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.