Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

What Just Happened?

I have no idea what the heck just happened. But somehow, someway, I managed to get into an argument with my new property management company.

It all started because I wanted a set of duplicate keys. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is because I just want a spare set. I don’t want to be in a panic calling property management if I ever lose my keys. I probably lose my keys perhaps once every 2 to 3 years. Not a big thing, but super stressful if you don’t have a spare set. The second reason is I would like to be able to give that duplicate set of keys on occasion to Sandis’s PCA (whomever that may be) should she happen to be at home with him when I am not at home and needs to take him out to either therapy or some other community-based activity. I’d like her to be able to lock the door. Also, I’d like her to be able to pick Sandis up from school on occasion and bring him home even if I am not yet home. It just eases things for me. She wouldn’t always have the key, but she would for these occasions.

They told me no. The gal at the property management company (I’m seething at the no at this time, threatening to bring in a disability advocate to help pave my way on this) asks me to think for a minute on why it is their policy to not give duplicate keys.

“Imagine this, Sarah. You have your friends over, and one of your friends steals your duplicate keys from your kitchen drawer/purse/wherever and uses it to rob you later. The liability issues for us are too large to issue duplicate keys.”

Wait. Stop.

What just happened here? What kind of people do you think I hang out with? What kind of people do you deal with EVERY DAY that live where I am moving?

Oh. Shit.

On to the door alarm and small sign. I’d like to put up a very small unobtrusive sign in our doorway that simply says: “A child with autism lives here.” It won’t be a blaring tacky testament, just a tool to help raise our new community’s awareness about my family and my son. Hopefully it will help promote safety as should he ever “get out” and “wander” hopefully someone will remember seeing this sign and cart him on back safe, rather than unsafe and still wandering.

My property management’s response?

“Well, you know, you shouldn’t let your children wander alone as it is.”



Well, I tell her, I don’t let my child wander, and as it is, I will be putting up a door alarm to help make sure that when I understand he is inside, he stays inside.

She interrupts me: “Does the door alarm alter the door? Because we had a family that installed a door alarm that altered the door and somehow the police got involved and had to kick down the door. It was a big mess.”

I am defeated. I feel certain that I have somehow lightbeamed into an alternate reality. I mutter/whisper/squeak: “Police? What?”

(And no, the door alarm is magnetic and does not alter the door).

So, You tell me.

What the hell just happened?


Bernard said...

I think the person you're dealing with is in a parallel universe.

She's hearing something completely different to what you're saying.

Is there a different person in there you could talk with? Maybe there's an article about the benefit of door alarms for your situation that you could show them?

I hope you can get them to understand why you're trying to do this.

Bernard said...


Have you ever read Ned Batchelder's blog? He's got a teenager with autism and sometimes writes about it.

Today he's got a post related to autism.

Shannon said...

I agree with Bernard....try talking to someone else. This woman's logic is so out there. Her scenarios are too far fetched.

Val said...

And is their a reason why the "friends" she assumes you have would only steal your duplicate set of keys, not your original set? Definitely in a parallel universe. Can you talk with her supervisor? Your requests seem perfectly reasonable to me.

meanderings said...

Sarah, your newest dilemma is fascinating. Your requests are just so reasonable that I have to agree w/ the others that you need to find someone else to talk to. Her responses are really totally inane.
I really don't know how you stay so calm through some of your experiences!

Major Bedhead said...

Good grief.

I agree, see if you can go over her head. Or just make a copy of the keys yourself, if you can do that. Some places have weird, unduplicatable keys.

Lyrehca said...

Yeah, what Julia said. Can you just make your own keys and put up your own sign and see what happens?

Anonymous said...

How frustrating. People can be really clueless sometimes.

Lora said...

I agree that your request is perfectly reasonable. I wish you a happy Mother's Day Sarah, hope that your day is very special and memorable.

Robert Hudson said...

I hate to say it, but in situations like this, I have fund in the past that invoking the ADA, particularly in hinting that a call to an ADA-conversant attorney, gets people's attention. If nothing else, it puts someone on notice who may not realize that they are dealing with a disability issue.

ADA lawsuits are a scary bugbear in most corporate environments, and management has been mentally activated to avoid them if possible. Big payouts and bad publicity mean that even winning means losing.

I hate that sort of thing as much as anyone, and perhaps it's an unfair weapon to pull. But kids like ours have already been dealt a crappy hand. I'll take the advantages I can find.

That sort of situation always makes my blood boil when I read about someone else going through it. I hope you fight the good fight, and I hope you win it.