How Journaling Helped Me From Grieving To Healing To Thriving.

I don’t really know where to start with this blog post. I started out with a thought, an idea, of explaining to You how journaling helped me deal with a traumatic experience I had 22 years ago. As I sit here dictating my words into this microphone I am kind of loss for words. Now you can’t write if You’re loss for words. I think they call that writer’s block, but I’m not actually blocked at all. I just don’t know how to put this story on paper for You to read because I haven’t done that before. 22 years ago My Wife and Son were crushed in an vehicle accident….with a semi tractor trailer truck.

I am not a writer so bear with me while I try to form these words into sentences that flow and are easy for you, the reader, to follow. I was living what I considered a fairy tale life. My wife and I had been married for 9 years, when we moved to Sugarloaf Key Florida from the Chicagoland area with our 9-year-old son. I was a chef, professionally and classically trained at The Culinary lnstitute of America in New York City. This gig in Florida was my one and only job as a chef in the United States. Every job I had since then and before then was abroad, by design. I think I liked traveling as a chef as much as I liked actually being a chef. Every 6 or 8 months I would pick up my pots and pans and knives and go to another country to cook and work another multiple month gig.

I liked money. I liked money a lot. Even though I had a full-time job as a chef I always had a side hustle. While I lived in Sugarloaf Key Florida my side hustle was building computers from scratch. This was 15 years ago when you could buy computer components from two places online. One place, a Macintosh computer parts supplier. The other was a Windows computer parts supplier. I would buy the components which are called hardware components, and build the computers. My wife would buy the software which are called software programs and she would install those programs on my computer hardware. We were quite successful and good at what we did….. Our side hustle.

As spring break approached my wife and I decided to take a road trip from Sugarloaf Key Florida back home to Chicago Illinois to visit her parents. We had made this trek several times since we moved to Florida and we enjoyed being on the open road just the three of us…. Laughing, joking, playing road trip car games, and listening to the best music ever played on a stereo car radio. Those road trips we had together as a family, are memories I shall cherish forever.

I had packed our SUV the night before. The day to actually leave was upon us. I’ll never forget this….. My son and I were patiently waiting in the SUV for my wife to lock up and join us. She walked up to the driver side window to tell me there was a phone call for me from a client. We built these computers for different businesses in the Florida area. We were currently working on a project for the Best Western motel chain located in Miami. I climbed out the SUV, went in the house and took the phone call. This particular client was begging for me to move up the date for the completion of their project to right now, this very moment, as I was ready to hit the road.

As I said a little bit ago I liked money, a lot. Completing this project ahead of time meant the money would be in my bank account ahead of time, which I liked. I like that a lot. After discussing it with my wife she insisted I stay home, complete this project in 2 days then take a flight to Chicago. I saw dollar signs and not much else. I stayed home and completed the project. As I watched my two most cherished human beings rolling down the driveway I was sad and instantly lonely. But in 3 days time, we’d be together.

The drive usually took me 22 hours from Sugarloaf Key to Chicago. I figured it would take my wife about 24, 25 hours. I got done with the project for my Best Western client in about 24 hours instead of 48. I woke up that morning, called the airport in Miami and booked my flight. Sometime around noon I got a phone call. You know the funny thing about this timeline of events, I don’t remember anything emphatically. Everything about that day is fuzzy. In fact everything about the next 3 weeks is fuzzy. The call, it was my mother-in-law calling to tell me that my wife and son were dead.

I will not try to share with you what happened with me mentally and physically for the next 14 hours. To this day I do not know how I spent those 14 hours. I remember clearly the time on the kitchen wall clock the moment I got the phone call. I don’t remember much of anything else until the doorbell rang and it was my cousin standing in the doorway looking at me. 14 hours later. Looking at me with the eyes of another human being full of pity and sorrow, heartbreak. The eyes of a man not fully able to understanding what I was feeling at that very moment.

Let’s fast forward to four months later. I won’t leave you hanging about the four month gap. I will say that I spent that time in self-destructive mode. I took a sledgehammer to the interior of my house. I held a memorial in my backyard where I burned every single piece of evidence that my son and wife ever existed. I can’t really remember what I ate if I cooked if I did take out if I took dishes of food from neighbors. That time wasn’t even a blur. More like a mist that never really appeared, then just evaporated. Evaporated time. I don’t remember phone calls from family or friends. I do know that I did not attend the funeral in Chicago. I do know that I claimed my Wife and Son’s body. I do know that I made funeral arrangements. I do know that I did not attend the memorial services for either of them.

I hit proverbial rock bottom when I was sitting in my garage staring at the wreckage from the accident playing Russian roulette with an empty gun. It’s not really playing Russian roulette when all the chambers are empty. I have no clear clue why I did that or what I thought I was going to accomplish. The next morning I woke up went out and bought a heavy bag. The day after that, I went out and bought a speed bag. I installed both of these items from the garage ceiling and spent several hours each day taking my anger out on those two bags. I punched that heavy bag and I slapped that speed bag daily until I was dripping in sweat. My arms and legs so tired I could not take a step after I finished punching.

One day I was watching a television show and the subject was journaling. For some reason as I watched this show on television I started to withdraw from the fog I had been in for the past 4 months. I have no explanation why a television show on journaling was even on my TV screen. I watched I listened I paid attention. 2 days later I went out and bought 5 journals. Not the fancy kind sold on Amazon. These were your run-of-the-mill black and white journals.

To make a long story short I wrote in these journals everyday. Some days I would write 3 pages some days I’d write a paragraph some days I’d write 2 journals, full of words. This journaling went on for 22 years. That’s right. For the next 22 years I spent time writing in these journals. Of course me being myself, I did not journal the ordinary way. Most people sit down with a journal and write how they feel, what they feel, what they don’t feel. Not me.

I used my journals to hold conversations with my wife and son. I would talk to them about my day. If I ventured outside the house and did something, I would come home and talk to them about it. I would discuss plans for the coming week with them in my journal. I use my journals in an unconventional way instead of the regular normal way. Later on I learned that there is no regular normal way to do much of anything. However a person deals with grief is entirely okay for that person. I learned that using these journals to channel conversations with my dead wife and dead son helped me to cope with my solitude. My self imposed solitude.

After 5 years of journaling I stopped actually speaking to my wife and son in my journals and started speaking about my wife and son in my journals. I started to journal about my wife and son as a way to remember them, not as a way to hold a conversation with them, as had been the case in the beginning of my journaling journey. I would later reach the conclusion that I had started to heal myself by journaling. I had transformed from a person who used my journals to communicate with my wife and son beyond this existence, to a man who used the journals to remember them and the life we had before I lost them.

I reached a point where I started to heal from my pain and my grief. And thus started my journey of going from Grieving to Healing to Surviving to Thriving. I stopped journaling all together about 5 months ago. I don’t miss the journaling because I don’t look at my life in the same way I looked at my life when I needed to journal. Here’s a bit of trivia, call it journaling trivia. I have 20,612 journals. 20,612. I even built a bookcase about 5 years ago to store the journals, like a library. Not once have I ever went back and read what I wrote in my journals. That’s right, I have never pulled a journal off the shelf and read what I wrote. For me it was therapeutic just to write it in the journal.

I have been thinking about burning these journals because I’ve reached the end of my road with them. They’re taking up space in my house but that’s not really why I want to burn them. I think I have outgrown journaling. We’ll see what I decide about this.

I am not sure journaling will work for anybody else the way journaling worked for me. What I can tell you is that journaling was soothing for me. Journaling relaxed me. Journaling centered my mind, my soul, my chakras. I can also tell you that I don’t know where I would be in 2022 if I hadn’t started journaling in 2000. I think it’s safe to say that journaling saved my life.

I would never tell somebody to pick up a journal and start writing. My life experiences have shown me that what works for me probably won’t work for you. What that means is what works for one person does not have to work for the next person. As I said, we all process and handle grief differently. What I would like for anybody who reads this blog post to take away from my experience…….is anything that will help you with your experience, Don’t be timid to try. Whatever you need to try to survive do that. Not only survive but thrive.

Well that’s my story how journaling helped me go from my grieving angry father and husband self to a man who accepted life as it was given and decided to learn to thrive. I am forever confident that this post won’t help anyone else deal with their grief. I say that because each and every one of us deals with grief differently. This is my way of letting the world know how I dealt with my grief.

Funding Teachers Classroom Supplies.

#ClearTheList

A very interesting thing happened to me last week. I was on Twitter just hanging out minding my own business and I saw tweets start to appear about Amazon Prime Days. The interesting thing about this, they were not advertisement tweets from Amazon, they were tweets from teachers seeking funding for classroom supplies. I was quickly astonished and interested. I thought out loud “why would teachers need to solicit funding for their own classroom supplies?” I asked myself this question, not out loud, why aren’t school boards, school unions, school districts, the schools themselves, supplying teachers with every educational tool teachers need for their classroom?

There were thousands of tweets from teachers asking for help to fund their classroom supplies for the upcoming school year, going down my Twitter feed. I cannot express how shocking and upsetting this was for me to comprehend. I like other children, spent l a great deal of time in my youth, in a classroom. The classroom supplies were always there and used by every child in that class. I cannot express enough how important it was to have pencils, notebook paper, crayons, glue, scissors, chalk, pencil pouches, chalkboard erasers, rulers, protractors, notebooks, supplied by our school…. FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.

I started paying close attention to the tweets from teachers. I discovered by reading these tweets that teachers were paying out of pocket for classroom supplies for their students. I could not believe such a thing was now normal. My first thought was why are schools NOT supplying teachers with the supplies needed to teach their students? Yes, I asked this question of the teachers tweeting for help getting school supply funding. Most of them responded by saying school districts had budgets and funding classrooms was low on the budget totem pole. Which means teachers had to find creative ways to come up with money to buy classroom supplies.

I will rant and rave about how ridiculously stupid and unfair this is to teaching professionals, later in this post. Can you imagine being a surgeon working in a hospital, going into the operating room and being responsible for providing your own surgical instruments, your surgical gown, your own mask & latex gloves? If you think that sounds crazy, imagine how a teacher must feel being responsible for purchasing, out of their own pocket, school supplies for their students. We’re talking about a profession that is underpaid understaffed and underappreciated. Then the school board and school districts want those same teachers to pay for school supplies. I can’t stress this enough…. THIS IS JUST WRONG.

Teachers themselves explain to me that school boards and school districts have limited budgets for funding classroom supplies. Let me explain to you why that is not an acceptable reason for putting the burden of school supply purchases on teachers. There is so much waste on both the local state and federal political levels it isn’t even funny. Politicians waste trillions of dollars a year on BS. If one group of people, a nonpartisan committee, trimmed all the fat from every state, local, federal government branch, you could fund teachers classroom supplies for eternity.

The US federal government just pledged $100 million dollars to the Middle East to help them with hunger/war relief, while in America we have homelessness, hunger, starvation, poverty, and no drug money assistance for the elderly. We send billions overseas helping other nations…. Leaving our teachers in the USA to beg for classroom supply funding on social media. $42 BILLION sent to the Ukraine last month for war assistance to defeat Russia. Yet teachers are tasked with buying their own classroom supplies.

We have Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and other gazillionaires wasting money on space travel, yachts the size of a small apartment complex, and all manner of stupidity instead of funding teachers classroom supplies, children’s school lunches, and a plethora of other issues needed to be addressed in America by Americans. When you are considered the world’s richest men and you happen to be American men why would America want for anything? Why can’t these icons of industry and wealth provide for the basic needs of every American citizen? No teacher in America should be paying for classroom supplies out of their pockets when we have a Bezos and a Musk calling themselves American citizens.

The federal government should be stepping in to fund classroom supplies if we can’t depend on our gazillionaire philanthropist. There is no sensible reason to expect a teacher who doesn’t even make a living wage, to buy classroom supplies. It’s like expecting an underpaid underappreciated bottom level employee to buy lunch for the entire corporation every day, out of their pocket, instead of a corporate lunch fund. You’d NEVER expect that from that low level employee. You’d NEVER ask that of that low level employee…so why expect that, ask that, from a teacher?

I have gotten to know many of these teachers who are soliciting funding for their classrooms, in the past week. I spent some time talking with them about their lives, their career path choice and WHY they became teachers. I found out what motivates them, what drives them to help their students strive for excellence…. And achieve excellence. I was once a wayward teenage student and a teacher, scratch that, teachers plural, turned my mind around. I cannot begin to tell you who or what I may have become if not for the professional concern from teachers about me as a student. Back in the day I had teachers take extra time to reach me mentally. Those teachers worked with me endlessly to let me see what I could become if I applied myself. There is no amount of money that is too much money to pay a teacher to reach a student who might be unreachable.

I could go on forever about my positive experience with teachers. That’s not what this post is about. I am asking America, our politicians, our elected officials on school boards, to take the responsibility of funding classroom supplies off the shoulders of teachers and put it where it belongs. Squarely in the purview of school budget committee members. Every school board, every school board budget committee member, should be responsible for finding money to supply classroom needs. That INCLUDES ALL children’s school supplies, children’s school lunches, transportation to and from school for students, making sure students have three square meals a day.

If we as a nation can waste billions of dollars every day on garbage proposals and ideas, we should be funding our own classrooms supplies. It’s really that simple. Find the money to give students the proper education and the proper classroom supplies/tools to be successful students and become successful adults. Do. This. Now.

Stop putting the burden of providing classroom supplies on our teachers. Stop asking our teachers to spend their own money to buy school supplies. Stop treating teachers like third world country, low class citizens. Pay Teachers a living wage. Pay Teachers benefits so they can come into a classroom and not worry about medical health insurance. Keep teachers happy and satisfied and content because without teachers this society, our species, will become extinct. There is no future without educators. TEACHER’S are as much a front line first responder as are medical professionals, fire departments, police departments. Ya’ll better wake up before a shortage in the education industry, TEACHERS, becomes a real issue. FIX.THIS. NOW.

Hug A Teacher 💕 Today 🤗

Twitter Spaces: Good/ Bad Hosting.

Twitter spaces when used correctly can be a magnificent tool for communication, marketing and just having fun. There are good ways to be a Twitter Host and there are bad ways to be a Twitter Host, I’m going to use this blog post to explain the difference between the two options. First a little background on how I started hosting Twitter Spaces. I’ve had a Twitter account since 2009. I’ve had several Twitter accounts permanently suspended because of my political activism. Twitter doesn’t take kindly to anyone who is a liberal, a democrat, or someone who is actively tweeting for causes. I fit the bill on all of those topics. I left Twitter in 2015 and returned 9 months ago. Nothing has really changed on Twitter except the addition of Twitter Spaces.

Twitter Spaces is a tool that can be used for group chat. It’s relatively new to the Twitter platform. You can schedule a Twitter Space for some time in the future or you can start a Twitter Space immediately. You can invite people via DM or a text that announces your Twitter Space or people can search the Twitter Spaces billboard and find your Twitter Space, then join as a listener or request a mic and become a speaker. Any account can start a Twitter Space and be the Host of that Space. I stated above a Twitter Space could be used for business purposes such as marketing or it can be used to talk about current events/topics. Twitter Spaces can also be used to just goof off and have fun. How you use your Twitter Space, what purpose you’re choosing to accomplish, is entirely up to the host. Which brings me to the subject of Hosting.

The person who starts a Twitter Space automatically becomes the host of that Twitter Space. You are allowed up to two co-hosts, and having a co-host is a necessary advantage to hosting a Space. Hosting a Space with two co-hosts mean you can invite more people up to speak from The Listener position. A co-host is also a good option to help you moderate and control your Space. The co- host job consist of helping you control the trolls and people who come into your Space who may want to cause trouble. If you have a raised hand policy in your Space, co-host keep the order of raised hands so people can speak in an orderly fashion. A co-host can help you keep track of whose hand was raised first and what order to follow allowing them to speak. Another important job of a co-host is to keep track of people who request a mic and allow them”to be brought up” to speak.

A good host will understand that they are not the focus of attention in a Space and they shouldn’t take a lot of time speaking or trying to control the flow of that Space. You must remember that as host you are a moderator. The topic of your space will determine what is talked about in your Space. Your job as host is to guide how the conversation goes and how the people flow in and out of conversation in your Space. I have been present in some Spaces where the host does all the talking not allowing anybody else the opportunity to speak. In my opinion the key to having a good space is controlling the space but allowing people to feel comfortable, to talk and share and exchange ideas. It is a fine line you walk as a Host knowing the difference between moderating a Space and being the topic of conversation in your Space.

The raised hand policy always works best for me, but as a Space host you choose how you want to run your Space. I was in a Space just today where I raised my hand to relate an incident I experienced as a Space Host. The co-host acknowledged that my hand was raised but said instead he was going to go to The Host, who had their hand raised, and let them speak and then get back to me. After the host spoke, someone else who did not have their hand raised jumped in to respond to what the host said. This is a common mistake made by people who Host and co-host Spaces. A raised hand should always be acknowledged. If someone wants to chime in on what the previous speaker said, BUT DID NOT HAVE THEIR HAND RAISED, that person should wait until after the raised hand has been acknowledged and given their opportunity to speak.

Not every Space should be run on a raised hand policy. If you have a Space that’s all about having fun and all about open conversation and all about people laughing and enjoying themselves, the order of a raised hand policy may not apply to that Space. A lot of things about Space hosting depends on the topic of your Space, the tone of your Space and the people who come into that Space expecting to honor the topic of conversation. For instance, if the topic of your Space is about the Abortion issue, that’s a serious topic and should be handled in a serious way. If you’re holding a space about the Oscars slap by Will Smith on Chris Rock, that is a comical and fun type of topic… It might not be necessary to follow a raised hand policy for such a Space.

This is a personal opinion and might not be what anybody else wants to follow as a Space Host but I do not like a Space that is being held to drag people, held for doxxing people, or sitting around in a Space being toxic AND discussing people in negative ways. There have been several Spaces I wandered into where people were in that space specifically to be negative and nasty toward other Twitter accounts. I would suggest avoiding a space like that all together, finding a space more suited to your needs…. unless your needs are to be negative and nasty. My rules about a Space are: Be kind, leave the negativity outside of my Spaces, be polite and mindful of the rules the Space Host has posted. Never cut somebody off. What you have to say may be important to yourself but it is not important enough to the person talking for you to cut them off in mid sentence. Wait your turn and be respectful as a speaker. Arguing in a space is unacceptable personally as a Space Host. Overtaking can be detrimental to people on the autism spectrum. The overtalking might send them into a episode. I avoid allowing overtalking totally to accommodate those on the autistic spectrum.

If I don’t appreciate the way a Space is being Hosted I leave that Space. That is my prerogative. If you want to be a good Space Host you will not cause people to leave because of your inability to Host your Space fairly an objectively. Many Space Host will have their friends come into their Spaces, that’s okay as long as you don’t allow your friends any special privileges. As I stated earlier, if your Space is all about having fun, the rules that would apply for Hosting a serious Space, do not apply.

Hopefully this blog post will help you with becoming a Space Host or a better Space Host. Also keep in mind these are my pet peeves and may not apply to any other Space Host or any other Space. Twitter Spaces are used for a plethora of reasons but the most important thing about Twitter Spaces is to have fun, try not to hurt anybody’s feelings, and be respectful of the people in your Space. Have fun, enjoy being a Space Host, and remember that you are in charge of your Space. Until next time, Thank You for reading Just Another Blog by Just Another Blogger.

Becoming An Amputee: Preparation.

This blog post will inform/guide you how to prepare yourself for your upcoming amputation. If you’re a new amputee hopefully this post will give you some insight in what to expect and how to deal with your expectations not being met….. Because ultimately you will not be as mobile as you’re told you will be and that can be a source of frustration. I will provide you with some things you can do to prepare for your amputation. Things such as researching good prosthetic companies. Investigating what prosthetic equipment might work best for you and your mobility needs.

Keep in mind what works for one amputee may not work for you. It’s sad to say this but it’s going to be a lot of trial and error, hit and miss, until you find the combination of equipment that works for you and your mobility needs. And that brings me to my very first piece of information/advice, you must find a prosthetic company that employees a Prosthetist who will listen to you and pay attention to what you tell them your mobility needs are going to be when you become an amputee. It’s vitally important that your Prosthetist listens to what you tell them.

A Prosthetist is the person who will measure you for your first prosthetic leg/socket combination. They will also counsel you on what would be the best equipment for you to use for your first prosthetic leg. I say prosthetic leg but this information I provide can also work for prosthetic fingers prosthetic arms and other prosthetic equipment that I am not aware of. I’m pretty sure any part of the body can be made into a prosthetic to include toes, feet, fingers, as well as arms. I focus on prosthetic legs because that’s what I have. I am what’s known as a right below knee amputee.

My Prosthetic Leg.

The image above shows my prosthetic leg. It consists of a foot which is inside the shoe, the socket which is the part that has the image laminated on it, and the rod, (black pipe), which connects the foot to the socket. Your residual limb will fit inside that socket and connect by way of a pin, called the Pin Locking System, which will slide into the socket and click into place securely. This particular socket is what’s known as a “Revo Fit” socket. This socket has two knobs, one located on the side and one in the back, that help adjust the fit. For me this type of socket works best and I’ll explain why later. The most important thing about a prosthetic leg is that the socket must be comfortable, there must be no pain whatsoever, it must fit so you can walk in it as close to normal as possible. Working with your Prosthetist to get the perfect fit is vitally important.

Revo Fit sockets works best for me because every amputee will have fluid buildup in the leg or your residual limb. Your limb will fluctuate in size over the course of a 24-hour period. When you wake up in the morning your residual limb will be one size when you put on your socket, it will be tight and feel like a compression. Overtime throughout the day while you wear your socket that tightness will reduce the residual limb because the fluid will leave that area. Until you’ve had your socket for about 3 years, daily use of your prosthetic socket will reduce swelling in your limb and you will have to adjust the fit. Don’t be alarmed because this is very normal with most every amputee. In my case my residual limb fluctuated quite a bit during the day and the swelling was reduced at a faster rate than normal. I needed a new socket every 3 months until I discovered the Revo Fits adjustability.

This is the Pin Locking System. That’s called a liner that has the pin on the end. That liner slides over your residual limb and fits snugly in place.

I mentioned the Pin Locking System which is shown above. There is also a system known as the Suction System which uses suction to hold the socket onto the residual limb. The Suction System has manual suction or a pump machine created suction. I’ve had my amputation for 3 years and in that time I have tried all three systems and for me the Pin Locking System with the Revo Fit socket works best. But once again what works for me may not work for you. That is why it’s vitally important you get a Prosthetist who will listen to you and inform you of every option available.

Before your amputation and while you are at home healing after the surgery, it’s important that you do your research about everything that is out there in the amputation world and available to you. I had The misfortune of going through three different prosthetic companies before I found one that worked for me. It has to be a good fit for a prosthetic company and a Prosthesis like it is finding the right fit for a doctor, a mechanic or a barber/beauty salon operator. That perfect fit is so very important because you have to find someone who will listen to what you tell them and not think they know it all. I have not run across a Prosthetist who is an amputee. If you’re a Prosthetist and you’re building prosthetic legs and sockets for clients WHO ARE AMPUTEES, you have to take the word and advice of the person you’re building it for because you’ve never worn a Prosthesis.

Let me warn you also that you’re going to have some problems with your insurance company approving the things you need. That is a fact of dealing with insurance companies. Try to find an insurance company that is going to cater to your needs. Every insurance company has protocols in place for things like how often you can get a new socket, how often you can upgrade from older equipment to newer, better equipment. This is a fact of life when dealing with insurance companies. No insurance company wants to spend money they classify as unnecessary. What’s unnecessary to an insurance executive is very necessary for you. I’m warning you that there will be some denials by your insurance company for equipment you need. And here’s a heads up, every insurance company will need your doctor to write a prescription for equipment. One more piece of advice: get yourself a good orthopedic doctor to write your prescriptions and do your exams.

On Twitter my account handle is @MrJBRBKA so if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a tweet or DM me for private conversations. At some point I plan to hold weekly Twitter Spaces to get together and talk, chill, answer any questions you might have about being, becoming, an Amputee. I hope this blog post was informative and gave you some insight in what to look for on your journey ahead. As always I appreciate you reading Just Another Blog From Just Another Blogger. Me. 🦴🦾🦿

Amputee ~vs~ Insurance Company

In my last blog post Diabetes and Amputation https://ignoringdiabetes.home.blog/2022/06/06/diabetes-and-amputation-3/ I revealed how I became an amputee. In this blog post I will relate to you how the insurance companies working in conjunction with prosthetic companies have a mission of hindrance when it comes to an amputees mobility. I’ll start with the K Test.

The K Test is how prosthetic companies decide what version of a prosthetic limb you are eligible to receive upon reaching the moment when you’re ready for a prosthetic limb. This test has four levels. Level 1 is just a peg leg. Seriously you get a wooden foot with no ankle and a metal rod leading up to the prosthetic socket that holds your limb. I kid you not. It makes walking and mobility damn near impossible for any new amputee.

Level two is not much better. Level 2 of the K Test means you get a foot that may make your mobility eaiser…. But in most cases it’s just one level above the K 1, which makes walking a hindrance. I mean let’s be honest, after years of walking with an ankle that actually works and aides in your mobility, having no working ankle is a big adjustment. Being a brand new amputee, there should not be a system in place that makes mobility harder as you begin this journey. Everything should be done to make your transition into being an amputee and continuing with your mobility, easier. That is not the case.

The K 3 level is a little bit better. You get a more technologically advanced prosthetic. Level 4 of the K Test is the golden ticket. If you test at a K 4 level you are afforded the most advanced technological prosthetic socket and foot available. That means you get computer chips, roboticized sockets, feet that actually have working ankles that flex with each step…. Like a normal flesh and blood ankle. After 2 years of dealing with insurance companies working in conjunction with the prosthetic companies I discovered that insurance companies have these test levels in place to prevent new amputees from getting the equipment they need and making a smooth transition into life as an amputee.

After 3 years of dealing with insurance companies working in conjunction with prosthetic companies, I discovered that it’s all about the bottom line…..the financial bottom line of the insurance companies. These sockets and prosthetic limbs, feet, ankles cost upwards of $15,000 per unit. The cheaply made prosthetic limbs that you get at the K 1 and K 2 levels cost a fraction of $15K. I also found out that an insurance company would rather not pay for an expensive prosthetic limb if you’re not going to use it on a regular basis. Like everything connected to an insurance company, insurance companies strives for the cheapest solution possible.

Back to the K Test. My first K Test I tested as a K 2. I was forced to take this K Test using a walker and no socket whatsoever. My limb was wrapped with after surgery bandages and I was forced to take my K Test for mobility using this walker. I had never used a walker in my life. So of course walking over a obstacle course testing my mobility with a walker was a failure for me. Two months later I retested. And this time using a K 2 prosthetic limb, I tested as a K 4. One of the happiest days of my amputee life because I thought, now I could get the most technologically advanced socket available.

I was sadly mistaken. Insurance companies denied my request for the most technologically advanced socket, foot and ankle combination available to me as a K 4 level amputee because there were warranties on the equipment I got initially. The warranty said I wasn’t eligible for new equipment, I couldn’t get any new equipment until the warranty expired, on the equipment I initially received, which is 3 years or 5 years depending on the model. The insurance companies had this warranty in place to prevent people like me who upgraded their K Test level, from upgrading to better equipment. I appealed this decision by the insurance company and won my appeal. So I was able to upgrade to a K 4 level foot.

It took me two and a half years to do something that should have taken me a month to do. Getting the proper equipment that you need as an amputee to even get a tiny bit of normal mobility, shouldn’t have to be a fight with an insurance company. And the prosthetic company that makes your equipment should be on your side, and not helping insurance companies make being an amputee, and being mobile, difficult. This coming January in 2023 will be my 4 year anniversary as an amputee. In this time frame I have been in a constant battle with the insurance company over what my mobility needs happened to be and getting those needs met by insurance companies who have to approve every single piece of equipment.

When you’re an amputee, no matter how long you have been an amputee, you shouldn’t have to spend your time stressing out, worrying, fighting to get the equipment you need to be mobile every single day. The wrong socket fit means every step you take you question whether it will be your first step that makes you fall on your ass. Confidence in the equipment you have is vitally important. When an amputee takes a step it’s not an automatic action. People who are not amputees and who have both their limbs whether it be lower limbs or arms, have to think about what they do. When you have your normal god-given limbs your brain sends the signal to your actual limbs to move, it’s not something you have to think about. An amputee has to think about every step they take, every movement they make with a prosthetic.

My point being I shouldn’t have to fight with my prosthetic company or my insurance company about what equipment I am eligible to have. I should have the same equipment that an Olympic athlete has. I should have access to the same equipment as somebody has who has wealth. My mobility is as important to me as someone with of millions of dollars who can afford to buy their own prosthetic equipment.

In the next edition of these blog post about being an amputee, I will address the pitfalls to avoid, things to look out for as a brand new amputee. I will give some advice on what things I learned that may be able to help you avoid frustration with getting the equipment that you need…. To be mobile and have a semblance of a “normal” mobile life.

As always in closing thank you for reading Just Another Blog by Me, Just Another Blogger.

Diabetes And Amputation.

I am a right below knee amputee. Or better known as an RBKA. I guess my journey for this amputation started back in the military. I was deployed in the Middle East and an IED exploded on a convoy in which I was a passenger. Although I only got a small rock in the calf of my right leg it wasn’t enough of an injury to be operated on and have that small rock removed. That small rock didn’t cause me any issues until 2008. That’s when I was diagnosed with diabetes. And that is when this small rock became a big problem.

An IED is an improvised explosive device constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action. It may be constructed of conventional military explosives such as an artillery shell attached to a detonating mechanism. IEDs are commonly used as roadside bombs or homemade bombs. I was told by the military doctors this small rock was so insignificant that it really didn’t need to be removed. It wouldn’t cause me any discomfort or future issues. That was correct until I got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Fast forward to 2008 when I got my type 2 diabetic diagnosis. That’s when the issues with this small pebble in my calf became life-threatening. I developed a blister on the bottom of my right foot primarily from walking because I walked everywhere. Walking was a great way to get exercise stay fit and keep my cardio workout levels high. Since my days in high school I had always been active, always done physical workouts, was in great shape. Nobody in my family had a history of diabetes, nobody in my family had a history of hypertension, or was overweight. My diagnoses of diabetes was something I did not understand and to be honest doctors didn’t/couldn’t explain it to me. When I asked THE question how I could be diabetic when I didn’t eat sweets was not overweight and kept in shape, I was told by doctors…”we don’t know.”

Now I’m the type of human being who likes answers to questions I have or that I ask. Getting a diagnosis of being type 2 diabetic without any explanation how that could happen to me based on my family history, based on my physical conditioning since high school, I was flummoxed. The very next thing that I did was all my fault and nobody else’s. Going against doctors advice, doctors I didn’t trust because they couldn’t give me any answers why I was diabetic, I ignored their advice. I didn’t manage my diabetes, I didn’t take the insulin that I was prescribed. I didn’t change my diet. I ignored absolutely everything the doctors told me I should do to control and manage my diabetes. That was the wrong thing to do and caused the amputation of my right leg below the knee.

This blister I mentioned above, that I got because I continued to walk as a way of daily exercise, transformed from a mere simple blister into osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that occurred because of my diabetes. The only way to stop the osteomyelitis and the infection of the bone from spreading higher up my leg was to amputate below the knee. After being forced to wait 6 months with this infection in my leg, which was painful, which had me bedridden to stay off the leg, I was then approved to have the surgery to amputate. The 6 month wait was because I had to jump through medical hoops ordered by different doctors before I could have the surgery.

The truth of the matter is several doctors had to be included in this decision to have the amputation after an orthopedic surgeon told me 6 months earlier that I needed this surgery in order to save my leg. Now the question you have to ask yourself is pretty simple: why would FOUR doctors who have nothing to do with the orthopedic surgeons decision to amputate, have any say whatsoever in this operation? A cardiologist got involved. then there was an endocardinologist that had to have her opinion considered. Then there was a kidney specialist that I had never visited in my life, who got involved. Lastly my primary care physician had to have a say so. THE FACT THAT I WAS IN PAIN FOR 6 MONTHS AND THAT I WAS BEDRIDDEN ON MY BACK FOR 6 MONTHS did not matter to anybody who came up with the bright idea of prolonging this surgery for 6 months.

So January 31st 2019 I had the amputation. Finally. Healing process was perfect after a perfect surgery. There were no complications I healed miraculously quickly and moved on to the next phase….. being fitted for a prosthetic leg. Little did I know that the next three years would be a series of insurance company failures, prosthetist failures, and finding a prosthetists who understood what I needed. A prosthetists is a healthcare professional who makes and fits artificial limbs called prostheses, for people with disabilities. This includes artificial legs and arms, hands, fingers, for people who have had amputations due to conditions such as cancer diabetes or injury.

Over the next few days, weeks, months, I will be chronicling this journey I took from being a “normal person” to becoming a right below knee amputee. The purpose of this blog and the focus will be on my journey, the pitfalls I endured, all the unnecessary failures I had to experience, due to the healthcare profession that deals with amputees. Hopefully along the way I can provide some guidance for new amputees so they can avoid all the stupidity I had to deal with as a brand new amputee. I will offer my experience. I will offer some advice. I will offer some shortcuts and ways to avoid prolonging the search for the right prosthetists and the right prosthetic company for your mobility issues.

If you happen to be a brand new amputee it is very important that you understand you’re not alone. There are a lot of agencies and coalitions and advocacy groups out here to help you navigate this amputation. Future blog post contain listings of different agencies available to help you get through this amputation. It’s a life-changing episode but you can still have a life worthwhile. You can survive this amputation. There are a plethora of support groups available. On the Twitter platform there will be spaces that I host and provide for fellow amputees. For support, for community.

Thank you for reading Just Another Blog. By Me…Just Another Blogger.

November 8th 2022 General Election

It seems like every election cycle I think in my mind the same phrase “this is going to be the most important election in my lifetime.” I made that statement when Barack Obama ran for re-election. I made that statement when Hillary Clinton was running against Donald Trump. Side note: I would never vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s a blatant racist. I would never vote for Donald Trump because he’s a blatant racist. Here again in 2022 I find myself saying this is going to be the most important election in my lifetime.

There was no doubt in my mind that Joe Biden would beat Donald Trump. Trump was the laziest most unqualified President in the history of Presidents of the United States of America. What troubles me about this upcoming election is that there is a movement from the conservatives to make democracy a non-starter. There are so many issues on the table from Roe V Wade to the effort by people on the Reich Wing and the conservative side to remove voting rights for people of color.

Allow me to break down for you briefly why Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. IT’S because Barack Obama was president before Donald Trump. Racist white folks, caucasians, were appalled that a BLACK MAN had the audacity to run for the highest office in the land, AND WIN. 8 years of Barack Obama being President of the United States allowed racist folks come out of the woodwork and make sure the most unqualified idiot breathing oxygen, was elected the 45th president. Mission accomplished.

But this is not about Donald Trump and his criminal family. This is about November 8th 2022. The world is watching this general election. These midterms will lay the groundwork for years to come. Much like Donald Trump’s setting up the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court Justices to be conservative for years to come. There’s a very viable chance Democrats will lose the House and the Senate. The reason this is a very possible opportunity is because Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, Independents are busy arguing amongst themselves.

I’ve been in some Twitter spaces listening to Republicans and conservatives. They don’t argue. They have one focus and that is to beat the people on the left. They don’t argue amongst themselves. They don’t disagree. If they have a disagreement they work it out and they come to the conclusion it’s best to fight together…. Than waste time fighting each other.

WHILE Democrats are busy fighting each other Republicans are working very hard to make it almost impossible for certain sections of the population to vote. I am referring to Latinos. People Of Color. The Elderly. Voters living in other countries with dual citizenship. Voters working in other countries. Voters who are Disabled. Voters unable to physically get to polling places who use mail-in voting or absentee ballots. These efforts by Republicans are because Barack Obama won his election in 2009. Republicans lost that Presidential election and they took steps from day one after that loss to make sure they had the right to vote while Democrats didn’t have the right to vote.

Now let’s talk about not voting. There are some factions of the Democratic party on the Liberal side who say “you know, what I’m going to stay home and not vote.” “My vote doesn’t count so why vote?” Well your vote WON’T count if you don’t vote. It’s just common sense and logic. If you sit home and don’t vote as a way of protesting your vote not meaning anything, then of course your vote doesn’t mean anything because you didn’t cast it. Not to mention that’s exactly what the Republicans want you to do, stay home and NOT vote. Low voter turnout is the bane of the existence of Democracy.

Then there is The logical conclusion that if you don’t cast your vote in any election, you don’t have a right to complain. I mean let’s face it, if you stay home and watch this election and don’t vote then something happens that you don’t like or something happens that directly affects your living, you don’t get to complain about it because you didn’t vote. I have listened to so many people discuss so many issues and how they directly affect them and then I ask them, did you vote….. The response 87% of the time is no, I don’t vote. To me that way of thinking is like being diagnosed with cancer, complaining that you’re dying of cancer, but never visiting a hospital or doctor for treatment.

Not voting as a way of protesting what’s going on in America today is exactly like starving yourself to death because you don’t believe in getting in line to get free government handouts. You either do what benefits you and your family or you suffer the consequences of doing nothing. Sitting at home and not voting means the same people remain in power. You can’t remove these lazy politicians who are only concerned with stuffing their pockets with cash if you don’t vote them out of office.

There are so many vitally important issues that confront American voters every single day. I don’t have to list these issues for you because you know what they are. These issues affect you on a daily basis. The only way to make change is to make change. And if that statement confuses you let me break it down for you briefly, you keep the same politicians in office voting the same way every single session of Congress, you get no change.

If you want real change in America you have to start with electing young fresh blood into congress. You have to VOTE in people who are not motivated by making money. You have to VOTE in people who are not motivated by being popular. You have to VOTE in people who are not motivated by making a 47-year career out of being in politics like Chuck Grassley….who is a senator from the state of Iowa and has been in office 47 years. Term limits are what are needed in American politics. Two terms, that’s the limit, after that go back home and get a real job.

Thank you very much for reading Just Another Blog. Written by Me, Just Another Blogger.

In Memoriam: Robb Elementary School.

From ProjectPulso.Org

Below are the 21 victims, 18 of who were killed, in The Robb Elementary School Massacre. I wish I could say this would never happen again but until gun control laws are changed, it’s going to occur over and over and over. Because politicians and gun manufacturers and gun lobbyists don’t care about the lives of human beings.

It’s happened again. 212 mass shootings in 144 days. Why are we okay with this? Ten years ago, innocent children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. We thought that would be the incident to finally result in change. Yet here we are again. In that decade, there has been no meaningful federal action. Now we’re seeing it happen to nuestra gente — to boys and girls who could be our children, cousins, nieces and nephews; to teachers who could be our spouses, siblings, colleagues or friends. 19 children and 2 teachers died yesterday at Robb Elementary, a school in Uvalde, Texas that’s 90% Latino and 87% economically disadvantaged. So, what can we do to help? EveryTown.org has a petition you can sign that was started by Moms Demand Action. Or make a donation to the official Robb Elementary Memorial Fund via Zelle using the email robbschoolmemorialfund@gmail.com. Make checks payable to “Robb School Memorial Fund” and send to: 200 E. Nopal St., Uvalde, TX 78801

Eva Mireles 44, fourth-grade teacher.

Irma Garcia, 46, co-teacher

Uziyah Garcia, 8

Amerie Jo Garza, 10

Xavier Lopez, 10


Jackie Cazares, 10

Annabelle Rodriguez, 10

Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10

Jose Flores Jr, 10

Makenna Lee Elrod, 10

Jailah Nicole Silguero, 11

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10

Alithia Ramirez, 10

Ellie Garcia, 10

Tess Marie Mata, 10

Rogelio Torres, 10

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, 10

Nevaeh Bravo, 10

Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10⁠

Miranda Mathis, 11

Layla Salazar, 10


As the community of Uvalde mourns this tragic event, several groups have already started to organize resources to provide aid for nuestra gente. Here’s how you can help:

  • Help fundraise for victims’ families through the Texas Elementary School Shooting fundraiser on GoFundMe.
  • Send a check to the city of Uvalde to help cover medical expenses. Send to: City of Uvalde, P.O. Box 799, Uvalde, Texas 78802.
  • Lawyers can volunteer with the San Antonio Legal Service Association’s efforts to provide legal counsel for victims’ families by emailing UvaldeResponse@sa-lsa.org.
  • Help in the fight to end gun violence by visiting EveryTown.org and signing the petition started by the organization Moms Demand Action.

Parts of this blog post were taken from https://projectpulso.org/2022/05/25/uvalde-massacre/

Many thanks to projectpulso.org for the contributions to this blog post. I know this will happen again. There will be more school massacres. There will be more children’s lives lost. The only way this never happens again is if laws and protections are put in place to prevent the availability of weapons of mass destruction, better known as automatic weapons, in the hands of human beings.

The Day After. Some Facts. Some Insight.

The Right To Bear Arms

Robb Elementary School shooting. On May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States, killing 19 children and two teachers, and wounding 17 others. Earlier that day, he had shot and wounded his 66-year-old grandmother. Ramos was eventually shot and killed on school premises by responding law enforcement officers.

The shooting is the third deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, and the deadliest school shooting in Texas. The shooting was widely condemned nationally, including by President Joe Biden and by gun control advocates, as well as internationally.

Thoughts and prayers are nice, or are they nice? As of yet thoughts and prayers has never brought anybody back from the death of gun violence.

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in the shooting. The children were in grades two, three, and four. Two victims died upon arriving at Uvalde Memorial Hospital. According to the hospital’s CEO, thirteen children were taken to the same hospital. Several other victims were taken to the University Hospital in San Antonio. A total of 17 people were injured, including two police officers. Governor Abbott said the two officers were struck by bullets but had no serious injuries.

Salvador Rolando Ramos (May 16, 2004 – May 24, 2022) was born in North Dakota, and was a resident of Uvalde and a student at Uvalde High School. Prior to the shooting, he had no criminal record or documented mental health issues. According to classmates and friends of Ramos, he had a stutter and a strong lisp, for which he was often bullied; he frequently got into fistfights with classmates, occasionally with boxing gloves, which he carried around with him; and he had few friends. Ramos was expected to graduate from high school in 2022, but his frequent absences made his graduation unlikely. Ramos’ condition got worse when his best friend moved to another part of Texas, and he ended up dropping out of school.

Upon dropping out, he grew his hair out and began wearing all-black clothing and military boots. Up until a month before the shooting, Ramos worked at a local Wendy’s and had been employed there for at least a year. According to the store’s night manager, Ramos went out of his way to keep to himself. One of Ramos’s coworkers said he was occasionally rude to his female coworkers, to whom he sent inappropriate text messages, and would threaten cooks at his job by asking them, “Do you know who I am?”

A year before the shooting, Ramos started posting pictures to his Instagram account of automatic rifles that were on his wish-list. Prior to the shooting, Ramos would drive around at night with a friend and shoot at people with a BB gun and throw eggs at cars. According to a man who was in a relationship with Ramos’ mother, Ramos moved out of his mother’s house and into his grandparents’ house two months before the shooting, after an argument broke out between him and his mother over her turning off the Wi-Fi. Ramos posted video of himself on Instagram aggressively arguing with his mother and referring to her as a “bitch.”

The mother of Ramos was described as a drug user, which made his upbringing challenging. Ramos’s grandfather said that, at the time of the shooting, Ramos did not have a driver’s license nor did he know how to drive. He legally purchased a semi-automatic rifle from a local gun store on May 17, a day after his 18th birthday, and purchased another rifle three days later. Ramos also sent an Instagram message to an acquaintance he met through Yubo, which showed a receipt for a DDM4 V7 purchased from Georgia-based online retailer Daniel Defense eight days before the shooting. He then posted a picture of two rifles on his Instagram account three days before the shooting. On May 18, he purchased 375 rounds of 5.56 ammunition.

UCISD asked parents not to pick up their children until all Robb Elementary School students were accounted for, and, at around 2:00 p.m., parents were notified to pick up their children. All district and campus activities were canceled, and the parents of students at other schools were asked to pick up their children due to school bus cancellations.

The UCISD superintendent announced that night in a letter sent to parents that the school year had concluded for the entire district, including a planned graduation ceremony. The school year had previously been scheduled to end that Thursday. Some parents had to wait late into the night for final confirmation of their child’s death, awaiting DNA identification.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center issued an urgent request for blood donations after the shooting and sent 15 units of blood to Uvalde via helicopter to be used in area hospitals. Uvalde Memorial Hospital announced on Facebook that they will be holding an emergency blood drive for the victims.

CBS pulled the fourth-season finale of FBI that was to air that night, which involved a fictional school shooting as a plot point.

Parts of this blog post were copied and pasted from Wikipedia. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robb_Elementary_School_shooting

After Thoughts. Try as I might I could not find a complete list of the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre. 18 victims died on the 24th of May 2022 and nowhere can I find a complete list of those 21 shooting victims. But there is plenty of information about the shooter who killed 18 victim. How ironic is that. Another thought that won’t leave my mind is the number of school shootings, not to mention all around mass shootings, we have had in the last 60 years in the United States of America. Yet we don’t have five politicians in Congress who will form a coalition to change weapons laws. The lobbyists for gun manufacturers in America must really be paying a lot of cash for crooked politicians to remain silent.

Every single time in the aftermath of a school massacre when people say thoughts and prayers I cringe.

Another Mass School Shooting

14 Children, One Teacher, Killed In Texas Elementary School Shooting

There isn’t really much to say today because repeating the phrase “thoughts and prayers” just does not cut it anymore. In the year 2022 they have been 27 mass school shootings. We are currently in the month of May, that’s the fifth month of 2022, with 7 more months left in this calendar year. 14 elementary school children and one teacher have been killed in a Texas Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. It is being reported by news agencies that this school shooting is the deadliest since the 2012 school massacre in Newton Connecticut.

Now we all know why school shootings continue. I don’t need to say it but I’m going to say it anyway. There’s a little thing in the US Constitution called the second amendment better known as the right to bear arms amendment. People who love the US Constitution and who love the freedom to buy automatic weapons for no other reason than to kill multiple numbers of humans, will argue that it’s there God given constitutional right to bear arms. Allow me to explain what the second amendment and the right to bear arms really means. Your slave owning Caucasian forefathers wrote that second amendment, called the right to bear arms, so that slave owners and plantation owners could hunt down runaway slaves and return them to the plantation. It was also written to help stop slave uprisings. The reason it gave citizens of America the right to form militias was because there was no army or organized local law enforcement.

Thoughts & Prayers?????

Sometime after the second amendment was written, slave owners and plantation owners got smart and decided to form slave patrols. Now anybody who was a member of a slave patrol was issued a star to wear on their chest. The star was fashioned out of tin. Which is where the phrase “tin star”, which refers to a lawman, originated. So to be clear the current law enforcement agencies throughout the United States of America originated from the idea of slave patrols which were invented to hunt down runaway slaves. When you watch news reports on television about unarmed people of color hunted down and executed by law enforcement, the idea was planted in the law enforcement manual from the days of slavery.

HOW LONG. How long will we continue to allow our children to be massacred in an elementary school setting where they are supposed to be safe. How long will we allow automatic weapons which have no other purpose than to kill, maim and destroy human life, to be sold in America. How long will we IGNORE gun lobbyists CRAWLING all over Capitol Hill offering bribes and cash incentives to politicians to ALLOW NO gun control laws. How long will we permit guns to be sold at gun shows, out of the trunks of automobiles, online, in pawn shops, to anybody with enough money to buy a weapon of mass destruction. HOW LONG WILL WE WATCH PARENTS BURY THEIR CHILDREN AFTER EACH SCHOOL SHOOTING.

The mass shootings list for 2022

This list that I have added here is nine pages long. THAT’S NINE PAGES LONG. I only included the first page because I don’t have room to list all nine pages. The statistics leading up to this moment right now, today, list 198 mass shootings throughout the United States of America…… FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 2022. Sadly this latest mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas will not be the last mass shooting in America….. THIS YEAR.

27 school shootings in 5 months.

We have 7 months left in the 2022 calendar year. Allow me to repeat this for those who might have missed it: we’ve had 198 mass shootings this year. 27 school shootings are included in that number, in JUST 5 months. Take a moment and think about those numbers. Then I will ask you the question that is on the minds of everybody who is sane and care about the safety of human beings…..When is Enough Going To Be Enough. How long. HOW LONG.

Thank You For Reading Just Another Blog. Keep Your Children Safe. Enough Is Enough.
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