Let's look at this realistically.
Ontario Disability "Support" Program
For many people with disabilities, in Ontario, the Ontario Disability Support Program is their only or, at least, major source of support. In my experience, the program is aptly named in that it supports the disability; not the disabled. Following is the text of e-mail messages, I sent from Dec., 2010 to Feb., 2011, detailing my efforts to "get help" from the Ontario Disability Support Program. Subsequent efforts are partly detailed in the "Mental health Matters" article, starting with the 9Aug., 2013 item.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be adding additional articles relating to organizations, agencies and individuals who claim and are paid to "help" which, in my experience, are worse than useless. Follow @GYFHAS on Twitter for notices of new posts.
ME to Tanya Dibenedetto copy Madeleine Meilleur 8 Dec., 2010
I was in, last week, but it was a couple of minutes before 4:00 and I didn't want to hold you up.
I'm supposed to be at the hospital, for tests, on both the 9TH and 10TH; actually, the same test but they won't do upper and lower on the same day. I'm not supposed to have any food, medication or even coffee for, I think, twelve hours prior to the tests. When I had to fast, for the test that was done in April or May, I couldn't walk to the bus stop and that was without the cold temperature, which makes breathing more difficult. I have an appointment, with the cardiologist, on the 22ND and she wants me to have a surgical procedure which, also, requires fasting, I'm supposed to be picked up after and, I understand, won't be able to do much, for a few days, following, so that won't happen 'til January or February.
This has caused me to think about our recent discussions, regarding the ODSP transportation allowance. As I recall, you said that you'd spoken with Sharon and Rita, at ODSP, and had been told they hadn't received either Dr. Kruger's note or my follow-up faxes. Also, that Sharon had suggested I'd sent the faxes to the "wrong fax number".
I took the form and note to the ODSP office, photocopied both, stapled the note to the form, on both the original and copy, asked to speak with the lady who handled transportation allowances (I couldn't remember the name), handed her the original, pointed out Dr. Kruger's note, asked if any additional information or explanations were required, was told "no", had the receptionist stamp my copy, for receipt, and left.
As you saw, from the copy, Dr. Kruger wrote "...will require a taxi. (see attached page)", in the "Additional Details" section of the form.
I took a letter (you should have a copy) to the ODSP office, which read, in part:
Date: 20 Jul., 2010
I appreciate the $24.00, per month, transportation allowance but don't understand the advice that Dr. Kruger's request had been "approved". Perhaps you can explain? Dr. Kruger specified appointments with himself and Dr. Goel, medical tests, appointments with specialists, CMHA programs at PAR and Eden Place as well as the option to use a cab, if necessary. When I handed the form to Rita, I believe it was, I asked if any additional information or clarification was required and was told: "no".
Appointments with Dr. Kruger and Dr. Goel would be, at least, four per month; occasionally, more. I've managed to have three of the tests. As a result of one, an appointment was made, for me, with a cardiologist but I was unable to keep it. The program, at PAR, is every weekday and one Saturday per month. The program, at Eden Place, is daily, except Monday. While I prefer the program at Eden Place, the trip is more difficult, for me, so I was attending only four or five times per month. I was missing one to three appointments per month as a result of being unable to use public transit. That may be higher, now, as my level of anxiety seems to have increased, since having to reduce my social interaction.
Brampton Transit fares are $3.00 per ride, $25.00 for ten tickets, $26.00 for a weekly pass and $102.00 for a monthly pass. Return trips, from Eden Place, require a Mississauga Transit fare. Transfers, in most cases, are of little use as they're valid for two hours from the start of the route, not boarding, and are, usually, expired by the time I reach my destination; certainly, by the time I begin the return trip. The first month's transportation allowance was spent on one cab fare to the hospital. It appears Dr. Kruger's request has been, constructively, denied and the $24.00, per month, akin to leaving a five cent tip; "you were noticed and this is what we think of you".
A couple of weeks ago, as I was limping to the bus stop from PAR, trying to breathe in the forty degree heat, I noticed one of the twice daily cabs, paid for by ODSP, and wondered how it is that some, who are able to use public transit, a few of whom would apparently benefit from walking more, are able to obtain this, while I can't get even bus fare or cab fare to see a cardiologist.
Subsequently, I received a telephone message (as I recall, I played it for you), from Sharon, advising that she was sending another form “to list the trips (I) specified”, with no explanation, of the $24.00 amount. I called and left a message, in her voice mail, asking why another form was necessary, when the trips I’d specified were listed on the first form and Dr. Kruger’s note, which was attached to it, when I handed the form to, I believe, Rita. Also, pointing out Dr. Kruger had included the option to use a taxi when necessary. I received no response.
I, then, sent a fax (you should have a copy) to 905-455-8900, which read, in part:
Date: 23 Aug., 2010
I received your telephone message, a couple of weeks ago, advising you were sending another form “to list the trips (I) specified”, in my note dated 20 July, and that the mode of transport was up to the doctor.
On 9 August, I left a message, in your voice mail, asking why another form was necessary, when the trips I’d specified were listed on the first form and Dr. Kruger’s note, which was attached to it, when I handed the form to, I believe, Rita. Also, pointing out Dr. Kruger had included the option to use a taxi when necessary.
I received no response.
I, then, sent another fax (you should have a copy) to 905-455-8900, which read, in part:
Date: 15 Sept., 2010
I've received no response to my fax of 23 Aug., a copy of which is attached.
By preventing or even delaying me from obtaining treatment, you are, in my opinion, recklessly, endangering my life. In spite of two requests, you've failed to provide an explanation as to why a second form, as you put it: "to list the trips (I) specified", is required, when the trips I specified were listed on the first form and Dr. Kruger's note, which was attached to it. Therefore, I can only assume the endangerment is intentional.
Additionally, the stress caused by the frustration of attempting to deal with the situation, coupled with being forced to reduce my social interactions, has, significantly, contributed to a worsening of my mood and an increase in my anxiety level, which has resulted in a, further, deterioration of my ability to function. Also, I imagine, an increase in my blood pressure, which I doubt is desirable, when one has a "large defect" in one's heart. I really don't know, though, since, as I believe I mentioned, I was unable to keep the appointment, made for me, with the cardiologist. This in addition to the expense of energy, time and money, none of which I have much of, I've been put to.
The only options, I can think of, are to seek legal advice, as to what civil and/or criminal law might apply, and soliciting support from the media. Perhaps, you can suggest an alternative?
Again, I received no response.
So, there's the form, letter, phone call and two faxes. Obviously, the form and letter were received, as they were responded to. When I called, I reached Sharon King's voice mail and left the message. That leaves the two faxes.
Transmission, of both faxes, appeared to have completed, normally. The number, 905-455-8900, was given to me, by Sharon King, as the ODSP office fax number, and when I called, a few days ago, the receptionist gave me the same number, for their fax. The sending fax machine showed the number called. The receiving fax machine acknowledged receipt. Let's say, for the sake of argument, I did dial the "wrong number"...both times, co-incidentally, reached a fax machine...both times and whoever owned the fax machines didn’t bother to let me know I was sending to the wrong number...both times. What do you think the probability of that would be? In any case, the text of the two faxes, as well as the letter, was sent to Madeleine Meilleur, by e-mail. Those messages appear to have been received, as well. I'm sure...OK, I'm not sure but I'd like to believe that, as the Minister responsible for ODSP, she would've, at least, contacted the Brampton office, for an explanation.
Dr. Kruger’s note was referred to in the form and letter, which were received, as well as the phone message, which was almost certainly received, and the two faxes, which were likely received, either by the ODSP office, Madeleine Meilleur's office or both, yet no suggestion is made that Dr. Kruger’s note hasn't been received, for ten months and until a third party becomes involved. Can you imagine anyone, who processes medical forms, not inquiring, immediately, about a note, from a doctor, that's supposed to be attached to a form, the doctor's completed, and isn't?
There are a few other "issues", I believe I've mentioned, which I find "troubling". Since November, of last year, dealing with Sharon and Rita:
* In November, of last year, I left a number of messages, over several days, that I needed a drug card faxed to my pharmacy, in order to obtain medication, I was out of. The messages were, apparently, ignored. Finally, I reached someone and requested that the November and December cards be faxed to my pharmacy. The November card was; the December card wasn't.
* In December, of last year, I left a number of messages, over several days, that I needed a drug card faxed to my pharmacy, in order to obtain medication, I was out of. The messages were, apparently, ignored. Finally, I reached Rita. She told me that she'd fax a copy of the drug card, to my pharmacy, "immediately"; she didn't. I couldn't deal with it and had to request assistance, from CMHA.
* ODSP advised me that I owed an "overpayment", of almost $1,000.00. Shortly after dropping off a letter, at the ODSP office, asking for an explanation, I received a letter, from ODSP, advising that the "overpayment" had been "paid".
* After requesting, of Sharon, that mail not be sent to my residence, I received two pieces, addressed by hand, at my residence; one about two weeks after it was postmarked and the other after my landlord woke me, to let me know I had mail.
* Sharon advised me that there was "no set amount", for glasses, and that I had to bring in a prescription, in order to obtain a form, for the optician. The optician showed me the ODSP schedule, which is based on the prescription strength. In my case, the amount was, I think, $160.00. Since my glasses cost $375.00, five years ago, the trips were a waste of time and money.
* In spite of advising Sharon, in my letter of 20 July, that "it'll take a few months to put aside the couple of hundred dollars required (for glasses)", I received an "Authorization/Invoice" (for glasses), dated 5 August and marked "not valid after 30 days".
* Sharon neglected to advise me that ODSP could cover the entire cost, of glasses, if it were necessary, requested and supported.
* In my letter of 20 July, I asked Sharon if she were aware of what someone had mentioned, to me, about an ODSP benefit, for volunteering, may've been referring to and if ODSP offered or she knew of any sort of free or very inexpensive assistance with housekeeping. I've received no reply to either question. My tendency to withdraw and isolate is unhealthy and dangerous. In the event I'm unable to find something I can do, that'll generate income, volunteering would be helpful, I, Dr. Kruger and CMHA think. The $100.00 per month Community Participation benefit would make that possible. ODSP can assist with the cost of housekeeping, to enable recipients to remain in their homes, if it's necessary, requested and supported. Aside from the pain and respiratory problems, either of the two major falls, I've had, could've broken more than the chair, the one did, and lying on the floor, in pain, unable to get up or call for help isn't pleasant.
Too many other problems, lack of funds, lack of energy and the likelihood that dealing, with the Brampton ODSP office, would continue to be frustrating, expensive, time consuming, depressing...pretty much, an exercise in futility, makes me reluctant to pursue any of this. I need to find a lawyer, who can deal with it and would do so on a contingency basis, but am having difficulty doing anything or even getting motivated to continue trying.
You'll notice I've copied Madeleine Meilleur. I've sent her copies of most of my correspondence to and about the Brampton ODSP office. Initially, in the hope she'd have the situation rectified and, when it became obvious that wasn't going to happen, so she'd be aware of the details, in the event the media becomes involved.
ME to Tanya Dibenedetto copy Madeleine Meilleur 16 Dec., 2010
Sharon King left a message, Tuesday afternoon, that they're "waiting for a form", which they've had for ten months, she can't approve transportation, by bus, with the option to use a cab, if necessary; it's "either/or". She's approving transportation, by cab, for the trips listed on the form, which I take to mean just to see Drs. Kruger and Goel, as I assume they're sticking to their, recent, claim not to have received Dr. Kruger's note. Spending $60.00, for a cab, when $6.00, for a bus, would do seems contrary to Duncan's statement that "the austerity measures aimed at eliminating waste and finding savings are necessary to help the province manage through hard times and erase its record $18.7-billion deficit".
Their "help" has forced me to spend the time and money, I should've spent on getting moved in and dealing with the problems I had, before I asked for it, on transportation they claim to provide and attempting to deal with them. The frustration and stress has caused the depression and anxiety to increase to the point I'm having difficulty doing anything and would sooner give up than continue trying. Even if the transportation benefit is resolved, the thought of having to go through this, to obtain the other benefits they claim to provide; glasses, hearing aids et cetera, makes me nauseous.
Would you mind asking the lawyers, you mentioned, if either or both a civil action against ODSP employees, personally, based on their not having acted in good faith, and an application for a judicial review, of the situation, are matters they'd be interested in handling?
ME to Tanya Dibenedetto copy Madeleine Meilleur 22 Dec., 2010
Last year, my "Christmas Dinner" was a double chocolate doughnut because ODSP had told me I owed them, almost, $1,000.00 and I was afraid to spend any money, in case they were right; should've known better. That was the first time I can remember not having turkey and, knowing my mother, she likely pureed Christmas Dinner and fed it, to me, as a baby. I promised myself, this year, I'd have turkey and bought one, when they went on sale, after Thanksgiving. More than a week ago, I took the oven door off, to clean it, and haven't been able to get it back on.
Last week, in addition to the usual bumps, burns, scrapes and cuts, I was hit by a woman, backing out of her drive, as I walked to the store. It was dark and I didn't see or hear the vehicle until it was too late to get, completely, out of the way. Like the fall I took, trying to clean the cupboards, I wasn't injured, seriously, but you know it's just a matter of time. The following day, my leg hurt too much to walk or stand on, for any length of time, so I started working on the piles of paperwork and found a letter, from CPP, dated months ago, to the effect they'd had mail returned and my benefit would be suspended if I didn't complete and return the enclosed form. A couple of days later, I lost my nitroglycerin and didn't realize it 'til about 1:00 am.
When I found the apartment, I was tired and sore but functioning better than I had for quite awhile. I figured I'd get my stuff out of storage, get moved in, get glasses, hearing aids, dentures, deal with the physical problems, clear up the paperwork and find something I could do to generate some income. Thanks to you, I was able to get my stuff out of storage. Thanks to Amanda, who was handling the Peel Ontario Works discretionary benefits, I was able to get dentures. Thanks to Sharon and Rita, at ODSP, I've been unable to get anything else accomplished.
As you know, I'd given up, awhile ago. When you told me you'd spoken with Sharon and Rita and they claimed not to have received Dr. Kruger's note, either of the faxes or, presumably, the telephone message, I thought it'd only be a matter of bringing this, what seemed to me obvious, fabrication to Madeleine Meilleur's attention and the situation would be rectified. That, of course, didn't happen. I'd like to see them trying to explain, in Court, but haven't the time, energy or money to find and deal with a lawyer or, probably, the time to wait, while it's dealt with.
I don't see that there's any point in discussing the e-mail. Talking about a problem rarely solves it; especially, when those doing the talking aren't the cause of the problem and have no control over those who are. Besides, the situation's simple. My condition, financial, physical and mental, has become, progressively, worse and isn't likely to improve, in the present circumstances. I can't manage without ODSP's help and the people at ODSP, Sharon, Rita and Madeleine Meilleur, not only aren't helping, they appear to be going out of their way to hinder; at least, in the case of Sharon and Rita.
The government has, very generously, increased the ODSP by 1%. Unfortunately, my rent and many of the grocery and other items, I purchase regularly, have increased 15% or more and none of my expenses have decreased. I'm forced to spend money on medications, which aren't covered; the Aspirin alone, prescribed by my cardiologist, is $15.99. I'm forced to spend more on communication and transportation due, in large part, to leaving numerous messages, at 50¢ each, which appear to have been ignored and being required to make several trips, at $3.00 each, which were unnecessary.
As you know, I subscribe to Hanlon's Razor; "never attribute to malice...". I asked if you could "imagine anyone, who processes medical forms, not inquiring, immediately, about a note, from a doctor, that's supposed to be attached to a form, the doctor's completed, and isn't". Here's another puzzler. I've referred to my copy of Dr. Kruger's note, several times, in this e-mail, which includes the "quoted text". Sharon is, obviously, aware of the e-mail as she left a voice message, in response to it. It's almost certain the message was forwarded to her. Even if you ignore the other indications, which suggest ODSP has or, at least, had Dr. Kruger's note, can you imagine anyone, in this situation, not asking for a copy?
I'm trying to decide whether or not to send the e-mail et cetera to as many media offices and organizations, which may be interested, as I can find e-mail addresses for and talking to Dr. Kruger about hospitalization, until March or April, when, hopefully, suicide won't seem as attractive as it does, at the moment. Of course, an e-mail to Duncan, with a copy to the media, asking if the cost of the "help" and "support", ODSP claims to provide, wouldn't be, considerably, less than the cost of hospitalization.
You'll recall me saying that most diseases and "disorders" are the result of a genetic predisposition with an environmental trigger and many, perhaps most, could be eliminated with genetic manipulation. I've been telling people that for, almost, twenty years and it's just been within the past few they've quit nodding, condescendingly, and rolling their eyes; due, I think, to the several "a new study has found a genetic link..." articles that've appeared. Did you see this? Transplant may have cured man of HIV
A genetically modified vaccine was used, at Hamilton Health Sciences, in 2003. Gene and EPC cell therapy was used, at St. Mike's, in 2006. Artificial stem cells were developed, at the University of Kyoto, in 2006. I'd bet money, if I had any, the billion dollars, diverted to "consultants", supposedly, in respect to "eHealth records" (which could've, actually, been implemented for less than a million but that's another story), would've, if the proper research were funded, resulted in cures, for a significant number of diseases and "disorders", being developed. Think of the savings, to Ontario taxpayers, just in ODSP benefits and salaries of unnecessary ODSP employees. If I get a headstone, I'd like it inscribed: "told you so".
Anyway, you have yourself a merry little Christmas. If you try to reach me, next year, and I don't get back to you, talk to Dr. Kruger, before you go looking for the body.
ME to Tanya Dibenedetto copies Madeleine Meilleur, Dwight Duncan 24 Dec., 2010
Last night, Pradeep woke me to give me a Christmas present, a shopping bag full of the "quarter pounder" cookies (did I tell you about these?) and a letter from Sharon. The letter's addressed to me, here, signed by Sharon, dated 15 December, postmarked 16 December and received, by me, 24 December. This in spite of my having told Sharon, when I saw her last year, that I did not want mail sent to my residence, stating, in the letter I delivered to the ODSP office in July:
In spite of my specific request that mail not be sent to my residence, I've received two pieces of correspondence, from your office, addressed to my residence. If this isn't a violation of privacy legislation, it ought to be. The last was received fourteen days after it was postmarked. I doubt it's possible to prove the delay resulted, entirely, from being sent to my residence but mail sent to the address I requested has been received within two or three days. My landlord woke me, at 11:30 PM, to give me the first. Considering the difficulty I have sleeping, this was more than a minor annoyance. I can't blame him, though, as he's unaware of my problem and I'm, usually, up at that hour.
and listing mail sent to my residence as one of the "issues", dealing with Sharon and Rita, I found "troubling", earlier in this e-mail exchange, which there's reason to believe she's received a copy of. Is it possible this isn't intentional?
The letter is confirmation of the telephone message Sharon left, "in response to (my) e-mail". As I presumed, her approval, to use taxis, is only for trips to see Drs. Kruger and "Sanjeev" (Dr. Goel's given name) and in lieu of using buses; not only when necessary, as was requested.
This solves the problem of the infrequent occasions I'd be unable to use buses, in order to see Drs. Kruger and Goel, but increases the, monthly, cost from $36.00 to $250.00 and leaves me still paying for trips to specialists, labs, the hospital et cetera. The amounts are, conservative, estimates, based on, historical, averages and assuming $50.00 taxi fare per return trip. It would seem to make more sense to issue a $102.00 bus pass and budget $40.00 or $50.00, per month, to use "alternative transportation", when necessary.
I saw the cardiologist, on Wednesday, and the pain, swelling, discoloration, in my feet and hands, isn't peripheral vascular disease. This reduces the likelihood of an, imminent, heart attack or my feet having to be amputated, which, I guess, is good, considering the "help", with transportation, I've been getting from ODSP, but means being subjected to more tests.
Anyway, I'm posting ads, on Kijiji and Craig's List, seeking a lawyer. I've copied Dwight Duncan as, after obtaining legal advice, I may make this a public matter and he'll, likely, need a bit of time to develop, plausible, explanations as to how spending $250.00/mo, to solve part of a problem, when $165.00/mo would solve the entire problem, is in the taxpayers' best interests or makes any sense and why Provincial civil servants are being paid $50,000.00, per year, to waste public funds.
ME to Tanya Dibenedetto copies Madeleine Meilleur, Dwight Duncan 7 Jan., 2011
"Safe" depends on your definition. Risk increases, during those weeks, and the current situation, with ODSP, isn't helping but I'm alive.
You'd told me you'd be away. The e-mail messages were "FYI" and I wasn't expecting an immediate response. I don't like "auto-responders" as they create unnecessary traffic, on the 'net. Consider what happens when two people are using "auto-responders" and one sends the other a message.
I was in, to the new office, two or three times, while you were away.
Last Wednesday, I had a message from Mary Kahn (SP?), manager of the Brampton ODSP office, that she wanted to "talk to me about my transportation". After wasting a dollar, trying to call her, I decided to stop in. Fortunately, I'd taken two milligrams of lorazepam, before going.
While I was waiting, for her, I noticed a poster en français. I couldn't see a translation or English version but that may've been because I haven't been able to get glasses.
After reading it, I imagine, anyone who hadn't experienced depression would want to and anyone who had wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry at the abysmal ignorance of whoever created it and would wonder about the knowledge of depression and judgement of those who put it up. I'd be interested in knowing how much of the taxpayers' money was spent, on it, and how much they'd give me for mine.
Mary was very apologetic about the third piece of correspondence, addressed to my residence, and explained it as: "Sharon was in a rush to get the approval out", "the computer picks up the first address" and "(the Brampton ODSP employees) are swamped".
She told me:
transportation, to and from specialists, tests and that sort of thing, would be approved, on a case by case basis
transportation to and from the hospital, last Friday, would be approved (I happened to have the information package, from the cardiac unit, with me)
transportation, to and from PAR, would be approved (presumably, upon receipt of something from Dr. Kruger or, possibly, "finding" his note from February)
paying for transportation and submitting a receipt, for reimbursement, was an option
additional cost of glasses would be approved, upon receipt of a letter from my optometrist
hearing aids could be obtained just by making arrangements with a dispensing audiologist as the audiologist handles all the paperwork
ODSP doesn't offer any assistance with housekeeping
to contact my caseworker if I needed anything else
I may be getting a different caseworker
She asked me:
if I had a copy of Dr. Kruger's note
to have Dr. Kruger complete another form, for the transportation allowance
my e-mail messages have been forwarded to her and discussed with Sharon
not having received Dr. Kruger's note
Mary didn't send the letter so needn't apologize. There's more than the letter that ought to be apologized for but, at this point, I'd question the sincerity of any I might receive. Sharon did process the "start up" allowance, when I saw her, in December of 2009, but, other than, that hasn't been in a rush to do anything so I wonder at her, suddenly, being "in a rush to get the approval out". In any case, after being told not to send mail to my residence, having been admonished for doing so and, presumably, reminded that this was an "issue", all within one year, it's difficult to imagine anyone being in that much of a rush and, even if true, isn't, I think, an acceptable excuse. If a computer system "picks up the first address", that address is used for mail and there's a "mailing address" in addition to a "residence address", does it make any sense to put the "residence address" in as the first address; especially, when the majority of your communication is by mail?
I couldn't work up much sympathy for their plight. They have transportation, communications, budgets, fairly decent computer systems, assistance, get paid $50,000.00 a year, go home after eight hours, aren't likely to die or wind up in a psych ward if they're unable to "get the job done", have chosen to be in the situation, have options, create unnecessary work and make situations more difficult than they need to be; I don't, didn't, can't, am more "swamped" and not a primary cause of their problem.
Not having a phone, fax, personal transportation or much disposable income as well as ODSP not allowing e-mail, makes obtaining prior approval, for transportation, on a case by case basis, impossible, in most instances.
Mary did approve transportation, to and from the hospital, last Friday. Thursday evening, I called the taxi company, specified by Sharon, confirmed they'd received authorization and requested a taxi, at "ten to seven to-morrow morning", as I "have to be at the hospital for seven" and was told: "it'll be there". Friday morning, I went outside at 6:45 a.m., so as not to keep the driver waiting if he were a bit early. At 6:55 a.m, I started walking to the pay phone, to let the hospital know I couldn't be there for 7:00 a.m. and ask if there were any point coming in, later. As I reached the corner, at 7:58 a.m., the taxi arrived. The driver was unapologetic and appeared unconcerned. When I opened the front passenger door, he ordered me to "get in the back"; not suggested or requested I do so. He had several items on the passenger seat. When I got in, he started complaining, in a raised voice, about my "slamming" his door. Being anxious and distressed, over being late, it's possible, even probable, I closed the door with more force than necessary but this wasn't intentional and was a long way from "slamming". I told him to "get to the hospital NOW!". Fortunately, he did as, if he hadn't put the vehicle in gear, I'd have gotten out and would've "slammed" the door.
My watch is set to an "atomic clock" and accurate to less than a second. This occurred on 31 December, when schools are closed and many manufacturers shut down, just before 7:00 a.m., which isn't, usually, a busy time, for taxis. The taxi was equipped with a working, two-way radio, working GPS and the driver had a cell phone. It's, almost, certain there was, at least, one taxi at the plaza, three blocks away, and several at the mall, a two minute drive away. There's no excuse for a taxi not having been there at "ten to seven".
When the hospital released me, I was hungry. The cafeteria was closed, I won't pay Tim Horton's prices, for a sandwich, and all I had, at home, that wouldn't require much time to prepare, was turkey, which I'd had more than enough of, so I walked to the pizzeria, behind the hospital. I couldn't see a pay phone, around the pizzeria, so walked across the street to use the one I knew was at the gas station, as it was closer than those I knew of at the hospital. The woman, at the taxi company, was also unapologetic and appeared unconcerned, when I complained about the pick-up. I asked for a taxi to be sent to the gas station and she told me they couldn't, as the authorization was for transportation "to and from the hospital". This didn't make much sense but there was no point arguing so I asked her to have a taxi "at the door on the West end of the hospital, on the North side, in ten minutes". She asked: "which door is that?" I told her: "the door on the West end of the hospital, on the North side". She said that she needed "the name of the door" and I'd have to call back. I told her I'd thank her but, since all she'd done was waste my time and money, wouldn't and hung up.
The only reasons I had for taking a cab home were: I didn't know how much pain I'd be in or if I'd be able to walk and was supposed to be taken home and have a "responsible adult" around, for twenty-four hours. I wasn't in pain, was able to walk fairly well and, in my opinion, the people at this taxi company weren't "responsible" so I took the bus. The walk from the bus stop may've caused some of the discomfort I experienced, that night, but that discomfort was a lot less than I experienced trying to deal with the taxi company. I wonder why ODSP specifies this particular company. As far as I know, they all charge the same rate and I've used "A-1", a number of times, with no problems.
My understanding is that transportation, to and from PAR and Eden Place, will be approved once they receive the, unnecessary, form they're asking Dr. Kruger to complete, think to ask for a copy of the note they started claiming, a few weeks ago, not to have received or "find" the original, I handed to Rita in February of 2009. CMHA's consolidating their facilities at Hurontario and Highway 407. I'll bet $20.00 (my coffee money for the month) that taxi fare is, at least, $25.00, one way. That's, at least, ten times what the cost of transportation by bus would be and the bus could be used for much, perhaps most, of the other transportation that'd be covered. I'll take a taxi when I have to but would refuse to take a taxi to PAR and Eden Place as doing so would make me an "accessory to stupidity"; not an offense, under the Criminal Code, but a crime none the less. A few people who are taking taxis to and from PAR may be unable to use the bus and some are delusional or experiencing cognitive impairment, much more severe than mine, so can be excused. Is there any reason to excuse the politicians and bureaucrats involved?
Paying for transportation, getting a receipt and submitting it for reimbursement, isn't ideal, given my limited income and other expenses, some of which wouldn't be necessary had Sharon and Rita done their jobs, but it's a whole lot better than paying and not being reimbursed. Had Sharon bothered to tell me this was an option, when I saw her in December of 2009, it would've spared me a good deal of aggravation and distress. I expect it, also, would've resulted in her being less swamped.
I picked up the letter, from my optometrist, late last Thursday but was too sore, to take it to ODSP, after I got back from the hospital, Friday afternoon, they were closed Monday and Tuesday was one of the "others"...as in "some days are better than others". Anyway, I dropped it off Wednesday.
Hearing aids may've saved me from being hit by a woman, backing out of her drive, a couple of weeks ago, would make finding a place a lot easier if I have to move again and would, probably, be a good idea for dealing with the medical issues. Friday, one of the nurses had a very high frequency voice and I had to ask her to repeat, pretty much, everything she said; more than once, a couple of times. I think she was about ready to go into my heart, on the spot, with her bare hands and no anesthetic. The major problem, at this point, is being party to a transaction that pays an audiologist $500.00 for twenty minutes work, I could do myself, and a manufacturer about three times what the same unit is sold, through WSIB, for makes me sick just thinking about.
I can't recall where I saw that ODSP did provide assistance with housekeeping and have put finding it on the "to do" list. It's possible the information may be incorrect or I may've misunderstood. Hopefully, it's not and I didn't. Living in filth is depressing, falling from step stools is dangerous and those would be my only options.
Contacting my caseworker hasn't done much good, in the past, so I'm reluctant to waste time, energy and money, endure the pain caused by walking to and from a pay phone and subject myself to the stress of continuing to attempt to deal with her. Additionally, she, apparently, doesn't receive phone messages I leave her, faxes I send to her or even documents I leave, at the office, for her and ODSP doesn't allow e-mail so contacting her is damned near impossible.
According to Mary, Romanella won't move to Brampton so it remains to be seen, if I do get another caseworker, whether or not it's an improvement.
I told Mary I did have a copy of Dr. Kruger's note; she didn't ask for a copy.
I told Mary I'd, already, asked Dr. Kruger to complete two of the transportation forms, the only change, to the last I'd given them, was a taxi was required if I had to discontinue medication, for a test or whatever, Dr. Kruger had specified a taxi "when necessary" and no, I wouldn't ask him to complete another but, if necessary, would get a note, confirming the necessity of a taxi if medication had to be discontinued, as Dr. Kruger had referred to "anxiety". Mary asked if I'd consent to their asking Dr. Kruger to complete the form so I wrote a consent, trying to emphasize that the request was ODSP's; not mine. I told Dr. Kruger that I was sorry his time was being wasted, it wasn't my idea and I consented to ODSP asking him to complete another form because it was possible they'd use my refusing as justification for withdrawing any assistance with transportation. Dr. Kruger hadn't received the form, from ODSP, as of Wednesday afternoon.
Mary's confirming my e-mail messages had been forwarded to her and discussed with Sharon, as I expected they would be, establishes, with certainty, who knew what, when but deepens some of the "mysteries". For example, why Sharon would, suddenly, be in such a rush to get the approval out that she'd send it to my residence when both the approval and her sending mail to my residence have been mentioned, in the e-mail messages, more than once, over the months. Why Dr. Kruger's note, supposedly, not having been received wasn't mentioned for ten months. Why, when my copy of Dr. Kruger's note was referred to, a number of times, I wasn't asked for a copy. Why no real attempt, to resolve the "issues", was made.
Mary may have believed Dr. Kruger's note wasn't received but, again, I have to wonder why, after asking if I had a copy and being told I did, she didn't ask for one. In any case, I told her that it, certainly, had been been received. At the moment, irrelevant as, even if I prove it was received, they may, no longer, have it and aren't likely to admit having it if they do. About all it's good for is evidence of malicious intent or unbelievable incompetence if and/or when this winds up in a Court and/or the media.
I can't function well enough, for long enough, to manage a "9 to 5" type job but can do some things most people can't. Did I show you the fax conversion program I made up for Dr. Goel? When I saw Sharon, in December of 2009, some type of self-employment seemed feasible and I want to have enough money, on hand, that I don't wind up back at Wilkinson, if I have to move again. I told Mary that my priority, at present, is the medical issues, which it is, but, even if they didn't exist, I'd have a problem. I'm having difficulty getting a haircut, doing laundry, doing dishes; things I didn't have much difficulty with, most of the time, before I was forced to move and had to rely on ODSP's "support" and "help". Had Sharon and Rita done their jobs, a year ago, this, likely, wouldn't be the case but, right now, I think the only job I'd be able to handle is ODSP caseworker. Accepting $50,000.00 a year for ignoring and/or jerking people, who are looking to me for help, around would, likely, cause more stress than being subjected to it.
Anyway, Mary's not dumb and, except for the stuff she had to say, seemed sincere. I don't imagine she's thrilled about being put in the position of of having to deal with this but expect she will. We'll see what happens, after she receives the letter from Dr. Cheung and the unnecessary form from Dr. Kruger.
It was Dr. Hill who performed the procedure, on Friday, and the guy is great. Intelligent, social (rare combination), sense of humour, even bought me a coffee. He, very well, may've deserved the censure he received, from The College of Physicians and Surgeons, but, given heart disease is so common, there are more than 450,000 people in Brampton, only seventeen cardiologists and his offense unrelated to competence, for the College to suspend him, rather than fining or some other form of punishment, which wouldn't have deprived the community of his services, was asinine.
I was at the hospital for about five hours. The procedure, itself, couldn't have taken any more than half an hour. Most of the time was "recovery", which I cut short, by ten minutes, "against medical advice", as I had to use the washroom. When I asked what the worst that could happen was, Joy, the charge nurse, told me the "plug", in my artery, could dislodge and I'd bleed to death. I figured there was, likely, a large "margin for error" in the time for recovery, I was in a "state of the art" cardiac unit, surrounded by highly trained medical professionals who, probably, wouldn't let me die, no matter how much of a pain I was, and bleeding to death, from an artery, would be fairly quick and painless, so decided to risk it. Apparently, no harm was done as there were only two or three drops of blood on the dressing, when I changed it, on Saturday. The results, of the procedure, weren't "good" but not as bad as I expected they'd be. I'm waiting for test results, which should've been back Tuesday, and want to discuss both, with Dr. Tsang, before I decide what to do.
I think I mentioned I'm reluctant to take a couple of the medications, she prescribed, because of the, possibly, fatal (slow and painful) side effects and, it seems to me, it may be possible to manage the problem with "therapeutic lifestyle changes", diet, exercise, supplements and exchanging one of the medications I'm taking for an alternative, which doesn't increase the heart rate so drastically. Problem being, the alternative medication and supplements aren't covered, diet and exercise require time, money and energy, exhausted by attempting to deal with ODSP. For example, it would've been possible to get glasses with two trips; one to have the exam and drop off the prescription (optometrist and optician are in the same building), another to pick up the glasses. So far, thanks to ODSP's "help", it's required six trips and I still don't have glasses.
The Ontario government will pay for drugs, which may kill you and won't pay for much safer, much less expensive alternatives, while claiming to "support" and "help" as well as "eliminating waste and finding savings". The only, possible, explanations, I can think of, are:
they're attempting to exterminate people, who claim drug benefits, to save on income support
Can you think of any others or any reason to eliminate any of those I've listed?
I received a letter, from ODSP, dated 29 December 2010, referring to an "overpayment" of "$1,090.00", and thought I was having a heart attack (literally). After the nitro kicked in, I read the other letter, from ODSP, also dated 29 December 2010, letting me know I'd "paid" everything I "owed", which I'm glad they did as I have no recollection of having "paid" anything. I'm, partly, to blame, I guess, for having let them know it upset me when they did this last year. Do they send these things in lieu of Christmas cards? I, probably, wouldn't be so upset if I did owe them anything but, since I don't, didn't and complained about it last year, view this as "harassment". At best, it's an asinine waste of the cost of stationery, postage, ink, wear on printer/postage machines as well as computer systems and employee time. Did I overlook anything?
ME to Tanya Dibenedetto copies Madeleine Meilleur, Dwight Duncan 7 Feb., 2011
Sorry I've been out of touch, the past few days; bad time of year, problems with medication and, as usual, ODSP.
I spoke with Mary Kan on 5 January (EDIT s/b 12/30; delivered Dr Cheung's letter 1/5), Dr. Kruger received the form and a consent, I'd given ODSP, more than a year ago; not the one I completed when I saw Mary, with no explanation, on 10 January. Dr. Kruger completed the form and returned it, by mail, that same day. I wonder why, if they, actually, required another form and had the consent, they didn't send it, to Dr. Kruger, a year ago?
On 24 January, I received a letter, dated 14 January, addressed to my residence, advising "(my) request for a benefit from (ODSP)" had been approved and I'd "receive $102.00 with (my) monthly ODSP payment". As usual, there was no explanation. The letter was a single sheet, in a window envelope, which had been opened and taped shut, signed "Cyril Honglin".
I was over that way so stopped in and spoke with Cyril. He told me the $102.00 was for a, monthly, bus pass and the approvals to use taxis, I'd received from Mary and Sharon, were "no longer valid". I pointed out that Dr. Kruger had put an "X" in the box next to "Taxi Service", as well as that next to "Public transportation", and had written: "Chris will attempt to use bus but if he is too anxious he will require a taxi Chris requires a taxi when his medications need to be discontinued for a test", in the "Additional Details" section and that meant I'd require a taxi, sometimes, so the $102.00 for a, monthly, bus pass, again, wasn't an approval, of the request.
Cyril's response was that he'd talk to Dr. Kruger and get it straightened out. I told him to leave Dr. Kruger alone, as he had nothing to do with ODSP's failure to do their job and they'd wasted more than enough of his time, with their nonsense. Cyril asked what I'd suggest and, while I don't think I should have to tell them how to do their job, it's obvious someone has to, so I told him:
a) give me forty or fifty dollars, when necessary, to use people who advertise providing transportation, to appointments et cetera, on Kijiji and Craigslist, as this was the least expensive option
b) give me approval to use a taxi company, other than Bram City; preferably A-1, as I've had good experience with them
c) reimburse me, which wasn't my first choice as I, frequently, don't have money, for a taxi, and have had to postpone procedures because of this
Cyril asked if I could obtain receipts from the people referred to in option "a". I told him I didn't know but doubted it as they, likely, weren't reporting the income, to Canada Revenue, and, would, probably, be adverse to leaving a "paper trail". He told me ODSP wouldn't involve Canada Revenue. I refrained from making the obvious comment that, after telling me mail wouldn't be sent to my residence, it had been so there was a bit of a "credibility issue".
Cyril told me he thought Bram City were "good". I guess it depends on your perspective and expectations. When I make arrangements, with a taxi company, for transportation to a surgery, and they're almost ten minutes late, for the pick up, I don't think they're "adequate", much less "good".
Cyril asked why I didn't just use taxis. I tried to explain that doing so would be, considerably, more expensive than using buses, as I was able, and taxis, only when necessary, but he didn't seem to understand why that mattered.
I mentioned that, regular, attendance at PAR would cost several thousand dollars, per month, and asked about the number of people taking taxis, to and from. He replied that "(ODSP) want to make sure they get where they're going". There are a couple of people, at PAR, who appear catatonic and I've wondered what benefit they derive from being there; I doubt they'd be able to use buses. There are several, though, who take taxis, to and from PAR, I, quite often, see on the buses and they don't appear to be experiencing any difficulty. Perhaps, I should be asking if they require assistance.
I inquired about glasses and Cyril claimed he was unaware of the situation. Interesting that, when he asked why I hadn't used the authorization, Sharon sent, and I told him: because the coverage would only be about $160.00; less than half what my glasses cost, five years ago, his response was: "that's all you'll get". When I told him ODSP would cover additional costs if supported by a letter from an optometrist, he didn't seem surprised; only asked if I had a letter. I told him I'd left it, addressed to Mary, a couple of weeks ago.
Cyril said he'd "check with (his) head office", regarding the transportation, and Mary, regarding the glasses. I told him I'd be back, on Wednesday, and would stop in. Wednesday, he had two people waiting, when I arrived, and the receptionist told me the one appointment was likely to last about an hour. I couldn't wait that long and wasn't able to make it back, before 5:00, so left Cyril a note, asking he "leave a message, on my voice mail, letting me know what (he was) doing about transportation, when I'm unable to use public transit, and glasses". Cyril left messages, on Thursday and a couple of times since, asking I call him; nothing about transportation or glasses. This, after I'd told him, Mary and Sharon that I don't have a phone, don't have much money, don't have much time, my feet hurt the more I walk and/or stand, it's almost a mile walk to use the nearest pay phone and costs fifty cents per call. Thursday, I wasted the time and money, to return his call, and, of course, got his voice mail; you'd think I'd have learned, by now.
I didn't mention the mail being sent to my residence, again, as there's, obviously, no point and it would've only upset me more than I, already, was. Apparently, the hypertension, ODSP is causing, is a major risk factor with my atherosclerotic heart disease. Add their preventing me from investigating and deciding on a course of treatment, consuming a proper diet, engaging in intersocial action and attempting to exercise, by forcing me to deal with them, unnecessarily; wasting what little time, energy and money I have as well as exacerbating the depression, by subjecting me to constant, prolonged stress, and it's difficult to believe they're not, deliberately, attempting to hasten my demise. As soon as I'm able, I need to speak with a lawyer, to find out if any recourse is available, through the Courts. Other than that, I think this e-mail exchange would make a pretty good "human interest story".
Cyril's name seemed familiar so I searched my system and found I'd received a letter, in 2008, advising my file was being reviewed and requesting documentation, including bank statements, be provided to him. I don't get hard copy statements and, at the time, wasn't able to obtain them, online. I went to the nearest branch, to see if I could get the statements, and was told I could but there'd be a charge. I called Cyril and asked if ODSP covered the cost and was told not to spend any money, he'd look into it. After a few calls, with Cyril telling me the bank didn't charge and the bank telling me they did, I learned Cyril hadn't spoken with anyone at the the bank and was told he'd call. The last time I spoke with Cyril (in 2008), I asked if he'd called the bank and he replied: "no but I asked around the office". Cyril, apparently, got the statements, directly, from the bank, which would've saved us both a good deal of time and aggravation, had he done so in the first place. A couple of months after I'd sent the documentation, I got a letter, from ODSP, advising it hadn't been received and my benefits were suspended. I called Cyril and he was adamant the documentation hadn't been received, much like Dr. Kruger's note. I called back, told Cyril Canada Post had a signature, for receipt, and suggested he take another look. A couple of days later, I received a letter, thanking me for providing the documentation.
I saw the audiologist, last week, and, apparently, the open CIC type aid, I mentioned, may not be such a good idea. According to him, batteries only last a few days, there's only one microphone so no directional discrimination and a few other drawbacks. He has a unit, with the electronics outside the ear, thin and light enough to wear with glasses, which doesn't block the entire canal so less of the occlusion effect than even the open CIC. The problem, with it, is the likelihood of loss, in a fall. I need to find out if the open CIC units are as bad as the audiologist suggested as getting an aid I'm likely to lose, in a fall, isn't too bright but getting one I won't lose and can't use is just dumb; especially, considering the price of these things. One more item to add to the list of things I'd be trying to do if ODSP weren't screwing me around.
ME to Tanya Dibenedetto copies Madeleine Meilleur, Dwight Duncan 14 Feb., 2011
Cyril had left a couple of messages, I think, before I sent the last e-mail. One asking I call him, the other that, if I needed a taxi, I was to call him and he'd have one sent to my residence.
It was Friday, the 11TH, at about 4:15, before I was able to reach Cyril and point out, to him, that this arrangement was, obviously, unworkable. Cyril said he'd "think about it", as though there were anything to "think about", and get back to me, this week. He'd forgotten about the glasses.
On 7 January, I said: "We'll see what happens, after (Mary) receives the letter from Dr. Cheung and the unnecessary form from Dr. Kruger." We've seen and my expectation that she'd handle the situation was overly optimistic.
I've been dealing with the Brampton ODSP office, trying to obtain medical transportation and glasses, for more than a year. Doing so has worsened the depression, increased the hypertension, wasted limited resources, prevented me from dealing with other, more important, issues and I, still, have neither glasses nor the required medical transportation. Given I was able to obtain dentures, through Ontario Works discretionary benefits, within a couple of weeks, without any of the aggravation ODSP is causing, I have to assume ODSP is the problem.
I had to find a lawyer to deal with ODSP sending mail to my residence and will be asking him or her to handle the medical transportation, glasses and, possibly, hearing aids, as well. Do you have any objection to my forwarding this e-mail exchange and other messages, related to ODSP, to the media? I ask as, while I intend to forward the messages in any case, I'll delete your name and e-mail address if you do.
ME to Tanya Dibenedetto copies Madeleine Meilleur, Dwight Duncan 28 Feb., 2011
Sorry I couldn't stay, to chat, the other day but I was going to be late, for an appointment, as it was.
I meant to tell you I still hadn't heard from Cyril. This in spite of his promise to get back to me, the week of the 13TH. Add his forgetting about the glasses, his suggestions regarding transportation and the question of whether or not a change, in caseworkers, would be an improvement has been answered.
The thought occurred to me that ODSP's, apparent, incompetence may be an unwritten policy, to save money by denying benefits, when there are no grounds for doing so. Considering the expenses of their involvement, past and future, as well as legal fees, Court costs and, hopefully, damages, that makes less sense than their actions, though. Perhaps it works in most cases or there's another reason. Can you think of any possibilities...other than incompetence?
PS ~ Between composing and sending this message, I noticed the article at news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20036960-71.html It's, statistically, improbable that all or even most Canadian politicians and political bureaucrats are nuts but it'd explain a good deal. That reminds me; when I saw Cyril, I seem to recall noticing that the nail of his one little finger was, unusually, long. This is common, in some countries of South America. Not that I'm suggesting ODSP employees "snort coke" but cocaine induced psychosis would explain the forgetfulness, irrational responses, absence of empathy, disregard of reality...pretty much, everything I've experienced, dealing with ODSP. You got anything?