From a Reader with Multiple Sclerosis

Reader Glenn Horowitz sent me what follows.

I live in Nashville, Tennessee, am a former civilian courier pilot, and I’m a longtime fan of LRC, its contributors, and of course your own work. I’ve been an adherent of the Austrian School since the very early 90s and have been grateful for its influence in my life.

I’m writing you today because I find myself in an unusual and unpleasant situation, and I have an oddly positive feeling that you might be able to offer some cogent advice and possibly some assistance with it. I respect your opinions and admire the way your mind works, so I have confidence that any advice you might care to offer will be sound.

Several years ago I came down with multiple sclerosis and recently it’s disabled me to a critical point. It permanently disabled me in 2006 and much as I’d like to, I can’t work productively. At this point, however, not only can I no longer walk, but I can’t even stand upright reliably. Even transferring from  my power wheelchair to my bed is dicey, but I refuse to stay bedridden. Transferring to my vehicle, a 2008 Honda Element, is far worse, putting me at risk of an uncontrollable fall to the concrete or asphalt surfaces I’m dependent upon. The only family member willing to help is my mother, who moved here from Washington, District of Criminals last October at my request.

This situation is untenable because (in order of severity):

  • I face the hazard of serious or possibly fatal injury from falling with every transfer to or from my powered chair to my vehicle, yet I must go out at least every other month to refill the prescriptions for drugs that I need. No other errands are deemed worthy of the risk, so I’m essentially trapped by the battery range of my power chair in my neighborhood, and all of the many activities or errands a healthy person can do without thinking are closed to me, from getting new prescription glasses to simply dining at a restaurant.
  • My mother is partially disabled due to a work related foot injury involving multiple fractures that have never healed. At age 73 she’s the only one available to push me around in a manual wheelchair and even on my limited excursions to medical appointments it’s clear that this really takes it out of her and is painful with each step because of her injured foot. I fear that too much of this could cause her irreparable harm.
  • There is a public transport alternative called ‘Access Ride’ here in Nashville, but as you might expect of a government program, it’s a grey, Stalinesque, bureaucratic nightmare, both to apply for and to use. Like most government bureaucracies, they reserve the right to have hours of leeway in pickups and dropoffs yet require their ‘customers’ to be unfailingly punctual lest the driver leave immediately. It’s also quite limited, intended for only the most important trips…everything else is looked upon as frivolous. This leeway in scheduling for picking up/dropping off riders combined with the demand for perfect timing on the rider’s part sounds like a recipe for being left on my own, far from home, on a winter’s night or the heat of a summer’s day, which could under the wrong circumstances be fatal to me.
  • I own the aforementioned 2008 Honda Element outright, and it turns out it’s one of the most suitable vehicles for modification for wheelchair access and driving using the chair in lieu of the driver’s seat. It’s an involved and intricate modification and is quite expensive at a cost of roughly $26,000. I would prefer to finance this myself, but since my mortgage eats 85% of my income, there’s no way I could finance it until my home’s paid off in seven years. My 404(k), what savings I had, and many of the items I’d collected over the years were all liquidated over the 2.5 years between the time of my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and the summer of 2008 when I was finally deemed permanently disabled. I had no income at all during this period, and those assets went mostly to my mortgage payment and daily expenses. I don’t have anything of value to sell any more. The Honda was purchased with most of my retroactive check I received when I was approved for disability income, as well as the proceeds from the sale of the Mazda Miata that was my previous vehicle that I could no longer drive properly, and is the last major purchase I was able to make.
  • Between the hazards I currently face and the fact that MS is a progressive disease, I am not sanguine about surviving those seven years, and if I do, what kind of physical shape I’ll be in at that point. I’m convinced that my only hope lies in modifying my vehicle, despite my financial restrictions.

I’ve exhausted myself looking for help with this issue, and it seems clear that no one organization or foundation is able or willing to help me. Even if the government was willing to assist me (it isn’t), I wouldn’t be enthusiastic about accepting money from a it since as you know all government monies are extracted at gunpoint from productive people.

Since I can’t simply give up, I’ve taken the step of starting a fundraising blog in hopes of scaring up enough to modify my Honda Element for wheelchair access: ‘Get Glenn Mobile!’ My theory is that with enough exposure I could accrue enough from small individual donations to fund my Honda’s conversion. Donations given freely are morally acceptable, unlike government largess, and in small amounts of a dollar or so should be no hardship for any one individual who finds my project worthy and wants to help, I believe.

…I’ve still got an awfully long way to go, and almost all of these donations have come from friends. I feel like the kid selling magazine subscriptions who’s out of customers after friends and family felt obliged to buy some….

My question to you is, if I may ask, what would you do in my situation? As I’ve explained, I would love to work to generate the funds myself, but between insomnia, lack of mobility, debilitating fatigue and constant moderate neuropathic pain brought on by MS, I think my productive days are past. I am trying to be patient, but time is pressing.

It occurred to me that short endorsement/dedication videos posted on YouTube by known musicians that I could link to and feature on my blog might draw traffic, add credibility and be entertaining for visitors, so through YouTube private messages I’ve written Jackie Guthrie, wife of the folk singer (and Ron Paul supporter!) Arlo Guthrie, as well as Julia Nunes, (featured in the LRC blog in July, which is how I became aware of her) requesting short videos from them. Both are fine musicians and people I respect, but I haven’t gotten a response from either to date. There are any number of reasons for this, but I have to keep going and not put all of my eggs in one basket anyway.

Would you consider doing a short endorsement of my blog and project on YouTube, and/or mentioning me on the LRC blog? I know you’re not a musician, but I enjoy your style and I’m sure your support would carry a lot of weight. If those aren’t feasible, I’d sure appreciate any comments, critiques, or guidance here. I’ve devoted a lot of thought to my problem, but I might well have overlooked some critical factor.

I realize you don’t know me from Adam, but for what it’s worth I’ve corresponded before with Becky Akers, Tom DiLorenzo, and once or twice with Lew, though I doubt he’d remember me. I’d be happy to provide any further information you requested to verify my bona fides…I detest scammers, spammers and ne’er-do-wells (one reason why I’m not adding any links here), and will do anything I can to reassure anyone who might be willing to aid me that I’ve been accurate and honest in my descriptions of my condition as well as this situation I’m in. This is the first bind I’ve ever been in where I couldn’t escape using my own resourcefulness, and though I hate bothering anyone, I’m out of options and short on allies.

I sometimes feel like I’m asking too much with this endeavor, bit I find it hard to accept that my life is essentially over at age 50, and watching it trickle down the drain a day at a time is maddening. I’m also genuinely concerned that my mom will hurt herself or worse trying to help me, and getting my mobility back would help her in many ways. I hope you decide that some time and effort to help me is worth your attention.

No matter what, rest assured that I’ll continue to enjoy your TomWoodsTV channel, support Ron Paul enthusiastically and promote liberty whenever I can in whatever way I can. Please keep up the good work, and I thank you kindly for your time and patience!

TW note: Visit Glenn here.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glenn-Horowitz/638557380 Glenn Horowitz

    Well, if you want to get technical, what I receive is properly referred to as Title II Permanent Disability Income, not SSDI. I’ve said many times that it simply appalls me to be reliant upon it, but the only alternative is to  become homeless and broke. If I were mobile I still couldn’t work productively, or I’d be a ground instructor in the very aircraft I used to fly at a local school only 13 miles away.

    MS keeps me in constant moderate pain, and with the combined insomnia and fatigue it brings, randomizes my sleep so I can’t keep a schedule. Not ‘don’t want to’ or ‘can’t be bothered, it’s CANNOT. Still, I can be useful in a limited way, from writing articles as a liberty activist to giving aviation ground instruction, so even from the soulless utilitarian view I’m not quite a ‘useless eater’ whose life should be expunged. That route leads to extermination programs like Aktion T-4 and others that have sought to kill off the disabled in other times. If you find yourself supporting this utilitarian view, you might benefit from reading Becky Akers’ fine American Daily Herald article on the subject: http://www.americandailyherald.com/20111018906/becky-akers/immigration-and-utilitarianism-a-toxic-brew

    The whole point of my blog and project is to solicit VOLUNTARY donations from people acting of their own free will, not sitting with my one working hand outstretched waiting for the State to hand me money that was extracted at gunpoint from others, willingly or no.

    From your tone and demeanor it appears you can’t be very familiar with Dr. Paul’s views on eventually eliminating the rotten Social (IN)Security system: he has no intention of trying to throw me or others like me off a cliff, since we had so much of our productivity stolen at gunpoint throughout the productive years of our lives by the Welfare State and are now trapped in its clammy embrace. His plan is to dismantle it while protecting those of us for whom it’s too late while allowing young people to opt out of it.

    Beyond that, his non-interventionist foreign policy would stop wasting the trillions currently being siphoned uselessly away by the military-industrial complex, which makes the cost of even a nation full of disabled people dirt cheap by comparison. Eliminating the complex’ cynical destruction of our wealth which is perpetrated mainly to benefit established militarists would ENHANCE our country’s defensive posture. Our current system of bribing compliant countries while bombing and invading those that don’t jump when we say frog not only hemorrhages money, but diminishes our domestic resources to defend the country as the Constitution provides it ought.

    The status quo Establishment is all lose-lose-lose on the vast majority’s part for the benefit of the few, Dr. Paul’s policies would be far likelier to lead to genuine prosperity for those of us currently trapped on the government plantation..

    As for your brother, I’m sorry he’s involved with the monolithic bureaucracy that is NASA. He’d be in better company if he ditched that awful outfit whose sorry performance is at best shown in its Death Bus (space shuttle) program, and got with the far more efficient (and successful, AND non-lethal) private concern Scaled Composites run by the brilliant Burt Rutan. Their Spaceship Two is not only aesthetically pleasing, it works without people dying, and will no doubt be where the REAL action is in the space exploration industry.

  • WomanwithMS

    I thank-you for your reply, though we will have to cordially disagree.

    I did NOT want to file for SSDI but I played by the rules and had disability insurance.  It was the Insurance Company that forced me to file for SSDI and if I didn’t they would quit sending me payments.  When I was approved for SSDI, they promptly wanted to be repaid and then lowered the amount of my monthly check from them by the amount I got from SSDI (i.e. the insurance companies using the Federal Government, just like no insurance company wants to take on Floods…. so the Government had to).  No insurance company wants to take on people over 65 either…. thus the introduction of Medicare.  Got a better idea?  Pre-existing conditions?  You and I both have them and thank goodness Obamacare has taken care of that now..

    BTW, most people do not know that Newt Gringrich has a PAC that took in $37 million dollars to promote “Health Insurance for All paid for by public Mandates.”  We already know about Romneycare.

    While I probably would not be on the streets homeless because I did have disability insurance, I have met hundreds of people with MS who would be.  I played by the rules and still feel like I got screwed by the insurance company.Quality of life….. Pursuit of Happiness….  The medical community keeps us alive now days, before antibiotics, people with MS usually died within 5 years from infections, such as urinary tract infections.We are now looked upon as “money makers” in the Pharmaceutical world.  How do I know?  I do investing on the side.  I am not rich but I do like to research and do a little bit of investing with retirement money I have.  To read how drugs like Copaxone and Avonex are “income models” for shareholders is so disheartening.  I do not feel as though they will really find a cure….. Why?  Too much money to be made and who ends up paying for these drugs?  Taxpayers via Medicare/Medicaid and other people that pay into health insurance plans.

    There is a dream world and then there is reality.  I got bitten by reality (former Republican, btw).I truly feel bad for you.  Your quality of life obviously sucks without the ability to get out.  I just had a good friend with MS pass away last weekend at the age of 57.  I know that 10 years ago he had $350,000.  He used it all up for medical care (yes, he got SSDI and Medicare but he needed round-the-clock care and then nursing home care).  He died penniless and me and my husband paid for his obituary and part of his Memorial Service tomorrow.

    The system worked out as the corporate masters wanted…. the transfer of his money went to the corporate medical world and not to his family.  That is by design, btw.
    I wish you luck and would gladly give to help you out, just let me know how I can.

  • WomanwithMS

    BTW, I’m tired of all the Wars…..  War on Drugs, Iraq War, War in Afghanistan, War on Terrorism…..  But it is a stimulus bill on the American Economy now.  There are some things I do agree with Dr. Paul on but not much.

    I do want to see cuts to all these wars and the Prisons for Profit that are just self-fullfilling, literally and figuratively.

  • WomanwithMS

    Oh, darn it…. keep thinking of things.

    I am obviously disabled enough to need a wheelchair and a modified van myself.  I also deal with much pain but to accept narcotics I cannot use my favorite medicine….. the one that kills nobody…. Aspirin kills over 7,000 people a year.. Marijuana – ZERO.  And yet the DEA has it listed as a narcotic.  It is not a narcotic at all.  And yes, the DEA is just another bloated Government entitity…. with a bunch of bullies running the place who do not want to lose their jobs, nor the lawyers, the judges, the prisons for profit, the economics, etc……

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glenn-Horowitz/638557380 Glenn Horowitz

    Thanks for replying!

    Just about every factor you mention results from the government constantly fiddling with so many areas in the market, distorting prices everywhere you look.

    Their waste, inefficiency and cronyism has utterly screwed up their SS/SSDI/Medicare/Medicaid which everyone is forced at gunpoint to participate in. A better idea than government health care? Absolutely! Private charities. Yet in our nightmare system where the government has its fingers in everything, they’re  far less effective than they used to be because of hyperregulation they must observe, absurd tax regulations restricting the amounts they take in, how it’s used and how it’s allotted.

    Beyond that, taxes in general eats so much of peoples’ income that they don’t have the disposable income to donate the amounts they’d like to.

    Their fiddling has driven medical costs into the stratosphere and the fascist (I do not use the term lightly) /mercantilist/crony capitalism we’re forced to operate under has given us the monstrous Big Pharma, with its de facto power to reward itself and its friends at everyone else’s expense. The awful FDA keeps the approval process for new drugs expensive, lengthy and unsafe, while the War On Some Drugs keeps proven natural aids like cannabis that you mention illegal and away from people who could benefit from it.

    I agree that there is no incentive for researchers to find a cure. Why should they when they have this sweet gravy train to sustain them. I get sick of all these well intentioned fundraisers for MS and other disorders. Why? All that money goes to the researchers, nothing to help people like you and me, and those researchers, as noted, have no incentive to cure anything. I have an old friend who’s one of these researchers…he might be a friend, but he works in a spiffy lab with the newest expensive toys, eats out every day, and drives a late model BMW. He works a couple hours a day poking at whatever interests him, but spends most of his time…guess what…writing grant proposals for more dough to keep him doing all this.

    My quality of life isn’t that bad except for the lack of this one critical appliance. When I was productive, I saved as I could, avoided debt as best I could, and when I purchased my home didn’t look at these goofy McMansions (or yuppie mausoleums as I call them) but went for a relatively inexpensive and modest brick house that suits me. From my readings of Austrian economics I knew in 2001 when I got into this house that I needed to shop carefully since the housing bubble was due to burst.

    If you actually examine these factors you might come to agree with Dr. Paul on a lot more than his antiwar stance. Though so many of our problems are complex, their solutions are invariably simple: get government meddling out of the picture.

    I’ll suggest a few things to get you started if you’re inclined:

    First, Frederic Bastiat’s ‘That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen’ (http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html) that discusses how governments hoodwink the public by ignoring the unseen but crucial  realities and promoting the worst economic fallacy around, the ‘Broken Window’ fallacy to perpetuate their chicanery.

    Second, my own article that was published by the American Daily Herald that covers some of the concepts we’ve looked at here in a bit more depth and

    Third, the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s vast amount of information available at mises.org. You could do worse than starting with ‘Human Action,’ Mises’ famous work that will get you up to speed on praxeology, which is pure poison to the government’s forced indoctrination via public ‘education’ since it’s more reality based than the propaganda most of us have been marinated in all our lives. Get to know Mises, Murray Rothbard and the scores of other fine academics whose work is available at the site.

    Thank you for expressing an interest in donating, if you visit my blog, at http://getglennmobile.com/ you’ll see PayPal ‘donate’ buttons all over the place as well as my new Bitcoin address for those who prefer that method.

    Good luck!

  • Abc

    The track you travel is far away from the one I travel, thus your comment about dental disease. I didn’t talk about dental disease. What I talked about was dentistry causing health problems. As for your Huggins and Kulacz statements, those statements are unfounded and derogatory. Why make slanderous comments, Scott? You can express your opinion without denigrating someone. Learn, always, which involves observation and questions, making connections. Good luck to you, Scott.

  • Michael

    For some reason my donation didnt go through, so I’m going to try again, sorry

  • Scott

    ABC – I do learn, observe and make connections and question the status quo.  Which is why I follow Tom’s site!.  And if I saw any evidence, either in established literature, or in my own observations, then I would say so.  I haven’t.  Huggins lost his license in Colorado for some good reasons.  Statements made regarding root canal treatment are overly general and are not balanced with what we know to be true about hundreds of thousands of these competed successfully and without complication.  To save time and space, I generalize.  Sorry if you thought I was a bit harsh.  However, these guys are not in the mainstream, nor are their opinions backed up by credible research, nor (based on what I’ve heard them say) do they agree with my observations of thousands of patients over many years of practice. Best of luck to you as well.

  • Becky Miller

    You can stop your MS from getting worse – and maybe even cure it. 

    Woodrow C. Monte, PhD, a food scientist, researcher, and
    Professor Emeritus of Food Science and Nutrition at Arizona State University,
    has just published a comprehensive book, “While Science Sleeps, a Sweetener
    Kills,” which is now available on Amazon.com. The book specifically solves the
    mystery of the cause of Multiple Sclerosis.

     

    The book presents Dr. Monte’s lifetime of research into the
    nutritional causes of the major diseases of civilization. His own research,
    along with the research of hundreds of other scientists, is presented in
    language the average reader can understand and apply to very easily avoid many
    of the worst diseases that currently kill the majority of people in the
    civilized world. Dr. Monte has carefully and thoughtfully pieced together the
    scientific evidence found in hundreds of scientific studies to show
    convincingly that the single culprit is methanol – a molecule found primarily
    in canned fruits and vegetables, tomatoes, cigarette smoke, smoked foods, and
    the artificial sweetener aspartame. Methanol is converted by the enzyme known
    as Alcohol Dehydrogenase Class 1 (ADH1) into formaldehyde inside the body’s
    most sensitive tissues.

     

    It is methanol that makes the aspartame taste sweet, and
    within ten minutes of consuming it, the methanol is released from its chemical
    bond. Each liter of diet soda contains the amount of methanol found in a pack
    of cigarettes, and evidence is mounting that diseases traditionally associated
    with smoking – most recently, heart disease and stroke – are now being associated
    specifically with aspartame consumption.

     

    The human body converts dietary methanol into formaldehyde
    in the stomach, liver, veins and arteries, lungs, pancreas, skin, breast, and
    brain. Dr. Monte makes a compelling case that it is this process, and the
    disease that results, that is responsible for the epidemics of a variety of
    cancers, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases like Lupus and Multiple
    Sclerosis, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease that have exploded over the past
    thirty years since the introduction of aspartame in the summer of 1981.

     

    The book also contains information and documentation showing
    that the product’s manufacturers and their friends in the Food & Drug
    Administration knew the dangers posed by aspartame, yet buried the evidence and
    released it for public consumption despite the risk. Furthermore, they
    knowingly marketed it to those research had demonstrated were particularly
    vulnerable to its harmful effects – diabetics and pregnant mothers. Since that
    time, adult onset diabetes has more than doubled worldwide, with diabetics
    dying from the major diseases of civilization at a much higher rate than the
    average population.

     

    Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, in which formaldehyde
    inside the brain destroys memory function, have increased 10,000% since 1981.
    Neural tube birth defects are up around 70% in the same period of time despite
    efforts to compensate with recommended folic acid. 

     

    Dr. Monte has decades of experience in food science and
    nutrition as a researcher, teacher, inventor, industry consultant and consumer
    advocate who is committed to food additive safety and the prevention of food
    borne diseases. He is a dedicated scientist with both a Ph.D. and M.S. in Food
    Science and Nutrition and a B.S. in Biology. He has been a Registered
    Dietician, Certified Nutrition Specialist AIN, professional member of the
    American Chemical Society and emeritus member of the American Association for
    the Advancement of Science. In 1985, he was chosen by the Council for International
    Exchange of Scholars as a Senior Fulbright Scholar.  His testimony before Congress was
    instrumental in the prevention of Sulfites from receiving status of US FDA GRAS
    (Generally Regarded As Safe) and the implementation of mandatory labeling for
    most foods that contain this dangerous additive. More information about Dr.
    Monte and his work can be found on his website: www.WhileScienceSleeps.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glenn-Horowitz/638557380 Glenn Horowitz

    I thank you but at this point as I’ve said a number of times before, trying to combat my disability with dietary change is comparable to taking on Godzilla with a flyswatter. I do hate aspartame and eat as healthily as I can, but until I’m freed and can do my own shopping I can’t really do much to alter matters a lot.

    I appreciate the suggestions, don’t get me wrong, but I have GOT to get out of this prison. It’s a lot like PTSD in its negative effects on my sleep, demeanor, and mood…and the medical people want to treat it the same way, by dosing me with these awful SSRI drugs, which I refuse to do. I have to get out of jail, simple as that, and THEN I can look into healthier eating, plus engage the public to discuss all the same issues the mainstream media won’t. Back to basics, if you’d like to see a very motivated liberty activist and New Media journalist get turned loose on the public sphere, please visit Get Glenn Mobile!

    If enough people make even a small donation, my project will succeed. We’re already over 16% of the way there and rising. I can assure you you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck!

  • Becky Miller

    Good news:  Dr. Monte
    has made the chapter from his book that deals specifically with MS available
    for free download on his website. You don’t have to log in, register, or pay
    any money.  It’s free and easy! Read it
    for yourself and find out how you are being exposed to methanol – the one and
    only cause of MS. 

     

    http://www.whilesciencesleeps.com/multiple-sclerosis-the-solution/