Updates for the week – massage therapist, psychologist, and social security

HeadmassageSo far, it’s been a fairly productive week.

One of the very nice ladies from my support group mentioned she had a friend that was a massage therapist. We will call the massage therapist LR.

I called LR yesterday and left a message. She was very prompt in her reply to me via text, which I actually like better than phone conversations.

She was very professional and very sweet. It is, as you all must know, very hard to describe our life circumstances to those around us. It’s embarrassing for me to have to explain to people that I can’t really leave my house. Do you know how hard that is for someone who used to work as a nurse, take call, play in 3 separate soccer leagues, walk her dogs, go to the gym, and have a pool membership? Sometimes, despite all that I did, I still liked to simply walk downtown for fun. So to tell someone I can’t even leave my house to get a massage, it breaks my heart just to have the words come out of my mouth.

Yet, she didn’t make me feel stupid. She was like, whatever! I was so appreciative of that. We worked out a price, which she had great ones, and scheduled a massage for next week. I’m excited. I hope it helps ease my stress level a bit. It will be my first massage in about a year.

As for the psychologist, that is proving difficult. The irony of the situation is I could see a massage therapist not wanting to come to my house and massage a client in her bed. If I was going to say no to that or a psychologist over the phone, I’m fairly certain the in-bed massage would win the declination category.

Yet, it’s the psychologist that I can’t seem to pin down. I could sign up for one of those monthly subscriptions to an online psychologist, but that’s not for me. To have to reexplain my situation over and over and over again? Please see above …

I’m gonna keep working at finding one though. There has to be someone out there willing to do it.

footmassage1As for Allsup, they finally received my paperwork stating I will pay them, even though I have signed that document about 2k times. Now, they can move forward with my appeal. I am fairly surprised that the customer service representative I talked to over the phone still didn’t understand that the only thing that has been filed for the appeal is a request for more time. We had two months, and the hold up, apparently, was my payment paperwork. I have not been with MetLife since November. They had 5-6 months to get me that paperwork before it became an issue. That is what held up my appeal. They have seriously dropped the ball on so many occasions I can’t believe it. I will not care if I win though. I’m pretty scared. As I’ve stated in previous posts, my finding a job, even if I can do it, will be next to impossible. I know, I know – they say I can work at a fast-food restaurant. Mmm-hmm. It’s like they did not read my medical records.

That’s about it. Oh, I did sign up for PT again. It’s on Monday. I’m terrified. I got pressured into it though, even though I see why this person wants me to try it again. It’s just, I would never be in the situation I currently am if it wasn’t for two physical therapists.

Next week, I’ll let you know how the PT goes.

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Looking for a job as a disabled person

So, Social Security, since they denied me, has forced me to look for jobs despite me not being well enough to have one.

 

I am running across exactly the problems that I knew I would. Early on in my injury situation, I had looked for jobs. I was better then than I am now, and the jobs were limited then. Now? Next to impossible.

 

So, my resume has gotten a lot of feedback from employers looking for a nurse. Well, you know, a nurse who can work as a nurse.

 

That’s really not going to cut it.

 

I have, though, gotten a little bit of feedback for employers looking to hire someone as a recruiter or a case manager. However, 2 things pose an issue.

 

A lot of the case managers must work in the hospital setting. I can’t do that for a lot of reasons. One, I can’t get to the hospital. Two, I can’t work 8 hour days. Three, I can’t stand for 8 hours straight. I need a break every hour on the hour, and I need that break to be laying down. Sure, I definitely see a hospital letting me do that! In order to complete 8 hours worth of work, I would need to be there 16 hours t fit in all of my laying down cycles.

 

I had an insurance firm call me and request an interview, but they want me to travel all the way to Oceanside for the interview. That’s 45 minutes away in a car. I can only sit in a car for 5 minutes once during the day and then I will suffer for it for the rest of the day. They wanted me for manager positions and for recruiter positions. I asked if any of them could be work from home. He said perhaps the recruiter position. The only issue was then the interview, which I’m sure we could have worked around. However, the main issue is that I would need to train in Oceanside. Again, now I would have to drive there. I thought about maybe getting a hotel there so I wouldn’t have to drive back and forth, but I would need my bed. It needs to be at the right height for me to get into it and the right softness level so that I’m comfortable. Otherwise it feels like my back is tearing open. Also, I’m sure the training would be for 8 hours a day. I can’t do 8 hours. I don’t even think I can do 4 hours.

 

So there it is. I can’t even try for a job because of the training issue.

 

I’m so mad at Social Security for not believing me or approving me. Even if someone will take a chance on me working from home, how will I train? Who is going to hire someone with my severe limitations? It goes back to their reasons for denying me based on my education. Sure, I’m educated, but I can’t apply it anywhere because of my physical limitations.

 

I’m feeling a bit punched in the gut today. I always knew that this would be a difficult road, trying to find a job, but it doesn’t make going through it any easier.

 

The worst part of it is, even if I get one, I’m fairly certain I will be in too much pain to even do a good job at it.

 

Ah, my life is glorious.

 

This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Social Security Hearing Denial – The Reasons I Was Denied

I feel alone

As promised, here are the reasons listed that I was denied.

First off, it seems that I did not have a social security approved diagnosis. Here is what they have listed for spine (copied and pasted directly from the social security website):

1.04 Disorders of the spine (e.g., herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture), resulting in compromise of a nerve root (including the cauda equina) or the spinal cord. With:

A. Evidence of nerve root compression characterized by neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle weakness or muscle weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex loss and, if there is involvement of the lower back, positive straight-leg raising test (sitting and supine);

OR

B. Spinal arachnoiditis, confirmed by an operative note or pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours;

or

C. Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudoclaudication, established by findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by chronic nonradicular pain and weakness, and resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b.

I do not have any of these. This does not mean that I am not suffering (for those of you who don’t have a spine issue, but who want to know what the social security administration views as a basis for diagnostic approval click the link). I can not believe that they disregarded all of the 900 pages of medical records that I submitted just because I did not have one of these three spinal issues.

Also, as of note, the first diagnosis, if you have that severe of entrapment of the spinal cord or the nerve root to cause cauda equina that is emergency surgery. That is the loss of bowel and bladder function. Also, for the record … YOU CAN HAVE SURGERY AND YOU WILL BE BETTER! Therefore, you wouldn’t need prolonged social security pay. It’s mystifying.

A second reason I was denied was my age. Apparently, you truly can’t be this sick and get social security at 35-38.

Third, they pulled from my record that I rode a bike. I know, I know. You’re thinking .. you rode a bike?!

Yeah … at physical therapy. For 5 minutes. Without the power on.

So the administration went through 900 pages of documents and pulled from my physical therapy sessions that I was “riding a bike” and was therefore not credible.

Want to know what’s not credible? Combing through someone’s medical record and taking something out of context. Being able to ride a bike for 5 minutes at your physical therapy’s office with no resistance at all does not constitute a person being well enough to work an 8 hour day. The administration pulled that piece of information without context. It was like they were searching for something. So disgraceful.

Fourth, they discredited my doctors. This is the one that I am always mystified by. How do people flat out discredit a doctor’s opinion? It makes no sense to me how a judge, who studies in law, can tell a doctor they are full of shit? What was stated was that in some instances he said I could walk ten minutes and others less than that. Well, guess what. Some days are better than others. I think the point that they missed was that it’s never over an hour combined. I just don’t understand how they didn’t look at the overall picture that was presented. Instead, they went searching for something to discredit me for.

In next week’s blog, I will tell you how I think that you can help your case to win social security based on my experience. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to others. Just think of me as I am living out of my car …

Be well …

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Social Security Denied At Hearing Level

planes and trainsSocial Security denied at the hearing level.

I just don’t understand. I really thought that I would win. I guess, because I deserved to win, plus everyone told me that I would.

I am so screwed now, it’s ridiculous. I have no income. I truly can’t work. I can’t sit for more than five minutes and I can’t stand for more than 2 hours a day – and that’s just once. After that, I need to lay down in one hour intervals. My mind is spacey — always distracted from the pain. If I do try and go out, I’m pretty much laid up for the rest of the day. When I say go out, it’s usually for an hour. Coffee, or maybe a drink. Hardly ever food because I can’t tolerate to wait for it.

Apparently, not being able to bend at the waist, tie your own shoes, or put on your own underwear did not sway the judge. Apparently, not being able to remotely do your own grocery shopping, clean your own house, or get yourself to doctors was convincing to this judge. Apparently, being essentially home bound was not enough for this judge to approve my condition.

I’m so disgusted right now.

If I try and get work now, my simple, few joys in life will be gone. All my energy will be to put a roof over my head and food on the table. My joys of listening to the audiobooks I have will be inundated with more distracting pain from trying to work.

That’s IF  I get a job. Who is going to hire a nurse that can only work from home, in two hour intervals, for a max of 4 hours a day?

I simply just don’t understand how this could happen. I spent my life taking care of other people. I did everything right. I’m such a straight-shooter. I didn’t cheat on my husband, tried to do right by my parents and brother, and this? I’ve been patient over 3 years to get better. No. Not that. Then, despite my quality of life being shit, I now have to worry about where to live, how to live, and how to eat? It’s truly mind-boggling.

My next few posts will be on what the denial letter actually said, which is a whole other conversation. After that, I will offer my advice for people who are starting this process so that they won’t make the same mistakes I did. I truly can’t believe that I had a company, Allsup, represent me for over a year, who had no fucking clue what they were doing and offered no tangible advice until it was too late.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Social Security Hearing – How Did It Go?

Yesterday I had my Social Security (SS) hearing. It went pretty well.

 

First off, I had to get to the location 30 minutes early on the request of my representative. FYI, I have spoken to this man 2-3 times and he wanted me there to ask me all of the same questions he has asked me over the phone. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking he just wants to make sure I’m prepared with my answer. No, no that’s not the reason. He was just totally inept. He also thought the security line was going to take a long time. Really? From the front door of the building until I met him in the conference room, it was all of 45 seconds. So ridiculous. This guy had no clue.

 

He did ask me a few questions right before hand that I felt were a little late in the game. Things like what types of procedures did I try. He seemed to be scrambling. This guy was supposed to have prepared for my case and he knew nothing. I was absolutely shocked.

 

I mean, take some pride in your job. He just seemed like such a loser. I couldn’t believe it.

 

My hearing was about 25 minutes late, I guess they had technical difficulties. I walked in, and of course, they offered for me to sit. I declined, and they all looked at me weird. Good thing I’m used to it.

 

First off, they asked me my name, weight, and height. Weirdly, they asked if I was right or left handed? I kinda felt like this isn’t the middle ages. Why would being left-handed even matter?

 

Then they asked me, well, the lawyer, what my diagnosis was. He said chronic pain. Immediately the judge said pain is a symptom, not a diagnosis.  The repeats, what is her diagnosis.

 

I do not bullshit you, my lawyer said “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

 

FFS.

 

The lawyer then says I have parthyroidism. No, I don’t. I have hypoparathyroidism that created a connective tissue disorder. My stupid fucking lawyer had no clue.

 

I had to worm that answer in later. I could not believe it.

 

After that, most of the questions pertained to:

– where is the pain

-how is the pain

-what can you do

-what ADL’s can you do

-who cares for you

… things of that nature.

 

At the end  the judge asked if there was anything my lawyer wanted to add (my lawyer did warn me before hand this might happen and that it was my opportunity to make sure my case was fully represented. My lawyer said he would ask me a bunch of questions to make sure the judge understood my case).

 

The lawyer asked “how did you get from Northern California to Southern California?”

 

I said RV and ambulance.

 

After that, I looked at him for more questions. He turns to the judge and says “that’s all I have your honor.”

 

WTF?!

 

I could have done a much, much better job if I had just represented myself. There is nothing this company has done that improved my chances. If anything they hurt my long term chances by almost getting the case thrown out when they screwed up the first videoconference. If they had not of done that, I would have had my court date in December, and a decision by now. If I win, I would be able to go to my disability insurance company an appeal with the fact that the United States government deems me disabled. Now, I won’t find out until May, so it’s a moot point as I have to appeal with the disability insurance carrier by April 4th. So irritating. I really wanted to look over at the lawyer and be like “why are you even here?” or “how about you do all of us a favor and just go get yourself some coffee. You are contributing nothing to this.”

 

Back to the hearing, at that point I asked the judge if I could add something. He agreed. The weird thing you should know is that there is no real room for narrative. It’s very yes, no, and short answer. It was a bit weird to ask if I could add something, the judge agreed, but I’m not entirely sure that’s the norm.

 

The one thing my lawyer said was really important is that you illustrate that you have tried multiple doctors. Then, in the course of the hearing, he only referred to two doctors that I saw. I took the opportunity to list all the doctors that I had seen so that I would fulfill the requirement of seeing multiple specialties. The one thing I did wish I had done differently at this point is list all the treatments I had tried. Even if I just quickly rattled them off, I think it would have helped. I also wish I had kind of added a personal statement about how hard it was to go from being super active to not active at all. However, I do think they care more about determining whether or not you are disabled, not how it feels to be disabled. So I think I am okay there. I do wish I had listed all of my treatments though.

 

The judge did apologize and say it would take 2 months to get the determination.

 

That’s fine, in and of itself. It is what it is. I’m just mostly mad, as I said above, that the lawyer company messed up the original court date because I would already have my decision by now.

 

There it is. That’s how it went. I feel good knowing that I tried my best and that if I do get an unfavorable decision that it wasn’t for lack of preparation on my part. If I don’t get approved I think it will be because no one can give me a diagnosis, which, if I had one, I might be better now! Oh, the irony.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I can answer whatever it is you might like to know about the process.

Total screw up by Allsup

I Am Legend No

A lot has happened this past week. I was able to reach my congress person about a month ago to see if they could help with my social security claim. Well, they did! They were fantastic! The most help anyone has offered me since this whole process began.

They were able to get my case approved for critical processing.

However, I just had to decide to move because I don’t have any money and I can’t afford to live in San Mateo anymore. I had considered going month to month here, however, the price for month to month was 3k. Can you believe it! With zero income how was I supposed to afford that?

So I move November 29th and the hearing was scheduled for San Francisco for Dec 8th.

No biggie.

SF decides that they are going to setup a video conference with San Diego (SD) so that I can keep my hearing date. Nice, right?

Here is where the magic happens.

Allsup (random company that MetLife strongly suggested, by that I mean badger, I use to represent me with social security) totally screws up and tells them that I waive my right to video conference, that I only want it in person. What! That never happened.

Apparently, some clerk sent out a mass letter to everyone they were representing, regardless of what was discussed between the client and their specific representative, that they did not want video conferencing. Allsup assured me this would not happen, that everyone was on the same page. Clearly, my suspicions of ineptitude were spot on.

Therefore, SF social security gets mad, sends me a letter, and states that they are revoking my critical case status! Not only do I lose my December 8th hearing, but now I lose my critical case status.

Allsup are absolute idiots.

Also, now I look like a diva to the court system.

Perfect. Thanks Allsup. Thanks a lot.

To say thank you to you all, here is a 4inkjets coupon and a Moosejaw coupon. Get yourself something nice from Moosejaw or save on some inkjets today.

It’s official, my claim has been denied

frustration photo: Frustration UnhappySmash_zps5c28c29d.gif

My disability insurer called a few days ago to let me know that they are officially denying my claim for long term disability. They have determined, without ever having examined me, that I am well enough to go back to work in some capacity. They have disregarded all my paperwork from physicians who have in fact seen me that states I am disabled.

It is so upsetting to me that this company, that I paid into, is denying my claim. I am sick. I don’t want to be sick. The denial makes me feel unappreciated. It makes me feel like the whole thing is a sham. I paid into this with the expectation that if I needed it, it would be there.

Now I worry constantly about how I am going to put food on the table. How will I put a roof over my head. I am disabled, so managing the stress around this is overwhelming.

This company is just looking at finances. They don’t seem the least bit concerned that they are abandoning the very people they state they serve. The thing is, it’s not like this is a handout. I PAID them for this service.

I’m so frustrated.

I don’t know what I am going to do.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third bookANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Allsup consultation for 3rd review by social security

Today was my scheduled phone call with my Allsup representative today. This call was done to complete my paperwork to be sent in for my third appeal with Social Security.

 

It went fairly okay. It took about an hour. I honestly think it would have took less time if I had done it myself. The good news though, was that I could lay down while she asked me all of the questions. It was pretty straightforward. In a way, kind of annoying. It was everything that I had already done. It’s been two years now. They have all this paperwork. They asked me what meds I was on, when I got hurt, when I stopped working –all stuff that they already have.

 

Some good questions they asked was how the back pain effected my. Was I able to concentrate as well as before? How does it effect my mood? Am I quicker to snapping with people? Of course! Just yesterday my Direct TV went out and I had to call support to get it fixed. The whole time my internal clock was ticking about how much time I had left before I would be completely spent. I had to cut the phone call short, and then I got short with my husband. :-(

 

The good information I got was that it would take about 11-18 months to even get a hearing! Wow! If my MetLife runs out in November that could be a serious problem of no income. That would be 6 months without income at the least! It does show I really, really have to get MetLife to stand behind me in this.

The other interesting thing is that it might not even go to court. The judge could look at my case and approve it right away. The important thing I learned is that they can’t deny me without a court hearing. So that’s good.

The weird thing is I won’t hear until a decision has been made or just before the hearing. So, it’s kind of up in the air. It’s out of my hands now, which is good.

 

More updates to come.

 

 

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com