My Mother Invented the Side Ponytail

This blog is ideally about my life of adventures, mostly related to Public Safety, but it all started at an early age.  I have to give some background, it’s all relevant.

I was a tomboy, or tomgirl, but mostly my mom called me Tom’s girl (my father’s name is Tom).  I was the oldest, my sister, 3 years younger, was mommy’s girl.  I liked to fix and build and do stuff in the yard. I learned about cars, and tools, and how duct tape can just about fix anything, at least temporarily.  Guy stuff, AND I was a climber.

I climbed out of my crib, up the cupboards, on the fridge, on the garage, over fences and into trees.  This started early.  Mom caught me by one leg one day, as I was exiting my crib head first, before I hit the floor (lucky for me)!  I was never afraid of heights, although I have developed a healthy respect for gravity (it’s the sudden stop at the bottom that’s the problem).  Anyway, back to my Mother of Invention.

My mom could sew. It’s a lost art.  She made many of my clothes, learning to sew from her mother (french seams and all).  I only remember disliking one thing she made me.  A pair of green plaid pants.  I have no doubt that they were made after the many dresses I came home wearing with dirt caked on them, rips in the arms and skirts, as well as the dirt under my fingernails.  She gave up on me being a “proper” girl.

Especially after that day in first grade.  The day I climbed into a pine tree before walking home from the school bus stop.  I loved trees.  I loved the ease of climbing the conveniently placed and spaced branches.  I loved the view, above everything, and the sound of the breezes rustling the leaves.  This particular tree was pretty sappy and I got a wad of pine sap caught in my hair.  Thinking I would again be a non-dainty disappointment to my mom when I got home.  I decided to fix it myself.  I yanked out the whole blob at once, and I was successful!!

OH BOY, a thick hank of hair came with it.  I had successfully given myself a nice round bald spot to the right of my center part. Uh oh, I was still going to be in trouble.  My poor mother had her hands full with me.  I do not remember being in a lot of trouble, but I did really feel badly for putting her through these things.  It was probably pretty embarrassing for her at times.  The next day, I was a little worried about going to school with a big bald spot (about the size of a half-dollar).  My mother ( I must get a little of my macgyvering from her!), surveying the damage gave me a comb-over ponytail, or side ponytail.  I wore my hair every day that way until my hair grew back.  Thank you MOM!!

Here’s the proof (and I was wearing a dress for picture day).

Renee First grade

 

 

Big Trouble with Rachael at the Mall

(Meds and behavior) Big Trouble with Rachael at the Mall

Recently Rachael had another medication change.  Her new-ish Neurologist had been prodding me to try a different benzodiazapine medication (there are many different forms of this type of medication) called Onfi instead of clonozepam.  I put the neurologist off for two years (I remember past medication problems!), telling her that she has been absolutely great on the two meds she has been taking.  The /neurologist seemed to think she knew better so I finally said, “Fine, let’s see what happens.” Sometimes they have to learn the hard way, but I hate for Me, Rachael or any innocent bystanders to have to go through this.

So we tried the Onfi.  The Dr. started her on a small dose, increasing it gradually, as she decreased the clonozepam.  No problems at first…until we went to the zoo.  I first thought she was tired or just in a bad mood.  When she started mis-behaving and I corrected her, she started screaming “SHUT-UP!!” at me while we were in the Aquarium (just so you know it echoes in there).  Her big sister, Sarah was meeting us at the Zoo.  When she couldn’t find us, I texted Sarah to listen for Rachael screaming “Shut-Up”.  Sarah texted back, “LOL, UH-OH!” Sarah has grown up with this so we can afford a little humor between us.  Sometimes it’s all we’ve got!

I decided to catch her on video with my phone because we had a follow-up appointment with her Dr.  I was able to calm her down, and the rest of the day went better.  Until a few weeks later, when we took a trip to the mall on a Sunday afternoon.

I thought Rachael might like to go see the new minions movie.  I purchased our tickets and we headed into the theatre.  She had a noisy toy with her so I tried to get it from her before we went in.  She started throwing a fit.  Hmmm, what to do…I removed the batteries from the toy and gave it back to her.  She’s no dummy!  When she realized it wasn’t working she was mad! I realized there would be no movie with her behavior so we got refund and left.  This also made her upset.  I explained to her that in the movie theatre we have to be quiet, no noisy toys.  If she couldn’t be quiet we couldn’t go to the movie.  The combination of no noisy toy and me taking her out of the movie was too much for her.

As we were walking through the food court full of people, she pitched her toy like a professional baseball player!  This is not an exaggeration! We’ve long thought she would have been a great ball player.  I watched, my hand over my mouth, and in shock as it whizzed right by a lady eating lunch, narrowly missing her head (and scaring her) and landing on the floor.  I mouthed “I’m sorry” and hustled through the food court.  A young girl retrieved the toy, handed it to me helpfully and I hid it in my purse.  Rachael started putting her feet down and pushing her wheelchair backwards as I tried to propel her forwards.

I parked us at a table, put the brakes on and ignored her as I waited for her to calm down (sometimes you just have to wait her out until she comes around to your way of thinking).  Well, things didn’t get better.  She started hitting herself in the face! What?! I grabbed her wrist and encircled it with my fingers with just enough pressure to keep her from hurting herself.  She started screaming “OUCH!!” even though I wasn’t hurting her.  Yikes!  The mall was full of busy shoppers so we were the center of attention.  I said to her quietly (trying to be soothing), “Rachael, no hitting.”  When she relaxed I let go of her hand.  She then began hitting herself on the leg, yelling “Naughty!”  I grabbed her hand again, to keep her from hurting herself and again said “Rachael, no hitting!”

Nothing was working.  But like I have said in other posts, MOM MUST ALWAYS WIN.  In our relationship, I am the boss, and I have to be, or she will get hurt.  She has no safety skills whatsoever. I can’t let her run the show because if I do, the next time will be worse.  I sat quietly, keeping her wheelchair stable while she raged.  This was extremely embarrassing and I wanted to cry (but must not show weakness)!  Who could I call to help me?  My husband was working and too far away so that was out.  Sarah and her husband lived nearby, but they had their hands full with a new baby…No that wouldn’t work.

Well I hated to do it (I hate asking for help in the first place) but I had to resort to asking for help from strangers.  A short slight man was cleaning the tables near us while watching us sideways.  He had a radio in his belt.  I motioned for him to come closer. He came over cautiously, keeping a safe distance.  When I realized he didn’t speak very much English, I resorted to pointing at the radio and asking “Security?”  He understood and nodded his head, summoning help.  At that same moment a tall muscular guy wearing an Under Armor baseball cap (this was a good sign) came over and knelt down next to us.  He said “I have a sister (nodding toward Rachael), can I help you?”   “YES PLEASE!  THANK YOU!”  I told him that it looked like it might take more than us, that I needed to get her out of the mall and into my car and that security was coming.  Two security guards from the mall showed up.  They were great!

Picture this…Security Officer in front clearing the way, helpful stranger holding the front of Rachael’s wheelchair off the floor which helped me, holding on to the back of the chair, to keep her feet up off the floor, Rachael screaming her head off, followed by the other Security Officer.  We got to my car, and she was fine.  She got in, no fight at all.  I thanked them all profusely.  Under Armor man told me, “My wife and I were watching you for a bit.  I have a sister.  I know what it’s like.  My wife told me, “YOU BETTER GO HELP HER!””  This made me laugh.  I asked him to thank his wife for me and that I was very grateful.

I am shocked no one took a YouTube video of it (sorry folks, I was busy or I would have).  So, Rachael lost, momma maintained authority with no one getting hurt (barely).  The Zoo video (it was pretty mild compared to the mall thing) was shown to the neurologist, who said, Ahhhh, we need to take her off the ONFI!  For the next 3 months, I did not dare take Rachael to the mall again, or church, or anywhere else until the Onfi was out of her system. I am happy to report that once it was gone, we successfully went places without any harrowing or embarrassing incidents!

Parents in general and parents of special needs or autistic kids have it really tough sometimes.  I have never spoiled my kids,  they didn’t get things by throwing temper tantrums, in fact they learned early not to do that.  I did not reward bad behavior.  You have to treat your special needs kids like your other kids (well mostly, considering their limitations).  There need to be expectations, they have to behave for parents and babysitters.  I have seen parents let their special needs kids get away with a lot, because they feel sorry for them.  They may be “handicapped” but they are not stupid!  If you let them win they will run the show, and that can’t happen, no matter how little (you can pick them up and carry them out!) or how big they get!  Rachael responds to kind quiet words very quickly. Scolding and yelling only escalates her behavior.  She is usually pretty good and only mildly stubborn for very short periods of time.  telling her how it is,and what is expected, along with giving her time to adjust to a change usually works.

But in our experience, some medications cause nasty side-effects like hallucinations (Scopolamine), fatigue, vomiting, seizures, weight loss, extreme hunger, no appetite, depression, anger and more.  Rachael can’t tell me what’s wrong, so as a parent I have to pay attention. Why is this happening?  Is it simply bad behavior? If the unusual (and shocking!) happens, always look for what has changed, what’s different?  It might be a medical problem, or medication change.

It’s a good thing, we as a family have a sense of humor.  Rachael brings us challenges, some pretty good stories, AND MUCH JOY! 

 

 

 

Rachael’s morning after the Steak-N-Shake incident

After the Steak-n-Shake incident (see previous post!)….we went to bed hoping for a better day.  It didn’t happen.

Mom’s always seem to have a sixth sense, eyes in the back of their head, or a kind of super hearing…

I woke, hearing Rachael get up out of bed, head into the kitchen and open the fridge (her bedroom was on the main floor).  Uh oh…I was up, out of bed and heading down the stairs, but I was too late.  She had already grabbed and opened a glass jar of mayonnaise and was spreading it all over herself…WHAT!?  Rachael, what are you doing?  As I tried to remove the glass jar from her grasp, the fight was on.  She would not let go, and she was slippery…it was like an episode of WWF wrestling but with mayonnaise.

I was mostly concerned she was going to break the jar and get cut by the glass.  I finally was able to get it from her and had to sit on her holding both her flailing arms and avoiding being kicked and hit, while she was screaming at the top of her lungs.  Why was this happening?  First yesterday, then today?  I racked my brain to figure out what was happening and why.  What was different?  Well, her behavior that was for sure…as I looked down at my flailing screaming child, I noticed the scopolamine patch affixed Behind her ear…could it be?  I peeled the patch off and called for my other daughter Sarah to come help me.  Where was I going to get an able-bodied adult to help me that was close by?  I had Sarah call my friend Helen, who lived the closest and was familiar with Rachael.  We were both single parents and traded babysitting sometimes.  Although, I think she was more help to me than I ever was to her.

Helen readily and quickly responded.  Her mouth dropped open at the sight of us when she walked in the door.  I told her I had to take Rachael to the hospital but I needed to get us cleaned up first.  She helped me get Rachael cleaned up and then stayed with her while I quickly took a shower and got me and Sarah ready to go.

I took Rachael to the hospital, and wouldn’t you know it…by the time we got there she was fine.  I got the feeling the medical staff thought I was exaggerating, but I have witnesses!  You just can’t make this stuff up!

Needless to say no more Scopolamine patch (Click her for more info about Scopolamine) . Even though this incident happened in 2000, years ago, we had a more recent med change that resulted in another incident…We will call it “Trouble with Rachael at the Mall”…next time…

 

 

Does anyone tell the truth?

I am sharing a post by a wrongfully convicted man.  Freedom for 50 is a blog about his experiences in Prison for something he did not do.  He keeps trying to be the same honest upright person on the inside (prison) as he was on the outside. But not doing what the other inmates want can be dangerous.

 

Hi everyone, It’s been awhile. I’ve been dealing with some rough times. This is going to be as hard as Ionia where they put me in the hole. At least it will feel almost the same. Except…

Source: Does anyone tell the truth?

Medication Interactions and Violent Behavior – you can’t make this stuff up! Or The Steak-n-Shake Incident

The Steak-n-Shake incident.

In prior posts I have described my experiences being a mom of Rachael, my Special Needs Child with Epilepsy.  Epilepsy has not been the only challenge.

Medications!  Some have worked, some haven’t.  Some have resulted in strange, bizarre, and violent behavior.  Early on, a medication Rachael was on stunted all development.  She wasn’t learning, or progressing and this was a big concern for me.  All parents want their children to reach all their developmental milestones.

I asked her Neurologist for help.   I really liked this Neurologist, but his comment was, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  But it was broke!  I convinced him we needed to look at it and to try to improve things for her.

An MRI was done.  The results came in.  I received a written report.  I could understand the majority of the radiological terms, but I had questions.   I was very self-educated (this can be frustrating for Doctor’s when a patient or patient’s relative questions results, wants to know more and doesn’t just take Dr.’s orders at face value).  I wanted to be the best advocate for my daughter I could.  I wanted to help her to be HER best self.  I had no mis-conceptions that she would be normal.  I wanted her best normal for her sake.

I called and requested an informational appointment to go over the results of the MRI with the Dr.  I was told the Dr. is very busy.  I again reiterated that I wanted to discuss the results of Rachael’s  MRI with the Dr.  The individual I spoke to on the phone replied, “It means your daughter is MENTALLY RETARDED.”  I was absolutely speechless for several seconds.  I knew this.  I did not need them to tell me this.  I responded by telling her to cancel any future appointments that we would not be returning…ever.

I found her a new Neurologist.  We tried different medications.  Some caused other problems, complications, depression, behavior problems, extreme weight loss, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, food-seeking.   At least one was taken off the market for deaths due to loss of kidney function.  We moved, had to switch to a new Neurologist, tried more meds.

THE INCIDENT

Now to my point…Rachael was also pretty drooly.  It was hard to find childcare because no one wants a kid drooling all over.  I had to find care in my own home, and Rachael wore bandannas (in every color to match her outfits) instead of bibs (she’s not a baby).  They would be soaked and replaced with a new dry one every few hours and we could easily wash them.  Some days were better than others.  One Dr. proposed we try a Scopolamine Patch.  These patches are typically used for motion sickness, but tend to dry up oral secretions (dry mouth).  We decide to give it a try.  It had been maybe a week when Mike (the guy I was newly dating) and I decided to take our kids out to eat.

We met at Steak-n-Shake, me with my two kids, and he with his two kids.  As soon as we were seated, Rachael grabbed her silverware and started pounding on the table, yelling…. “I WANT EAT!”  [These were the days of food-seeking for her.  She could eat the food off her plate and steal the food off yours too, if you weren’t watching.  She was not allowed to do this, she simply couldn’t help it.  She was always hungry.]  At the restaurant, I told her that we had to wait our turn and then we would be able to eat.  I also took the silverware away.  This only made things worse.  She started screaming louder…“I WANT EAT!!!”

This had not happened before in public (aside from a grocery store incident).  I told her that if she did not quiet down and behave that we would be leaving (not an empty threat).  She screamed louder!!  The other children were sinking in their seats (I wanted to hide too!).  I asked Mike if he would bring Sarah home after they ate and told him I would be taking Rachael home.  He agreed.  I stood up, picked up Rachael and she started flailing her arms and legs and trying to squirm out of my grasp.  She was still a small child, but I was finding it difficult to hang onto her.  Mike had to help me take her to the car, get her in the car, and put her seat-belt on.  I had to engage the child lock on the door so she wouldn’t fall out of the car as we were driving.

Mike went back in and I drove away.  The entire drive home, Rachael screamed “GO BACK!” while pointing out the back car window and hitting me in the back of the head and kicking my seat.  I couldn’t believe it!  If any of the other challenges in my life hadn’t scared Mike off, this surely would!!  I cried all the way home.  And so embarrassing!

We pulled into the driveway and she stopped.  I took her in the house and sat her at the table.  I explained to her that we would be having sandwiches at home.  I also explained that she has to mind momma, she can’t behave like that ANYWHERE, and that there would be no more going out to eat if that ever happened again.  We ate, Mike brought Sarah home, and Rachael was back to normal.  I was unprepared for what happened the next morning…

With Rank Comes Privilege…Part 11 The unexpected, the win and why you should care

THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS…

Patricia and I got jobs. 

Police jobs.  She was hired first, and he was so impressed with her he asked if the “other” officer was any good and needing a job.  We found the one person that would give us a chance.  We did such a good job, he gave us more responsibilities.  Our new Chief started receiving phone calls urging him to fire us.  He had a little fun with it. He did news interviews telling reporters that we were the best officers he had ever had and thank you to Grand Rapids for training them so well (this irked GRPD).  Then, when it came time for the trial, he told us since it was on days we had to work, we would have to wear our uniforms and report directly to work after court was done.  The City of Grand Rapids/GRPD was mad.  They went after him too.  The SGT (GCJR) who had been after the Chief job for years was unhappy.  A local told me that many Chief’s had come and gone, but GCJR was always the only one left standing, and somehow always came out smelling like a rose.  He got into our department emails.  He badmouthed us to the Chief (Renee said this, Pat said this/He lied).  He told Pat that I had asked for her shifts (UNTRUE).  He told the Chief we were fighting over each others’ shifts (UNTRUE).  We didn’t have any idea this was happening until Pat asked me why I wanted her shifts, wasn’t I getting enough hours?  I said, what?! I never asked for your shifts!  We smelled a rat disguised as a rose.  And his behavior didn’t change until another more crafty and better looking rat got him fired and replaced him.

SGT GCJR had learned from his dad.  His father was a police officer in a  nearby city. GCJR rode along with his dad.  He told us his dad (GC) would yell and scream at people and treat them badly.  He also told us that his father always said, Don’t do what I do, do what I say.

The SGT was mad because he went to school with people who got jobs at GRPD, but he didn’t.  He told us he hadn’t passed the background, (or was it the Psych?).  He was in one of the GRPD officer friend’s wedding. They were in his.  He was talking to them about us and them to him.  We hadn’t even worked with those GRPD officers that much! There were 400 officers, 4-5 areas of the City and 3 shifts as well as administrative positions.   When I went into the Detective unit, I never met any of the new people who started out on nights for years until they switched shifts!

Our Chief lost his job.  The SGT finally got him.  But our Chief sued and settled out of court with that municipality.  He was the only person with the guts to give us a chance, and we delivered for him.  We solved cases, mentored other officers.  The SGT was not  happy and undermined our efforts from the beginning while trying to pretend to be everyone’s friend, but trying to pit them against each other.  Karma, or another Rat got him, eventually.

FEDERAL TRIAL

During the trial, The City depicted us as dangerous, put pictures of us up on the courtroom screen with pictures of handguns super-imposed over us and pointing into the air. As If we would go off and shoot up the town at any moment.  We were just glad they used some decent pictures of us.  It seemed whenever we were winning, nice pictures of us appeared in the newspaper, when we were down they put in the worst pictures of us they could find.

In court, the first City Psychologist, “Dr. Pete” finally admitted he added “drama” to Patricia’s report, he thought it was funny, but the way he did it, turned the event she received a commendation for, into a crime.

The City’s second Psychologist, Dr. Tony, continually claimed that we didn’t take “responsibility” for our “shortcomings” (this was also said about me to Chief HD by “Woody” after I complained about him).  When we pointed out that Dr. Tony had our documents switched (pats in my evaluation, and mine in hers) he blamed his secretary.

Dr Tony was asked if he was friends with Dr. Pete, the First City Psychologist. He said no. Patricia’s attorney produced a copy of Dr. Tony’s vanity book, and pointed out the forward which read, I want to thank my friend and mentor Dr. Pete.

Dr. Tony tried to explain this by saying well you know, we’ve run into each other at conferences and stuff so we are not “friends” but “friends”.

The icing on the cake came from my attorney.  She got up and asked Dr. Tony, Do you remember the Union Steward introducing you to my client before her evaluation as she gestures at me.  Tony nods vigorously, “Yes, yes I do.”  And do you remember after going into the conference room asking her if she preferred to be called “Pat, Patty or Patricia?”  Do you remember what my client said?  He shakes his head no.  My attorney says, you don’t remember her saying, “My name is Renee’?”  The whole court room burst out laughing.  It was the most satisfying, comedic thing I had ever seen!!

Needless to say we won.  The Jury doubled our damages.

Several months later the judge overturned the Jury’s decision.  This rarely, if ever, happens.

We appealed.

The appeals court overturned the Judge.  We had won again.

The judge reduced the award and thinking he was being “fair” gave the City two options.

  1. You can re-instate them to their jobs
  2. You can pay them according to the union contract as if they were working but they don’t come into work.

WRAP UP   

The city chose option 2.  We are not allowed into the Police Department.  Our lockers are still padlocked with our belongings in them sending a very clear message to all other women at the police department.  They take taxes out of our paychecks, even though we are not residents, and we do not do any work for or in the City of Grand Rapids (more on this tax issue later).

CONCLUSION

Early on in this whole process, I asked another officer how she was doing.  It seemed like she was always in trouble.  She wasn’t perfect, but who is?  I felt badly for her and so many others (it was my goal to help any new people as much as possible and not treat them like most new people were treated).  The Captain had it in for her.  She eventually switched shifts to get away from him because he kept writing her up constantly.  It was so bad, that in response to me asking how she was doing, she told me that she did not care who they were picking on, as long as it wasn’t her.

PROBLEM

Apathy about injustice is a real problem.  Any and all  injustice!  Just because you think it won’t affect you, it will, at some point: If not you, your mother, your sister, your daughter and the men in their lives.  We cannot allow evil people to do evil things.  We don’t need that criminal 5% in charge.  Whether it be a governmental agency, a business or any other organization.  There is strength in numbers.  It started with the 14 of us, word around the department was that they were going to put us all off on a mental.  When the two of us filed the Federal suit it kept the department from doing the same to the others.

I would like to know how they would have explained the contagious nature of Personality Disorders at GRPD.

WOMEN, I’m talking to you when I say we have to stop competing with each other for jobs, men, recognition.  We have to support each other.  We are supposed to be on the same team.  There should not be a Queen bee, and if you wonder what I am referring to google Queen Bee Syndrome.

Men, you need to speak up when you see a woman or any other person being mistreated.  Remember, your voice seems to carry more weight than ours.  These women could turn out to be your mother, your sister, your wife, your daughters.

Those of you in positions that give you power or authority, you need to realize that when you oppress you are contributing to keeping our entire country from unity.  Some of you hold the very livelihood and lives of others in your hands.  Those of you who enjoy this will pay the piper.  Karma will get you.  Beware the corrupting nature of power.  My oldest daughter got picked on and teased at school because her mother was “crazy.”  It was in all the papers, on the tv news stations.  My family and close friends knew better, a few of my neighbors knew better, but most people didn’t.  Even my own Union Steward made a comment to another Plaintiff after I was out on leave, “But she was found unfit for duty?!”  The other girl looked at him and told him, “Yeah, and I’ve got a bridge to sell you.”

Our case has set precedence and has helped others in this situation.   We on the other hand, can’t get part-time or full-time jobs in our own field, no matter how much time, money, or effort we put into it.  Even though I may not ever get another police job, I have the respect, of my family, my friends as well as officers I used to work with and for. No one can call me a coward, and there is no room for cowardice in police work.

We have received calls from across the country from other female officers who have had the same thing happen to them.  I called the National FOP!  They acknowledged it was an upward trend to use Fitness For Duty Evaluations to get rid of employees who complain, but have not done anything about it.

Why should any of this matter to you?  You may be asked at some point in your life or careers to do something unethical, or immoral or just plain wrong.  You need to recognize these occasions and do what is right.  There may be far-reaching ramifications of your behavior, so make sure your intentions are ethical.  Your actions could protect or subject you or your organization to expensive liability.

Martin Niemoller was a Protestant Minister.  He spent time as a prisoner in concentration camps during the holocaust.

Martin Niemoller said, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

I add this, as human beings we are all supposed to be on the same side.

With Rank Comes Privilege…Part 10…INSURANCE CANCELLED

BRAIN SURGERY/CLEVELAND CLINIC/INSURANCE CANCEL/TACTICS

A number of tactics were used to cause us to cave or fold or crawl into a hole, move away, fall apart, go crazy, curl up and die or cry…

But they mistook us women for weaklings…

These tactics consisted of intimidation, trash pulls (to find illegal activity), releasing our addresses to the media, releasing HIPPA protected information to others in the police department (Dr. Pete’s reports were passed around, but not the favorable passing ones), we were not allowed to take the SGT’s test, they put us on paid leave, they stopped our pay, when we applied for unemployment they told the unemployment agency we were still “job-attached” so we had to fight our unemployment denial (successfully i might add), when we tried to get other jobs prospective employers were told we were unfit for duty.  Why?  No money = no attorneys.

During all of this, Rachael’s condition became life-threatening, I was sleeping on the floor of her room each night because she would seize and choke or stop breathing. She was scheduled to go to Cleveland Clinic for an evaluation and possible surgery. I had to ask the judge for a postponement of an upcoming hearing that conflicted with the timing of the appointment.  I told my new attorney that I didn’t want to give the reason, because GR would use it.  We went in front of the judge and had to reveal why, with the City Attorneys present.  The Judge granted the postponement on Friday.  I received a notice of cancellation of our health insurance 3 days later on Monday March 29th, effective April 1st.  This is illegal.  You can’t cancel a person’s insurance without notice or the option to have COBRA coverage.  They didn’t cancel Patricia’s insurance because it wouldn’t have harmed her.

My husband (we got married in 2003 remember!) put us on his health insurance. Rachael qualified for Children’s Special Heath Care Services through the County (they help with travel expenses and accommodations) and my attorney wrote a scalding letter (is this a new retaliatory action?).  By the time her surgery was actually preformed, Rachael was back on my insurance, had my husband’s, and we had assistance with travel and our costs for accommodations.  We stayed in the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland.  Ronald McDonald Houses across the country have helped so many families in similar situations.

On July 4th, 2004 the Doctors at Cleveland Clinic shaved her head and, Rachael had a hemispherectomy.  It saved her life. She is now doing quite well!  You can read about her in some of my other blog posts.

We had gotten jobs here and there.  I had one a few months after they “put us off”.  i got hired by Spectrum Health Security.  Why?  Because they knew me.  I was a regular as a Police Officer.  The hospital was in my patrol area.  I came in and took assault reports, domestic reports, murders, car accidents.  Not once, did I ever treat anyone in the security department like a rent-a-cop.  I always figured we were on the same team.  That’s why they hired me.  I was working there after being put off work.  GRPD Officers would come in to do the same as I had been doing as a police officer.  Some (very few) would talk to me.  Others wouldn’t.  Most ignored me, pretended they didn’t see me, or quickly moved through (uncomfortableness!) and then left out another door when they were finished.  One particular SGT (yes you TMcG) who’s wife works at the hospital came in one night, to visit or eat dinner with his wife.  As he walked by he got a nasty smirk on his face.  My hospital co-workers saw it too.  One of the very nicest, sweetest V.A’s (Visitor Assistants, they helped sick people from the cars into the E.R. etc) that worked there with me came over and said “Wow! What an Asshole!”  I had never heard her talk like that.  She was mad for me!

I never knew they had to put up with that kind of stuff until it happened to me.  It had never crossed my mind to behave like that.

Then something unexpected happened…

Patricia and I got police jobs. 

What is International Women’s Day?

Today is international Women’s Day.

There are a lot of interesting events scheduled for today.  Women have long been considered property, or less valuable and there has been an ongoing struggle to be paid the same as men and for women to  allowed to have the same opportunities as men.

UN Secretary-General’s message for 2016

“We have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards. Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers,” says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for International Women’s Day 2016. –

Find out more at:  International women’s Day

i encourage you to share the link today.

 

 

With Rank Comes Privilege…Part 9 DEBTORS COURT

We lost the State Case.

Why? The Judge wouldn’t let the jury hear about our adverse job actions (the proof for discrimination). The jury didn’t know Pat and I had been walked out the back door.  As far as the jury knew, we were still working.  We were not allowed to mention it or discuss our job loss in any way, shape or form.  We were not allowed to talk about our “punishment”.  The judge also took the legal definition of similarly situated to the extreme, so we were not allowed to bring up comparisons between our circumstances and guys who were doing the same job.

The City’s Attorney’s began threatening to saddle our Attorneys with fees and costs (and the sanctions) to get them to settle the State and Federal cases together and demanded they drop Patricia as a client.   They asked me to agree to settle with the other plaintiffs (The State Case) and drop Patricia.  When I said no, they abandoned both of us and withdrew as our attorney’s.  How could I settle, hang my co-plaintiff out to dry, and allow them to muddy my reputation and name and be permanently labeled “crazy” when it was a lie!?  I would never be able to get another job!

They threatened the Psychologists and Psychiatrist we had hired telling them them they could lose their licenses because they were practicing “Police Psychology” without the proper license. The Psychiatrist and Psychologist we hired, paid for their own lawyers and fought with us. They both paid a heavy cost for it.  We will always be grateful to them for sticking to their guns, being honest and ethical and not running off like cowards.

The State Case was settled by the other Plaintiffs, but we appealed (advantage of a two-fronted attack). Because we appealed the Judge stated in chambers that Pat and I would have to pay more money than the others (Patricia and our former attorney’s were present in Chambers when the Judge said this, and that is exactly what did happen.  It’s funny, but our attorney’s were not required to pay any part of the sanctions).  When The Judge put it on the official court record, he said it was because we wasted more of the court’s time.  When the Judge reinstated the fine/sanctions he told our former attorneys, but we were not notified.  Because no one told us, we had no idea we had a “bill” to pay.

We then get dragged into debtors court for being delinquent….

DEBTORS COURT

Because we were not notified we made no payment arrangements.

We were shocked and surprised when we were ordered to bring all our financial records and dragged into debtor’s court.  They wanted to know if we had any jewelry, valuables or if we owned other items of value.  We immediately started sending them payments while trying to negotiate payment plans. I sent them numerous payments for months, writing letters to negotiate an amount.  They always responded that it wasn’t enough money, yet they cashed the checks.  The other plaintiffs that settled were allowed to have $50 deducted from each of their paychecks until it was paid.  We were not allowed to make $50 payments.

Debt collectors are not allowed to do this, but the City of Grand Rapids was!!

The Judge then allowed them to garnish us, even though we were paying.  He signed the order!!  They cleaned out my checking account three days before Christmas.  The money in my account included my pay and my daughter Rachael’s Social Security Disability.  Social Security Disability is exempt from garnishment by law.  I had to borrow money to keep a couple checks from bouncing and I couldn’t buy Christmas presents for my kids.  We fought it in court ourselves and got most of the money back but it took months.  Unbeknownst to Pat they also put a Lien on her house.  She later had to fight to get this removed.

By this time, we were not receiving any pay from the city, they had blocked our unemployment which we had to fight for, we were working part-time jobs for less pay and they were trying to starve us out…

 

With Rank Comes Privilege: With Privilege, Power. Part 8

The Problems with Dr. Pete’s report(s)???

  • NO PRECIPITATING EVENT
  • Subjective/One-Sided Input
  • Hard of hearing?/Inept?/or Biased?
  • Made Assumptions/Mind Reader?
  • Ignored Science/Personality Disorders
  • Ignored the Whole Picture
  • Member of IACP-International Association of Chiefs of Police (Management Organization)
  • Let MPA/APA Membership Lapse/Ethics requirements
  • Marketed Self as “Police Psychologist”- There is No “Certification” in “Police Psychology”
  • Dual Relationship/Accepted Client- Not always wrong
  • Accepted Large Amount $ for Performing

Dr Pete’s Primary Income 1996 came from doing Fitness For Duty Evaluations/Pre-Employment Evaluations

Dr. Pete sold his “practice” in 2003 – He advertised that the only requirement to take over his practice = Licensed Psychologist

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?

  • IMPROPER REFERRAL
  • Ignored numerous other reports
  • City Declined Pete’s original suggestion for referral
  • Patricia and Renee’ still not back to work at GRPD
  • Tactic has been used across the country
  • National FOP/Union ignoring this problem
  • Psychologists accepting these referral$

Patricia had the following evaluations (7)

  • Dr. Pete: Grand Rapids City Psychologist-> unfit
  • Dr. Tony: “Friend of Pete” Grand Rapids Hired Psychologist-> unfit
  • Dr. Larry: Plaintiff Hired Psychiatrist -> Fit
  • Dr. Mark: Plaintiff Hired Psychologist -> Fit
  • Dr. Mark: Plaintiff Hired Psychologist -> Fit
  • Dr. Nancy: Plaintiff Hired Psychologist -> Fit  (evaluator for CHP and LAPD)
  • Dr. Dave: Plaintiff Hired Psychologist -> Fit

Renee’s (9)

  • Dr. Pete: Grand Rapids City Psychologist-> unfit
  • Dr. Tony: “friend of Pete” Grand Rapids Hired Psychologist-> unfit
  • Dr. Larry: Plaintiff Hired Psychiatrist -> Fit
  • Dr. Mark: Plaintiff Hired Psychologist ->Fit
  • Dr. Mark: Plaintiff Hired Psychologist -> Fit
  • Dr. Nancy: Plaintiff Hired Psychologist ->Fit (evaluator for CHP and LAPD)
  • Dr. Dave: Plaintiff Hired Psychologist -> Fit
  • Dr. Patrick: Appellate Attorney Hired -> Fit
  • Dr. Tom: Spectrum Health Pre-employ-> Fit

I am certain that Patricia and I are the most “shrinked” and “certified sane” individuals in the State of Michigan.  Why would GRPD ignored all the additional evaluations?

We received copies of the tests we took for “Dr. Pete” during discovery. When they were analyzed it was found we had passed those too.  “Dr Pete” just didn’t use the results from the tests he gave us!?  Now why would a “Police Psychologist” do $uch a thing?

So even though we are certified sane, we lose the state case…