Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

February 26, 2016


Artistic view of how the world feels like with schizophrenia
Picture credit: Craig Finn (schizophrenia patient)


A story on our news this morning was impossible for me to ignore.
Many of you know that I was Nurse in California years ago, but what you may not know is where I worked and what I did there.
I have been blessed with a  variety of wonderful occupations in my lifetime, but the one without a doubt that meant the most to me, were the 4 years I spent at a California Rehab Center.
My position was that of a Treatment Nurse to over 120 patients there.
Every day, the orderlies brought my patients to me in a little room off of the main corridor to receive their treatments, which varied from of wound care, eye and ear meds, and other, to be taken care of, some came several times during the day.
At noon  we all went to the large dining area and with the assistance of four orderlies we watched over the patients while they ate.
Most days were without incident, but on several occasions there were outbursts and/or physical assaults between the patients.
On three separate occasions over my 4 years there, I was the victim of an assault.
The first two resulted in only minor injuries and no treatment was received, but by the third occasion, that changed.
A patient came up from behind me and slammed a lunch tray down very hard on my head, I went down.
I woke up in the ER and my husband was called to come after me.
On the drive home he was quite adamant and said,  “you are all done there.”
It was the end.
Sadly I knew he was right, but I was very distressed about the care of my many patients.
At that time, I was the ONLY Nurse who went out onto the floor and had interaction with them.
The other Nurses were safely behind closed doors and out of harms way.
This was many years ago and my heart still hurts about the entire situation.
A few months later, this facility was closed by the state and the patients were all transferred to a larger one many miles away with a reputation for giving cold, clinical patient care.
The closing was not a complete surprise, there had been a lengthy list of problems and just before my final incident, I had taken a tray of food into the Director’s office and shown him a very large roach on a patients food.
His response was not one of outrage or concern, just basically a “what do you want me to do about it?”
Nothing changed, I left, it closed.
Now today, seeing this story on the News, it all came rushing back, as I watched in horror as this young woman was attacked in a similar facility here in Florida.
The outrage for me is this, why is Florida’s  Mental Health Care spending/funding,  at  number 50 in America?
Do you have any idea how much money pours into this state from Tourism every day, every year?
It is likely the most of all the other 50 states combined.
Orlando, and Florida, are just about the most visited places in not only America, but likely the entire world by Tourists.
So why Governor Scott, is there no money for Mental Health Care Facilities?
This Governor is spending every minute of his time now,  throwing a great deal of our money around,  making himself look good for his run at the White House, right after he wins a Senatorial Seat here.
He travels all over this state bragging about all of the jobs he has created.
Yet while he is spending millions everywhere else here, the situation for the desperately ill here, goes not only unattended, but completely ignored.
No Governor Scott, they will not just go away.
They cannot, they have no where to go.
This problem is not just in Florida, sadly this ugly secret is Global.
No one wants to admit or accept the fact, that there are many mentally unstable and desperately needy people who are not getting the help they need.
And we have all witnessed the results in our News every day.
Too often, mass killings in schools or workplaces, have become ground zero for yet another person who did not get the help they needed.
In California and Connecticut, mental facilities are closing,  or are already closed, patients are put out onto the streets at the mercy of their own mental disorders, left to fend for themselves, and of course, they fail.
We can’t keep looking away, we must put our money and our hearts into caring for this portion of our society who cannot help themselves, we must see that they get care.
Governor Scott, your failure to address this dark corner of our society can no longer be just your dirty little secret, it is out in the open now, we all know where OUR money is NOT going and you must do something to end this.
End the secrets, end their suffering, end their pain.

Places to learn more:
Insane. Invisible. In danger
9 Investigates state funding for mental health care
9 Investigates: Violence in state mental health hospitals
Mental Health Association of Central Florida
Florida in desperate need of effective mental health services


February 12, 2016

Invictus in Orlando

Archery at the Invictus Games,  September 12, 2014  London
Picture credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Logico,  US Navy


There was a joyful announcement on our local News station here this morning that needs to be shared with all of you.
This year’s Invictus Games will be here in Orlando from May 8-12,  at the ESPN Disney Worldwide Complex.
This will hopefully allow those of you who may be farther away, a chance to make plans to attend.
The first one was organized/begun by Prince Harry in London in 2014,  with over 300 competitors from 13 Countries.
Now we here in Central Florida have the extreme pleasure and take great pride in hosting the second one in Orlando in May.
All the details are below.
My interest in these games is three fold:  my son is a paraplegic and he participated in many different kinds of sports in a wheel chair,  which was at once, exciting and terrifying as his mother, but I adjusted quickly, after seeing how much it meant to him.
Watching my son crash onto the floor head first in a basketball game, was really hard for me, thank God,  he has a hard head.  Must be his Genes!
Basketball would be only one of many sports he played, many of the same ones listed for these games, all were when he was much younger and thankfully, he survived!
My second reason is due to my lifelong, family related, support of Military Veterans, especially those who have been wounded while serving.
And by the way, not all wounds are visible.
As a treatment Nurse in a California Rehab Center, I had 4 years to learn and understand this fact quite well.
For any one not familiar with this exciting event, it is a multi-sport competition and celebration for wounded veterans from around the world.
This year more than 15 Countries and over 500 athletes have been invited and will be represented here in Orlando.
This year’s various sports will include: track and field, wheel chair basketball, archery, wheel chair tennis, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair rugby and a Triathlon.
If you have the time and/or the funds, I truly hope that you can come here to Orlando in May, to witness, to experience, this glorious celebration and event.
What better way to say thank you to these men and women, not only for their service, but also for their great sacrifices to their Countries.
God Bless them all.
They are some of the bravest people you and I will ever know and perhaps meet.
My third reason, is the movie Invictus, which is one of my all time favorite’s, with Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and a story about Nelson Mandela, what is not to love!
Did I mention that Prince Harry will be here?
Places to learn more:

The Invictus Games in Orlando

Invictus Games – Wikipedia

ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports Complex

Schedule set for Invictus Games at Walt Disney World

Prince Harry to attend Invictus Games in Orlando as 100-day countdown begins

The Invictus Games Foundation


February 10, 2016

Hiding the Hunters

A beautiful 300 pound Florida Black Bear hit and killed near our home here in the Ocala Forest.
Picture credit: USFS Carrie Sekerak

So much for transparency from the King of backroom deals and hidden agendas, or the Governor of what is now known as the sad state of Florida for all wild animals.
Here is the who and what of this deed yesterday:  The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee  backed a measure (SB 1364)
Florida’s Governor Scott, who was apparently, although the proof of this has now somehow disappeared,  outed last fall for buying a Bear Hunting Permit, before the murderous rampage began,  surely must have had his hands all over this bill that was just passed yesterday, that will now keep the names of any/all Black Bear Hunters who buy a permit to kill them, out of sight, out of mind!
Just finding information about this was VERY difficult, although the story was on our local ABC NEWS Station in Orlando, this morning. It was not on their web site, nor any other local one here.
I finally found the story in the Gainesville Sun and on Fox 13 in Tampa Bay.
It was no accident that last Fall that the names of 103 persons, who were kept off of Florida’s public bear hunt licensee list included:  police, judges and public officials.
Now the Governor wants to up the stakes, by hiding everybody’s names.
It was no surprise that the Hunt last fall brought Bear lovers and Animals Activists out of the woodworks, and some idiots even emailed and/or called people on the Permit List.
Two of those well known on the List included, musician Ted Nugent and newly appointed by Scott, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission member and Rancher, Liesa Priddy, who voted to approve the new hunts.
Yes, those protestors were stupid and did nothing to help the already volatile situation.
Of course, the outcry from hunters and gun owners went all the way to Tallahassee into Scott’s loving, attentive ears.
Oh my we can’t have the public knowing who is going to be doing any Bear killing, why those people could be dangerous, a gun owner might be hurt, or worse.
Now armed with these tasty facts, the Governor and his Mounties say, no more to transparency in Tallahassee, like we have ever had any anyway.
No more public records for gun owners or Bear Hunters in Florida.
Don’t worry, those of you who want to kill Bears again in the fall, if the Hunt is repeated, and I guarantee you it will be, because it was a huge money maker for Scott and Florida, with over 3,778  permits sold at $100 or $300 each,  for a grand total of $376,900, your name will be kept secret.
Remember that just a short time ago, this same group of intellectuals in Tallahassee passed a silencer bill that now allows Hunters on any road in Florida to sit on, or in, their trucks and fire at will, into the woods, using riles now legally armed with silencers.
Sadly, their poor innocent victims will never know that they are about to die.
Heads up Snow Birds, Visitors, or families, while walking in any Woods in Florida!
This Governor  has become notorious for the secrets he keeps, so it was not much of a stretch for him to encourage his puppets in Tallahassee, to Hide the Hunters.

Places to learn more: