As I enjoyed my gourmet lunch, a can of Beefaroni, I reflected on the events of the past few years, because of a conversation I had with someone yesterday. I made a brief mention to it in a prior blog. I had a conversation with someone yesterday that stirred up quite a bit of emotion. I've always found writing whether it be a letter or just a sort of journal entry, very cathodic. So, I thought, why not blog about it? This is long, and might even be considered controversial?
I was diagnosed as physically disabled, but am unable to collect disability. I've applied twice. I was alone the first time. It was a very degrading experience. Being made to show what cash I had on me. Asked how much money I had in the bank. Asked what I owned that I could sell for money. Now, I ask you, what does that have to do with the fact that specialists along with my primary care diagnosed me with a physical disability that prevents me to work? I was told before I left that I did not qualify for disability even tho, I cannot work. Truth be told, I cannot even go grocery shopping anymore. So, I decided to fight the decision. I made calls to different lawyers. Again and again, I was left feeling degraded. That tends to happen to someone when they are told "the government set regulations so that people like me(lawyers) don't have to pay for people like you(me)." Can you imagine? Every time I completely lost it. I did not ask for this! I went to my primary care to seek treatment, to fix whatever was happening from my lower back on down. Instead, I was sent to specialists, had to endure multiple tests, and physical therapy. Only to be told to go apply for disability.
In the meantime, my husband was laid off. My primary care told me to try again. So, I followed his advice, with a twist. This time, I did not go alone, nor did I go to the same branch office. I went to a different town. Made the appointment. It was different in so many ways. First, I was given paperwork for my primary care and I to fill out. My husband came with me. A few days before the appointment, I fell. My face to shoulders were swollen and bruised, my teeth are loose and could hardly talk from the fall(all I could do was count the amount of times my jaw hit the unpaved drive..4X's). So we get to the appointment, sit there, while we were supposedly helped. I don't know if you could say what happened was help. This person was busy on her computer, never asking questions for about 15 or so minutes. I finally turn to my husband and say loud enough so she could hear. "ya know, she is entering a lot of info without asking anything!" She didn't even look at the paperwork I was told needed to be filled by me and my primary care. According to her, there was enough info in the system that she didn't need to ask me anything. That is, until it came time for her to ask how much my husbands unemployment insurance was. Again, I'm stumped. What does my husbands income have to do with the fact that I can no longer work? Since when did his income dictate my health? Once again, I was denied. Then this supposedly helpful person decided in her infinite wisdom to be sympathetic. She failed miserably!! I will give this person her due. She was being patronizing. Telling me how she understands what I am going thru. One more time, I lost it. There I was, swollen and bruised, and in her face. She knows what I'm going thru! She has absolutely no idea what I was/am going thru. She is at least healthy enough to work! She can help provide for herself/family! I can't work! I can't help provide for my little family! After my rant, I started to walk towards the exit, but had to sit down. The room started to spin, so I grabbed the closest seat, and just collapsed and the flood gates opened. At which time, a security guard came to see if I was OK. My husband assured him that I wasn't feeling well, and was upset. I, on the other hand, just looked up at this guy, and thru the flood told him to walk away!
When we made it home, I decided to start writing letters, and make phone calls to local, state government. What those lawyers said to me after the first time I applied was playing in my head like a broken record. There had to be someone out there who could, at least, explain how my husbands income dictates my health. This was done over this past summer, and I have not received one phone call. The only response I received was an email filled with gobble-dee-gook from a Senators office. I had to call the staff member mentioned in this email. In that phone call, I was asked to send a letter asking for help. Talk about things that make you go "hmmmmm". I said something like this phone call is the result of an email I received because I sent an email asking for help. She took down my phone number and said she would get back to me. As with all the other phone calls, and messages I left, she never called back!
There is another aspect of this journey, which is health care. Since my husband was laid off, we lost our coverage. I won't go into it too much, other to say I was approved for a state insurance, while my husband, a veteran who is also a diabetic was denied. There was a monthly premium, that I could not afford...so needless to say...once again, I'm not insured.
I was told in the conversation yesterday, I shouldn't have given up so easily. Really? I gave up easily? I didn't give up! I am being ignored! I've learned in the grand scheme of, for lack of a better term, the system, I don't matter! So now, when people ask "how are you?" I just grin and bear it, while saying "I'm good" as I hold back the tears. I'm not good. My health has gotten worse since. I cannot even be seen by a doctor. I have no insurance, no income other than my husbands unemployment insurance. In other words, I can't afford it. So once again, I don't matter! During that same conversation, I was told to start over, and apply for disability again. I have thought long and hard about this. I'm not really in the mood to be patronized, degraded, or even ignored. But, if I decided to apply for the third time, there would have to be someone with me. Someone whose job it is to help people like me..you see, despite what the system has said from their lack of actions....I do matter!