Sunday, January 11, 2009

Monkey see, Monkey do?

You're going to love this post and I assure you this is real Monkey Business. Monkeys may soon be placed as caregivers for quadriplegics including ALS patients, from an article printed by Disabled World Jan. 09.

I don't remember Christopher Reeve endorsing this type of Monkey Madness. Yes, Helping Hands, a 501(c)(3) has 10 full-time employees that includes six trainers. They go to Monkey College one hour a day in diapers and learn the tricks of caregiving.

Helping Hands covers the costs of the breeding, fostering, training and placing 12-15 monkeys a year. The costs total about $38,000 per monkey from birth to placement. Helping Hands educates thousands of young people annually through the Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Program (SCIPP). It takes at least three to five years to train each monkey and during that time the animal’s personality is closely observed so it can be placed with the right individual.

We've all heard of Gordo the space monkey who drowned on splash down and those "Trunk Monkeys" that delivered babies in the back seat or performed first aid at crash sites when released. Say it ain't so, the Monkey has come from carrying a tin cup for the organ grinder to being a graduated skilled caregiver?

Can you imagine? Your new medicare plan "M" now includes a Monkey caregiver. Such a cute idea but is this the level of care we need or deserve? Who changes the Monkeys diaper if we can't move? Even if these Monkeys graduated Harvard, there is no way they could handle the demands of ALS. I'm sure there are a few cute success stories but please, Helping Hands do ALS patients a favor and leave us out of your campaign, you're in over your head.

It's time for a reality check folks. Maybe we should have SCIPP train the Monkeys we have in congress to put real issues into law and then provide the funding. We need real care from qualified people, keep the real Monkeys in the zoo for entertainment on our day out.

For information on real Lifespan Respite Care by the ALS Association.

Remember; You may be wearing a big smile today but you are never out of the jungle.

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