argued that it was the patients’ rights to worship and this was an American right above hospital policy.  Patients got their way.  I won. I’m not Catholic but I knew this is important to Catholic people.  I remember this from my youth when I had Catholic friends.

Likewise, I have the right to not bring Jesus into the picture.  I showed up at Monday’s protest not because of anything to do with Jesus. I am a Jew and I was taught since I was a small child not to believe in such things, that it’s just another story like any other.  I’m a writer.  I write all kinds of stories and you can believe them, or not.

And I’m not done saying what I want to say.

Lou Pelletier speaks out on the Glenn Beck show…and my own reaction…link too

If you right-click on the link below, this should open the video, which will play a brief TV clip that was on TV yesterday at 5pm.  I don’t have a TV but I was going to try to stream it.

I didn’t happen to see it.  Lou Pelletier, Justina Pelletier’s dad, was on the Glenn Beck show.  I saw the clip just now.  I bawled.  I’ll tell you exactly why in a sec.

First of all, yesterday, for much of the day, I was sick in bed, and I’ve been PHYSICALLY ill for the past month.

I turned 56 years old January 8 and thanked my lucky stars I was still alive.  I figured anything would be better than the hell I went through last year, especially the part last summer when I was abused on the medical floor of a hospital.

Two days following my birthday, just over a month ago, that is, January 10th, I attended the protest outside of the courthouse in Boston regarding 15-year-old Justina Pelletier, a girl from Connecticut who is currently being medically abused by our powerful Massachusetts hospitals.  I sure as hell know that abuse very, very well and the power these institutions have.

(It amuses me now to look back and recall a comment I saw on Facebook. The sign I held at the protest said, “Never, ever shut up.” Someone remarked that they liked the sign “that boy” was holding.  Funny, I can laugh now…I am a rather petite woman and boy’s attire is inexpensive, durable, and actually fits.  I guess at a distance I can be mistaken for a kid.)

I came home from the protest totally beat, freezing cold, desperately thirsty, with a ripping headache and searing stomach pain.  All I wanted to do was to immediately warm up as much as I could, get water into me, and lie down.  Within ten minutes, though, I was the victim of a hate crime. I’ve clearly been profiled by people that should know better.  There has been further “hate” type persecution in the month that followed since then.

I’m under an awful lot of stress.  I’m exhausted.  Just plain sick and exhausted.

Now I know some you that are reading these words are regular blog readers and some are here for the first time….

Let me explain.  I’ll tell you I cried to hear Lou Pelletier speak of what his daughter Justina is now going through.

Perhaps it was hardest to hear the part that they put her on the toilet and then…

Because I myself recall the same.  Back in summer 2013, that is, last August….Mount Auburn Hospital, not far from here, on a medical floor, in fact, one of the godawful noisiest places I’ve ever been…..

After I had been suffering malnutrition and had so much trouble putting my thoughts together as a result…then all that endless diarrhea coming out of me…they had me on the toilet and even when the diarrhea stopped, when there was nothing more, when I lay back down upon the bed, my own life continued to come out of me.  My life rapidly drained out of me and it didn’t matter what bodily position I was in.  That rush of diarrhea was only a symbol. In fact, it was a beautiful symbol to me.

I am a writer and I understand symbol and meaning. Even in my dementia-like state, I totally “got it.”  Instinctively, I knew somehow, I was near death.

And those untrained, unfeeling “sitters” had the nerve to watch me, to criticize me, to invade that very private space I desperately needed, that one moment, while I sat on the toilet.  Even then, when by law, I should have been left alone, they stood there and jeered at  me. When I finally insisted that by law, they had to leave me alone in that bathroom, those sitters were verbally abusive, invasive, and rude.

I was physically shoved a number of times by one sitter.  Another grabbed my phone, that is, the corded phone I was paying out of pocket for, and used it as if it were her own private phone continuously for the whole shift.  Almost all of them bossed me around.  Most blasted my TV, which in fact was right next to my left ear as I lay in the bed, and the constant flickering light of that darned TV above me was rather annoying.  (People who regularly watch TV are unaware that TV’s have a constant high-pitched buzz sound and a constant visual flashing on and off of bright lights, which non-TV-watchers find extremely annoying.)  Almost all “sitters” were verbally abusive.  Almost all treated me with gross disrespect and invaded my privacy far too much.  A small minority were kind and deserve a lot of credit.

Since I was so thin, I could hardly get the johnnies to cover me, and the ones the hospital had were missing the necessary ties and snaps. When I asked for one that wasn’t missing a tie or snap, if the “sitter” could understand English at all, I got yelled at, if not, I got yelled at.  Some nurse would come in and tell me what a nuisance I was. The doctors would come and tell me I was a liar, or that they didn’t want to hear my complaints, that it was some other person’s place to hear such things. Then, I’d get threatened, and I was told I was “dangerous.”  I wasn’t even suicidal and it took them over a week before someone even listened and took those abusive sitters away. They had never been necessary.  I was doomed to spend another month incarcerated on a psych ward, but I got out of it cuz they couldn’t justify sending someone there who wasn’t even suicidal, and wasn’t psychotic. All I needed was food, and I told them I could eat just fine at home with my little dog.

Today, I am alive.

I am scared to death of anything resembling a hospital or stretcher or the sound of a siren.

Here’s the clip.  As I said, right-click on it to get it to open in a separate tab.



Here you can see the story….Justina Pelletier protest Jan 10 2014

I was nearby when the Pelletiers were exiting.  I was not close enough to see their faces and I hadn’t realized that the “smiles” that several journalists had referred to were as defined as they are, apparently, here.


I think the journalists really didn’t know that much at the time, given the gag order, and they were hoping that we, the protesters outside, might have some additional info, but we could only speculate.

Some of us were interviewed on camera.  You guys know how I am…I was dying to get a word in!  The folks representing mitochondrial disease sufferers were interviewed extensively.  I finally got in front of the camera but you guys know I’m just a peon.  I said why I was there, that I had personal interest in the case.

Actually, I believe the journalists interviewed me after they interviewed Ted Chabasinski.  He made a wonderful speech in front of the camera and they gave him plenty of time.  They asked him why he was so interested in the case and why he’d come all the way from California.  He explained that he had been incarcerated in a “hospital” for years when he was a child, and was not ill.  He was wrongly diagnoses with schizophrenia.  He was amazing and I was truly moved.  I agreed with what he said all the way! We DO have the obligation to speak out, so that NO MORE PATIENTS WILL BE ABUSED!

I, too, was given a false diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.  I was truly convinced that I had this disorder and went along with it for THREE AND A HALF DECADES. I told lots of people I had this disorder and that I “needed” a lot of pills to get by. I believed I “needed” all kinds of therapy, too.

Then, one day, I woke up to reality.  It was all a lie.  Today, I am free of any psychiatric care or therapy or pills, and I am not supervised by any state worker or program.

I’m doing pretty well except I guess folks seem to be rather threatened by my writing.  Scared, in fact.  I am happy to say that my pen is mighty indeed, and I refuse to stop writing.

On the scene at the courthouse…and home again

Yes, I’m home now.  Long, kinda cold day.

A bunch of us were there with lots of great signs and mine said, NEVER, EVER SHUT UP.  I loved that there were a couple of people representing a group of mitochondrial disease sufferers. They held a sign that had many photos on it that looked like Facebook photos of folks that had suffered from this disease. We spoke of other patients that had been taken forcibly from their parents by BCH and CPS in similar disputes.  Many signs said, “Free Justina” and showed photos of Justina, a young child with her dog.  I spoke with so many people and met many folks working in various human rights fields.  We were all coming together, even though it was cold out.

A man named David told the saddest story you’ve ever heard.  I cannot retell it because it will make your blood boil, and I cannot do it as well as David did.

If we speak out and continue to pressure the judges, we can alter the way things are done.

Stealing children…the Justina Pelletier case is not the only one

Here’s a case of Boston Children’s Hospital stealing children from families from a while ago:


Does anyone know this family?  Please try to get in touch.  Here’s the Facebook link for the organizers against BCH currently:


This has got to stop.

Bader 5, the psych unit at Children’s, is not exactly a “hospital.”  Hear what I’m saying?

What’s wrong with our medical people?  We need to take back our lives from them. Adults and kids alike.  You get sick and it turns into a nightmare.  It’s happened to me, and I won’t let it happen to anyone else!