Tag Archives: pain

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.

Carving Away Pieces to Reveil Yourself

I’ve learned over the years that you lose friends. Sometimes you gain them back, and it’s a wonderful surprise! But sometimes you don’t. Perhaps. . . no, sometimes there’s nothing more you can do. I’ve been unable to work since 2011. I’ve been in constant pain since 2009, and I will always remember those who heated up rice packs for me, who didn’t disturb me when I was lying in cervical tension in my teeny office, and who didn’t call me out on my multiple mistakes while I tried every therapy, treatment, and medication known until it was discovered my original surgeon had botched my second surgery and I had screws floating around my spinal cord and two vertebrae that weren’t even in the same zip code!

I lost a lot of friends early. It was a MASS EXODUS. But I’ve covered all that before. I had four left from “before”. Four friends whose numbers my phone knew and I would pick up no matter what was going on. Today it’s down to three and I really HATE that since it’s only ten days until my disability hearing. Right now I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, everything hurts all the time. I managed, with tears rolling down my face, to apologize to her family members for being honest. I do, sincerely, hope it helps her. She, her husband, and her kids are like family to me. But clearly she feels this is the time to move on. At this point I’m just going to be myself and everyone can take it or leave it. I am honest. I am authentic. I am Angie.

I am so incredibly thankful for those of you who have hung in there with me. If not in person, then online, via FB, via Twitter, via Nerium. My latest Nerium read has helped me keep a positive outlook throughout all this! I’ll share a review when I’ve finished it 🙂

What Did YOU Learn in February?

February is my least favorite month. Always has been. Yes, it’s the shortest month, but it always manages to pack a lot of punch.
I grieved a lot this February. I grieved the loss of friendships. I thought I winnowed out long ago all the people who were only my friends when they needed something from me, or when they could use me. Sadly, I’m more naive than I thought I was. On the other hand, I enjoy doing things for other people, and I’m so out-of-the-loop socially that I often don’t even know when someone uses me as a scapegoat in their own manipulations. That part doesn’t bother me so much. Anyone who really knows me is well aware of what I would or would not say or do. If they don’t know me that well then their opinion of me is irrelevant.

But it still hurts when someone you care about, someone you’ve prayed for and lost sleep over suddenly becomes a person you’re unable to trust. There are many, many things I can forgive. But I’m not stupid, and I don’t quickly forgive wrongs done to me or my immediate family. There are times that trust needs to be earned.

Winter is always hard for me. Even with my Happy Light every single morning it’s hard. I had a psychiatrist appointment in February, and after I’d sat in his uncomfortable waiting room chairs for TWO HOURS, without my pain meds because they weren’t due any time near my appointment (but were, by then, past due) he opened the door and called me back. The waiting room was stuffed with patients, all waiting for him, many with chronic pain issues similar to mine. We’d all had time to chat. I stumbled to my feet, raised my hands, and shouted, “Hallelujah!” No, not the most subtle approach. And it earned me not a promise to be more prompt, but an increase in my anti-depressant dosage and a quicker follow-up appointment. Which he will, again, be late for. And I will, again, be in pain for.

I also saw a new Internal Medicine doctor in February. My current insurance refuses to cover the physician who’s been seeing me since 1988, so I had to pick a new one. Thankfully, he’s a physician I know and like. Unfortunately, he is not comfortable writing the pain medications I have been on since 2009. So I can wait 6-8 months for a new patient appointment at a pain management office downtown (where I know no one and am not at all comfortable driving with my severely limited range of motion in my neck) or I can keep paying 100% out-of-pocket to my out-of-network doctor who has known me for years. I’m just trying to keep a roof over our heads and the lights and water on and the insurance companies play these nonsensical games. It’s an evil thought, but I’d like just one of the insurance people to feel the pain I feel – just for one day.

So I suppose this February has taught me to love those people who love me as I am – not for what I can do for them, or what use they have for me.  The high points? A wonderful baby shower for my eldest niece, and a surprise fiftieth birthday party for a friend – they were spectacular!!

Want to read or link up to this week’s writing prompts? Check out Mama Kat every Thursday!

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