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 …

****

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.

****

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

I Will Be Trying Flector Vs Lidocaine Patches

So I have become quite addicted to wearing my Lidocaine patches. I started a few months back to try 30 days worth of Lidocaine patches to see if it would break my pain cycle.

It does actually make me feel better. I mean, it doesn’t cure me or anything, but it does make me feel better.

However, at the end of the 30 days, I was supposed to stop. I just can’t bring myself to stop relying them.

Yet, I wonder? What makes me feel better, the Lidocaine or the fact that it comes in a patch form? I wonder if my back just feels a bit more stable having something back there. Kind of like the tape that athletes use. Therefore, I asked my doctor to write for Flector patch, which is an anti-inflammatory patch. That way I can try a different class of drugs in patch form and rule out if it is medication, sensation, or both. I’m gonna start tomorrow with a five day trial to see if I can determine what makes me feel better. I had a hard time convincing my doctor, he just wanted to write for a Fector cream, but I insisted. He completely was not paying attention to my rationale.

The unfortunate part of this is that my new insurance, which is shit, does not pay for Flector. There is also no generic. That means that a 30 day supply is $300. I got 10 for my trial, but I can’t believe it. How can they not cover it when there is no generic? My Synthroid, Calcitriol, and Lidocaine patches weren’t covered either. It is really quite shocking. I can only imagine what will happen when I need a new MRI or a CT. I’m confident that my insurance company will not cover it or deny authorization.

The other shocking thing was the pharmacist. I had an inkling that the Flector patches would not be covered since my Synthroid, Calcitriol, and Lidocaine patches weren’t. So I asked the pharmacist if there was a generic of Flector patch or any generic anti-inflammatory patch. He said there was, which was the Lidocaine patch.

This is completely inaccurate. Lidocaine is an anesthetic. Flector is an anti-inflammatory agent. These are two totally different mechanisms. I can not believe that a pharmacist gave such horrible advice and completely inaccurate! What if I hadn’t known this! My God! It’s not life threatening or anything but these are two totally different classes of drugs! All I have to say is be careful people!

I will report back next week how my trial goes. I have to be judicious though and not take any chances. My commitment needs to be at it’s strongest. These medications are now too expensive to be willy-nilly about my plan of attack.

****

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

Support Group

I hosted a support group last night for the second time. It went very well. I was supposed to have two people come, out of the 30 that joined the group, but only one of them showed up.

The other lady said she was going to go and then cancelled last minute. At least she let me know that she was cancelling before hand.

However, what was weird about it was after she had cancelled, she rewrote back and asked how many people were going. I said myself and one other.

I’m not sure what to make of that. Would she have gone if there were more people? Was she wondering if there were going to be only a few people and then it would be more manageable? I’m not sure. I’m kind of curious though what difference it made.

The woman I did meet was really great. She has Fibromyalgia and works in the health industry. It was really nice to hear another person’s opinion about how they deal with stuff. She was very active, or so it seemed, so I am happy for her. She ran fairly late, even though I stated in my group bio that when there are meetup’s people need to be on time. Since it was only us, she pushed it back from 6:00 to 6:30, but then didn’t show up until 6:50. Had she not let me know, I would have had to have left after only a few minutes of meeting her. Oh, how I long for the days when we didn’t have cell phones and people had to be where they said they would be when they said they would be there. I wouldn’t care as much if I wasn’t sick, but I am. Our society today just lives for themselves, not realizing that that is how they come across when they are late like that. It is somehow okay that someone is technically 50 minutes late for an appointment just because they have the ability to tell you that they will be late. I really wanted this support group to abide by the rules that people are in pain, myself included, and only have a limited amount of time to socialize. I can’t wait all night for someone to show up, and I’m sure others are the same way.

You know why I also want people to show up on time? Because I really liked this lady and then when the designated time was done, I didn’t want to leave. I was then having a debate with myself on whether or not I could tough it out. Unfortunately, as we all know by now, I am always worse the next day than I am at the current time of an event. However, it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if she had been on time. I had to leave at 7:30, because of my back, so really, I only got about 40 minutes to talk with her.

Plus, my two friends showed up because they didn’t want me sitting alone, which was sweet, so I really didn’t even talk to the lady that much.

Oh, well — enough of my rantfest. I liked her, so we actually made plans for a few weeks from now. I’m looking forward to it.

However, I am a little bit sad today. I know it was a big deal that I reached out, and am trying improve my social circle here in a new city, with a lot of physical restrictions, but I’m sad. I’m sad because no matter how fun last night was, how proud my friends were of me, I’m still in pain. I still hurt all the time. I hurt today from yesterday’s 1.5 hour excursion. Is it worth it? I’m not really sure anymore. I’m just so exhausted from hurting all the time. I’m tired of hurting all the time. It’s annoying, and anger-inducing, and sometimes I just want to scream. I can’t even scream because it would hurt me too much. It just feels like no matter what I accomplish: making it to doctors appointments, starting support groups, walking a bit — I’m never actually accomplishing the feat of not being in pain. It’s always there and it’s a fucking nightmare.

I just feel lost.

Excursion Day # 2 With Chronic Pain

Last night I had one of my first ventures out here in San Diego. I had a friend drive me the 200 feet to the bar because it was raining and I was afraid I would slip. I know, right? The second time I decide to try and go out in 2 months it was raining!

 

I was meeting the only other person that I know here in San Diego, a college friend from my MSU days.

 

We arranged to meet at that bar after a little bit of a scheduling difficulty. I picked the place because it was so close to my house and I wanted to see if I could make it the few feet to get there. If I could, it would mean I would have a few places I could go on my own.

 

However, he wanted to change the place to a five minute drive from my house. That sucked, because I had to tell him no. A five minute drive is too far for me to handle sitting right now. Plus, after driving, I would already be shot and would not be able to stand there for an hour. Also, I would have been in too much pain to concentrate on what he was saying.

 

I had to decline and it made me seem a little too picky. However, as we all know, we want to hide how sick we are and this was just highlighting it.

 

We met at the bar and he brought his girlfriend. That threw me for a loop. I was prepared to speak to one person, not two. When there is more than one person, my already distracted brain has a much harder time. My conversation skills, therefore, were a bit lacking.

 

Besides, I haven’t had a real conversation with someone who didn’t know my condition since this all began. My friends in San Francisco watched as I progressively got worse, and we all just accommodated from there. This, this was from the get-go.

 

The only thing that was tough was that they weren’t very conversational either. I had to carry the conversation a bit of the time, which taxed my already troubled brain. I had so much to think about that normal people don’t! You know! I had to think about the bar, how I was standing, how my back was exposed to people walking by, how I was cold and therefore my spasms were worse. There was also so much to see! I am so very under stimulated in my own house! Also, in a nice way, my friend kept texting every ten minutes, checking up on me. so much going on that normal people who go out don’t have to think about. Plus, I had to constantly check the clock to make sure I wasn’t over doing it. Then there is also the amount of energy expended thinking about your own back. How’s it doing? Is it starting to hurt so bad you will be in tears tonight –things like that.

 

Ultimately, it was a very good experience. I was able to leave my house for the second time in two months and it was overall a success. I have two Lidocaine patches on my back today and have already dosed with some Motrin. I know I will be in more pain today, but it was a mental win.

 

How do you manage when you go out?