Monday, May 15, 2017

As many of you know, I became disabled and wheelchair bound almost four years ago. In 2010, I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis of the lung, a genetic, non-contagious, and incurable immune system disease. The immune system attacks the organs of the body very slowly and insidiously until the organs fall from the merciless assault. In 2013, I lost my ability to walk. Common every day things like washing dishes or even washing myself are monumental tasks. I've been a "frequent flyer" at my local hospital. The day came when I had to try living in a nursing home. Oi.

So I am writing this about Ferncliff Nursing Home, in Rheinbeck, New York. On the outside, it's an old manor situated in the middle of beautiful back country. Once you're in, as a patient, that's where the beauty ends.

I tried writing a continuous log on Yelp! but they stopped me. Supposedly, they don't allow companies to complain about negative commentaries. However, that's bupkis. With more excuses than a Kellyann bot, Yelp! said their new algorithm detects what it thinks is spam and neutralizes the post. That fancy language for "We got paid by the company to kill your negative and factual post about their service."

The following is the Yelp! postings about the hell hole called Ferncliff Nursing Home.

May 4th, 2017

Less than 48 hours after my arrival to 2nd Floor B-wing, , I desperately want to leave. First off, whomever was in charge of securing my medications had not.  I had to wait 15 hours for pain medications to arrive.

Don't let the pretty surroundings fool you, the brochure lies like a rug. They advertised trained wound care nurses. However, according to a "social worker," what Ferncliff really offers are "LPNs that change bandages." and a wound doctor that comes in once a week. The differences are obviously worlds apart. None of them are specialized in wound care. Thus far, I've met just a few of the medical staff but nothing has happened. My bandages haven't been changed. The therapy people are trying to make me walk even though I lost the ability to walk and have been in a wheelchair for almost four years. Now the week end is here and the everyone is gone. By next Monday, four days will have been wasted waiting and doing nothing productive towards healing.

At the moment, I am due pain meds and my "nurse" (Jamaican nurse with the curly wig) conveniently went to eat. I've been waiting close to an hour waiting for her return, with bad leg pain. She returned from her break and said I had to wait after her shift change. WTF?! Now it's been over an hour and i am being refused my pain meds. What kind of shit hole is this place? She told me that her break was more important than my leg pain, when I asked her to PLEASE give me my pain medication!

Even though I have a fatal inherited breathing disorder and am oxygen dependant (24/7 @ 6ltrs) another nurse had an issue with me asking for new oxygen tanks! She wanted me to stay in my room sitting in my wheelchair because she said I was using too many portable tanks although they are my doctor's orders AND my insurance company is paying for all the tanks that I use. I spoke to the nurse supt. and asked why I was being denied my oxygen?

Update, Sunday, May 7th, 2017:  

Again, I was chastised by a nurse because she thought I was using too much portable oxygen and needed to stay in my room. Again, I went to the nurse supt. and again, I let her know what was going on. Supposedly, she called an administrator and was ordered not to arrange transportation so I could go home. Basically, I am stuck here. If I leave, they'll say it's "against medical advice" or AMA. Then, a second supervisor that was in the office said I called one of the nurses a "dog" and that she was there when I said it. (WTH?) I realized then and there that I wasn't safe anymore and I was dealing with people with twisted personal issues. I decided to go back to my room and stay there until Monday when all the bosses are here.

Update: Monday, May 8th, 2017, 1:02 am. 

To be fair, most of the nurses and aides treated me well. However, there are some nurses and aides here at Ferncliff/ArchCare that hate their jobs and that's translating into bad care for patients/clients. They hate that they are "mandated" to work doubles, that one nurse is in charge of medication and healthcare of almost 20 patients/clients. How do I know this? My room was 2042 B Wing, just 10 feet from the nurses' station. And they talked ALL night long. Someone is going to snap and do something bad to a patient one day. I'm trying to get out of here because I don't feel safe anymore. I am off the floor instead of in bed just to keep out of everyone's way. Out of sight, out of mind.  I'm writing this because I believe in patient and human rights. No one should be treated like sub humans. For some, trees and 40 cats get better treatment. Keep your loved one out of this place. Abuse is possible if your loved one catches the attention and wrath of a "Nurse Ratchet" clone.

Update 5/9/17 4:38PM

Tina, the short blond "social worker" spoke with me yesterday morning and refused to arrange transportation so I could leave. She said if I wanted to go, I could do it myself. In other words, they want to squeeze every penny out of my insurance. At this time, I consider myself being held against my will by Ferncliff.

Update, 5/10/17 approx. 9 am.

I spoke to the exec. director, Mr. Dayo, and he is in on the con. He said if I wanted to go, I could but I would be AMA, although to date, I haven't seen a doctor AND I am still wearing the same bandages I came in with last week. They smell and burn. My legs are most likely infected. I called my insurance company and told them about this con job Ferncliff has going on. They're looking into it. Also, my bed hasn't been cleaned since last week. I sleep in my wheel chair.

This is feels like I'm in prison being held by a parasite milking my insurance for all it can. 

Update, 5/13/17, 12:13AM
Where's a nosy reporter when you need one? 

As of this writing, 2nd floor, B Wing, rooms 2034 to 2066, has only one nurse and one aide for servicing the entire wing. That's how unsafe we are here. I am one of the few more able patients, but the rest are quite disabled. 

God watch over us tonight.

Update, May 15th, 2017

I still haven't seen a doctor. My bandages are 2 weeks old and stinking like rot. I've been trying to arrange transport out of here. I'm going to have to rent a van to get out of here.

In the meantime, the entire day shift walked out from fifth floor b wing because the administration was trying to force them to work yet another 16 hour shift. The building barely has any staff. It feels like a ghost town. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Earlier this year, science and psychology journalist Rebecca Coffey released MURDERS MOST FOUL: The School Shooters in Our Midst, a book that explores the wave of slaughter-style killings at America's schools and universities. In light of the shocking events in Newtown, Connecticut, award winning author Raul Ramos-Sanchez asked Rebecca to shed some light on this most recent tragedy.

Q. According to your book, the recent school shooting in Connecticut is part of a long history of similar incidents in the United States. How far back do these tragedies go? 
A. Like Friday’s elementary school massacre in Connecticut, America’s very first school slaughter targeted the young and those who taught them. In 1927, school board member Andrew Kehoe detonated the local elementary school, killing 37 children and seven adults. Since then, school massacres have always been a part of our culture—though since then they have been perpetrated exclusively with guns.

Q. Is there any pattern that can be traced between these terrible events? 
A. Unfortunately, aside from “mostly guys and almost always with guns,” no. School murderers come from all ages, races, economic backgrounds, and temperaments. A few common threads:
•  While few of the culprits were diagnosed with mental illnesses at the time of their massacres, for many their actions brought them into such close scrutiny that their illnesses were belatedly addressed.

•  A good handful had horribly traumatic pasts.
•  Most of the perpetrators really liked guns—lots of heavy duty ones. They were also good at smuggling them into places where they didn’t belong.
•  Most killers worked alone.
•  Except to dispense with relatives who might be “embarrassed” or get in the way of the planned rampage, most of the killers had not killed before the day of their rampage.
•  Most of the perpetrators were Caucasian.
•  Some attacks took place in urban schools, but most were launched in the suburban and rural communities to which families move to avoid violence.
•  Not a single massacre showed signs of having been carried out impulsively. Quite the contrary. Diaries and videos left by the Columbine High killers showed that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold planned for over a year. And certainly Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech spent time assembling his arsenal and creating the materials he mailed to NBC. Time will reveal whether the Newtown massacre was carefully planned.
•  Each massacre provoked a rush of media coverage.
•  Each massacre resulted in a frantic national discussion about how to
prevent the next one.

Q. Are there any precautions parents can take to help keep their children safer? 
A. I think parents' best opportunity is to work with schools to help them follow the FBI guidelines, which actually seem quite sound. The FBI notes that almost all school shooters—even the very young ones—"leak" about their plans during the planning period. Sometimes they tell not just one person but many. The FBI says that children must be encouraged to report threats they hear on the playground to parents or trusted teachers.
  In my opinion, this would require that schools get rid of zero tolerance policies. How can anyone expect a child to report a friend’s “leakage” if the friend may turn out to have been joking but, even so, will automatically be expelled?

Q. How should parents explain these terrifying incidents to young children without creating irrational fears?
A. I have asked many therapists precisely that question. I hear time and again that what is most traumatizing for children who hear about school massacres is the feeling that they are helpless in the face of gargantuan forces. The remedy, then, is to help children feel like they have at least some power. I've watched therapists working with children ask them how they think they can help protect each other. For very young children the plans they devise won’t necessarily be practical. But devising them may make them feel less helpless, and that is important.

Q. Is there anything you believe can be done to keep our children safer in schools? 
A. There are lots of security firms with expensive answers to that question, but there's very little school budget money to hire security officers or implement new procedures or technologies. And a school that feels like a fortress is not necessarily where a 5-year old, for example, will feel like learning.
  That said, in my opinion we need to throw more financial resources at the problem of school massacre. The FBI has published excellent guidelines about how to assess threats and communicate with law enforcement and mental health agencies, but the schools have no money to implement the guidelines. Counselors, administrators, and teachers remain untrained. Systems are not in place for reaching out to community resources for help with potential murderers.
And the elephant in the room is still gun control. We all know that parents should keep guns out of reach of children. I think that the events of Friday December 14 have once again made clear that automatic weapons should be kept out of reach of everyone. Period.
Rebecca Coffey is an award-winning print and radio journalist and documentary filmmaker. She is the author of the book MURDERS MOST FOUL: The School Shooters in Our MidstShe currently contributes to Scientific American and Discover magazines, and is a broadcasting commentator for Vermont Public Radio. Learn more about Rebecca Coffey and her work at her


A tragedy that involves the deaths of 20 school children begs an explanation, a pat answer that will prevent this from happening again. That's not surprising. As a culture, we are spoon fed that notion by politicians eager to win our votes and an entertainment industry that thrives on providing a satisfying emotional climax in the length of a TV show or feature film. Reality is not that simple. They are called "senseless tragedies" for a reason. All the same, these terrible events deserve analysis and introspection. I want to thank Rebecca for sharing her insights at the cost of some sleep. I’m especially honored she took the time to answer my questions after 10PM on a day that had already been filled for her with requests for interviews. She appeared on four radio programs yesterday.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Puerto Rico's Bid for Statehood: A Millennial's View, Part Two

The Latino Edge interviewed Victor M. Inglés Ferri from Guayama, Puerto Rico. He is a student at the Caribbean University, Ponce campus. We were seeking a Millennial student's view on the island's ambition to become the 51st state of America. While some Americans are outraged at such a goal, most feel it is the right time to welcome Puerto Rico into the fold.

This article is the conclusion of this two-part series.

TLE: Pro-statehood activists point to Hawaii as an example of a territory that successfully became a state. However, Hawaii's rich culture has all but disappeared. Do you think Puerto Rico will suffer the same fate? Why ?

VIF: I don’t fear this would happen to Puerto Rico. Because statehood is a political change, not a cultural one.

TLE:  What do you consider yourself, Puerto Rican, American or both? 

VIF: Both. Equally. I am an American citizen. If you are born in Puerto Rico you are an American. I am proud to be a Puerto Rican and proud to be an American.

TLE: How do you view yourself as a Puerto Rican? Also, will your self identity change once Puerto Rico is accepted into the American union?

VIF: I am proud to be Puerto Rican. I love our history, culture, traditions, etc. If Puerto Rico becomes a state,  the history, culture and traditions wont disappear. We will still be Puerto Ricans and we will still have our identity. Nothing can change that. Statehood is a political change not a cultural one. 

TLE:  Would Spanish would remain the official language of Puerto Rico? How would life be different if English were the only official language? Would you agree to a change such as that? 

VIF: The language issue is not a big deal. Its ironic that some politicians say that because Puerto Rico has two official language ENGLISH AND SPANISH while he United States has NONE!  So how can they force us to have something they do not? Besides, many states became a state when most of the people did not speak English. Like New Mexico and Louisiana. 

When my parents grew up , in a class room of 30 students , only around 10 people were bilingual , but times have changed. I graduated from high school in 2010, we were 34 students. I would say like 31 of us understood English very well. And about 25 of us were bilingual. 

It would not change the culture cause most of us already know English. In high school I had one Spanish class, and two English classes. It wasn't a bilingual school. It wont affect daily life, it wont affect our culture and I don't see it as a significant challenge to getting statehood because it wasn't a significant challenge to other states.

TLE; Thank you, Victor for giving our readers a Millennial generation view of Puerto Rico's bid for statehood. Many of our readers are not well versed in politics in Puerto Rico and its effect on the American landscape. 

The Latino Edge te desea mucho exito!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Puerto Rico's Bid for Statehood: A Millennial's View, Part One

The Latino Edge interviewed Victor M. Inglés Ferri from Guayama, Puerto Rico. He is a student at the Caribbean University, Ponce campus. We were seeking a Millennial student's view on the island's ambition to become the 51st state of America. While some Americans are outraged at such a goal, most feel it is the right time to welcome Puerto Rico into the fold.

TLE: Tell us why you strongly believe Puerto Rico should be allowed statehood?        

VIF: Puerto Rico is the most populated and oldest colony in the world. Since 1898, we have been a US territory and American citizens since 1917. Our soldiers have fought in every war America has been involved. However, we have been denied some of the most basic rights guaranteed to the states by the Constitution.

Puerto Rico has paid the price for American freedom and rights in blood. Those same rights we don’t have. It's time for the people in the mainland to acknowledge that officially, and give us the rights we have fought so hard for. The US Constitution mentions equality, and by the people, for the people. Puerto Ricans are their American brothers and sisters and its about time they start treating us like it. 

Besides being drafted the most, out of every state and U.S. territory, Puerto Ricans have the highest U.S. military enrollment rate out of any U.S. jurisdiction in the present. That means that we defend our country the most, compared to any other state. Still we do not have the Congress representation we deserve and can not vote for our President. Puertorican soldiers died for America. Yet, the United States treats us like second class citizens. We don't want statehood just so we can vote in the presidential elections, We want equality! We want equal treatment with the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as mainland Americans.  And those rights happen to include presidential voting rights. 

Right now, there are less than 4 million Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico and more than 4 million Puerto Ricans live in the United States. When you have a political status that scares away half of your population, it is time to reject that political status.  - Kenneth McClintock/Secretary of State, Puerto Rico

Although the Puerto Rican government has its own tax laws, its residents are also required to pay most U.S. federal taxes, with the major exception being the federal personal income tax. However, only under certain circumstances. Residents of Puerto Rico pay into Social Security just like everyone else does in the US, and are eligible for benefits upon retirement. Nevertheless, they are excluded from the Supplemental Security Income, and the island actually receives a small fraction of the Medicaid funding it would receive if it were a U.S. state. Medicare providers receive less-than-full state-like reimbursements for services rendered to beneficiaries in Puerto Rico, even though the latter paid fully into the system. We have contribute to our nation. Not only that, but the US makes more profit from us than we do from them.

In a poll conducted for Upper Michigans Source website, 85% of Americans who voted, support statehood for Puerto Rico. The other 15%  denies their own fellow Americans the *same* rights they sometimes take for granted in the first place.

We want the same rights, benefits and responsibilities that our families living in the states have. The real question is, why shouldn’t Puerto Rico be a state?

TLE: You mentioned that you are against independence and free association. Why?

VIF: We have been a US colony for so long that our own identity has changed in a way that has accommodated that of the mainland. Also, receiving the many financial aides provided by the US along with the minimum wage increases,  without the proper economical infrastructure to support it on its own has left the island totally dependent of the States. Independence and free association will simply not work for an island that has abandoned its original ways of self support like agriculture and labor intensive industry. On its own, Puerto Rico won’t be competitive enough to survive the fierce competition presented by those countries with more resources and much lower labor costs.

TLE:  How have these political issues affected your life in specific ways?

VIF: The actual political status served the island well in the past. With the economical help provided by the US, we have achieved much stronger political and economical stability than other countries in the region. Now, this status formula has become obsolete. It can’t do anything towards achieving greater goals like first class citizenship and those benefits and responsibilities that accompany it.    

TLE: Do you think that Congress will actually act on the status of Puerto Rico?     

VIF: The United States Congress has many reasons for not acting on the status issue of the island, most of them of economical nature. However, the Congress will be forced, indirectly, by international pressure and the continuous increase of the Latino influence in the mainland. A possible Democratic Party advantage may be an additional factor to act on the status. President Obama promised he would support statehood for Puerto Rico if there was a majority vote in favor. Currently, Congress is acting on it. The answer is yes.   

TLE: Did you vote on the November 6th referendum? What was your vote?    

VIF: Yes. I voted NO to the current status and YES for statehood.

TLE: There has been some criticism towards the PNP (Republican Party in Puerto Rico) regarding this referendum. People say that it was just a ploy to get voters to the ballots so that pro-statehood activists would vote for former governor Luis Fortuño. What what is your opinion about the referendum from that perception? Do you agree that these plebiscites are a persuasive way to understand the majority opinion of Puerto Ricans regarding their political status?

VIF: Some statehood supporters did not vote for Fortuño. The general elections and the referendum were two entirely separate issues. Statehood won and  Fortuño did not.  Perhaps it was a political strategy? The fact remains that statehood won. The plebiscite was clear. "Do you want Puerto Rico to keep their current status yes or no? If not, which status would you prefer? Statehood, Free Association or Independence?" Everyone voted for the political status they prefer. It was clear and representative of the majority. 

Please return tomorrow for the conclusion of this two-part series. - The Latino Edge.