Friday, September 17, 2010

jumping through hoops for ID

Locally banks are open in the evenings until 8 PM, grocery stores are open 24 hrs a day, but PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver and Vehicle Services) locally has only one day a week with extended hours until 6 PM. We are talking State employees, who works for who here? 

Throw in Multiple Sclerosis, a wheelchair, legally blind, cognitively impaired, dependent on others and PennDOT may as well make the disability community do tricks to get services.

After two visits finally Patti was able to renew her Photo ID card. In post 9/11 America you really need a photo ID for just about anything.  

I have no argument with the need just the PennDOT process. Our first attempt was rebuffed after renewing on-line and taking the extra step to call ahead and confirm we had everything we needed. Upon arrival we were told we needed yet another form for a renewal photo that was only available during ‘non-extended’ hours.

In round two, the photo taker says to Patti, “the computer screen will now display a series of questions. Please read and answer yes or no by entering a …”

Patti: (turning to me) “What the f#ck is she talking about?”

I try to explain that Patti is not only legally blind but has Multiple Sclerosis symptoms of memory loss and cognitive impairment … Regardless the questions ‘must’ be answered! On we plunge ‘reading’ questions about organ donor awareness, voter registration, and is the information on the screen you cannot see correct.

God Bless Patti as she consistently responds to yes or no with, “Who the f#ck cares!”

One last dog and pony show trick remained. Patti had to sign her name in a tiny virtual box with a fake pen. The fact that the counter could not be accessed from a wheelchair was the least of the obstacles for a legally blind person with lack of eye hand coordination, and a shaky hand.

Hallelujah!!! Patti now has a renewed Pennsylvania Photo ID valid for 4 years! In Patti’s words, “NOW can I just get a ciggie!”

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 
musings: patrick ponders


  1. you think they could devise a simpler system for those that need an extra hand. the good news is you won't have to "endure" this for four more years and one can hope they will be kinder then.....


  2. Patrick, I can't believe that Patti is the only one at the Nursing Home that is in this situation. Sharon is at a County facility in NJ, and the Sheriff's office came to the Nursing home and made ID's for all of the residents. I agree, everyone needs a photo id. It might be a long shot, but perhaps the Social Services department where Patti is could arrange for something similar?

  3. Tracey, elected Sheriffs always rock when it comes to actually 'getting it' and you are blessed. Facility or homecare accessibility and common sense should not make a difference; for example, that digital signature could have simply been copied over from previous ID on file.


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