This evening I watched newscaster Ari Melber show some footage of Ukrainian President Zelinsky from his days before entering “public” life, showing that the intrepid patriot was a movie actor who played a kind of “everyman,” a “little person” who stood up against the mighty and proved that ordinary people can govern. Anyway, he went directly from the movies to the popular President of Ukraine. Now, he heroically leads Ukraine against Russia. Of course, we cannot know how it will end for him yet. Personally, I wish our government would do more to help the people of Ukraine, but I understand the fear of Putin’s nuclear weapons should we intervene and Putin take offense. It makes me angry, though, that all Putin has to do is brag, “I have nuclear weapons,” and Washington is powerless.
Well, either way, I have thought about Zelinsky’s rise to power, and thought about my own issues which I hope some politician would grab a hold of. They are not as big as Zelinksy’s–dealing with corruption and a president effectually in Putin’s pocket, as was the man before Zelinksy–but I am convinced that even “small potatoes” can sometimes lead to revolutionary changes in how things are done. So here it goes: I am convinced the state of Kansas is not looking after its physically and mentally disabled enough.
I will emphasize the second as I know the most about them: I am convinced that the mentally handicapped like my own Uncle Charlie and second cousin Lindsey, deserve hospitals to go to and not just group homes. Uncle Charlie has a hospital because he was too old to do anything else with, but I am convinced that he ought to have food prepared for him and not just nutrition supplements. As for Lindsey… she is not as limited, but I don’t like the idea of her in a group home. She should be in a home like Charlie’s.
Yet I believe the homes for Uncle Charlie and Lindsey (among others) should have meaningful activities. They should have more than Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas trees with presents (though they should have these things). They should have more than movies to watch (though giving them old classics like Harvey and Bambi would be ideal as occasional treats, and if the staff would pop popcorn and give them tea to drink it would be wonderful). They deserve therapy dogs, walks in the country, trips to the zoo… but also quiet days when the staff cares for them in one room. I even believe that the staff could occasionally read to them books like Where the Wild Things Go; the books of Winnie the Pooh; Little Bear; of Frog and Toad; and of Beatrix Potter. I am sure a real nurse or therapist would be able to think of more things for them than I can…
At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I think that Comcare in our state could use new therapists, and allow patients to leave or find new therapists without explaining to the therapist him or herself. I seriously had one therapist at Comcare tell me his whole life story during the first and second session when I finally asked him if I could have another therapist, under the pretense of wanting a female therapist. In actuality, I wondered why my therapy session wasn’t about me and not him. I am convinced a more “low functioning” patient would not have known how to get away from a therapist if he didn’t like him or her. I believe the patients should have questionnaires after a certain number of months in which they can answer how well they like their counselor, which they are allowed to do–with help if necessary–without that counselor being informed what they said.
I have other reservations about how the state facilities for “out-patient” care is handled, but because I know many of the people who run them personally, I will stop here. I am not sure I want to go into personal gripes which may be no more than that. That said, I am convinced that there are a lot of things the state should be doing for the mentally ill in our state–and probably the physically disabled–which are not being attended to.