Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Tuesday at VAPSHC

Ron And Jim
Tuesday I picked up Cyril and went to the VA Hospital for a full few hours.
I met Marlene, the professional fundraiser for The Atrium Project, and she is a hoot! We hit it off immediately (...to be fair, one of her prime requisites is the ability to connect with people immediately...) and the only downside is that I came home later with a long list of tasks.
That's ok. The Project needs this stuff done.
At 10 was the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Mental Health center. I thought it was completely appropriate that the noise of heavy equipment would at times drown out the speeches of the politicians, as the work on the parking garage had to go on and the speeches, however heartfelt, did not really change anything. I did like the speeches and they did reflect important realities.
Speakers include Senator Patty Murray, Representatives McDermott, Del Bene and Smith (on crutches from his surgery), Alfie from WDVA, an official from the federal VA, the head of Mental Health at VAPSHC and a Marine. It was really fun meeting people in the crowd before and after, although I couldn't help noticing that there were only a few veterans present who were not there because they were officials. Perhaps such events were not intended for the people the facilities are intended to serve - but then again, perhaps they should have been. Certainly the opening of the Atrium will include the veterans, patients, families and staff who we serve.
Part of my purpose in being there today was to acquaint officialdom with the Atrium Project. It is not well known, and any clogs from the bureaucracy, e.g. awaiting for approval from VACO, would benefit from a little political draino.
I handed out about 10 packets, including to some veterans I met in the hospital later.
After the ceremony, I took Marvin Burnett, the Commander of DAV Chapter 23 (West Seattle) up to the 6West ward to see about the Rounding Clocks. The Nurse Manager explained the project, which made a lot of sense to me the first time I heard the details, and made a whole lot of sense to Marvin. He approved the expenditure immediately, as it was within his discretionary guidelines. We talked about how the items would be ordered (they aren't available in stores, but must be ordered online), the particular model desired, pickup and so forth - when it occurred to me that since the items would be put to use as soon as they arrived, it was desirable that they be ordered ASAP, and that there is no time like the present. So I asked if they were allowed to order them right not at the handy workstation I saw on the desk. It was done; I had to lend my Discover card, but since I got a receipt, there will be no problem getting compensation from the Chapter in a timely way.
I do believe that the VA Staff was a little stunned at getting the problem solved just like that. I'm not some kind of anti-government whackadoodle, but sometimes the care necessary to operate a large organization can also smother innovation, so it helps to have outsiders cut the Gordian knot.
The VAF part of the Atrium Project met in the hospital cafeteria and planned for more than an hour. There's a lot of moving parts! Cyril and I had a 2:30 to meet a veteran with an issue, so we stuck around; that particular client did not show but we talked with several other veterans so it was time well spent.
While all this is going on, I am working the development of The Bob Show via my cellphone - some email with John, some text with Nandini, and a phone call to Talia. I feel thoroughly modern!
Once home, I rested. There's a lot of organization to do Thursday and I need to be operating at full. However it was also urgent that I respond to Kris' lawyers demand for documents - all 48 pages of it. I had dreaded this since it involved swearing that I had answered fully and completely, and some of it would require a lot of research. Since I am working full time and more than full time on my projects, taking 40 or more hours to help out a lawsuit that should have been settled long ago was not something I was eager to do. However, once I sat down and started going through it, a lot of it was silly stuff like my address, which Kris could have given them and which they must have already have because one version of the form had been mailed to me. There was stuff about whether I had a drug problem, whether I had huge amounts of money stashed away in financial instruments, and so forth. It would have been very appropriate had we seven-figure incomes, but applied to our situation it was just trying to crack a peanut with a sledgehammer. This process has helped me understand part of why so many people hold lawyers in such contempt - I have no doubt that the law firm made a nice profit off of printing that 48-page example of copy-and-paste (technically they probably used a software to generate it from their case database) and any ordinary person receiving it would have felt as harassed as I do.
Good job law firm!
I filled out as much as I had, and invited the law firm to ask Kristine for the information that she had, and stated that the historical information I didn't have since banks use electronic statements now-a-days. I'm curious to see how they will react, but I imagine it will be with more billable hours.
I suppose it is now my dreary task to send a reciprocal demand to Kris' lawyers. If that's the way the thing works, o.k. but it sure is stupid.
Kris told me that she was visiting her friend Hope this evening, and since she was not back after 11 I assume they were making a night of it. Whether she is truthful or bullshitting in this is no business of mine; it was helpful enough that she alerted me not to be alarmed were she not back, and I am grateful for that.
Conditions in this house have gotten much more calm and productive; Kris is no longer making angry threats and it's not entirely clear that she intends to move out. Indeed we are talking of an extended period of renting the upstairs to my daughters.
I would like to know why this change in attitude, but of course will never be told. I speculate that some analysis of the financial situation and/or discussion with her friend may have persuaded Kris that it is doable and acceptable to effectively split the house as I proposed; Kris' discovery of a medical condition may have focused her mind on more important things; I may have learned not to bother asking Kris any questions since they only agitate her; Kris has successfully articulated a concern without expressing hostility and in response gotten a satisfactory and non-hostile response; renting two of the upstairs bedrooms promises to reduce financial pressures and also provide a bit of buffering - Kris is always on her best behavior when other people about, and it may be that sharing the space with two young women who are personally neat may be a pleasant thing to think about - Kris seems to have been happy living with her mother and unhappy living with men, so this upcoming change may be a great improvement.
Whatever the reason for the change, I am grateful.
I shall sleep soundly and with three cats.

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