Tag Archives: House of Representatives

#stillwaiting

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My roots in Pennsylvania run deep.  My ancestors have lived in this state since 1747.  There is a Schlegel Family Cemetery full of the bones of my Schlegel ancestors.  My parents and my in-laws and my nieces and nephews live in Pennsylvania.  I don’t want to live anywhere else.  I enjoy our profusion of water and green.  A sunset isn’t a sunset if it doesn’t set over Lake Erie.  I guess I must even like the snow.  But I am so tired of waiting for compassion.  How long am I supposed to wait?  How many seizures must I have?  I am still waiting…  I am still seizing…

Medical cannabis has been legal in California since 1996.  I was a freshman in college and I didn’t even know I was an epileptic then.  I never even knew I was  having seizures.  All of that would change in 1997 when I woke up in an ER.  I didn’t know cannabis was a treatment for seizures.  But it was one of the first things that came up when I was diagnosed and I started to research my life sentence of epilepsy.  Cannabis is medicine.  Centuries of doctors and patients believe it.

Since medical marijuana was already legal in California, I thought I would be able to get treatment soon enough…  It’s nearly twenty years later and I’m still waiting…  Pennsylvania is sunk, stupid in budget quibbles that don’t get anything done.  Our state budget is 5 months overdue.  The School District of Erie had to vote on what they will do when they run out of money.  The teachers said they would work without pay.

I am still waiting for the House of Representatives to take pity on me and pass Senate Bill 3, Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis.  It passed the PA Senate, TWICE, but the House pretends to work and refused to do anything.  Oh really, you are writing a “new law” for “passage soon?”  Please reference any of my previous articles addressed to the PA General Assembly over the past two years.  We are still waiting…  I am less and less enthusiastic about my beloved home state everyday.

Everyday is a day I could die.  I’m not being overly dramatic, I’m stating the cold hard facts.  Every year over 50,000 people die from seizures and seizure related injuries.  I fear dying everyday.  I don’t take baths or showers alone.  I’ve read too many obituaries for dead, drowned epileptics for that.  I’ve considered giving up swimming forever.  I used to be on the swim team.  I was even a lifeguard.  I didn’t know I was an epileptic then.  When I went to the wave pool this summer, I told my daughter to stay close.  Not for her safety but for my own.  Everything is dangerous when you lose consciousness and drop to the floor.

Even the things I enjoy scare me.  I love to can; pickles, spaghetti sauce, grape jam, whatever is in season.  Every single time I do, I hope that I don’t have a seizure and scald myself to death.  Boiling hot water can do a LOT of  damage to an unconscious person.  At any given second I could become unconscious.  I envy those of you who don’t know what it’s like.  

Some of my best friends are people I’ve never met.  They are my Epi Friends, epileptics like me.  We live in the same world ruled by seizures and lost time.  We know what it’s like to wake up on the floor.  The Pennsylvania House of Representatives does not know what it’s like…

My advocate “Mama Bears” were in Harrisburg again, rallying and trying to educate the General Assembly.  I wanted to go.  I’m a big fan of a good protest.  But I can’t drive.  My voice will not be heard in the halls of the Capital.  Seizures keep me trapped away like Rapunzel in a tower.  I write letters and send emails and publish blog after blog after blog…  They all plead the same thing~ I just want to have less seizures!  Why can’t I try a natural cure that has been working miracles for centuries!?

I live in the wrong state for my own good.  I don’t want to move.  Yet, everyday I am closer to throwing my hands up in the air and taking up my wagon train and heading west.  I just want medicine.  Why won’t the Pennsylvania General Assembly pull their heads out of the sand and join the 21st century?  Cannabis is medicine.  It is also good business and could give us ample tax funds to fund our schools and balance the budget.  I’m still waiting…..

Don’t make me leave.

still waiting

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Pennsylvania State Forest of Dreams

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Once again I pin my heart and my hopes to the legislative process.  SB3 is being introduced into Pennsylvania Senate.  Last year the Senate passed SB 1182: The Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act, but the House refused to play fair.  Since it was an election year, that bill died with the end of session.  We have a new year, a new session, a new governor, and a new name for an old bill.  A bill that could have been the law by now.  But former Speaker of the House Sam Smith refused to bring it the House Floor.  We start over again at zero.  Whether or not the new Speaker of the House, Mike Turzai, will play fair has yet to be seen.  We will get a better idea on Tuesday.  Will he run down the hall and refuse to meet his constituents who want medical marijuana today?  (True story, he ran away last year.)  The Senate Bill 3 is about to be put on the docket and the advocates are ready to rally.  The snow storm will not stop us!

We have a green tide of popular opinion on our side and gubernatorial election promises to boot.  Pennsylvania had one of the only Republican incumbents who lost their seat in November: Ex-Governor Tom Corbett.  Our new Governor Tom Wolf campaigned on a liberal platform that supported our school, taxes on gas and oil companies, and immediate passage of medical marijuana.  That’s what he promised us.  I am going to hold him to that.  We all are.  Pennsylvania is sick and tired of waiting while our sick people suffer.

Tom Corbett’s lame excuses are cast aside and we will consider that facts.  23 other states allow medical use of cannabis.  Philadelphia has decriminalized marijuana.  A possession offense warrants a ticket, not a warrant.  Recreational marijuana is for sale in Colorado and Washington.  Washington DC, Alaska, and Oregon all voted to legalize marijuana in November.  Colorado raked in so much tax money from the legal sale of marijuana they sent their residents a tax rebate.

Don’t sick people in Pennsylvania have a right to feel better?  I would be there on Tuesday for the rally, but I can’t drive.  Seizures stole my driver’s license several years ago.  I have a hard time getting to the grocery store, I can’t get to Harrisburg to show them my face.  It would be nice if I could.  I want my legislators to know how terrible seizures are.  I had a seizure last night.  It was a short one, I didn’t fall over, I didn’t get hurt.  Now I am as tired as a hibernating bear.  I wish they could see me and understand.  I would love to tell my story and trail off…  lost in a seizure haze…  Cannabis can help us.  It has been used to treat epilepsy for centuries.   How can you let us suffer?  The Epilepsy Foundation is in full support of medical marijuana.  “Not one more second lost.”  One second is too many.

Epilepsy is just one of hundreds of conditions that can be helped by medical cannabis.  The fact is anybody over the age of 21 can walk into a store and have a pot party (real thing) in one state and be arrested for self-medicating in ours.  It’s cruel.  Which side of history are we on?  Pennsylvania signs boast the slogan “First in Independence.”  Everytime I see the sign I snort.  We won’t be first in independence until sick people have the freedom to medicate themselves as we see fit.  TWENTY-THREE states allow it.  We are wallowing in the nether world of prohibition.  I just don’t want to have seizures.  I want to stay conscious all the time.  I don’t want to have to explain to my kids why mommy can’t do anything with them today.  They know.  They see the worst of it.  If your parent or child was sick, wouldn’t you want them to have a safe and proven effective natural treatment?  I do.  Pennsylvania General Assembly, I’m looking at you.

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No Common Sense For The Commonwealth

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I have long been a silent supporter for medical marijuana.  But I was afraid to really speak out.  I was a Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” kid.  Would the moms shun me at the school if they knew?  It was safer to stay silent.  So what happened?  Charlotte Figi happened.  When Charlotte’s Web hit the news I cried.  I was so happy to see this beautiful little girl reclaiming a life that she almost lost due to seizures.  I was so happy for her and her family.  And then I cried for my children… They have to live with a mommy who sometimes screams and falls down.  That is the worst effect of my epilepsy: my kids have to see me have a seizure.  If you’ve seen a seizure you know, it’s pretty much the worst thing in the world.  If you haven’t, lucky you.  I hope you never do.  Unless you work in Harrisburg or DC: I would love to have a seizure in front of you.  You will be rightfully frightened.  Seizures change everything.

Parents in Colorado and New Jersey and Pennsylvania are fighting to get their children marijuana.  How could I stay silent?  It IS a matter of life and death.  Seizures kill.  Epilepsy is a terrible disease that holds us in a cold grasp until we die. People die from seizures and seizure related injuries everyday.  Over 50,000 Americans lose their life every year.  For me it’s all about seizures, everything in my life is about seizures.

Medical marijuana can SAVE lives.  The Epilepsy Foundation supports medical marijuana.  The nation’s largest epilepsy organization is advocating for marijuana.  That’s huge!  The seizure preventing effects are visible and undeniable.  ALL epileptics need access to this natural medicine that is recommend by Surgeon General nominee Sanjay Gupta and my personal doctors.  I’d like it if Pennsylvania would allow me that courtesy.  23 other states would.  I’m tired of my government treating me like a criminal.  I’m not a bad person.  I just want to have less seizures.  I want to stay conscious at ALL times.

The Pennsylvania Government denies that there is any valid information in the hundreds of studies not done in Pennsylvania.  All the scientific literature does not matter to them.  They insist that they would have to re-do the studies here.  But they won’t do the studies.  Science doesn’t matter to them.  The fact that the federal government has a patent on cannabis (Patent #6630507) means nothing to my so called Representatives.

I read the studies.  The information is there for the taking.  The internet grants us immediate access to governmental documents and scientific journals.  I am convinced.   Marijuana has been known for CENTURIES as a treatment for epilepsy.  Why should I suffer for being born in the wrong century and state?  I just want to be able to grow a plant and stay conscious.  Marijuana can help.  There is anecdotal evidence.  There is scientific evidence.  I’ve had too many seizures to just sit by and wait for Pennsylvania to grow up.  For years I suffered in silence.  I felt so alone in my unstable state of consciousness.  I thought that nobody understood me until I met other people living with epilepsy.  I need to educate the world about my deadly, deadly disease.

I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy was in 1997.  I was 20.  I went to bed with a headache and woke up in the hospital, talking to my mother on the phone.  She asked me where I was.  I didn’t know.  I had no idea why I was on a phone.  The last I knew I was sleeping.  I could not believe that I had a seizure and was in the hospital brought by ambulance.  It was the first time, but not the last.

They kept asking me what kind of drugs I was on.  That made no sense.  I don’t take drugs. I had taken a biology exam and came home to sleep.  They tested me.  No drugs.  I was confused and angry.  I had another seizure coming out of the bathroom holding the warm container of my own urine.  I don’t remember much else.  Days later I saw a Doctor.  I can’t remember his name, he was just the first of dozens.  He told me I had Idiopathic Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.  It was a diagnosis that I could barely understand despite my years of college anatomy and physiology.  He also said Seizure Disorder but I liked that term even less.

I understood I had a seizure or I was trying to understand that. But I didn’t really believe it.  And I certainly didn’t believe that just because I had one seizure meant that I was going to have another.  I was wrong.  Poor Past Katie, she was so wrong.  That wasn’t my first seizure.  It was just the first time somebody saw me have a seizure.  Over time, as I learned more about my seizures, I realized I had hundreds of un-diagnosed seizures.  I have had seizures my whole life.  I will have them for the rest of my life.  Hopefully they won’t kill me.  I think that every day.

My diagnosis  has not changed over the years.  It’s still Idiopathic (Unknown cause) Temporal Lobe (part of the brain on the side, controls memory and emotions and so much more) Epilepsy (lots and lots of uncontrolled burst of electricity in my brain.)  There is still no reason, no cause, no warning when a seizure might happen.  My brain has too much electricity.  Yee-Haw!  It’s a rodeo!

I’ve gone years without seizures.  Ah, the good years; the sweet seizure-free years.  The longest I went without a Grand Mal (a massive, convulsive, secondarily-generalized seizure) was seven glorious years.  Now I am happy for seven days sometimes.  It’s been 14 days today.  I am finally feeling normal again.  My body has more or less physically healed from the last seizure.  The depression has lifted.  But who knows for how long?

This year the record is 42 days seizure-free.  Then I ended up in the hospital with gallbladder disease and had a cluster of seizures in June. They played fast and loose with my seizures in the hospital.  They gave me so many different injections and bags of saline and radioactive isotopes.  I don’t know what they gave me.  I had a seizure in the bathroom.  I bit my tongue and bled all over myself.  I wandered the halls and looked for my husband whom I had sent home.  I couldn’t remember doing that.  I was dazed and confused: lost in the hazy aftermath of a seizure.  At least I didn’t fall out of bed that time.  I woke up covered in blood and vomit and had no idea why.  Nobody in the hospital knew.  They don’t know how to treat me.  There is no way to treat me after a seizure.  All I can do is sleep and wait for my brain to reboot.  Seizures are exhausting, for days, for weeks at a time.  It’s not just the half hour that I lost, it’s everything that comes after.  My most recent seizure brought me a bruised rib.  But I didn’t fall down the stairs!  I fell into the banister instead.

I would try any plant that could help.  I’ve tried all sorts of minerals and supplements that I found referenced in the medical texts as a treatment for epilepsy.  Marijuana comes up again and again.  There is enough evidence for me and 85% of Pennsylvanians.  But I don’t have safe access to the strains that are curing epilepsy.  Charlotte’s web isn’t available in Pennsylvania.  The variety matters.  Think of marijuana like peppers.  You wouldn’t say that an Orange Sweet Bell Pepper was the same as a Ghost Pepper.  Jalapenos aren’t the same as Banana Peppers.  They are all different strains of the same plant.  Plants are like that.  When you are in a state with marijuana prohibition, there is no choice but one: whichever one your Dude has at that point in time, which changes all of the time.  Nobody else wants to consume marijuana that won’t even get you high. Children in Colorado are allowed to but I’m not.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn’t trust me to live my adult life and make decisions about my body by myself with the advice of my doctor.  More than one doctor would prescribe me marijuana if they could.  I have been told more than once.  Neurologists talk about it with me at length.  We are all hopeful for “new” treatments.  But I am in the wrong state for that.

Is Pennsylvania part of the United States or not?  Nearly half the country would allow me medical marijuana.  It’s as free and clear as beer in Colorado and Washington.  But not Pennsylvania.  I am stuck here in the prohibition years.  No medicinal plants for me.  My seizures don’t matter to the legislators of Pennsylvania.

Seizures are being prevented. How can you allow us to go without treatment?  It is a cruel and unusual punishment.  

And that’s why they call us Pennsyltucky.

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Sick Pennsylvanians Hope Up In Smoke

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The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has failed me yet again.  The PA Senate took pity on me and a few of my sick friends.  The Pennsylvania Senate voted 43 to 7 to approve the Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Cannabis Senate Bill 1182.  It passed!  43 to 7 is a wide margin.  It represents Pennsylvanians’ beliefs.  We want medical marijuana.  But the House won’t put it on the docket.  They are stingy like that.  They want to wait until after the election.  Because they should.  Because this is a voting issue.  People’s votes will depend on the politicians’ stance on medical marijuana.  They might be able to keep their jobs if the House doesn’t vote first.  My Republican relative just switched his vote for the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate after watching the debates.  He switched because of Tom Wolf’s stance on medical marijuana.  We care!  We want our sick, loved ones to have access to medicine.  Marijuana is an herb, more natural than the grass that grows on your lawn.

This might be a minor midterm election for the rest of the country, but not in Pennsylvania.  It’s a high voter turnout year.  Our state government is up for grabs.  People are passionate about this election.  We all hate Governor Tom Corbett.  There are so many reasons why Pennsylvanians are united against him.  Number One: Education.  Number Two: Fracking.  Number Three: Medical Marijuana.  Number Four: Jobs.  I could go on.  Corbett has the lowest approval rating of all US Governors, wallowing in the mud at only 24%.

Let’s not forget the pending charges against our “Notorious G.O.V.” from his previous term as Attorney General.  Tommy chose not to prosecute Jerry Sandusky: The Rapist of Penn State.  Voting is essential.

I’ve been hearing a lot about reaching out to the millennials, getting them out to vote.  I wholeheartedly support it!  I wish Gen X would vote, but we’ve long since given up.  Thanks, Florida.  Thanks, Ohio.  When Bush stole the presidency, an entire generation of voters fell off.  I try to convince my friends to vote, but many, many, of them will not.  It always comes back to Bush.  We were bright eyed voters, and suddenly our vote did not matter.  Then the rest of Bush’s term happened.  Gen X doesn’t vote.  They aren’t even targeting us with Rock The Vote.  I am a poll worker.  I see the age gap.  The older citizens vote the most.  I thanked the few first time voters.  There were only two.

One vote does count.  I have my position at the polls due to one vote.  My husband wrote me in.  I’m elected!  Four more years, Baby!  We don’t have to let Bush happen again.  We can vote in other people, we can control our government on a local level.  We can vote out Tom Corbett and legalize medicinal marijuana ASAP.  I don’t want to wait until Tom Wolf is sworn-in.  Perhaps the Lame Duck Congress will see which way the smoke blows.  They won’t vote before the election.  There is one day of session scheduled between now and the election.  I like to pretend, but I know they won’t.  I watch them Live on TV.  The House of Representatives is a circus.  My Representative claims to support me.  Since they won’t vote on it, I can’t really know.  People are dying while the House does nothing.

I wish they could see me have a seizure.  Or at least ask my children.  THEY know how I suffer.  They have to take care of me sometimes.  They are the ones who tell me that I had a seizure.  There are safer medicines I could be taking.  I’m not making this up.  I dare you to do a Google search about Clinical Cannabis Studies.  There is plenty of scientific evidence.  I do my internet research, not just wikipedia.  I read the scientific journals online.  The good stuff might not be found until you dig through 20 or 21 pages of a Google search.  I check them all.  This is not new information.  These are reputable scientific publications.  Marijuana is found in Chinese medical texts from long Before Christ.

I had to defend my seizure meds to my insurance company.  They didn’t want to give me such a high dosage.  I don’t want to take it either.  I’m not okay.  It’s been a  week since I had a seizure, that I know of.  But deep bruises are still emerging.  Could these bruises still be from last week?  Have I had another seizure that I didn’t know about?  My ribs have not stopped hurting yet.  Apparently bruised/cracked ribs take a long time to heal. The last time, before this seizure, I gave myself a concussion.  I was glad that I didn’t break my nose.  This time I’m extra happy that I didn’t fall down the stairs.  I did run up and down the stairs to vomit a few times before I was fully conscious.  It is as scary as it sounds.  My laptop didn’t survive the seizure.  I found it on the floor, covered in coffee, much like myself.

So I’m voting for compassion.  It’s my issue.  It is not just my issue, 86% of Pennsylvanians agree!  We need medical marijuana!  Right after we re-fund the public schools and tax the oil and gas companies.  That oil is NOT going anywhere and neither is medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.  The only question is how long will be have to wait?  How many will have to die?  Any single seizure is a chance to die.

The Speaker of The House likes to mute his microphone.  Sam Smith doesn’t want to address the dying people who are waiting for medicine.  He doesn’t want to hear what we have to say.  He doesn’t want us to know what he says either.

Dear PA~ Rock The Vote!  Take Back The House!

I’m voting for Governor Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.  I’m on the border of two districts, so I support House Representatives Pat Harkins and Curt Smith; US House Reps Karith Strano Taylor and Dan LaValle.

I sure hope you vote out Sam Smith, Jefferson County!   #turnoutforwhat

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Congress vs. Roe vs. Wade

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Eight men and ZERO women have been meeting behind closed doors in the House of Representatives.  The so-called Judiciary Sub-Committee on Constitutional and Civil Justice is deciding the fate of my uterus.  Fuck that shit!  I can’t help but swear profusely.  No women are included in a debate about women’s bodies?!  How is this okay??  That is not “Justice.”  That is bullshit.  Today, in the 21st century, women are still being shut out from making major decisions about their own bodies.

This is Republican Trent Franks’ brainchild that should have been aborted.  Until he has a uterus, he should not be allowed to make these sorts of sweeping decisions.  My body.  Not yours.  These men have no idea.  They simply cannot know.

Dear Congress, if you can carry a fetus, then you can make your own decisions about what to do when you get pregnant.  Otherwise, get the hell out of my vagina.

I have been lucky to have never needed an abortion.  But there are times that if I had gotten pregnant, I could have had one.  That’s my right.  Not only when I was raped.  Not only in cases of incest or when a woman’s life is at stake, but always, every day.  A man can never know what all the circumstances are unless he is in the shoes of a young, scared, pregnant girl who will be disowned or a sick, tired, poor, woman with more kids that she can take care of.  You do not know what it’s like.  And you do not get to make these decisions for people other than yourself.

How would you like me to put restrictions on masturbation?  Every sperm is sacred; every sperm could be a baby.  Where are we going to draw this line?  Running straight down through my vagina but around your penis?  I don’t think so.   Women have the right to decide what goes on inside of our own bodies.   Whether you like it or not.   Whether you think it’s moral or not.

You are free to hate abortion as much as you want.  Make your fucking signs and protest the abortion clinic, that’s your right.  But to have that abortion clinic is also my right.   Fetuses do not have rights; they cannot live outside of a uterus.  That uterus is attached to a woman though, and she is alive and does have rights.  She can decide to do whatever she wants to her own fucking body.  Right or wrong.  Morals are not universal, we all believe different things.  You cannot legislate your morals onto my body.

Making these laws aren’t saving any lives, they are KILLING women.  Recently a young woman died because she was denied chemotherapy because of an abortion ban in Dominican Republic.  She died.  And she is just one of thousands of women who have died due to lack of adequate and safe access to abortions.  All the men get to live.  And who is going to take care of these fetuses when the mothers die?  Oh wait, nobody, because a fetus can’t survive without a uterus, without a mother.

There are already too many unwanted children in this world.  Children are starving and being beaten because they are unwanted or their parents are unable to take care of them for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that all children deserve to be loved and wanted.  Not just fetuses.  But alive girls too.  Pregnant girls too.

If abortion is murder, and if that woman is damned to hell, what do you care anyway?  That is each woman’s very own cross to bear, not yours.  It’s none of your damned business.   If you think that’s true, let them go to hell.  They’ll certainly see you there, Trent Franks.

I’m sorry that Congress doesn’t think that I’m grown up enough to make decisions for myself.  They will receive my petitions and not my votes.  And I am a voter, midterm primary elections and all.  Women are the majority.  52% of the world has a uterus.  And along with that uterus comes the right to decided what we may or may not want up in there.   I do not want the House of Misrepresentatives up in my or my daughter’s vaginal canal.

I am so freaking mad I could punch one of these House Misrepresentatives right in his dick.  Represent that motherfucker!  I thought we settled this matter in the 1970s.

Ladies of America, if you like your vagina, stand up and shout!  Let’s riot this bitch!  That’s not a threat, that’s a promise.  I will vote you out.

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