This morning I rode my bike to the post office with Annie. Probably not even a half mile. The temperature was in the high 60's, and cloudy. Perfect. I had to pick up one of those letters you have to sign for. It was from the head office of the company that manages the apartments I live in. They're trying to evict me so I thought it was something to do with the legal case I have against them.
I picked up the letter, and rode to the grocery store for a gallon of milk. Walked Annie around the parking lot so that she could get used to the dogs that are left inside cars and bark their fool heads off. They always startle me, I jump, and Annie goes berserk trying to get at them. I realized she thinks she's protecting me. But as a service dog, she is NOT supposed to drag me across the parking lot!
Yet, there's a person with a milk carton set outside his window with a board across the top of it. No one knows what it's for, but he's allowed to keep it out there.
Notice the 'personal' chairs, trunks, plastic flowers, etc. all around. Oh, and there's my blue swimming pool stored behind the storage unit. (This was taken before they made me get rid of the pool).
This same guy bought a lawn swing and put it on the "community" lawn. Then he got permission for it.
Other people have potted flowers outside their windows.
One guy built himself a rack for his garden tools, and compost box so he can put his kitchen scraps in there all year long. Smells lovely.
Other people have their own chairs at the end of their hallways. I asked if I could put mine outside the door closest me to on the little patio, as others have done. I was told "no".
So back to the certified letter errand. When I'm overheated, I can take a cold shower/bath, or I can lay in bed with the three fans blowing on me. There was a time when it would take a couple of weeks to recover when I overdo it. For some reason, now it only takes anywhere from a few hours to a day or so. Taking a cold shower/bath is a pain in the ass plus who LIKES to take a cold shower?
I was too weak to deal with reading the letter. Can you believe that? Too weak physically and mentally. So I crashed into the sleepy depression that takes over, and I contemplated not wanting to live this way anymore - the apathy is overwhelming, even tho I KNOW that this feeling won't last very long. The doctors (and literature - I ALWAYS do my research) say that this "version" of depression is very common with MS'ers. I slept.
When I woke, I opened the certified letter. Hmmmm. My "Reasonable Accommodation Request" for a swimming pool and hose was denied. Because it's not fair to the other tenants for me to be allowed personal items on community property. I also requested that I be able to exercise my dog off-leash by throwing a ball with the Chuck It!. I throw it from the patio, and she runs down the courtyard to fetch it with great joy. She never seems to get bored with it, and it's very... meditative? for me for some reason.
|From the patio|
I am not able to walk Annie at a speed that would be considered exercise for her - I just can't. Some days I can go for a bike ride with her, but that doesn't happen when it's too warm. I'd have to do it in the middle of the night during the summer.
They denied allowing me to throw the ball for her off-leash too.
I called my sister, who works with lawyers, and she gave the information to my pro bono lawyer, who will respond to the letter tomorrow by sending it to their lawyer. According to him, I am being denied the right to be able to spend time outside like a "normal" person would. Other people spend time outside. I can't, without some help staying cool. Other people walk their dogs. I can't.
The letter suggests that instead, I can use my bathtub for relief from the heat, or ask for a window unit air conditioner. I would have to come inside to dip my feet in the tub every 5 to 10 minutes in order to spend an hour on the patio. I've been afraid to use an air conditioner because I would tend to stay home ALL. THE. TIME. I know I'd become even more of a hermit, because the sunshine causes me actual pain - anything to avoid life, ya know? And they suggested I get a friend or employ someone to exercise my dog off property.
They also suggested that being disabled isn't a license to get what I want. When we win my legal case against them, I will be sending them a well-worded piece of my mind about "using my disability to get what I want". Sorta along the lines of "F*ck you, bitch. I am using my disability to get what I NEED. There's a difference. And I've lost so much because of this f*cking disease... hell yea, I want what I want. Wanna step in my shoes for a day?"
Ahem. Fairly easy to understand Reasonable Accommodation and Public Housing Guidelines. It made me snort. My certified letter says I have to respond within 10 days if I want to contest their decision. According to the law, I have up to 2 years to file a complaint.