Saturday, March 11, 2017

I Deserve To Brag (3-11-17)

In case anyone missed it, we were approved for a lovely apartment in Long Beach about 4 miles from where we currently live. We picked up the keys yesterday afternoon. Then the reality hit me. We don't own any large appliances or furniture other than our beds and TV sets. In the next paragraph, you'll find my report:


Sofa-Bought at IKEA
Futon-Bought at IKEA
Stove/oven-Bought at Sears
Washer-Bought at Sears
Dryer-Bought at OOPS! Not bought!
Silly me! it turns out we need a GAS dryer, and I was about to buy an electric!
Everything gets delivered on Thursday. Well, except the dryer for now, because I have to do research first.
In other news New cable company installs on Sunday (8 days from now)


The Futon was on sale for $90! (reg price $250) and, In fact, I bought EVERYTHING on sale!
On the other hand, my to do list is HUGE!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Pain Management Update

With everything going on I never mentioned this fun fact:

It's been about two weeks, maybe more since I stopped using edibles on a daily basis.

On Friday, February 17th I had my very first cortisone shot ever. I hope to never have a repeat. Remember that it was a desperate move to gain more range of motion (ROM). Shilo held me down as I was being injected and tears were just flowing. I rarely cry out loud. Sunshine will, but only for emotional reasons. It was not pretty. I never looked at the needle or syringe, but I've seen it done before when I was a medic in the USAF and I know the syringe is HUGE. Shilo later told me how surprised/appalled he was when he saw it. I believe he said he'd cry too.

Anyway, it worked!!! My ROM has improved significantly, and a few days after my Monday morning PT, (2-20) I decided to not use any edibles unless I really needed it, or on PT days before the PT, and other than that, only if my pain was at a 3+ (You can refer to my pain chart at: ) I have edibles for when I need them, and I'm happy to say that I'm no longer dependent on pain relief to function.

Yes, I still have days when I need the pain relief, and I take the minimum amount needed (usually 1 stick, rarely 2) and there are times when I want to take it and I'm not really in that much pain, so I don't take any and I "ride" through the pain and discomfort. I really feel the cannabis was helpful in getting me off the opioids when they weren't working anymore, and I was on the verge of addiction or overdosing to get enough relief.

I still have a long way to go on my PT, but I don't feel nearly as hopeless as I did. I'm also "re-training" myself to use my right hand/arm when I can. I still paddle with my left, but I manage to give Shilo a pink bottom with it. I need to start focusing on using my right arm again for that, but I still have some fear with that.

One step at a time.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Solution? Opinions? (3-7-2017)

Donna has always been there for me. Yes, she's a bull terrier mix AKA: A pitbull, but she helps with my SAD and PTSD. People are afraid of her, but I feel it's their problem. Then I discovered the following:

What Is An Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a person's pet that has been prescribed by a person's licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist (any licensed mental health professional). The animal is part of the treatment program for this person and is designed to bring comfort and minimize the negative symptoms of the person's emotional/psychological disability.

What Animals Qualify To Be An ESA?

All domesticated animals may qualify as an ESA (cats, dog, mice, rabbits, birds, snakes, hedgehogs, rats, mini pigs, ferrets, etc.) and they can be any age (young puppies and kittens, too!). These animals do not need any specific task-training because their very presence mitigates the symptoms associated with a person's psychological/emotional disability, unlike a working service dog. The only requirement is that the animal is manageable in public and does not create a nuisance in or around the home setting.

How To Qualify

For a person to legally qualify for an emotional support animal(ESA), he/she must be considered emotionally disabled by a licensed mental health professional (therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.), as evidenced by a properly formatted prescription letter. Typically, a medical doctor does not qualify because they are not a licensed mental health professional. Some airlines and property managers will accept a verification form completed by a family doctor, however.

The letter should state that:
1. You are currently his/her patient.
2. Are under his/her care for the treatment of mental disability found in the DSM IV or V (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 4 or 5).
3. Your disability substantially limits at least one major life activity.
4. He/she prescribes for you an emotional support animal as a necessary treatment for your mental health.
In addition, the letter must be dated, written on his/her letterhead, include his/her license type, number, date of license, and state in which the license was issued.

What Are Your Legal Protections and Rights?

The Air Carrier Access Act 49 U.S.C. 41705, Dept. of Transportation 14 C.F.R. Part 382, Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 are the laws that protect an emotionally disabled person and his/her ESA.
The legal protections an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) has are to:
1. Fly with its emotionally or psychologically disabled handler in the cabin of an aircraft without being charged a pet fee.
2. Qualify for no-pet housing (that also includes limited size, breed, or species housing) without being charged a pet fee.

Housing Rights and Your Service or Emotional Support Animal

If a person is physically impaired (disabled) and has individually trained service dog to perform a major life task that the person has trouble performing for him or herself (or an emotional support animal prescribed by a licensed mental health professional), the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 requires the landlord/property manager to make a reasonable accommodation to their policies and allow the tenant to have an emotional support animal. This includes species, breed, and weight policies.
That means if they have a "cats only" policy, they must accept your service dog. If they have a policy that allows dogs weighing no more than 30 lbs. and your emotional support animal (ESA) weighs 75 lbs., they must make a change in the rules to accommodate you. If they accept all dogs, except pit bulls, and you have a pit bull, they must allow your pit bull to reside with you.

Documentation Required For Emotional Support Animals

The one requirement for a person to legally qualify for an emotional support animal (ESA) is that the person has a letter from a licensed mental health professional (therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist -NOT the family doctor) on his/her letterhead that states the person is under his/her care, is emotionally or psychiatrically disabled, and prescribes for the person an emotional support animal. Without this letter, if the person presents an animal as an ESA, he/she is in violation of federal law; an offense punishable by fine and imprisonment, if convicted.

Verification May Be Required By Property Managers

These laws allows a property manager to accept a letter from the tenant's licensed mental health professional (LMHP) for an ESA, but they may also require a verification form to be completed by a physician or LMHP, confirming the tenant's physical/emotional/psychiatric disability. Despite how much the property manager/landlord does NOT want your service dog or emotional support animal, federal law requires him/her to make a reasonable accommodation in the rules. If they do not, they are discriminating against a disabled person and are in violation of federal law. Here is a link to a government document (one of many) that addresses this issue. See the 3rd page, second column):


Examples and Specific Rules

So how do Fair Housing laws apply to real life situations? Here are some examples:
John has been diagnosed with severe depression and is disabled as defined by the Fair Housing Act. His doctor prescribes John a dog to help alleviate some of his symptoms. John asks his landlord if he can have a dog as a reasonable accommodation for his disability. His landlord says yes, but tells John he'll need to pay a $250 pet deposit and must provide proof that the animal is trained.

Question: Did John's landlord correctly handle John's request under the Fair Housing Act? What if John wanted a cat or a ferret instead?

Answer: No, John's landlord did not handle his request correctly. The landlord cannot charge John a pet deposit for his animal because it is not a pet, but rather emotional support animal required for his emotional impairment. Further, the landlord cannot ask for proof that the animal is trained. Lastly, emotional support animals do not have to be just dogs; they can also be other animals, such as cats or ferrets (and many other species).

Landlords cannot:

  • Ask a tenant to pay a deposit, fee, or surcharge in exchange for having a service or emotional support animal, even if they require such a practice from owners who wish to obtain pets in their dwelling.
  • Require that an emotional support animal have any specific training
  • Require the emotional support animal to wear or carry any special collar, harness, vest, emblem, or other means of identifying it as such.
  • Inquire about the extent of the disability, or ask for detailed medical records for the individual requesting the service or emotional support animal.
  • Refuse to accommodate you and your animal because their insurance policy won't allow a species, breed, or weight. They are still subject to the law.
  • A person with a disability may, however, be charged for damages caused to the premises by their emotional support or service animal.
  • A disabled person who does not properly manage his/her unruly, destructive, aggressive, or disturbance causing animal can be evicted.


What To Do When a Property Manager Refuses To Comply

Failure to accommodate a physically or emotionally impaired person is a violation of federal law and can be successfully sued AND the landlord/property manager financially penalized by the U.S. Justice Dept. because it is considered discrimination against a disabled person. Something the government takes seriously.
1. Clients are encouraged to make sure the landlord or property manager are clearly aware of the law and consequences to help them avoid prosecution and punitive damages. Most are in violation simply because they do not know the law. The U.S. Justice Dept. does not consider the property manager's lack of awareness when they prosecute them, however.
2. A client can report the landlord/property manager to the U.S. Justice Dept. and file a complaint for discrimination.
3. A client may sue the landlord/property manager for discrimination.
You'll need to be prepared to reinforce your position and case with supplemental documentation from a physician or mental health professional that verifies your need for the animal.

Done and DONE! Input? Opinions?