Tag: health

My “local” grocery store is 2.2 miles away, or 4.5+ hours round trip by foot

April 5, 2011

According to Google Maps, I can hop in my car and get to a nice Homeland Supermarket in 8 minutes.

Lucky me.

Not all my neighbors are that fortunate, and I got a real clear picture of that last Friday.

Getting ready for fundraiser on Saturday, on Friday, which was April 1, I headed for the printer and at pretty close to 12:30 pm, on 13th Street N. just east of the 235 overpass, I noticed an older man pushing an empty shopping cart, heading west, as I was. Since I only saw him from the rear, I couldn’t discern much except that some gray hair was visible, and faded clothes. It was just a glance, and while such sights are not completely rare, for some reason I noticed him and gave him a second or two of sympathetic thought. The cart was empty, not like most homeless people, so I kind of wondered what his story was.

Then I forgot about it and continued on with my business of dropping off my last-minute print job.

At almost 5 pm, I headed out the same route as before, to pick up the job before they closed. Remarkably, at almost the same spot — a bit further east but not much — I saw a gray-haired man pushing a shopping cart eastward, this time with 5 or 6 full plastic grocery bags in the cart. I’m convinced it was the same guy, and he had just spent 4 1/2 hours (at least, since I don’t know exactly where he lives) getting groceries, probably with his monthly check. I suspect he went to Homeland on Classen and 18th; from my apartment in Lincoln Terrace, that’s 2.2 miles away. That doesn’t sound far to a car owner, does it?

If I had not had to get to the printer post haste, I would have stopped at offered to drive him at least the rest of the way to his destination, but the pick up at the printer took longer than I would have liked, and when I went back along that road there was no sign of him — hopefully because he had made it home and was resting his poor feet. As I drove slowly along 13th, to see if there was any sign of him, I imagined picking him up and driving him to the store every month. He might be a Vietnam Vet, I thought, or maybe he digs Willy Nelson, who he kind of reminded me of. Maybe he would have refused my offer, maybe it would need to be arranged to seem less like charity for a proud man to accept such a suggestion from a stranger. Maybe a local church could institute a shuttle. Well, my imagination started churning out a dozen remedies to this unacceptable situation in the city I’ve adopted and historic neighborhood I love.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like living in a neighborhood and city where some old man has this task to look forward to every month so he can eat on his meager income.

Now let me say that it’s great that there is an expanding and thriving medical complex two blocks from me. It’s pretty damn handy if I accidentally try to cut off my finger (which I kinda did a couple months ago, though I didn’t end up having to go to the emergency room), and it’s contributing a great deal to the economy and academic development of the city and state.

But really, how can you hold your head up as a medical community, a civic entity and a decent neighborhood when a poor old guy has to spend 4 and a half hours getting a few groceries that might last him two weeks if he’s lucky or, more likely, really careful.

You can’t, that’s the answer to that question, not while meeting any standard of civilized behavior.

Now let me say a few words about the OKC City Council. It is and has been for some time made up of probably nice enough people who think they are doing right by giving tax breaks and outright bribes to corporations and sports owners to get them to locate here or stay here. I’m sure all the people they see at church and social events they attend are pretty jazzed about their public service. But there is more to living in and managing a city than corporations and rich people who cater to them.

Maybe Charlie Swinton would feel a heart tug seeing that old guy. But would he talk about him at a council meeting and try to convince his colleagues to help a small but health-conscious grocery go up somewhere in the shadow of OU Medical Center? I can’t conjure up that picture in my mind. Not his ward, you know. There are some really good banks right there, though, he might say.

But I don’t have to use any imagination to see Ed Shadid doing that. I know for a fucking fact it would happen, and it wouldn’t have to wait for the eve of the next election when he’s looking to work up some warm fuzzies.

Ed Shadid cares about PEOPLE, and especially about the people that live in his city. He cares about their kids, and about their grandparents. He doesn’t just look at people for what they can do for him, he SEES and HEARS them and what they love, what they might fear, and what they might need. ALL OF THEM, not just those who need bankers.

Please help get Ed Shadid elected today. Somebody’s quality of life depends on it.

Correx: Added missing work to the third paragraph to make it read “NOT completely rare.”

Understanding and treating the hidden wounds of war

July 20, 2009

PTSD DVD cover

Documentary video explores the hidden wounds of war

Date: Wednesday, 7/21
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Joy Mennonite Church, 504 NE 16th, OKC

The Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Oklahoma GI Rights Hotline invite you to a screening of the film “PTSD: Invisible Wounds of War” on Tuesday, July 21 at 6:30 pm at Joy Mennonite Church in Oklahoma City. After the film, there will be a discussion led by Nathanial Batchelder, a medic in Vietnam and director of Oklahoma City Peace House, Phyllis Byerly, a retired psychologist, and James Branum, a lawyer specializing in military law and supervising attorney for the Oklahoma GI Rights Hotline.

The film presents information about the vast scope of the problem, the potentially severe consequences, and the necessity to seek help. Veterans, elected officials and therapists who specialize in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) explain the condition and discuss what resources are available and what needs to be improved in treatment and public policy.

The event is free and open to the public. Joy Mennonite is located at 504 NE 16th Street, on the corner of Lincoln.

For more information, email info@centerforconscience.org or call 405-236-4938, ext. 2.

Stimulating family planning

January 29, 2009

There is a great op-ed, Counting Out Women, by Melissa McEwan published today in the Guardian (UK) about Chris Matthews and the general idiocy in the US media (not to mention a huge hunk of the blogosphere) about some parts of the original economic stimulus package, in which she specifically addresses the segment from Hardball that I posted about yesterday.

According to Matthews, the only thing “real people” can “see” are infrastructure projects and the jobs they create – which, as has been pointed out by Linda Hirshman and discussed by Echidne here, are jobs that will disproportionately benefit men. Funding for family planning (arguably) primarily benefits women, rendering it, in Matthews’ estimation, a pointless waste of money.

Subsequently, after Wexler explains that family planning “saves, if done correctly, an enormous sum of money down the road in the healthcare system” – Matthews ignores wholly that planned and wanted children born to non-addicted women who seek out prenatal care are generally healthier children, dismisses out of hand the importance of choice, and instead accuses Wexler (and, by extension, the Democrats) of advocating “a policy of reducing the number of births”.

[…]

“It sounds a little like China,” he notes, conflating the Democrats’ plan to provide women a breadth of reproductive choices with a state-mandated reproductive limitation which has resulted in the mass murder and abandonment of female infants.

Wexler was one of the few voices, male or female, that was allowed to even push back on this nonsense on corporate media. So I suppose good for Matthews for making that possible — but it was obviously just a way for the host to make his point, if you want to call his babbling about China and infanticide a point relative to the legislation under discussion.

It is clear that conservatives would like to set up contraception now as something controversial, even shameful. They need a new pet issue to whip up their braindead base over, to keep the coffers full and the ballots filled out as instructed from the pulpit. You wait and see.

So to all the so-called liberal boys who got right on board with the GOP’s misogynist agenda, because family planning money fills clinics instead of building them, don’t wonder later how you got played once again by the culture warriors. Just read your own archives.