Category Archives: blogging

Why Does a Stranger Get to Control My Life?

This is as close as I could find to a representation of my last disability hearing:

People who have applied for disability and not been approved at the two earlier stages end up with a hearing. There is a door at the back where the possibly-disabled and their attorney enter. The seats closest to them are where they sit, as if disability of any kind was contagious. There is a stenographer to my left on the square of tables, and a disability occupations adjudicator at the table to my attorney’s right. Directly in front of me is a dais. Once everyone is settled in the judge will enter from a door directly opposite the one I walked through. In his or her black robes, of course. My judge this time is male, and I suspect is the same judge I had last time.

So before a word has been spoken the stage is set. The judge, formally dressed, sitting higher than anyone else. The stenographer and adjudicator sitting close to, but lower than the judge and at an angle toward him. My attorney sits beside me. He doesn’t know me at all, even though we’ve been through a hearing together before and everyone insists he’s great. He was assigned to me by Allsup, a company I’ll be happy to pay since THEY jumped through all the hoops for me. If you need someone, call and mention my name. I think I should have frequent flyer points to share or something.They have a 97% success rate!

My judge has a documented 38%  approval on disability cases, which I found out yesterday. The adjudicator guy will do most of the talking. He’ll list all the jobs I could do full-time, since I clearly can’t return to Nursing. Pretty much I sit there and they talk about me between themselves. This time I’ll stand and tell my own story. No one in that room knows me or my family or what we’ve been through.

If they did they’d all give me gentle hugs, tell me I was in their prayers, and approve me for disability all the way back to the start date of 2009. My children, too, since my pain screwed up both of their lives, plus Michael’s. I don’t think they give compensation to spouses, but he deserves something for all he’s endured.

My hearing is Tuesday (the 14th) at 10 a.m. I would be incredibly thankful if my friends could pray for me, send some positive energy, or just think about me that morning, please. I’d appreciate it SO much! Even if I’ve been a bitch to you lately (as I have to most of those closest to me) just think back to the good times we’ve had and think fondly of me, even if it’s only a minute or two.

72 Hours of Fear, then RELIEF!

I started bleeding on the way home from John’s jazz band concert Saturday afternoon. It worried me, since I hadn’t had a period in years and my labs had been in the post-menopausal range for two consecutive years. But I was too exhausted and in too much pain to really give it any thought that day. I’d had a really demanding week physically and mentally. A lazy week compared to my pre-constant pain life, but really tough compared to my current isolated, in bed twenty out of twenty-four hours life.

The next day the bleeding was heavier. I stayed in bed all day. But I used my iPad to Google possible causes for vaginal bleeding after menopause. When I didn’t find any answers I liked I started selecting my own causes and Googling them. “Hypertension causes vaginal bleeding” – improbable stuff like that. Then I pulled up a medication app on my phone and checked every medication I’m on to see if any of them could cause vaginal bleeding, even though none of my meds have changed in six months. All that was left was the answer to my very first search: Uterine Cancer.

Monday the flow seemed lighter, so I put off calling my doctor. I shaved my legs and did my nails, just in case. When my hair was mostly dry I put it in a sock bun. Out of the way for procedures, still looks nice when it comes out of the bun later. I don’t care what anyone tells you: Medical professionals appreciate a well-groomed patient. Then I made the call and they arranged an ultrasound for today.

After the ultrasound the nurse practitioner assured me that not only did I not have cancer, but that the bleeding was just a rebound effect from having my IUD removed a month ago.  She said to call if the bleeding kept going or stopped and then returned, but clearly did not expect that to happen.

I called my husband with the good news from the parking lot. I’d prepped him for bad news since I thought is was inevitable. His voice was shaking when he answered, as I’m sure mine was just a few minutes earlier.

So I now have shaved legs, OPI Cajun Shrimp nails, and my tummy is full of celebratory hamburger. I think that went well!

See other takes on this week’s writing prompts at Mama Kat’s.

A Week of Wonderful

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— 1 —

I’ll be finishing up the Our Lady of Lourdes novena tomorrow. It’s one I say every year. The darkness of winter around here needs as many reminders of miracles as possible, and there’s certainly no shortage of people for whom to pray.

— 2 —

I just got home from playing with a couple of the sweetest little boys ever – I look forward to Friday nights all week! Tonight we watched come cute songs with animation on YouTube. The very first was “Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee”, which took me straight back to Aaron’s daycare and pre-school years. I can see his sweet face with his little-boy haircut like it was yesterday, even though he’s a grown-up web designer with a baby girl due in 10 weeks or so. He liked the verse about smashing the bumblebee best, of course. Both my boys got my dark sense of humor!

— 3 —

Aaron’s expertise was a huge blessing earlier this week when my blog was hacked. I was beside myself because the hacker had replaced my post (a book review) with his vulgar political one and changed my password so I couldn’t log in. Aaron had set himself up a login for my blog as well as a way to access my entire computer remotely while he was in college, so it was evidently a quick fix for him. I would almost surely have had a stroke without both him and my original blog designer talking me out of my tree!

— 4 —

My younger son, John, performed with his high school’s Jazz Band this week. I wasn’t there, but my husband got great video of John’s performance, and I was incredibly impressed and proud when I watched! It’s a good thing we have a studio in the basement – I think it’s going to see more and more action. They had a guest performer – a member of the Air Force’s Band of the Golden West on baritone sax. If you’ve never seen an Air Force Band perform let me assure you: they really are the best of the best. And this guy loved John. He even high-fived him over the drum set after the song where the baritone sax was featured. That is a #proudmom moment!

— 5 —

While John was performing I was at a surprise party – for me! Three of my closest friends and I met for dinner (as we do periodically), but this time we celebrated me turning fifty (I showed off my celebratory navel ring), being an expectant grandmother, and working with these wonderful ladies for twenty-five years! The company I was working for when I was unable to return to work after my fourth spinal surgery because of constant, severe pain still considers me to be on Medical Leave of Absence, and will do so until I can finally get in front of a judge and be officially declared disabled. This means I can purchase insurance for myself and my family for the same price as if I were still working full-time. It’s hard to believe a company in this day and age could be that compassionate, but they have been. They even gave me a twenty-five year award, which I never would have expected. It was an emotional evening for me.

— 6 —

John got his official admission letter from the University of Louisville, so our next step is applying for housing. We get a discount on that deposit, thank God, but we still need to put together some money to get it done ASAP. I’m wading through possible scholarships and forwarding the best matches to John for application, and we have our fingers crossed we’ll get news soon about a really big one! John’s school counselor has been a huge help – there have been many times I’d have been completely lost without her input and suggestions. Keep us in your prayers, please!

— 7 —

I’ve gotten a little addicted to Hometalk, a daily email with several Pinterest-focused DIY/crafty projects. I’m going to have to stop cold-turkey, though. I was already really over anything that involved empty cans, empty TP rolls, or plastic cups or bottles. Then I saw an “upcycle” where someone had turned a bookshelf into a bar cart. Ponder that for a moment. If someone needs a bar cart more than a bookshelf they need to take a long, hard look at their life and their priorities. I need to take some time and better organize my Pinterest boards anyway. I discovered Pinterest early and never realized how huge it would get, so I have categories with names like “Good Ideas” and “Maybe”. Yikes.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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