Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Prisons and Shoulders and Knees, Oh My!

I shared this on Facebook earlier today, but I decided to make it into a blog because it's a rather important topic.

Last night a man came roaring into the dining hall, yelling that someone had stolen the Tupperware bowl he had under his bed. He then went on to complain that he had just gotten out of prison only to be treated like this, his language laced with swears and threats. 

Unfortunately this serves to highlight one of the bigger problems not just with homeless shelters but also with prisons. Ex-cons are not prepared before they leave prison to come back into the system, so they wind up at the shelter. I have no idea what the percentage of former inmates is, but I know that I'm one of the few without a prison record.

The problem is both with prisons and with shelters. Too many think that prisoners should be punished and leave it at that. I'm not soft on crime, but I do believe if you serve your time, you deserve something more than to be let out with no resources to get your life back on track. 

Instead, they are dumped back into the streets. What choice do most of them have but to return to the life of crime and drugs? Even if they work while in prison they are paid so little that they have no cash to fall back on. Employers don't generally hire felons (otherwise why ask?) and especially at the good jobs that pay well enough and are consistent enough to pay a living wage.

I'm not saying hire that sex offender for child care, or hire the man charged with assault with a deadly weapon as the greeter at Wal*Mart (don't get me started on them, please). But I am saying let's get these prisoners trained on a useful skill before they leave prison, and also let's get them jobs as they leave prison. Why continue to put the burden on the county and state to support them after they get out?

[Steps off soapbox, breaks arm in the process...]

Speaking of arms, I've been seeing my physical therapist for a few weeks now. I'm making progress, but I still need to build strength in the shoulder and arm. There are a number of tender spots on the shoulder, and we're working on getting them 'awoken' except for one spot, which my therapist tells me is bone. I see my doctor in a week and a half and I hope to get some X-Rays taken of the arm to make sure there are no additional problems with the bone that was broken in the accident.

I'm worried, though, because it's been 9 months since the accident and if it were going to heal, it should have happened before now. I'm worried that I will need surgery and no one will be willing to pay for it, because I sure as hell can't. I also can't feel that I'm fully healed until that pain in the shoulder stops. If there is a problem and I can't get it fixed, I will be applying for a disability. I've tried to avoid it before, because I felt the shoulder was a temporary disability. I may be wrong about that, though.

My knee has good moments and not-so-good moments. Sometimes I walk normally, a slight limp, and sometimes I have to stop and sit. There have been a number of times when I've felt the knee and it seemed like the bottom part of the leg, the drumstick if you will, is protruding slightly from where it meets the knee, especially compared to the other knee. That worries the hell out of me, but I know that without surgery, it will never fully heal. That, at least, I can overcome, as long as I don't have to walk very far and as long as I don't have to stand for long periods of time, so I don't really consider that a disability for the kind of work I want to do.

Yet, I am not entirely able to the kind of work everyone wants me to do, which is "Anything." I'll have to talk to my doctor to see if I can get something in writing to that effect.

That is all, as always thanks for reading!