Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ela Bhatt - An Empire for Poor Working Women

The Saturday Profile - An Empire for Poor Working Women, Guided by a Gandhian Approach
BORN to a privileged Brahmin family, Mrs. Bhatt charted an unusual path for a woman of her time. She earned a law degree and chose the man she would marry. She began her career as a lawyer for the city’s main union for textile workers, the vast majority of them men, and broke away in 1981 to create a new kind of union for women.

Early on, she won higher rates for women porters, then a landmark legal victory that allowed women to sell fruits and vegetables on the street without harassment from the police. The fishmongers and quilt-makers who were SEWA Bank’s earliest customers sometimes stashed their checkbooks in the bank’s steel cabinets, she recalled, lest their husbands discover they had money of their own.

At first, the women’s ambitions were limited, she said. They wanted toilets, hair shears or sewing machines for work and money to pay for their children’s school fees. Slowly, she noticed, they began to dream big. Mothers now want their daughters to learn to ride a scooter and work on a computer.

“They didn’t see the future at that time,” she said. “Expectations have gone very high.”

Not long ago, Mrs. Bhatt recalled, she asked SEWA members what “freedom” meant to them. Some said it was the ability to step out of the house. Others said it was having a door to the bathroom. Some said it meant having their own money, a cellphone, or “fresh clothes every day.”

Then she told of her favorite. Freedom, one woman said, was “looking a policeman in the eye.”

Here's her biography page at Wikipedia: Ela Bhatt. I may never have heard of her before, but she sure travels in exalted company -- from Nelson Mandela, to Jimmy Carter, to the trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation.

I needed a laugh, and this gave me several

Gail Collins is an OpEd columnist at the NY Times, but I've never read her before this morning when I read this gem on the current state of the republican party and its leadership. Just Steele Yourselves

This is snark on a grad scale. Don't read it if you are at the library, I dare you to read through and not break-out in uncontrollable giggles more than once.

She's going on my must-read list today!

Her recent book also looks interesting: America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines which gets 5 stars from 99% of the Amazon reviewers. It looks like it deserves its own post.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I saw red today

I briefly left Thing2's bedside this morning, and when I returned the nurse told me that they were going to be sending Thing2 home today.

I was shocked. It had been my understanding that when she was medically stable, she would be transferred to the 'Behavioral Sciences' (Psychiatric) unit where they could manage her medicine and mania.

After numerous frantic phone calls, a run down 4-flights of stairs to trying to catch the idiot who made the moronic decision, I finally got them to admit her by refusing to take her home. I said "Well, I don't know what you think you're going to do, because I'm not taking her home." At that point the idiot said, "well we can admit her if you say that she can't come home. "

I quickly said, "Fine. She can't come home."

And so it came to pass that she was still in the hospital this evening when she told me that she was having chest pain, radiating up to her left arm. She's never had the pain before. I notified her nurse and they brought the crash cart with one of those automatic defibrillators. After a minute, the machine announced that a shock was not necessary. Still, they continued taking vital signs and drew a blood sample. Eventually, the pain subsided. I suppose we won't ever know exactly what it was.

Still, I think that Thing2 was quite relieved to be in the hospital when this happened.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I feel so guilty

I continue to feel terribly guilty about missing Thing2's symptoms of seizure.

I'm more and more convinced that she had one or more seizures starting sometime last week...

She saw a neurologist today. He said the mania she's experiencing is likely an effect of the seizure. He ordered EKG and MRI's. I assume we'll get the results tomorrow. It's disconcerting how regularly and seriously they ask me if she as a Durable Power of Attourney and advance directives.

She is such a sweetie. It breaks my heart to see her so ill. When she was admitted, she weighed only 90 pounds. That is more than 10 pounds less than she weighed about 10-days ago. Most of that weight loss likely happened after the first undetected seizure.

This whole experience brings home for me something that I've always known. When you have a mental illness, it's very hard to get optimal medical care. Even those who know you well can miss signs of illness that would have been unmistakable in someone else.

One blessing, the nursing care she has received has generally been good. The main problem has been their failure to order and deliver and in timely fashion medicine that she needs for regular function of bladder and bowel. This morning I snapped at her nurse when she suggested that Thing2 should just try sitting on the commode again. This after taking 2-hours to get medicine that should have been scheduled and available for her to take first-thing in the morning.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thing2 update

Thing2 has been admitted to the hospital.

She has been behaving oddly for the last few days, and her doctor and I thought that she was manic. I tried to get her to agree to let me take her to the hospital, but for the first-time in 31-years, she refused.

Eventually I had to call the paramedics. Shortly after they arrived she had a seizure.
After she got to the emergency room she had another one. It was terrifying and I have to admit that I got a little hysterical when the nurse ran out of the room when it started and left me by myself for what seemed like hours, but was probably a minute, two at most.

Now she's in TCU (one step down from ICU), and I'm rethinking whether all the apparent psych issues she's had in the last few days might have been a medical problem instead. But no one knows what the problem is. And now they are stopping a lot of her other meds, so who knows what will happen.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Me and Katherine Hepburn (we're both ISTP's)

Following in Kate's footsteps, I took the personality test.

My results follow:

Your Type is ISTP
Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving
Strength of the preferences %
33 12 1 11
Artisan Portrait of the Crafter (ISTP)

The nature of Crafters is most clearly seen in their masterful operation of tools, equipment, machines, and instruments of all kinds. Most us use tools in some capacity, of course, but Crafters (as much as ten percent of the population) are the true masters of tool work, with an innate ability to command tools and to become expert at all the crafts requiring tool skills. Even from an early age they are drawn to tools as to a magnet-tools fall into their hands demanding use, and they must work with them.

Like all the Artisans, Crafters are people who love action, and who know instinctively that their activities are more enjoyable, and more effective, if done impulsively, spontaneously, subject to no schedules or standards but their own. In a sense, Crafters do not work with their tools, but play with them when the urge strikes them. Crafters also seek fun and games on impulse, looking for any opportunity, and just because they feel like it, to play with their various toys: cars, motorcycles, boats, dune-buggies, hunting rifles, fishing tackle, scuba gear, and on and on. They thrive on excitement, particularly the rush of speed-racing, water-skiing, surfing. And Crafters are fearless in their play, exposing themselves to danger again and again, even despite frequent injury. Of all the types, Crafters are most likely to be risk takers, pitting themselves, or their technique, against chance or odds.

Crafters are hard to get to know. Perhaps this is because they tend to communicate through action, and show little interest in developing language skills. Their lack of expressiveness can isolate them at school and on the job, and even though they hang around with their own kind in play, they let their actions speak for them, and their actual conversation is sparse and brief.

Crafters can be wonderfully generous and loyal to their friends, teammates, and sidekicks, often giving up their evenings or weekends to help with building projects or mechanical repairs-house remodeling, for example, or working on cars or boats. On the other hand, they can be fiercely insubordinate to those in authority, seeing rules and regulations as unnecessarily confining. Crafters will not usually go against regulations openly, but will simply ignore them. More than anything, Crafters want to be free to do their own thing, and they are proud of their ability to do it with an artist's skill.

Bruce Lee, Michael Jordan, Woody Allen, Alan Shepard, Chuck Yaeger, Michael Douglas, Lance Armstrong, and Kathrine Hephurn are examples of Crafter Artisans.

This is all fairly accurate, except for the part about risky activities. I *really* don't like pain, and I am careful about my activities.

However, the test nailed my most prominent personality trait/skill, and that is the ability to use tools. Although generally I stick to the software variety, rather than the hardware.