Home of Criptonite

I think it’s time for me to publicly address why I’m no longer able to perform stand-up, indefinitely.

The simple answer: Healthcare. I live in a state that apparently believes a program which allows me to pee once a day and shower once a week is reasonable and dignified.

It’s been a year now since we learned that my dad, the hardest working man I know and my lone caregiver for much of my 28 years, desperately needs at least one of his knees replaced. It’s been a year since I sucked up my pride and started asking the state of Kentucky for help to get personal care assistants to help me so he can have his operation. It’s been a year in which Pops has continued caring for me on a knee he shouldn’t even be able to walk on.

During these past 12 months, I’ve learned that the Commonwealth of Kentucky does not value my ability to contribute to society. While there are programs designed to keep people like me out of institutions and supposedly foster independence, last September my governor implemented measures that turned those systems completely ineffectual. As a result, the home healthcare agencies contracted to provide care are unable to maintain any semblance of a full, steady, reliable staff. They cut the pay for their CNA’s by several dollars to the point that aides could, quite literally, make more money working in fast food. The incredible, hardworking men and women who have stuck with this career for the sake of their patients can’t make anything close to a livable wage. As the agencies scour for new employees willing to do an oft-back-breaking job for nearly minimum wage, I’m left with zero stability or regularity of care.

I can’t help but wonder if this was designed to fail. I hear, weekly, of people with disabilities leaving Kentucky to seek refuge in other states. Nobody will take responsibility. The state says it isn’t their fault because they’ve approved enough resources to satisfy my needs. The agencies won’t take blame because the reason they can’t fulfill those needs is because they were forced to change their business practices. If enough of us leave, both of the aforementioned parties can pad their statistics while saving a few bucks.

So the reason I haven’t been on stage since March (or even left my house since Easter) and can’t commit to any shows for the foreseeable future is because my dad is being forced to put my well-being above his own. Every time he lifts me, I get to feel the pain of a busted knee trembling through his fingertips. And my local government doesn’t give a fuck. The lack of care I am receiving is removing my dignity and increasingly diminishing my capacity to contribute to society. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that, without change or if any additional cuts are made to Medicaid, it’s only a matter of months, if not weeks, before I have no choice but to admit myself into a nursing home to live out the rest of my days.

I’m fortunate to have a voice louder than most in my situation and have every intention of fighting like hell for the systemically silenced. Dad and I are going to Frankfort next week to better understand how a state that’s so vehemently pro-life can knowingly diminish the potential of the most vulnerable among the living.

Thank you to all who took the time to read this. Please know how deeply I miss my comedy family, my audiences, and my social life. I hope to get to actually live again and resume offending y’all soon.

With Love & Anger,
Ally

P.S. If you’re in Kentucky and want to help, contact Governor Bevin and your local representatives.