Sunday, August 31, 2014

Writing a Journal while Living at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center

I wrote the article below on June 6th, 2014, while I was living at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. Laguna Honda has a really great rehabilitation center which provides a number of therapies for patients with a variety of health issues. I was a patient at Laguna Honda for two months.
They treated me for a bone infection that I contracted after I had an operation to repair a metacarpal fracture on my left hand.  I got the operation at San Francisco General Hospital after I went to the emergency room at St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

The doctors at SFGH tried a lot of different antibiotics until they found that Vancomycin was working well at combating the bacteria.  Vancomycin is administered via an IV line so the doctors that were treating me ordered a PIC line installed in my right arm and sent me to Laguna Honda.

While I was at Laguna Honda I started a journal to chronicle the activities that occurred while I was there.  The text below was written on 6/6/14 after I'd had a long day.

Laguna Honda Hospital's New Building
It is 7:20 p.m. and I've had a long and challenging day.  I went to SFGH for an appointment with the plastics doctor.  He removed the two pins I had in my hand holding my metacarpal bone in place while it healed.  I still cannot bend the index finger on my left hand and it feels very stiff.  The doctor recommended that I continue to perform occupational therapy exercises so that the muscles in my hand can get back to normal.  

I broke the second metacarpal (index finger) of my left hand when I punched a guy in the face.  He tried to rip me off for a bag of heroin so I socked him so hard I busted my finger.  More than a few people said I should have just walked away and after suffering so much with my broken hand, I think they are right.

At any rate, the bone on my left hand was so badly broken the doctor had to install three large pins inside my hand to hold the bone in place so that it could heal properly.  He did a good job.  I still cannot bend my finger, but I plan on healing it by visualizing my hand as being normal.

There's a new nurse on my unit who started two days ago.  He enjoys saying that he's the best nurse in the unit and encouragers patients to call him the best.  He also enjoys spouting rules and regulations.  About an hour ago I asked him if he could change the dressing on my Pic line and he told me not to touch it and that it can only be changed once a week.

I lost my temper and loudly let him know that I've had this pic line in my arm for two months and that I know what has to be done.  I told him the dressing had to be changed because none of the other nurses did it during the week. 

To get to SFGH today I had to board a shuttle bus which included two other people from Laguna Honda.  One of those two people was an employee escorting a patient who is in a wheel chair.  She loudly shouted for me to board the shuttle as if she were my mother.  I ignored her and continue to talk to a friend while I waited for the shuttle bus drive to get in the driver’s seat.  

The shuttle driver wasn't ready to leave for the reason he was waiting for another passenger.  After it was discovered the other passenger already departed, I got inside the shuttle for the trip to SFGH.  When we arrived at the hospital the escort told me to follow her inside the hospital. 

I told her I was going to smoke a cigarette before I went inside the hospital.  For some reason she thought she was escorting me as well as the other Laguna Honda patient and that I had to do what she commanded.  I had to show her a document I received from my nurse that showed I didn't require an escort.  I think she just had a power trip going on because she was continuously yelling orders at the other patient.   

I smoked weed today.  I bought $5 worth of weed yesterday off a friend named Felix, so I smoked a half joint in the morning and a half joint after dinner.  I have a small joint left which I'm going to smoke after I'm done writing this journal entry.

I recently posted, How to Change Your Life and Be Happy.  Please be sure to post a comment and include a link to your blog or website.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

How to Change Your Life and Be Happy Today

I entitled this post, How to Change Your Life and Be Happy Today because that's where I am in my life now. I have had so many 'bad years' that it's time to really hunker down in an effort to create positive change.  One of the things I'm doing to change my life is positive affirmations every day.  
I call it 'performing a mental exercise' because I lay in bed and say the same thing over and over for 10 minutes at a time.  That's the only way I know to create change.  And I've been able to create things almost instantly with an affirmation.

I've had tremendous success with positive affirmations in the past so I know that what I'm doing will lead to a better life for myself and my family.  The problem I've had in the past is not continuing to perform the mental exercise because of laziness or because I got into other things that occupied my time.

There are a lot of different ways to change your life, but I've discovered that affirmations are the best way and the fastest.  As long as you perform the mental exercise for 10 minutes every day, you'll get what you want.

What You Can Do to Change Your Life and Be Happy

What I do is say the same thing over and over until what I want happens.  For example, I was hired at a new job in 1992 and I wanted to increase my self-confidence so that I could appear cool, calm and collected.

To change and appear happy at work I created the affirmation, "I am confident, I express confidence outwardly" and I said it over and over every day.  In about a week, I began to walk with my head held high and I was able to talk to my co-workers and look them in the eye without feeling inferior.

Another time I wasn't feeling well for a long period of time.  I'd wake up feeling sluggish and tired almost every day.  I even began to fall asleep at my desk at work!  So I created the affirmation, "I feel good, I look good, I smell good".

After about two weeks of saying the 'I feel good' affirmation I woke up feeling very tired one day so I repeated the words, "I feel good" over and over and within 20 seconds I felt the tiredness leave my body.  It was an incredible sensation.  I could literally feel the tiredness drain out of my body from my head to my toes.

It was at that instant that I understood the power of positive affirmations and I knew I could create anything!  Now you know how to change your life and be happy.  Simply write an affirmation and repeat it every morning or every night for 10 minutes at a time until what you want manifests in your life.

Negotiated a Lower Payment for My Back Rent in Rehab Facility

I recently began receiving a presumptive benefit check from the Social Security Administration. I’m applying for SSI and they are paying me on a monthly basis until they make a decision on my case. If they approve my case, I’ll simply continue to receive benefits. If they deny my case, the payments will stop.
I received the check here at the drug rehab program I'm currently living in and the director and assistant director called me into the office.  The director asked to see my benefits approval letter from Social Security so I obliged by going upstairs to my room to fetch the letter.

After she read the letter she advised me that I had to pay back rent at the rate of $260 a month for 3 months.  I moved in here on July 8th and I wasn't required to pay rent because I didn't have an income.  But I signed a document that stated I would pay back rent in the event I began receiving benefits.

Stages of Negotiations
 Image Credit - Stages of Negotiation
After she asked for the back-rent payment, I told her that our definition of 'income' was different because I didn't consider the
presumptive benefit to be income.  And that I'd pay only September's rent.

We went back and forth until finally, the assistant director asked me if I'd be willing to pay the rent for August and September.  I agreed and saved myself more than $200.

My reasoning for not wanting to pay back rent was that I'll receive checks for only 3 or 4 months since Social Security almost always denies everyone the first time they apply.  I think the assistant director finally offered a concession because the director threatened to kick me out of the program if I didn't pay rent.

She said, "How about if you don't pay any rent and leave the program right now."  Of course I wasn't going to leave.  I have to stay here until I get housing.  I would be incredibly stupid if I abandoned treatment now because I have only 30 more days to go before I complete the required 90 days.

At any rate, I learned that everything is negotiable.  The truth is that I had to pay the entire three months of rent.  But because I began negotiating with management, I was able to get a discount and save money.

I'm Angry at PsychCentral for Publishing an Article Entitled Why Positive Affirmations Don’t Work

I'm extremely angry at Sophie Henshaw, a doctor of psychology who writes articles for the PsychCentral website.  I'm angry because she recently posted an article entitled, "Why Positive Affirmations Don’t Work".   She offered an alternative method for using positive affirmations, but the title of the article can be misleading.
Positive affirmations do work and if used properly, they can help anyone create the kind of life they desire.  I know this first hand because I've been using positive affirmations successfully for more than 25 years.  I've used affirmations to heal my bleeding gums, to get money and to become more confident around people.

Dr. Henshaw began her article by writing the following text:

Control your thoughts and you create your reality. A positive mindset begets positive end results. These popular tenets are espoused by the likes of Louise Hay, Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins and countless other self-help gurus. The problem is, they don’t actually work.

Believe me, positive affirmations are the only way to control your thoughts and get what you want (see the video below).  When you say an affirmation over and over you'll slowly begin to think about what you say in the affirmation, instead of those self-defeating thoughts you don't want to think about.  It's happened to me time after time, so I speak from experience!

The only reason so many people claim that affirmations do not work is because they give up before the affirmation manifests.  Or they tried an affirmation for only one week.  Some things take longer to manifest than others, but generally, you'll need more than one week to change your thoughts and create what you want.  Success and self-improvement go hand-in-hand, if you want to succeed in life you have to create some sort of self-improvement program.

A simple self-improvement program can be something like saying an affirmation every morning for 10 minutes at a stretch.  Let's call it 'performing a mental exercise'.   An affirmation that's said over and over for 10 minutes every day will not only help you change your thoughts, it will help you change your life.

At any rate, Dr. Henshaw's article talks about a study that was conducted which looked at how people phrased affirmations.  The study revealed that affirmations that were phrased in the form of a question yielded better results than affirmations that were phrased as a declarative statement.  She may be on to something, but she should change the title of her article.

Thanks for reading my Trying to Change My Life Now blog.  Please be sure to post a comment after you view the video below which was created by Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life

Friday, August 29, 2014

My Housing Case Manager is Not Doing Her Job

I’m currently in a drug rehab facility and I have a housing case manager that’s supposed to help me find a place to live once I complete the required 90 days of treatment.  The city of San Francisco created a program called Scattered Site Housing for chronically homeless people and people that may end up using county resources such as hospitals and shelters and even jail.

The program is going to pay my rent while I secure an income so I don’t have to pay any money up front.  I’m also in another program called the Community Living Fund which is going to pay my rent deposit and purchase furniture and anything else I need to create a decent home for myself.

When I begin getting a monthly check, I’ll pay 50% of my income for rent.  Meanwhile, I don’t pay anything at all.  It’s a sweet deal for me because it gets me off the streets, off drugs and it gets me started on the way to building a new life for myself. 

I am very thankful that I’m in the Scattered Site Housing program.  It is going to help me save my life.  Literally.  If you are an addict, you know what I’m talking about.

The problem I’m having is that my case manager hasn’t done anything for me except offer me an SRO (single room occupancy) room in the Granada Hotel.  I told her 3 or 4 times that I didn’t want to live in an SRO.  The Scattered Site Housing program is supposed to find me an apartment, not an SRO!

I have only 30 days left here in the rehab facility and I still don’t have an apartment.  I talked to my intensive case manager and she suggested that I contact my case manager for housing and tell her I want to talk to her supervisor. 

I sent my worker the following email:


As always I hope you are doing well.  I'm writing to ask for your supervisor's name, phone number and email address. 

I'd like to setup a meeting with her to discuss my housing options and to ask if she can appoint someone else to help me find a place.

You've had my file for more than 60 days and the only option you have presented me with is the Granada.  I told you I didn't want to live at the Granada when we first met at Laguna Honda and you've offered it to me three more times since then.

The only thing I want is a decent apartment to live in while I change my life.  I thought that's why the city of San Francisco created the Scattered Site program.  An SRO is not an apartment.  I'm sorry it has come to this.  You told me that you'd do two things when we first met.

1. You said you'd find me an apartment.  
2. And that I'd have options.

Since I left Laguna Honda you haven't contacted me with any news on my file or for any other reason.  I had to call you, and you again offered me the Granada and I told you again that I didn't want to live there.  Then you called my case manager Mary Beth and told her you had a room available at the Granada.  And I said no again.

Thank you for understanding my position and for sending me your supervisor's name, phone number and email address.

I hope I can get a new housing case manager.  It is crunch time and I want to get out of this rehab.  I’m very confident that I can stay clean on my own.  Thanks for reading my Trying to Change My Life blog.

My previous post is Trying to Change My Life in Different Ways.  Check it out and please post a comment.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Seeking Felix to Buy Mexican Bammer Weed

I had a session today with Dr. Austin. She seems to be checking me out to determine my mental capacity and acuity.  She was staring at me which is what made me realize she was checking me out.  She's very smart and I learned a lot from her in only few sessions.

I left the hospital today and I smiled when I got back.  I'm so grateful I'm here because I was in jail when they accepted me into their skilled nursing program.

Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center is a very nice place and the staff is top notch. They're very caring and not at all judgmental. When I left the hospital I took the 44 bus because it travels through Golden Gate Park.

For some reason I felt like taking the trip downtown via the scenic route. When I arrived downtown I went to Jones and Golden Gate Avenue to look for Felix, a friend I've known for about a decade.

I was looking for Felix for two reasons. The first reason was I wanted to see him and the second to buy weed. Felix and I have been selling marijuana on Jones and Golden Gate since 2005. We sold nickel bags of Mexican Bammer weed because it was a good seller.

He is Puerto Rican like me and we hit it off as soon as we meet on the streets of San Francisco.  When we met in '05 he was living with a crack addicted woman named Norma.  She was strikingly beautiful, but the drugs really did damage to her beauty.

I went to the post office to cash a money order my mom sent for $60 and I bought the weed from Felix.  I smoked it before I got back to the hospital.

Trying to Change My Life in Different Ways

I'm 49 years old and I'm trying to change my life for the better once and for all.  I've had a lot of successes in the past and somehow I always end up back on square one starting over.

My biggest challenge is overcoming a drug and alcohol addiction.  I've been addicted for 37 years and it is time to try something different.

To that end, this blog will serve as a journal which I will post to a couple of times a week.  Each post will detail what I've been up to and been through since the last post.  Please be sure to post a comment if something I said 'touches' you or if you have advice for me.

Advice on How to be Successful at Changing My Life is Welcomed

I welcome and accept any and all advice.  Life has taught me, the hard way, that I don't know it all and that we all have to accept advice from time to time.  Some of the best advice I receive is from my family and friends.

From time to time I attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings here in the Bay Area.  Most meetings are very good and I learn a lot especially from the speaker discussion meetings.

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